JULY 19, 2013
HELD CAPTIVE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY AND VA CHECKS
Four men held captive in a Houston garage were living in “deplorable conditions” while being forced to hand over their monthly incomes, according to police.
The victims told officers they were held against their will in the converted garage and given only scraps to eat.
Three of the men, who appeared to be suffering from malnutrition, were taken to LBJ Hospital.
“I was in my yard when I saw them coming out in the ambulance and it didn’t look good at all,” Carolyn Baker said. “Oh man, they look like they’re malnutritioned. Real poor. Oh, Lord.”
A resident called the police Friday morning after seeing a man at the window rubbing his stomach as if he was hungry.
When officers arrived at the northwest Houston duplex in the 8600 block of White Castle, they were shocked. They described the living conditions as like a “dungeon.”
There was no bathroom and a chair was the only piece of furniture. The garage had burglar bars and locked doors.
Police were told the men were lured to the home with the promise of food, alcohol, and cigarettes. Investigators are looking into whether they were homeless before.
They were also allegedly forced to turn over their Social Security and Veteran’s benefits checks to their captor.
Steven Davis said he’d been inside the house for about six months.
Neighbors were heartbroken to learn what the men had been through.
“Oh my God, it just touched my heart,” Alberta Ewing said. “I mean, I just feel for them. I don’t know, it just really got me hurt.”
She said that one of them had approached her asking for help just weeks earlier while she was cooking outside, but that she didn’t take him seriously because he wasn’t crying and she couldn’t get him to explain further.
“He said, ‘Could you help me?”‘ Ewing recalled. “I said, ‘What’s the problem?”
Neighbors said they occasionally saw the men sitting outside. Virginia Rogers, who lives five houses away, said she greeted them with a wave when she drove by.
“I’m shocked,” Rogers said. “I’m baffled. I didn’t have a clue.”
Police are questioning the man who allegedly held the victims captive. So far, no charges have been filed.
He apparently did not live in the house.
Four women live in the other side of the duplex, three of whom appeared to have mental disabilities, police said. The fourth was a caretaker. Unlike the garage, the living conditions inside their home were relatively normal.
JULY 19, 2014
DIBOLL PRISON COLLAPSE
At 11:30 am. Saturday morning a ceiling over a day room with eighty-seven prison inmates collapsed on them. Several were trapped for a short time. Multiple ambulances and police agencies were dispatched from Livingston, Lufkin, Diboll, Lufkin, and TABC to respond to the scene. In all just over twenty were injured with ten being transported to hospital in the Lufkin area. and several more treated at the unit. On 42-year-old male was initially transported to Memorial Hospital in Lufkin but after being stabilized was flown by Life Flight to Hermann Hospital in Houston.
The Rufus H. Duncan Unit is a Geriatrics Unit that holds just over six hundred Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisoners. The facility which encompasses twenty-five acres was built in 1992. The buildings are constructed of steel.
First reports for help were reported as a roof collapse but as units arrived they learned it was a suspended ceiling that fell.
Police from Diboll, and DPS stationed marked patrol units around the perimeter fence to deter any potential escape. Even ambulances and fire trucks leaving the facility were searched. Lufkin Police stationed several SWAT officers outside the perimeter also.
There was very little communication between prison officials and law enforcement. Prison officials would not comment on the situation. Law enforcement officials finally had to get insistent as to if they were still needed for security as the unit warden would not respond to their communications either. Officials finally pressured a unit, Major, to contact the Warden to get an all-clear.
It is not known the conditions of the injured or whether additional were transported to hospitals by private prison vans. The unit Warden said there were no life-threatening injuries moments before a patient was loaded onto Life Flight in critical condition.
Diboll is approximately ten miles south of Lufkin.
JULY 14, 2014
CONROE IMMIGRATION PROTEST
Hundreds lined Conroe’s North Loop 336 overpass at Interstate 45 Saturday morning protesting the Immigration issue.
JULY 19, 2015
BABY NEAR DROWNING IN NW HARRIS COUNTY
Sunday afternoon a family get-together turned tragic. The family had been in the house with a 3-year-old when the father looked outside and saw the child floating in the pool. He immediately ran out and jumped into the pool rescuing the child. CPR was initiated and Cypress Creek EMS responded. They then requested Life Flight to the scene. The child was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston in critical condition. It is believed the child crawled out the doggie door. Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said the Constables Office is investigating and will their information over to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
JULY 19, 2015
AUTO VS BUILDING FATAL ELLA BLVD
On July 19, 2015, at approximately 835 PM, Hong Nguyen, was operating a 2010 Mazda CX-7 in the parking lot located at 15225 Ella Blvd. in front of the Ella Washateria. The Uyen Nguyen was sitting in a chair in front of the Ella Washateria. Hong Nguyen applied the accelerator and not the braked which caused the Mazda to strike Uyen Nguyen and the front of the business. The Uyen Nguyen has transported the Ben Taub General Hospital in critical condition. At 1117pm Uyen Nguyen was pronounced deceased at the Hospital. This case remains under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Division.
