5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, Sept. 24

People gather in Jefferson Square awaiting word on charges against police officers, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. A grand jury has indicted one officer on criminal charges six months after Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police in Kentucky. The jury presented its decision against fired officer Brett Hankison Wednesday to a judge in Louisville, where the shooting took place.(AP Photo/John Minchillo) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Here are things you need to know for Thursday, Sept. 24:

1. EXPLAINED: Why nearly 15,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in the Houston area in one day

Tuesday saw the largest single-day increase in newly reported coronavirus cases in the Houston area since the numbers started being tracked in March.

After a steady decline in the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases for the past couple of weeks, 14,687 cases were added to the numbers Tuesday.

According to a pair of tweets from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a majority of those new cases were the result of a backlog being cleared.

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2. Disabled, elderly residents of unlicensed Harris County group home allege prostitution, kidnapping, drug deals

Revelations of dozens of elderly and disabled residents living in squalor at an unlicensed group home in southeast Harris County has sparked investigations by the Sheriff’s office and state agencies.

Precinct 7 deputy constables went to the Caring Hands Group Home, in the 14200 block of Long Meadow Drive, Monday evening after a 62-year-old resident reported through a relative that he was being held against his will, and was in fear of his life. When the homes attendants refused to allow the deputies in, the officers forced their way in.

What they found inside were more than three dozen residents crammed into every available space of a dirty, bug-infested four-bedroom house with one working toilet.

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3. Search underway for man after woman’s son finds her beaten to death, police say

Houston police are trying to find a man after they said a little boy found his mother dead in northwest Houston. Authorities say the mother’s boyfriend is the killer and told her son that his mom was sleeping when she was dead.

Authorities say on Saturday 22-year-old Alexis Armando Rojas-Mendez beat 27-year-old Ashley Garcia to death with a steel-toe boot.

Now, Mendez is charged with murder and is on the run.

Read more.

4. ‘Arrest the system:’ Houston activists outraged by Kentucky grand jury decision in Breonna Taylor case

NAACP Houston Vice President James Dixon II called the “shameful decision” by the Kentucky grand jury in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor a “deplorable misrepresentation” of the criminal justice system.

Dixon said none of the Louisville officers were directly charged in the death of Taylor.

“No one has been charged,” Dixon said Wednesday during a press conference after the indictment was announced. “No one is being held responsible for the death for Breonna Taylor in this indictment. That gives me chill just to say it.”

Read more.

5. In a rare move, a Texas military veteran who was deported years ago was allowed back home. Now he’s a U.S. citizen.

Military veteran Frank De La Cruz, who now lives in El Paso, was deported to Mexico after being arrested more than a decade ago.

For years, he’s been living in Ciudad Juárez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, after being deported twice. He said he didn’t even know he wasn’t a citizen before he was deported.

But on Sept. 9, after years of working odd jobs in Juárez while his wife and three children lived in El Paso, U.S. immigration officials had a surprise for him: They were going to let him return to the country where he’d lived since he was 6 years old.

Read more.

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