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Sheriff Tells of Stress Caused by Incident

Charlotte County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office has released CAD logs related to the kidnap and murder of Denise Lee on Jan. 17th, showing that dispatchers received 911 calls reporting a struggling woman in a car along Hwy. 41, but did not indicate that any alert was issued for the vehicle or driver, which the caller accurately described. Lee was found two days later and a suspect has been arrested. Sheriff’s spokesperson Bob Carpenter wouldn’t comment further, but said that other records and the logging tape of radio broadcasts will counter any accusations that dispatchers mishandled the incident. The logs do include activity related to Lee being reported missing by her husband in another part of the county. In fact, she had been kidnapped. Lee used the suspect’s phone to dial 911, and the witness sighting occurred about 16 minutes after the witness’ call. Read more about the logs here. Sheriff John Davenport also released a prepared statement and held a press conference to rebut stories that the witness fully described the car and that dispatcher Mildred Stepp had been suspended. He told reporters, “I want you all to remember that this case has affected this community and this agency very deeply. And you must all know that the call takers and dispatchers working that night have been extremely affected by this case. The stresses in the 9-1-1 center during incidents of this magnitude is tremendous and those employees who work in that center do a tremendous job under such conditions.” He declined to allow reporters into the comm center to videotape, and said, “We may lose some dispatchers because of this. They may quit, because this is too much, and the stress and they can’t bear it anymore.” Read more here.

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