Four elderly homeless men were found this morning being held against their will in "deplorable conditions" at a Houston home, police said, alleging that the men were victims of a scheme to cash their government assistance checks.
Following a call to conduct a welfare check on the home in North Houston, police found the men, aged 50, 65, 74 and 80. All of them were malnourished and detained in the home's garage, said Houston Police spokesman Kese Smith.
The length each man had been in the house had not been determined, but one man indicated he may have been there for as many as 10 years, Smith said.
In addition to the four men, Smith said, police also found four women in the home, all of whom appeared to be "mentally ill." The circumstances under which the women were living in the house were presently unknown, Smith said.
Police were called to the home at 8:25 a.m. and found the men living in filth and "severely malnourished."
All four men were taken to a nearby hospital, and adult protective services was called.
"All four men said they had been lured by the promise of beer and cigarettes and were not allowed to leave," Smith said. "They were forced to sign over their veteran's checks and other checks."
One person was taken in for questioning, but no arrests have been made or charges pressed, Smith said.