JULY 19, 2016
JUVENILE INVOLVED IN HIGH SPEED PURSUIT RELEASED FROM DETENTION-VIDEO
After a hearing this afternoon in County Court 1, it was determined the 12-year-old juvenile who led police on a chase in her grandmother’s car will be released. It was determined that the young girl’s uncle and uncle’s fiance were suitable after being investigated by the courts. She will be processed out of juvenile detention later today. She still faces several charges from the pursuit which will be addressed at a later date.
JULY 19, 2017
EMC VOLUNTEERS COME TOGETHER ON BRIDGE PROJECT
Last month Rachel with East Montgomery County Fire Department contacted me in reference to a disabled Army Veteran who was basically stranded in his home in Splendora. Several times he needed to be transported to the hospital for medical issues, however, it was not an easy feat. A bridge on his driveway going across a creek was collapsing. It was too dangerous to drive a fire truck or ambulance across. Each time he needed to go to the hospital, the fire department had to dispatch a 4-wheeler to bring him to the ambulance. Lill ey, who has a home health nurse that comes to check on him said she would not drive across the bridge and didn’t want him to either. He joked that his last physical given by her was done under the shade tree near the bridge. After hearing about this and learning he had been driving his truck across it after laying down a few boards it got concerning. It was learned that back in April, Lilley paid a man $5900, some of which he had to get a loan for to rebuild the bridge and fix his driveway which was covered in water-filled potholes. Knowing Montgomery County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace owned some construction equipment and had many friends in East Montgomery County he was contacted. Since it wasn’t on the county right-of-way and was on private property the county’s hands were tied. Metts went out to look at it and immediately went to work formulating a plan. Wednesday morning at 7 am Mett’s, Wade Willis, and several of Mett’s friends along with Constable Hayden, Captain Seals, and Lt. Clendenen arrived at the Lilley home to take care of the problem. First, they removed the brush that had been causing the drainage issues. Next was to remove a beaver dam built next to the bridge. Two oilfield mats were then laid across the bridge to strengthen it. After that loads of dirt were brought by CS Hauling and the driveway was rebuilt. Lilley said he had been driving across it in his 4-wheel drive pickup and several times a tire would drop off in a hole, he said he would just back out, adjust a board, and try again. As this was going on Constable Rowdy Hayden showed his skills operating a tractor as he dug a 400-foot trench for a new water line donated by Weldon Plumbing. By 4 pm the job was almost complete. Metts and crew now plan to wait for the water in the creek to drop some and come back in. When they do, they plan to demolish the bridge and put it in 4-foot concrete culverts. A GOFUNDME was started to help Lilly recover his $5900. The work and materials today were all donated.
JULY 19, 2019
HEART RECIPIENT ATTENDS WEDDING OF DONORS FAMILY
Back in June, 2012 young Colton Berckenhoff was killed in a tragic accident in Porter, Texas. His Dean Berckenhoff and his father’s fiancé Monica made the tough decision to donate his organs. The recipient, Travis Stufflepean was a 20-year-old young man from Fayetteville, Arkansas who in 1991 discovered he had a bad heart. After several surgeries, he was told his heart was dying and he needed a new heart. He was put on a transplant list after only 3-months, on June 27, 2012, he was notified a heart had been found. It was the heart of little Colton. Travis said a lot of people wait a long time and never get a heart. He was told in 1991 he would never hook up to a heart but yet 20-years later he had a new heart. Travis said, he felt overwhelmed today. He said. “Jesus has really done amazing things, I believe that is all him,”
Today, in Montgomery County Justice of the Peace Court 1 which is in Willis, Texas, Young Colton’s father and father’s fiancé were finally married. Judge Wayne Mack performed the ceremony. What was special about this wedding, and unbeknown to the bride or groom was a Travis who traveled from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Travis Stufflepean, who just turned 28 had talked with the family before. The family had always wanted to meet the young man who had their sons’ hearts. After seeing something on Facebook a while back Amanda McDonald, the sister of the bride talked with her parents Terry and Michelle Guy about an idea she cooked up. She contacted Travis and told him about the wedding that was going to take place today. Her mother and father then secretly flew Travis into Texas and kept him hidden through most of the wedding. Travis stood in a back room waiting for the moment. Just as Judge Mack asked if anyone had anything to say before he pronounced them man and wife, Travis walked out. There was not a dry eye in the courtroom including that of Judge Mack. Travis, who is now a youth minister brought a stethoscope with him so both the bride and groom could listen to their son’s hearts. As they said their son was at the wedding today.
According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 113000 people are now on the National Donor Program waiting list, over 20 a day die waiting for organs but yet 36, 528 transplants were done last year. They also say 95% of Americans support organ donation but only 58% sign up. Every 10 minutes another person is added to the list.