There are new allegations of a pattern of abuse and theft for a Tarrant County caretaker already accused of neglecting one client and murdering another.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by NBC 5, Arlington police began investigating 50-year-old Regla Suyu Becquer’s unlicensed assisted living company, Love and Caring for People LLC, months ago after receiving reports of neglect, theft and fraud.

As the investigation unfolded, Arlington police detectives said they were able to identify 20 people who died while living in one of Becquer’s multiple properties around Tarrant County. They are now working with the medical examiner’s office to determine whether any of those deaths are suspicious.

One of those victims, police said, was 61-year-old Steven Pankratz, who died in January. In June, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a homicide from a fatal mixture of opiates and anti-depressants and Arlington police charged Regla Becquer with his murder. The charge came four months after she was charged with abandoning and endangering the disabled, causing imminent bodily injury when, according to the affidavit, an immobile client slashed her wrists in an attempt to get out of her assisted living facility and into a hospital.

Investigators detailed several other events going as far back as 2022, where at least five other clients were reported to be the subject of neglect, theft, or abuse. The warrant details these cases, documenting a pattern of abuse that included Becquer telling family members of patients she “gave patients ‘something’ so they would not run away.”

In one case, the arrest warrant showed a client “told her cousin she thought the people inside the home were trying to kill her.” Weeks later, the client died. The arrest warrant showed the woman’s cause of death is still pending.

GARY SHERWOOD

Arlington police said their probe began after an officer with the department’s Behavioral Health Unit reached out to a detective on Nov. 20, 2023, “in reference to some deaths that had occurred at unlicensed bed and board homes … managed and ran by the same suspect.”

The BHU officer told the detective that Arlington police officers were sent to a home on Woodbrook Street where an elderly man had fallen in the backyard. A neighbor called 911 and said the man living next door was on the ground. When officers arrived, they were directed to a backyard where 59-year-old Gary Sherwood was lying.

Sherwood told police he’d fallen.

According to the affidavit, officers learned that the home where Sherwood was found was a group home where he and two other patients lived. A neighbor told police that the home was previously owned by a friend named Karen Walker, who was “suddenly being cared for” by Becquer. The neighbor said Walker died a few months later and Becquer gained possession of the woman’s home. Another neighbor who told police she had been friends with Walker for decades said her friend began to have issues walking and that she later went to the hospital. She said she never heard from her friend again and later learned she’d been put in hospice. The woman told police she didn’t understand how someone could have obtained Walker’s house, saying it was very important to her and had once belonged to her parents.

1210 Woodbrook Street, Arlington.

Police spoke with two caretakers at the home, identified in the document as 18-year-old Akasha Evans and 49-year-old Vivanly Becquer, the sister of suspect Regla Becquer. Vivanly Becquer and Evans told police that only one additional patient was inside the home. While officers talked with Vivanly Becquer and Evans, Regla Becquer arrived and identified Vivanly Becquer as her sister. It was noted in the police report that Regla Becquer told Evans not to allow the officers inside the home to check on the welfare of the other patient, but after determining there was an urgent need to verify the welfare of the patient, police and EMS entered the home and found two patients inside.

According to the arrest document, Becquer allegedly told police that Sherwood had fallen multiple times “and later changed her story that this was the first time he had snuck out of the house.” She said he was receiving 24/7 care, but the officer noted that Becquer’s statement was false in the report.

Because the home housed three patients or fewer, the Arlington Fire Marshal told police it did not meet the criteria to be a licensed group home, and there was no violation.

According to the city of Arlington, “Group homes or ‘personal care facilities’ with more than three residents unrelated to the property owner in a residential community in the State of Texas must be properly licensed through the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). Personal care facilities with less than four residents unrelated to the property owner are not required to register with the state.” 

PHILLIP JOHNSON

Officers checked the vehicles in the driveway at the home on Woodbrook Street and found one belonging to a man named Phillip Johnson.

Johnson, police discovered, died weeks before, on Oct. 20, 2023, after being reported missing by his daughter.

