Investigators say a 79-year-old man from Texas was held “prisoner in his own home” for months after a trio of strangers arrived.
The man had traveled to Louisiana for a funeral, and when he returned to his home in Tomball, Texas, in December, it was immediately clear something was wrong, according to a criminal complaint filed June 2 in the Harris County.
His truck was missing from the driveway and three “brand new” vehicles had taken its place, documents show. They had been funded in his name and without his knowledge, the complaint states.
He stuck his key in the front door but it wouldn’t open because the locks had been changed.
Inside were three people, two women and a man, the complaint says.
The owner, a disabled veteran, had tried to help one of the suspects, he told KHOU TV. Now he was paying for his kindness.
“I wished a thousand times that I had never helped them, but I did,” he said.
For several months, the trio controlled their home and finances, documents show. When they needed money or money for gasoline, they beat him with a plastic rod until he gave it to them, the complaint states.
His life continued like this until mid-February when the man took one of the suspects for an oil change, documents show. A witness noticed bruises on his arms and asked where they came from, and the man did not answer.
Worried, the witness then went home and took him to a doctor, where he opened up about what was happening to him, investigators said. She filed for an eviction on her behalf, and the police kicked the trio out of the house.
They stole a number of appliances during their stay at the house, witness and friend Patti Hallas told KHOU.
“They took the televisions, they took the wall oven, they took the refrigerator, they took everything,” she said.
Two of the suspects, women aged 43 and 39, face charges of aggravated robbery, according to court documents.
Their male accomplice is charged with injuring the elderly, KHOU reported.
Tomball is approximately 35 miles northwest of downtown Houston.
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