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Offbeat Hundreds of senior deaths examined after elderly woman smothered

00:06  14 june  2018
00:06  14 june  2018 Source:   cbsnews.com

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DALLAS — A grand jury in Dallas has indicted a man for the murder of an 81-year-old woman found smothered to death with a pillow in March and her jewelry stolen In March, police announced a 24-hour phone tip hotline seeking information about elderly women who died alone in North Texas.

Police Reviewing Hundreds of Deaths After Texas Man Accused of Murdering 81-Year-Old Woman . According to the Morning News, Chemirmir is suspected in a similar smothering attack on an elderly woman in Frisco and in another incident in Plano.

Billy Chemirmir © DALLAS COUNTY JAIL Billy Chemirmir

DALLAS -- A grand jury in Dallas has indicted a man for the murder of an 81-year-old woman found smothered to death with a pillow in March and her jewelry stolen, according to court records. The capital murder charge handed down Tuesday against Billy Chemirmir in the killing of Lu Thi Harris is the first death that the 45-year-old has been formally accused of, but officials in several north Texas cities are investigating whether several other cases with similarities are linked to him.

Investigators are also combing through more than 750 unattended senior deaths dating back to at least 2010 that weren't previously investigated, searching for any possible similarities, officials said during a March press conference.

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Hundreds of senior deaths examined after elderly woman smothered . Notable deaths in 2018. 87 Photos. Volcanic eruption in Hawaii.

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The string of cases first came to law enforcement attention in October 2017, in Frisco, Texas, where a 93-year-old woman told police a man had come to her retirement community door and identified himself as a maintenance worker. She said when she declined to have any work done the man forced his way into her home, knocked her to the ground, put a pillow over her nose and mouth and tried to suffocate her.

She survived, but the attacker left with several pieces of jewelry.

When Plano police learned of the Frisco attack, they realized it bore similarities to cases they had investigated. Investigators soon identified Chemirmir as a suspect. While conducting surveillance of the suspect, police said they saw Chemirmir throw several items into a trash bin, including a jewelry box with a name inscribed in it.

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Every year, hundreds of residents at senior care centers around the state are assaulted, raped or Health Department documents contain dire tales of residents being choked, punched, smothered with And in Isanti County, an elderly woman with dementia was placed in solitary confinement for

Drunk, 26, 'raped 72-year-old woman then smothered her to death with her pillow before stealing wedding Australian tourist stabbed after pinching woman 's bottom. Ruth Langsford warns flirty 59-year-old who is looking for love on a dating show for seniors to 'keep her eyes off' her co-host husband.

Investigators determined the box's owner, Harris, likely lived in Dallas, and notified police in that city. When officers responded to Harris' home, they found her dead from apparent suffocation.

Police say a set of keys later found in Chemirmir's vehicle belonged to Harris.

Investigators soon discovered yet another case in Plano with striking similarities. In that case a 91-year-old woman survived an attack in which a man forced her way into her apartment and said "go to bed, don't fight me," just before holding a pillow to her face until she passed out.

Chemirmir has been charged with attempted capital murder in the Frisco attack. Charges have not been filed the Plano cases.

In March, police announced a 24-hour phone tip hotline seeking information about elderly women who died alone in North Texas. During that press conference, police said they had already identified more than 750 deaths in Dallas County alone that investigators intended to reexamine.

"We believe that the way that these crimes were committed, that when you're a senior and you have health care issues, and you're living by yourself, and you do become deceased, that many people would right away think that was natural causes, and there is not a deep investigation into those matters, and so it would be very easy to disguise a crime," Plano Police Chief Gregory Rushin said during a press conference in March.

Chemirmir, 45, is being held in in Dallas County Jail on a $1 million bond. A plea has not been entered in the case.

Inmate charged with capital murder in Kansas deputy deaths .
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