When officers investigated the missing person’s report, they went to his residence on Fossil Creek Drive and were told he’d been relocated elsewhere. Johnson’s daughter told police she’d received a phone call from Becquer, upset that she’d called police to report him missing.

In the arrest affidavit, police said the man’s daughter later received a call from a hospice center letting her know her father had died.

KAREN WALKER

On Dec. 1, the behavioral health officer spoke with Karen Walker’s next of kin, her cousin. The cousin said Walker began falling and was advised by doctors to be placed in a home where she could be cared for. The hospital recommended she contact Becquer at a home on Turtle Cove Drive in Mansfield. The cousin believed Walker moved into the house in September 2022 or October 2022 and added that he could occasionally speak to her only through Becquer’s phone.

2059 Turtle Cove Drive, Mansfield, Texas.

According to statements in the affidavit, Walker’s cousin said she told him she didn’t like being at the home and would call 911 to go to the hospital because she didn’t feel safe and she thought the people there were trying to kill her. Walker’s cousin said she sounded disoriented and that the call abruptly ended when he talked to her about becoming her power of attorney. Walker’s cousin said he was notified about two weeks later by the TCME that Walker had been found deceased at the home on Turtle Cove Drive. Her cause of death, according to the affidavit, was unknown at the time.

In the affidavit, detectives said they obtained a one-sentence, hand-written will dated Oct. 7, 2022, leaving Walker’s entire estate to Becquer. That document filed with the Tarrant County Probate office is now the subject of an active forgery investigation by Arlington police detectives.

ANGELIQUE ESTES

Detectives soon learned Regla Becquer was linked to multiple residential addresses in Tarrant County and that several deaths had occurred at the homes. However, no specific details about those deaths were provided in the affidavit. The addresses were for homes on Lake Whitney Drive, Fossil Creek Drive, and Woodbrook Street in Arlington, Turtle Cove Drive in Mansfield, and a fifth address along Hidden Brook Drive in Grand Prairie. Police then learned the Fossil Creek home was vacant and that on Dec. 13, 2023, police were sent to the house on Woodbrook after someone called 911, claiming a friend texted her and said she was being held against her will at the home.

Behavioral health officers went to the home and found 53-year-old Angelique Estes, who immediately told them, “I don’t want to be here.” Officers learned Estes has cerebral palsy and diabetes, is completely immobile, and can only move her arms. She told the officers she moved into the home five days before and, after two days, told the people working there she wanted to leave and that they would not let her leave. She said she was told she would have a bed but was left on a mattress on the floor. She said her condition requires her to wear a diaper and that she was forced to sit in her feces because the staff allowed her to go multiple days without changing the diaper. The officers noted the strong smell of urine and feces in the home. The individuals who worked in the house said they had changed her diaper the night before and had given Estes medicine but didn’t know what it was. Estes described it as a minty liquid and said they’d give it to her when she would get upset about not being allowed to leave. Estes said they kept her in a room with another patient and that they’d kicked her while in there. Estes also told police that more than once, people in the home would stand over her and pour cups of water on her, making it difficult to breathe. In a desperate attempt to leave, Estes told officers she cut her wrists, hoping someone would call 911 and take her to a hospital. Detectives said there was no history of 911 calls at the residence, meaning no one called 911 about Estes trying to cut her wrists. The officers noted the abrasions on Estes’s wrists in their report.

7411 Lake Whitney Drive, Arlington, Texas.

According to statements in the affidavit, when firefighters asked Estes if she wanted to go to the hospital, she screamed, “Yes!” and she could be heard in the background of police-worn body cameras yelling, “Get me out of here!”

According to the arrest document, Estes identified Regla Becquer as the home’s operator. Police said detectives learned Regla Becquer owned Love and Caring for People LLC and that the business was on the referral list for at least one hospital.

INDUKURI RAJU

On Dec. 21, 2023, Arlington police detectives called 71-year-old Indukuri Raju, a former resident at the home on Fossil Creek. Detectives spoke with his family, who said after Raju fell several times, he was referred to Regla Becquer by Villages of McArthur, a rehab facility. The family told police Raju was supposed to move into the home on Woodbrook Street on Oct. 23, 2023, and that afterward, they had a hard time reaching him. When they visited him, they said he wasn’t acting normally and appeared disoriented and tired. They said he told them someone took $200 out of his wallet. According to the family’s statement, Becquer said she knew nothing about the money and that he was tired because he wasn’t sleeping well at night. The family said Becquer told them she gives them “something” so they won’t try to run or walk away.

