Man Held in 'Dungeon' for Welfare Check Dies
William Merle Greenawalt, 79, passed away just a week after he was found in a "dungeon" with two other older men. Walter Renard Jones, 31, allegedly held the the men captive in order to cash their welfare checks.
The Houston ABC News affiliate reported that the men were found living in squalor in a garage after being lured there with beer and cigarettes, as well as the promise of food and shelter. The doors were nailed shut and the men were fed only scraps. They were forced to sleep on the floor and went without basics like a toilet.
"One of them said they had been held there for up to 10 years," said HPD Sgt. JW McCoy. "One of them said he'd been there a few years, and the other one didn't know how long he'd been there." Greenawalt had been held for over one year.
The house was owned by Jones's grandmother.
Authorities say a fourth man, Vietnam Veteran Steven Davis, would hand over all but $60 of his $2,400 in government checks to the captor each month.
There were also four women who lived in the house at the same time. Three of the men were said to suffer from mental illness.
Greenawalt, who was beaten with a cane, died six days after he was discovered.
Jones, who has a rap sheet including felony aggravated sexual assault of a child, was arrested on July 19th. There is no word yet if the charges will be upgraded following Greenawalt's death.
Alexander Marlow is Managing Editor of Breitbart News. Follow him on twitter @alexmarlow.