Texas Care Home Owner Faces Murder Charge Amid Allegations of Patient Abuse and Unexplained Deaths

Arlington, Texas – Regla Becquer, a 49-year-old caregiver, has been charged with murder amid investigations into the deaths of 20 people under her care, Arlington police announced. The alarming case unfolded after years of alleged abuses including financial exploitation and inadequate living conditions in her unlicensed care homes.

Checks into these facilities began intensively last year due to multiple reports of abuse. Police found that several victims had died since their initial investigation in September 2022. The scrutiny intensified on June 20, when Becquer was charged with one count of murder as investigators found that the pattern of deaths dated back to when the oversight first commenced.

Authorities claim that Becquer’s practices included neglecting the medical and living needs of her residents while syphoning off their finances. “We’ve learned about some very concerning things occurring within these homes and we want to ensure that no victims are falling through the gaps,” Arlington Chief of Police Al Jones stated.

The investigation revealed that residents were kept in squalid conditions while Becquer gained access to their bank accounts. In one instance, Chris Devendorf reported alarming changes in his brother, Kelly Pankratz, shortly after he became a resident at one of Becquer’s homes. According to Devendorf, his brother’s health declined rapidly, noting peculiar symptoms such as slurred speech.

The inquiry also brought to light that despite their dilapidated state, these homes allegedly received patients directly from hospitals when other care facilities were not an option. The conditions described by patients and the state of the homes on inspection have led to further suspicions of systemic abuse and neglect.

Further complicating matters, it was revealed that patients with mild disabilities or those in need of temporary care were particularly vulnerable. In some cases, such as that of a woman with cerebral palsy, desperation led to drastic measures to escape the living conditions imposed by Becquer.

The financial abuses outlined in the investigation include large sums of money spent from patients’ accounts on items unlikely to have been authorized by the residents themselves. One dramatic claim involved $100,000 spent from Pankratz’s funds in just six months.

In her management of the care homes, Becquer allegedly employed tactics to obscure her activities, such as moving patients between homes and isolating them from their families and friends, making communication nearly impossible. This operational method helped her avoid detection for a considerable period.

Additional charges may be forthcoming as the police continue to unravel the extent of the crimes committed under Becquer’s management. Also in question is the legality of various transactions, including the circumstance under which one patient purportedly signed over her house to Becquer shortly before her death.

The ongoing investigation seeks to identify and check the welfare of any other potential victims who might still be within the network of care homes operated by Becquer. The city of Arlington, unlike neighboring areas, does not require annual licensing for care homes, a factor that potentially compounded the oversight difficulties.

The case continues to develop as more people come forward with their experiences and evidence. Community members and former patients’ families have been crucial in pieointing the authorities towards a fuller understanding of the scope of the abuse and neglect. This case has catalyzed discussions about regulatory reforms in local care home operations, particularly those serving the most vulnerable populations.