HOUSTON (KXAN) — Houston police say they discovered more than 90 people in a southwest Houston home Friday, and they believe it could be connected with human smuggling. As of Friday evening, five of the 91 people in the home have tested positive for COVID-19.
An initial tweet about the incident said “dozens” of people were found in the home after police arrived to investigate a kidnapping call.
The scene is in a neighborhood north of Missouri City and just south of the Sam Houston Tollway.
In a briefing around 1:30 p.m., police said they didn’t notice anyone with “serious injuries” but they said some of the people had symptoms consistent with COVID-19. They found five women in the home but no kids. The rest of the people in the home were men.
Some people in the home told police they “hadn’t eaten in awhile,” so police got them both food and water, police said.
“This is definitely more of a smuggling thing and not a trafficking thing,” HPD assistant chief Daryn Edwards said.
Police said they were tipped off about the home Thursday night and said they “worked through the night” to gather enough information to take action. Police said the people were just sitting next to each other, wearing “basic clothes,” with no signs of being bound or tied up. The home is two stories and people were on both floors, police said.
Police believe a family member of someone in the home contacted them and reported the incident as a kidnapping.