Victim families came together for the first time Wednesday afternoon, March 10, 2021. Twenty-five wounded souls attended a press conference supporting a suite of bills introduced in the Texas Legislature earlier on Monday, March 8. For the first time, the world saw faces not seen before and connected to the victims' names. Painful stories told. Warm memories of moms shared. Sean Cullen, grandson of Leah Corken, read the long list of names of victims. As he concluded, the family members filed in, filling the back wall. The families present represented less than half of the victims. The sadness turned to determination to improve senior security. A resolve that change is needed now, ensuring other families do not have this tragic experience. Never again will somebody say, "If we had only known about the dangers lurking the halls of the homes of our loved ones."
The faces you see in the pictures and the video share a unique story. We are members of a club that should never have been started. We are determined to improve security, to get accountability and transparency, so no new families become members.
The bills include:
SB 864, filed by Sen. Angela Paxton
HB 723, filed by Rep. Jared Patterson, which were filed in February, would require officials to notify next-of-kin when medical examiners amend death certificates.
SB 1133, filed by Sen. Nathan Johnson
HB 3144, filed by Rep. Jared Patterson, which would create a certification program for senior living communities and establish minimum security standards such as employee background checks and ID badges for visitors.
HB 3095, filed by Rep. Julie Johnson, which would hold senior living communities liable for the deaths of residents through dishonesty or negligence and require communities to perform criminal background checks for employees and report any criminal activity to police.
SB 1132, filed by Nathan Johnson
HB 3123, filed by Rep. John Turner, which would enforce regulations on cash-for-gold and pawn shops like the ones where police say Chemirmir sold the items he stole from elderly victims.
March 10, 2021
Contact Your Texas Representative and Senator. Let them know you want them to support the bills now in committee. These bills are designed to keep our Senior Citizens safe in their own homes.
Legislative Texas House Public Health Committee Hearing
March 17, 2021
Photo by Juan Figueroa
Dallas Morning News
On March 17, 2021, members of our group were asked to give testimony to the House Public Health Committee. State Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, had asked them to testify in support of the bill, which he filed after The Dallas Morning News reported that Pangburn had learned not from law enforcement but through a Facebook friend that her mother was possibly a victim.
Patterson’s bill, HB 723, would require officials to notify next of kin if a death certificate is amended. Such a circumstance is rare. Patterson said Wednesday that the law would affect 3,000 death certificates each year across the state.