After he was in the home for five days, Raju’s family tried to reach him by phone but said Becquer told them he wouldn’t speak to them, which they said was unusual. The family then later received a call from Greenleaf Hospice informing them Raju was with them and was in “very bad condition.” The family said hospice then began talking to them “about making funeral arrangements.”

On Nov. 1-2, 2023, the family said they received several calls from Raju, who told them he was very upset and “thought the people in the house were trying to kill him.” They visited him the next morning at the home on Woodbrook Street and said he looked pale, his cheeks were sunken in, and his usually round stomach was flat. They took him out of the home and requested his medications and said Becquer told them they were at the house on Fossil Creek and they’d be sent to them. The family said the medications were never received. On the ride home, the family said Raju thought he was being poisoned and complained of a stomachache lasting four to five days. The family took him to his primary care doctor, who said he’d contracted syphilis.

The family said they discovered several fraudulent debit card charges on Raju’s account between Oct. 24, 2023, and Nov. 13, 2023. The charges stopped after his card was canceled. The Arlington Police Department is investigating the card use to determine if it was fraudulent.

ROY LEE

On Dec. 22, 2023, Arlington police detectives and an officer with the Behavioral Health Unit drove to Irving to speak with Cynthia Amburgey, a woman whose 80-year-old father died at the home on Fossil Creek on Oct. 25, 2023.

According to the affidavit, Amburgey told investigators her father had been living at The Villages of McArthur for about five years and was referred to Regla Becquer after he became violent with some of the staff. Amburgey told police that Becquer was going to administer her father’s medications and that during their visit on Oct. 1, 2023, her father’s first day in the home, he seemed excited about his room. Amburgey told police that on several occasions, Becquer tried to raise the price for Roy’s care and that when she found a business card for another care facility among his belongings, she was adamant he was not be transferred anywhere but to a place in Arlington called “Town Hall.” Amburgey told police after that conversation that Becquer stopped communicating with her and that when she would visit her father, whom she described as “disoriented and lethargic,” Becquer would follow them around and not allow her to speak to him alone. Amburgey said Becquer told them after the visit that she would need to make an appointment before returning to visit her father and that when she’d call, Becquer would say her father was asleep. Amburgey said this was odd because he was always awake and walking around at the rehab center during the day.

Amburgey said Becquer called her on Oct. 23 and said she needed to meet at the house to talk about hospice and end-of-life care for her father. She then received a text message from Greenleaf Hospice saying her father was disoriented, unable to feed himself and that he had blood coming out of his mouth. The hospice said they ordered medicine for her father, but she told police she had a power of attorney and never authorized any new medications for him. Amburgey said that while her father was at the Villages of McArthur, there was no concern about end-of-life care and that they said he was healthy and strong. On Oct. 25, Amburgey said she received a phone call from a hospice nurse and was told her father had died.

Amburgey said her father was walking and healthy when he moved into the home on Oct. 1 and that she’s not sure what happened to any of his prescribed medications because she never got them back.

VALERIE GEORGE

On Jan. 3, 2024, Arlington police detectives met with Valerie George, a 68-year-old woman who told them she lived at the home on Fossil Creek from July 31, 2023, until Aug. 16, 2023, and that Regla Becquer was the operator of the bed and board. She said Becquer would provide her with alcohol, even though she was a recovering alcoholic. George told police it didn’t take long for her to become uncomfortable in the home and that one night, she woke up to a man screaming, “Get off of me!” in another part of the house. George said the man’s name was Kelly, but she didn’t know his last name. Her description of him, white with blonde hair and using a wheelchair, matched that of Steven Kelly Pankratz, who police said was under Becquer’s care in several of her homes.

