North Texas serial killer may be linked to more deaths

The man charged with killing a dozen elderly people in Dallas and Collin counties may be responsible for even more murders, according to a new lawsuit.

Details about the additional possible victims were made public in a lawsuit that family members filed against a Dallas retirement home.

The suit suggests the management at Tradition-Prestonwood in North Dallas was negligent in allowing accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir access to residents.

Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018 after police linked him to the murder of an 81-year-old Dallas woman. Investigators then began reviewing the deaths of other elderly women previously blamed on natural causes.

He was eventually charged with killing 12 people.

The lawsuit also accuses Tradition-Prestonwood’s management of trying to cover up eight deaths after Chemirmir was arrested.

The new lawsuit names eight possible victims, but so far, Chemirmir has only been indicted for two of those murders.

Attorneys for the victims' families say more indictments are coming, and the lawsuit claims lack of security measures at the senior living facility allowed Chemirmir on property to commit his crimes.

“What was shocking is that this person was allowed to be there in the first place,” said Trey Crawford, attorney for victims' families.

Crawford represents six of the eight families whose loved ones died at Tradition-Prestonwood senior living facility in the span of just a few months in 2016.

“Five were on the fourth floor. They were neighbors with one another,” Crawford added.

In the new lawsuit, attorneys for the families claim poor security measures allowed Chemirmir easy access to victims as a trespasser through the open parking garage or pool door, and that he continued committing the same crime over and over.

“He literally roamed freely, stalking his next victim, posing as a maintenance man, walking around, knocking on doors,” Crawford said.

According to the lawsuit, the suspected murders started with Joyce Abramowitz, who was found dead alone in her apartment in July 2016.

There is no indictment against Chemirmir in her case, and the district attorney's office said it could not comment on any more indictments that might be coming.

Over the next few months, the lawsuit counts seven more deaths under similar circumstances.

Attorneys said all were unexpected with no warning or explanation, and valuables were missing in most cases.

“That number of instances in that short a period of time, with burglaries, all on the same floor, is shocking. It shocks the conscience something like that could happen,” Crawford said.

Attorneys added that in many cases, families were told the deaths were likely natural causes, and Tradition-Prestonwood failed to properly investigate any of the burglaries, including several that happened before the suspected murders.

“None of this should ever happen. Somebody like this should never be allowed unfettered access to elderly people in their own homes. It should never happen,” Crawford said.

The retirement home replied to the allegations in a statement:

“The deaths by an alleged serial killer in peoples’ homes and at multiple senior living communities in the DFW Metroplex is a true tragedy. The Tradition-Prestonwood regards all our residents as family. The Tradition-Prestonwood relied on the investigations of the Dallas police, its detectives, and other reputable, established governmental entities, including the Dallas County Medical Examiner, the Collin County Medical Examiner, and more. Any death was investigated by Dallas police and the Dallas County Medical Examiner and ruled as attributed to natural causes. Additionally, there were two autopsies which also confirmed death by natural causes. Those rulings stood for more than 27 months. The Tradition-Prestonwood has cooperated with all the authorities and will continue to do so. The allegations against Mr. Perlman that he withheld information are absolutely false," the retirement home said.

Police said Chemirmir worked in home health care and sometimes posed as a maintenance worker to gain access to his victims. Then he murdered and robbed them.

He remains in the Dallas County jail.