Squatters claim more than $8 million worth of Tarrant County properties
While county officials were asleep at the wheel, Tarrant County became a magnet this year for an odd assortment of squatters claiming other people's houses all over the area. The cast of characters includes a homeowner who scooped up a dead neighbor's house; a woman who came to Fort Worth from Memphis to lay claim to a $2.7 million mansion; people who cited Bible verses as legal justification for taking properties; and career criminals who grabbed homes to lease to tenants. All told, county records show that squatters and their associates claimed more than $8 million worth of properties, from Grand Prairie, Mansfield and Arlington to Fort Worth, Haslet and Keller, according to a Star-Telegram examination of county documents. Some of the squatters' elaborate schemes have stumped law enforcement officials. One Tarrant constable has even asked the Texas attorney general's office for help in straightening out the mess.