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Police: 1 of the malnourished men allegedly held captive in Houston dies

By Joe Sutton, CNN
updated 5:23 PM EDT, Tue July 30, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 3 men were found "living without any level of care" in a Houston garage, police said
  • 1 of them later died, police said, without giving a cause of death
  • The 2 others have been released from area hospitals
  • A grandson of the home's owner has been charged in the case

(CNN) -- One of three malnourished men found earlier this month in the garage of a Houston home has died, police said Tuesday.

He and the other men told police they'd been held captive before they were discovered July 19.

William Merle Greenawalt, 79, was pronounced dead six days later, Houston police said in a statement, which did not detail a cause of his death. The two other men, ages 59 and 64, who were allegedly held captive have been released from hospitals to the care of the state's Adult Protective Services.

Walter Renard Jones, 31 -- a grandson of the home's owner -- has been charged with injury to the elderly by act and injury to the elderly by omission, according to Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva.

The charges came after officers responded to a call at a modest single-story Houston home and found three men "living without any level of care," police said.

"The three men claimed to have been misled by the suspect (Jones) into residing at the home in exchange for food and shelter," police added. "All three men claimed the suspect used force and coercion to keep them there for the purpose of monetary gain."

Investigators were looking into whether the men had been forced to hand over their government aid, including disability, Social Security and veterans checks. At least some of the alleged captives were believed to be homeless.

"What the men initially told us was they were lured there with the promise of cigarettes and food," Silva said earlier this month.

The men told the officers that they had been held for varying lengths of time. One man told them it felt like 10 years, but Silva said earlier this month, "Whether it goes into years or not is unknown."

CNN's Greg Botelho, Ed Lavandera and Joshua Rubin contributed to this report.

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