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Homeowner suffered 'stress-induced' heart attack after discovering squatters moved into his home while in hospital

Homeowner suffered 'stress-induced' heart attack after discovering squatters moved into his home while in hospital

A 75-year-old man reportedly suffered a heart attack 'due to the stress caused by the squatters' who took over his Arkansas home.

A 75-year-old man suffered a heart attack 'due to stress' after finding out his home had been invaded by squatters while he was in hospital.

On 30 May, Gary Brankel's caretaker popped round to his home in Maysville, Arkansas to pick up some belongings due to him spending some time at a treatment facility recovering from a medical issue. However, upon reaching the property, the caretaker found Kelly DeShields, 54, and Matthew Villagran, 46, inside.

The caretaker called Brankel, who confirmed no one was meant to be at the property and he'd not given anyone permission to stay, and so they quickly alerted police - a deputy from Benton Country Sheriff's Office reportedly responding to a call at around 11:30am, as per KNWA Fox 234.

A probable cause affidavit said the deputy attended the property on a trespassing investigation, and when they arrived, DeShields told authorities she didn't have permission from Brankel to be staying there, but 'she found information on the internet that led her to believe she could obtain the property by paying the property taxes and maintaining the residence and land'.

She subsequently handed over a receipt that stated she'd paid $162 in assessment fees for the property.

DeShields and Villagran are reported as having been squatting at the property for at least a month, and the affidavit claims there was a 'fresh burn pile' which contained some of Brankel's personal belongings next to his garage.

Seemingly, the stress of knowing people had been living in his home all became too much for Brankel.

Kelly DeShields and Matthew Villagran were arrested on 5 June (Benton County Detention Center)
Kelly DeShields and Matthew Villagran were arrested on 5 June (Benton County Detention Center)

The caretaker is reported as having informed the deputy that Brankel experienced a heart attack amid the ordeal, and officials later told The New York Post the heart attack was 'due to the stress caused by the squatters'.

On 5 June, DeShields and Villagran were arrested on residential burglary charges.

They are both being held in Benton County Detention Center, Villagran on a $15,000 bond, and DeShields on a $25,000 bond.

They are currently expected to appear in court on 15 July.

UNILAD has contacted Maysville Police Department for comment.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available through Mental Health America. Call or text 988 to reach a 24-hour crisis center or you can webchat at 988lifeline.org. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741.

Featured Image Credit: Benton County Dentention Center

Topics: Health, US News