- Texas authorities have been investigating the deaths of hundreds of elderly people to find out if they’re linked to a suspected serial killer accused of smothering women and robbing them of their valuables.
- The investigation began last March, after a victim was revived by first responders and told authorities that a man had suffocated her and stolen her jewellery.
- Billy Chemirmir, 46, has been charged with a combined 12 counts of capital murder, and could reportedly be one of Texas’ most prolific serial killers if convicted.
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Texas authorities have been investigating the deaths of some 750 elderly people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, even exhuming one woman’s body, searching for a link to a possible serial killer suspected of smothering elderly women and robbing them of their jewellery.
The investigation began in March 2018 and came to a head last week when grand juries in Dallas County and Collin County unveiled 11 capital murder charges against 46-year-old Billy Chemirmir, according to court documents. He was previously charged with one count of capital murder, and has also been charged with two counts of attempted murder.
Chemirmir, a Kenyan national living in the US illegally, is accused of posing as a healthcare worker or maintenance worker to gain access to his victims, where prosecutors say he would kill them in their homes and rob them of their valuables.
Chemirmir is currently in jail and his bail has been set at $US9.1 million, court documents show.
The known victims’ ages ranged from 76 to 94, and their families have told local media outlets they simply believed their loved ones had died of natural causes.
“At first I thought, ‘This sounds like a really sick joke,'” Loren Adair, the daughter of one suspected victim, told the Dallas Morning News. “He got away with it for so long. It’s unbelievable.”
How the cops zeroed in on the suspect
The investigation began shortly after Chemirmir allegedly forced his way into one 93-year-old woman’s home and told her to “go to bed, don’t fight me,” an arrest affidavit obtained by NBC DFW claimed.
Though the victim passed out during the attack, first responders were able to revive her, Plano Police Chief Gregory Rushin said in a press conference last year.
The woman told authorities that she was robbed of her jewellery, and Plano police identified Chemirmir through his licence plate spotted at the woman’s complex and began following him.
Authorities alleged they spotted Chemirmir toss a jewellery box in the trash. Inside the box, they found a piece of paper with a name connecting it to another elderly woman, 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. Rushin said when a neighbouring police department conducted a welfare check at the home, they found Harris dead in her bed with signs that she’d been smothered. Chemirmir was charged in her death that week.
If Chemirmir is convicted on all charges, it would make him one of Texas’ most prolific serial killers, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Chemirmir’s attorney, Phillip Hayes, told NBC DFW that Chemirmir has “denied it since day one” that he was involved in the deaths.
“They have circumstantial evidence that puts him in the area, but that’s as far as the evidence goes,” he said.
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