Houston Police Dept.
This undated booking photo provided by the Houston Police Department on Saturday, July 20, 2013 shows Walter Renard Jones.
The 31-year-old grandson of the owner of a house in Houston was arrested and charged Saturday after police discovered four malnourished men locked in a garage that investigators say was turned into a prison with no bathroom or beds.
Walter Renard Jones is charged with injury to the elderly by act and injury to the elderly by omission., according to police.
Investigators believe Jones used an old garage in north Houston to imprison the men in deplorable conditions. The garage had no beds or bathrooms and had only minimal furniture, police said.
“They apparently were given scraps to eat, very little food was provided to them, they didn’t have access to a restroom,” said Jodi Silva, a spokeswoman for the Houston Police Department.
While in captivity, the men said Jones stole their social security and veterans benefits checks.
They were lured to the dwelling after Jones promised them food and cigarettes, officials said.
Jones is the grandson of Essie Mae Scranton, who owns the home on Whitecastle Lane, police said.
Police said in a statement that three of the men were taken to the hospital, where they are in stable condition. It is unclear how long they were locked in the garage.
The hospitalized men are ages 80, 74 and 65, The Associated Press reported.
Stephen Davis, the only one of the four men not in the hospital, told NBC’s Houston affiliate KPRC that the other men “weren't good” and looked weak. He told the station he had been in the garage for six months, but was unsure how long the others were there.
Police said four women also resided in the home, though not in the same conditions. One was a caretaker and the other three were mentally disabled, Silva said. They were questioned by police as witnesses.
KPRC reported that police visited the property in May and earlier this month, but did not find anything suspicious either time.
Jones is being held in Harris County Jail without bond and is set to appear in court Monday.
First published July 20 2013, 1:52 PM