A suspect has been charged in connection with the discovery of four malnourished older men held in a Texas home, US media reported.

Walter Renard Jones, 31, was charged with two counts of injury to the elderly, the Houston Chronicle reported. According to CNN, he is the grandson of the woman who owned the home.

Police could not immediately be reached for comment.

On Friday, authorities in Houston said the four men were held captive for as long as a decade and were forced to hand over their benefit checks.

Three were so badly malnourished that they were taken to hospital. Police determined the men were 80, 74, and the third in his 50s.

They were living in a converted garage where they were forced to sleep on a linoleum floor and had no access to a bathroom, a police spokesman told AFP on Friday.

While the men tried to keep their home tidy, the conditions were nonetheless deplorable, he added. The only furniture was a single chair.

One of the men told police he had been held for 10 years, though the spokesman cautioned authorities have not yet been able to verify the allegation. The others had been there for a shorter period.

The fourth man, who was in better shape than the others and is 65 years old, told local news he had been living in the house, not the garage, for six months, and had no desire to leave.

The men were found after police got a call about several people being held against their will.

According to CNN, at least some of the men are believed to have been homeless.