We believe that change often takes the commitment of the community. We are certain that confronting the problem of elder abuse requires people being willing to listen when someone is asking for help, even if it isn’t said in those words. It also requires people being willing to speak and report suspicions. A case caught the attention of our San Francisco elder abuse lawyer, a disturbing case that shows the interplay of physical mistreatment, elder neglect, and financial fraud. The story is also a reminder that abuse can occur anywhere and that reporting concerns can help bring a victim’s nightmare to an end.
Police Find Elderly Men Held Captive and Forced to Sign Over Benefit Checks
Last Friday, as covered by Reuters news service, police in Houston acted on a tip that people were being held captive in a private house. Kees Smith, a Houston police spokesperson, reported that officers found four elderly men being held in a room in the garage of a North Houston home. Located behind a double-locked door, the room contained no beds, no toilets, and only a single chair. The captive victims, all men, included an 80 year old, a 74 year old, and a man in his 50s. Police did not release the age of the fourth man.
Speaking to officers at the scene, all four of the men said that they had been lured to the house with promises of beer and cigarettes and then not allowed to leave. The men further reported that they’d been forced to give their government-payment checks, including veterans’ benefits, to their captors. The men gave conflicting accounts regarding how long they had been held, with one initially saying he’d been held for ten years but later changing that account. After speaking with responding officers, three of the victims were taken to Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital in stable condition to be treated for malnutrition. The fourth man was taken to police headquarters for additional questioning. Police also found three disabled females living in the main part of the home, but determined the women had not been held against their will.
Police arrested Walter Jones, age 31, whose grandmother owns the home where the men were discovered. Police have charged Jones with injury to the elderly by act and injury to the elderly by omission.
“See Something, Say Something”
Reuters does not indicate who gave police the tip that drew them to the Houston home. Still, this case provides an important reminder that the rule of “see something, say something” applies to suspected elder abuse. Our team can help direct you to the appropriate reporting authorities and there is additional information on the website of the Department of Consumer Affairs’.
Ensuring Complete Compensation through Thorough Investigation
We have previously used this blog to discuss the various types of elder abuse. The Houston case is a reminder that the forms of elder abuse do not exist in a vacuum. In particular, neglect and/or physical abuse may be used to gain control of an elderly victim’s finances. As a law firm for San Francisco elder abuse victims, we work to make victims whole. We always work with our clients to fully investigate the circumstances and ensure that any financial abuse is identified and included in our lawsuit. Being thorough ensures our client is able to recover full and fair compensation.
See Related Blog Posts:
Identifying the Many Forms of Elder Abuse
(Photo by Jonas Boni)