Saturday, July 20, 2013

Charges have been filed against a black man accused of holding four men against their will at a northwest Houston home, police said

Walter Renard Jones, 31, is charged with two counts of injury to the elderly - serious bodily injury in the 263rd state District Court. Investigators with the Houston Police Department said that the four men were held captive in a garage and were living in deplorable conditions while being forced to hand over their monthly incomes. The victims told officers that they were held against their will in the converted garage and given only scraps to eat. Three of the men, who appeared to be suffering from malnutrition, were taken to LBJ Hospital. They are in stable condition, police said. The victims were discovered after a resident called police after seeing a man at the window rubbing his stomach as if he was hungry. When officers arrived at the duplex on White Castle, they were shocked. They described the living conditions as like a dungeon. The owner of the house is 83-year-old Essie Scranton. There was no bathroom and a chair was the only piece of furniture. The garage had burglar bars and locked doors. Police were told that the men were lured to the home with the promise of food, alcohol and cigarettes. Investigators are looking into whether they were homeless before. They were also forced to turn over their Social Security and Veteran’s benefits checks to their captor. Investigators said that Jones apparently did not live in the house. Four women live in the other side of the duplex, three of whom appeared to have mental disabilities, police said. The fourth was a caretaker. Harris County Adult Protective Services is also looking into this case. The agency will be checking into the mental capacities of the men held captive and the official residents, including the homeowner. Court records showed that Jones had previous charges beginning in 2002 for theft, marijuana possession and failing to register as a sex offender.

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