A state representative from Frisco has filed a bill in response to more than a dozen murders at senior living facilities in the Dallas area.
House Bill 723, filed by Rep. Jared Patterson (R-Frisco), would require officials to notify next of kin when a death certificate is amended. That's because many of the 18 deaths for which Billy Chemirmir is charged with murder were initially ruled due to natural causes.
"I don't think that folks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area realize that we had a serial killer on the loose starting at least in 2016 and going for a period of two years," Patterson said. "There's at least 24 murders that have been linked to this guy so far, he's currently, as you know, being held right now in jail, awaiting trial."
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Investigators say Chemirmir posed as a maintenance worker to gain access to women's apartments, smothered them and later sold or pawned their jewelry.
In March 2018, Chemirmir was arrested and charged with capital murder for the time in connection to the death of a Dallas woman in her own home.
As authorities dug deeper, they found more and more murders linked to Chemirmir -- many at Dallas-area senior living facilities.
On Dec. 29, a Dallas County grand jury handed down the 18th capital murder charge against Chemirmir. This one in the death of 87-year-old Glenna Day, who died in October 2016 at The Tradition-Prestonwood, a senior living complex in Dallas.
Chemirmir has been indicted in connection with eight other deaths at that same complex, and he has been linked in lawsuits to one other.
The Tradition-Prestonwood said in a statement last year that it “regards all our residents as family,” and that it relied on Dallas police investigators and the Dallas County medical examiner who initially ruled the deaths as natural causes.
“Those rulings stood for more than 27 months,” the statement said. “The Tradition-Prestonwood has cooperated with all the authorities and will continue to do so.”
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In addition to the 18 murder charges, Chemirmir has been linked, through medical examiner reports and civil suits, to six other deaths, bringing the total to 24.
One family told NBC 5's media partner The Dallas Morning News, that they learned of the change in the cause of death of their loved one on social media.
"It's just a story where our seniors were in an unsafe scenario that their families didn't know about, that they didn't know about, and so there's going to be a lot of legislation, I believe, that comes out of this story," Patterson said. "This is just one piece of the pie that I've filed so far."
Patterson represents Texas House District 106, which is entirely in Denton County and includes Little Elm, Pilot Point, Sanger and about one-third of Frisco.
The 87th Texas Legislature starts on Tuesday.