George told police that after she heard screaming, she and her roommate, who police have not identified, heard voices coming toward their room. George said she and her roommate pushed her wheelchair toward the door and that Becquer and another woman soon entered. George said she was fearful as they walked toward her and that she was crying and grabbed a letter opener to protect herself. She said Becquer and the other woman left but returned moments later with a cup of blue liquid and a syringe. It’s unclear if any of the medication was given to George, who told police her caretakers generally controlled her medications. In the affidavit, investigators said police were called to the home and that George was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth on a Notification of Emergency Detention on Aug. 16, 2023.

George said that after she left Becquer’s care, her bank account had some unusual activity, and her Social Security direct express card had been tampered with. The Arlington Police Department is investigating both claims.

STEVEN PANKRATZ

Investigators said they knew Steven Pankratz was living in one of the homes operated by Becquer, but they were unsure which one. Pankratz’s Chevrolet Suburban was in the driveway at the home on Woodbrook Street, but he wasn’t there. Pankratz was also listed in a police report out of Mansfield related to the October 2022 death of Karen Walker on Turtle Cove Drive. She was found in the home and police said he was in the living room when she died. Arlington police reached Pankratz’s brother, identified in the affidavit as Chris Devendorf, who said his brother had Wernicke’s encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disorder caused by a lack of vitamin B1 that may result from alcohol abuse. Pankratz was hospitalized in late 2022 and was referred to Becquer’s care in the Turtle Cove home. On the night he was moved to the house, medics dropped him and broke his ankle. In the affidavit, police said Devendorf was removed as his brother’s power of attorney shortly after he moved into the home.

Police said Becquer called Devendorf about six months after his brother moved into the home on Turtle Cove Drive, saying he would have to go live with him because Pankratz had spent about $100,000 in six months. The brother told police he eventually sent Becquer $37,000 and that, over time, she would allow less and less contact between the brothers. When he could talk to his brother, Devendorf said it was through Becquer’s phone. Devendorf told police that during a visit with a doctor, Becquer would not allow the doctor to speak to Pankratz alone and that she abruptly took him from the appointment before the visit was over.

Arlington police said they reached out to the law firm representing Pankratz after he had been dropped and injured by medics and that they said they had a very difficult time getting him to appointments with the doctor. The law firm said he missed 13 appointments to document his injury and medical status between January 2023 and September 2023. The law firm also confirmed they asked Becquer to step out of the exam room so they could speak with Pankratz alone and that she refused and left without finishing the appointment.

On Jan. 12, 2024, police were sent to a home on Lake Whitney Drive as part of a call to assist firefighters where the call text stated, “not awake not breathing.” When police arrived, firefighters were giving Pankratz first aid, and he was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. In a subsequent interview with firefighters five days later, one of the firefighters said Pankratz’s jaw was very stiff and that it took two tries to get a tube inserted into his mouth, indicating Pankratz had been dead for at least an hour or more and that rigor mortis had set in.

While reviewing body camera footage of the police response to the home on Lake Whitney Drive, investigators spotted a person inside the home who later identified himself as Jesse Kuprat during an interview with police. According to the affidavit, Kuprat is Regla Becquer’s son. During an interview with investigators, police said Kuprat told them Pankratz was his uncle and later changed his story to say he was a family friend. Kuprat said they were moving Pankratz to his room, and when they put him in bed, they noticed he was unconscious and that something was wrong. Kuprat told police they were unable to find a pulse or get him to open his eyes. Kuprat told police this all happened 10 minutes before first responders arrived.

At the house on Lake Whitney Drive, Becquer confirmed to police that Kuprat was her son and Pankratz a family friend. She told police that ever since they’d moved him from the home in Mansfield, he’d been “back and forth,” but she didn’t detail what that meant. She also confirmed that he had an active lawsuit after being dropped by medics and that he’d been going to doctor’s visits because of the ongoing lawsuit.

Devendorf told police he last spoke with his brother about 12 hours before he died. Devendorf said Pankratz had slurred speech and sounded like he had something in his mouth. Devendorf said he had a lot of concerns about his brother’s death and that he didn’t know which house he’d been staying in. Devendorf told police that his brother told him Becquer would give him “a handful of pills twice a day” and that he was unsure what the medication was.

