Charges filed in Houston garage-turned-prison case - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Charges filed in Houston garage-turned-prison case

Posted:
Highlights
  • The homeowner's grandson faces felony charges
  • Three of the four men were hospitalized
  • They were lured to the house with cigarettes and food, police say
  • Three of the four "came out on a stretcher," a witness says

By Joshua Rubin and Ed Lavandera

HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- The grandson of the owner of a Houston house where four malnourished men were found has been charged with two felony counts in the case, police said Saturday.

Walter Renard Jones, 31, was charged with injury to the elderly by act and injury to the elderly by omission, Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva told CNN. A judge set Jones' bail at $200,000, CNN affiliate KHOU reported.

Jones is the grandson of Essie Mae Scranton, who owns the modest single-story home on Whitecastle Lane, police said.

The men told police they had been held captive in the garage, Silva said. They were discovered Friday.

Police were investigating whether the men had been forced to hand over their government aid, including disability, Social Security and veterans' checks.

Three of the four men -- ages 80, 74, 65 and 50 -- were found in the garage and taken to an area hospital where they were in stable condition on Saturday; the fourth man, who was found inside the house, was taken to the police station to make a statement, she said.

Authorities said at least some of the men were believed to have been homeless. "What the men initially told us was they were lured there with the promise of cigarettes and food," Silva said.

But once inside the tan brick house with purple trim, they were not allowed to leave, she said. "They were apparently given scraps to eat," Silva said. "Very little food was being provided to them."

The men told the officers that they had been held for varying lengths of time. One man said it felt like 10 years, but Silva said, "Whether it goes into years or not is unknown."

The case came to light after a caller to 911 told police on Friday morning that three or four people were being held there against their will.

Soon after, officers entered by breaking through burglar bars on the front door, Silva said.

Inside, police said they saw trash strewn about and found a garage that had been turned into a prison -- with no beds, no chairs and no bathroom.

Investigators were also looking into whether four women found at the home were captives, she said.

Police said three of them were suffering from physical disabilities and mental illness; the fourth was a caregiver.

The women were living in the house, not in the converted garage, Silva said.

Alberta Ewing said she was visiting her brother when she saw police swarm the house next door.

Minutes later, she saw three men, whom she described as skinny, sickly and in need of medical care, leaving the building.

"What I saw this morning, oh my God," she said. "No one walked out. They all came out on a stretcher."

CNN's Tom Watkins, Michael Martinez and Jennifer Moore contributed to this report

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Mobile meth lab shut down; federal agency collects weapons

    Mobile meth lab shut down; federal agency collects weapons

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:17 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:17:20 GMT
    TYLER (KYTX) -- Weapons and drugs were swept up after a local hotel cleaning crew ran into more than they could handle. On Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at approximately 1:00 PM, Tyler Police Officers were dispatched to the Sleep Inn located at 5555 Donnybrook when the hotel cleaning staff entered one of the rooms to clean it and observed several suspicious items lying in the open.More >>
    TYLER (KYTX) -- Weapons and drugs were swept up after a local hotel cleaning crew ran into more than they could handle. On Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at approximately 1:00 PM, Tyler Police Officers were dispatched to the Sleep Inn located at 5555 Donnybrook when the hotel cleaning staff entered one of the rooms to clean it and observed several suspicious items lying in the open.
    More >>
  • Search warrant filed for woman indicted for driving car into Longview crowd

    Search warrant filed for woman indicted for driving car into Longview crowd

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:14 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:14:56 GMT
    A Hallsville woman accused of driving into a crowd of about 20 people last fall in South Longview faces new driving charges.
    More >>
    A Hallsville woman accused of driving into a crowd of about 20 people last fall in South Longview faces new driving charges.
    More >>
  • Islamic State releases video depicting another beheading

    Islamic State releases video depicting another beheading

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-09-02 19:09:14 GMT
    (Photo: SITE)(Photo: SITE)
    (USA TODAY) - The terror group Islamic State released a video Tuesday apparently depicting the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.Sotloff, kneeling, says he is "paying the price" for the U.S. intervention in Iraq with his life.More >>
    (USA TODAY) - The terror group Islamic State released a video Tuesday apparently depicting the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.Sotloff, kneeling, says he is "paying the price" for the U.S. intervention in Iraq with his life.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.