One of four men held in Houston ‘dungeon’ has died


One of four elderly men held as prisoners in a house one of the men described as a dungeon died six days after he was rescued, US police said.

Police answering a 911 call July 19 found the men and arrested a resident of the Houston house on suspicion of holding the men against their will and stealing their Social Security allotments.

Police said William Merle Greenawalt, 79, was pronounced dead July 25, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday. The medical examiner has not announced the cause of death, the newspaper said.

Police said the men being held at the house had not been shackled or bound but were kept in the house and a garage by an elaborate series of security devices. Three of the men were found in the garage, which did not have a bathroom, and the fourth was in the house.
Police said the men had been kept at the house for a year.

Walter Jones has been charged with two counts of injury to the elderly and serious bodily injury. The suspect is the grandson of Regina Jones, who formerly operated a non-profit ministry to care for homeless people at the residence, the Chronicle said.

State officials revoked the facility’s non-profit status in 2010 because of tax issues, the report said.

The three men who were rescued said Walter Jones took their government checks in exchange for food and a place to live, but they said he used force and coercion to keep them from leaving.

Dean Cottingham, 59, and John Edward Padget, 64, were treated at a hospital and have been placed in the care of Adult Protective Services.