Man wanted on elder abuse charges, accused of tying up boarding home resident

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police are searching for an unlicensed caretaker accused of tying a boarding home resident to a chair so tightly it caused an infection that caused his death.

John Grant, 56, is charged with injury to an elderly individual.

According to court documents, he physically abused 65-year-old Clifton Barber in May 2020 at an unlicensed boarding home in the 5800 block of Schevers in southeast Houston.

After Barber got sick, another unlicensed caretaker took him to Ben Taub Hospital, where he died.

"I was in the room when he passed away," said Farrell Gotch, Barber's brother. "His arm was swollen and his leg was swollen. He was abused."

An autopsy report showed Barber had injuries that were consistent with being tied at his wrists, as well as blunt force injuries. The report says Barber ultimately died from sepsis from an infection on his wrist.

"He tied him down basically so hard, an infection occurred in his wrist and spread throughout his blood ultimately causing his death," explained Kristina Roberts, chief prosecutor of elder abuse and financial exploitation at the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

"That's sad. It's inhumane. It's not even conscionable," said Gotch.

The unlicensed caretaker, who took Barber to the hospital, told authorities Barber was not feeling well a few days before his passing and recalled seeing "a bump, which appeared like a tiny bite mark on Barber's forearm." He said another person by the name of "John" resided at the unlicensed boarding home.

Several months later, after 35 men and women were found without food or medication in another unlicensed boarding home in Houston's south side. Deputies there detained a man by the name of John Grant.

SEE ALSO: 35 adults in unlicensed group home just off South Beltway found without food or medication

Investigators say one of the men rescued from that home identified Grant after he said he knew Barber from living with him at the previous unlicensed boarding home. That man told investigators a week before Barber's death that he witnessed Grant use a bungee-type cord to tie and restrain Barber to a chair "from midday to sunset as punishment," according to court records.

Roberts says there's a warrant out for Grant's arrest. If convicted, he could face between five and 99 years in prison.

"I would like justice for him. He would harm no one," Gotch said of his brother.

Unlicensed group homes are on the rise in Harris County because it is an area that is not regulated properly, Roberts said.

"Hopefully this case and situations like this will make people more and more aware of it," she said.

People considering a boarding home for a family member or loved one should do research and visit the home before making any decisions, advised Roberts. She also said to report any abnormalities or signs of abuse to authorities.

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