Friday, 19 July 2013

HOUSTON HOUSE OF HORRORS: 4 malnourished men rescued after up to TEN years in 'dungeon'

Officers found the malnourished men in the makeshift prison behind doors and windows secured with elaborate locks

Investigation: Police at the scene after the raid

Four frail men being held captive in a “dungeon” for up to a decade have been freed by police.

Cops today found the malnourished men, aged 79, 74, 65 and 54 – in the makeshift prison behind doors and windows secured with elaborate locks.

At least one is thought to be a military veteran.

Sgt JW McCoy said: “One of them thinks he was picked up off the street and brought here.

"In exchange for beer and cigarettes and a place to stay, he had to turn over his Social Security.”

Neighbour Monica Booker said a man living at the house where the captives were held admitted people stayed at the home and he collected their Social Security payments.

He has been arrested and was last night being quizzed by officers.

“It’s so upsetting,” Monica said, adding that had she known what was going on, she would have helped the men.

Prison: Officials at the purple house which has heavy security

She claimed the man, who lived with his mother, sister and niece, had also told people that he owned other homes where he offered rooms in exchange for Social Security cheques.

Police went to the house in Houston, Texas, acting on a tip-off.

Sgt Steve Murdock said conditions inside were “deplorable”, with three of the men sleeping on the floor in the garage.

A fourth man was found inside the house, which had an array of locks on the doors and windows.

Three of the men were taken for medical treatment and appeared to be underfed.

Police said one man held at the home told them it “was a dungeon” and did not want to be there.

One victim reportedly told police he had been there for 10 years.

Three of the men were unable to walk out of the property.

A neighbour, who saw them being led away, said: “They looked incredibly feeble. How anyone could do such a thing is beyond me.

"The people responsible for this are animals and deserve locking up for the rest of their lives.”

Neighbour Robert Paris said he had not noticed any elderly men coming and going in the three months he had lived across the street.

He added he sometimes heard loud music coming from the property.

“It’s pretty weird,” Mr Paris told reporters. “It’s really bad news.”

The rescue comes just two months after Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were freed from a house in Cleveland, Ohio, after 10 years in captivity.

Former bus driver Ariel Castro is facing 977 charges including 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape, and several counts of assault. If convicted he could face the death penalty.

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