Four homeless men held in 'deplorable' conditions in Houston home: police
Juan A. Lozano and Ramit Plushnick-Masti, The Associated Press
Published Friday, July 19, 2013 2:22PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 19, 2013 6:19PM EDT
HOUSTON -- Four homeless men were found Friday in "deplorable conditions" at a Houston home and may have been being held so a captor could cash cheques the men were receiving, according to police.
A neighbour called authorities expressing concern about men in the house in North Houston. Officers who responded found three men locked in a garage and a fourth in the home, said Sgt. Steven Murdock, who described the living conditions as like a "dungeon."
Murdock said at least one of the men is a military veteran. He said all four were homeless and may have been held so a captor could collect their cheques, though it wasn't clear whether the men were targeted for their Social Security payments or some other kind of assistance.
The men were malnourished and "almost invalids," Murdock said. Three were taken to a hospital for treatment.
One person was taken into custody, though details weren't immediately available.
Neighbours said they occasionally saw the men sitting outside. Virginia Rogers, who lives five houses away, said she greeted them with a wave when she drove by.
"I'm shocked," Rogers said. "I'm baffled. I didn't have a clue."
The men were found in a working-class, residential neighbourhood of one-story, brick homes. Harris County property records show the home was built in 1969 and is about 1,400 square feet.
Police were going in and out of the house's bright purple door and black gate Friday afternoon, removing evidence as neighbours stood outside watching.
A portion of the block was cordoned off with police tape.