BECQUER ARRESTED AFTER FIRST CHARGE FILED

On Feb. 13, 2024, detectives secured an arrest warrant for Regla Becquer for abandoning and endangering the disabled, causing imminent bodily injury related to the care provided to Angelique Estes.

Two days later, on Feb. 15, 2024, detectives served three search warrants at the houses on Lake Whitney Drive and Woodbrook Street in Arlington and the home on Turtle Cove Drive in Mansfield.

Becquer was at the home in Mansfield and was taken into custody then.

Regla Becquer.

Police said Pankratz’s 2002 Suburban was found at the Woodbrook Street home. During the search of the three properties, police said they also found large amounts of medications prescribed to multiple people, including members of Becquer’s family and former patients who were both alive and deceased. Police said there were also several empty prescription bottles of trazodone found, which is one of the drugs the Tarrant County Medical Examiner said was in a mixture that led to Pankratz’s death and was not something police said he’d been prescribed.

On the same day that police searched the homes, Becquer’s employee Akasha Evans voluntarily went to the Arlington police and asked to speak to the detective leading the case. She told the detective that Becquer would bring the patient’s medications to the house on Woodbrook Street, where she lived, and that Becquer would then sort the medications into pill containers. She told police she also believed Phillip Johnson was already deceased when he was brought into the home on Woodbrook Street.

On June 20, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office released its report on Pankratz’s death, ruling it a homicide caused by a deadly mix of trazodone, tramadol, and mirtazapine.

In their arrest affidavit, police said Becquer told family members of patients that she gave them something to prevent them from running away and that she’d administered medications to patients. Patients told police they were given unknown liquids and medications, and family members of patients said their loved ones were often disoriented and sluggish.

Detectives said they believe Becquer “stole money from the patients, abused their debit/credit cards, forged documents and wills, and administered dangerous medicines” that led to similar patterns of disorientation and declines in the health of her patients “for her own financial gain.”

Regla Becquer’s arrest warrant.

Becquer, who had been charged with neglect in February, was in June charged with murder related to Pankratz’s death and is currently being held in the Tarrant County Jail on two bonds totaling $1.5 million.

After obtaining the arrest affidavit, NBC 5 contacted Becquer’s attorney, Taylor Ferguson, who replied, “No comment.”

Pankratz’s brother, meanwhile, has filed a civil suit.

ARLINGTON POLICE CONTINUE SEARCH FOR VICTIMS

At this time, Regla Becquer has only been charged in two cases involving two clients.

Arlington police told NBC 5 in April they were aware of at least 20 clients of Love and Caring for People, LLC who had died and that they were working with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office and their families to discern as much information as possible about the cause and manner of those deaths to determine whether any of them are suspicious or criminal. Police said additional charges are expected to be filed as the investigation continues.

Detectives are also aware of a fifth address, along Hidden Brook Drive in Grand Prairie, where Love and Caring for People, LLC, is believed to have conducted business. Police have not released any further information about incidents at that residence.

Investigators with the Arlington police are looking for additional victims who were under Becquer’s care, including at locations they may not yet know about. Investigators said they would like to speak to any current or past Love and Caring for People clients and the patient’s family members.

“We’ve learned about some very concerning things occurring within these homes and we want to ensure that no victims are falling through the cracks,” said Chief of Police Al Jones. “If you or a loved one has spent any time in one of these homes — or knows of any other locations this company may be operating out of – we need to know. Fortunately, our investigation has resulted in multiple clients being pulled from the homes so they can receive the legitimate care they need. But there may be others we need to help.”

Those with information are asked to call a special tip line at 817-575-3230. Arlington police said the phone line is a voicemail-only line that will be monitored daily. Those who call the tip line should leave a voice message with their contact information so an officer with the department’s Behavior Health Unit can follow up with them.

“Our current information on this matter indicates that multiple cities within our county could be affected by this investigation and we join the Arlington Police Department in requesting the public’s assistance so that we ensure we are thoroughly assisting any and all of those affected by the suspected wrongdoing of Regla Becquer,” Tarrant County District Attorney Phil Sorrells said.