How an Accused Serial Killer Allegedly Snuck into Senior Living Facilities to Murder 22 People
In March 2018, a 91-year-old woman living in an independent living facility told cops a harrowing story.
The woman alleged that a man had forced his way into her home and told her, "Go to bed. Don't fight me." According to the man's subsequent arrest report, the man held a pillow over the woman's face. She lost consciousness, and he allegedly stole her jewelry. When she came to, she was able to give a description of the suspect, later identified as 47-year-old Billy Chemirmir.
Police identified Chemirmir from a license plate number and were able to find him. Upon arriving at his apartment complex, police allege that they watched him throw a jewelry box into a trash bin. They traced the box to Lu Thi Harris, an 81-year-old woman who was discovered dead in her bed.
Authorities have now charged former Chemirmir, a former healthcare worker, in connection with the deaths of 14 elderly people in Dallas and Collin Counties between 2016 and 2018. Civil lawsuits name him as a suspect in at least eight more deaths. If he's convicted, he will become one of the most prolific serial killers in Texas history.
The haunting case was featured on tonight's episode of PEOPLE (the TV Show!), and will be featured again tonight.
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Authorities allege that Chemirmir targeted elderly people living in upscale senior living facilities. He would allegedly dress as a maintenance worker or health care aid and kill his victims before robbing them. Because the victims were between 76 and 94, their deaths went largely uninvestigated, with most people believing that they had died of natural causes.
"Chemirmir used his healthcare experience to his advantage, targeting and exploiting seniors, some of the most vulnerable people in our community," then-Plano police chief Gregory W. Rushin said in a March 2018 press conference. "This is terribly disturbing."
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Chemirmir has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say that the cases against him are largely circumstantial. But authorities say that they have a mountain of evidence against him, including surveillance video, DNA evidence and even an eyewitness account of a 91-year-old woman who survived one of his alleged attacks.
A Kenyan immigrant with permanent resident status in the U.S., Chemirmir is being held in the Dallas County Jail on $11.6 million bond, pending a 2021 trial date.
The Billy Chemirmir case was featured on last night's episode of PEOPLE (the TV Show!), and will be featured again tonight.
PEOPLE (the TV Show!) is a half-hour daily TV show inspired by the brand's unique combination of the most popular celebrity and inspirational human-interest stories, including entertainment news, exclusive interviews, feature stories, beauty and style, true crime and more. The show airs Monday-Friday in all 12 Meredith markets, including Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis, Portland, Nashville, Kansas City, Hartford-New Haven, Greenville-Spartanburg, Las Vegas, Mobile-Pensacola, Flint-Saginaw and Springfield-Holyoke. The show is hosted by Kay Adams and Lawrence K. Jackson with correspondents Jeremy Parsons and Sandra Vergara. You can also stream the show daily at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on People.com, PeopleTV app (OTT) and PEOPLE’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
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