Texas woman running unlicensed assisted living homes charged with murder, police revisit 20 deaths under her care

Texas woman running unlicensed assisted living homes charged with murder, police revisit 20 deaths under her care

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A woman who owns unlicensed assisted living homes in Texas has been charged with murder in the death of one of the residents, and police say at least 20 people have died while staying at her facilities in what officials call a “disturbing” and “unimaginable” case.

Regla “Su” Becquer is charged with murder in the death of Steven Pankratz, whose death in January was recently ruled a homicide, the Arlington Police Department said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner declared Pankratz’s manner of death mixed drug toxicity, with trazadone, tramadol and mirtazapine found in his system, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.

Arlington Police Detective Krystallyne Robinson told reporters that a family member of Pankratz alleged that his condition worsened under Becquer’s care.

“Following a lengthy review of his medical records it became clear that the drugs that were in his system had never been prescribed to him by doctors or used in any medical treatment that he received,” Robinson said.

Tarrant County court and inmate records show Becquer remains in custody on two separate $750,000 bonds. Her attorney did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on the allegations.

“We have allegations of abuse, theft and fraud by Miss Becquer and her company,” Kelly Land, Arlington Police crisis intervention specialist, told reporters. “The stories we’ve heard from the clients and their families are disturbing and heartbreaking and unimaginable, and we are committed to delivering justice to the families and the victims.”

Police previously arrested Becquer on a charge of endangerment. NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported at the time that police said they were aware of 20 people who died across five assisted living facilities owned by Becquer. The unlicensed company was called Love and Caring for People, LLC, police said.

The house Karen Walker allegedly left to Regla “Su” Becquer in her will before Walker died.Google maps

Police also said in April that one of those facilities was left to Becquer in a handwritten will by a woman named Karen Walker. Walker died in 2022 at the home and police said Wednesday that they were still looking into the will as well as the circumstances of Walker’s death.

Robinson cautioned that the investigation into the deaths could be a lengthy process due to how many people died before police were aware.

“And so, many of the clients had already been cremated, buried, or their bodies were donated to science, making it challenging to investigate these deaths more thoroughly,” Robinson said.

Regardless of the complexity or length, police vowed a thorough investigation of each death.

“Whether it’s 20 whether it ends up being 22 or more, every one of them is going to get looked at completely but I’ve got to go we’ve got to go down the line and do a full investigation on each one, so it’s taking time,” Officer Chris Powell said.

“I’ve been doing this as an officer for 20 to 23 years now and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Powell said. “It’s been incredibly disturbing.”

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