75-Year-Old Homeowner Suffers Heart Attack Upon Discovering Squatters In His Home After Hospital Stay


A 75-year-old man experienced a stress-induced heart attack upon discovering that his home in Arkansas had been taken over by squatters who used Google to find advice on wrongfully claiming someone else’s property.

Kelly DeShields, 54, and Matthew Villagran, 46, had been living in Gary Brankel’s Maysville home for at least a month, believing it to be unoccupied for years, according to local outlet KNWA.

Brankel had been away receiving medical treatment and returned on May 30 to find the couple illegally occupying his residence. DeShields reportedly claimed ownership of the house after following instructions she found online.

Kelly DeShields was arrested after claiming she used tips from Google to try to claim a man’s house while he was at a medical treatment facility.

“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,” stated a probable cause affidavit.

DeShields showed deputies at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office a receipt from the revenue office in Gravette, indicating she paid $162 in assessment fees on May 1 for Brankel’s home. However, she later admitted that no one at the revenue office had authorized her to occupy the land.

Matthew Villagran played along in his girlfriend’s scheme, and both are accused of burning the homeowner’s personal documents.

The couple is also accused of burning Brankel’s personal documents and home décor after falsely claiming the home. Deputies discovered a “fresh” burn pile on the land with several destroyed items belonging to Brankel.

The stress caused by the squatters led Brankel to suffer a heart attack and be hospitalized again. His current condition is unknown, but he confirmed that he did not recognize DeShields and Villagran, nor did he give them permission to occupy his home.

DeShields and Villagran were arrested on June 5 and charged with burglary. They are currently in custody at the Benton County Detention Center, with DeShields held on a $25,000 bond and Villagran on a $15,000 bond.

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