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Dispatcher’s Question Masked Murder Confession

The family of a murdered woman is considering legal action after Elyria (Ohio) police just revealed that the victim’s husband confessed during a 911 call, but a calltaker intent on transferring the call failed to hear his words. The suspect later killed himself, and the bodies lay unfound until the next day. The family wonders if a quick response might have saved their parents. Virgil McCoy dialed 911 from a cellular telephone and reached a Lorain County 911 calltaker. According to county officials, by procedure the calltaker does not inquire into the nature of the incident, only if police, fire or medical is required, and the location of the incident. In this case, the calltaker answered, “911 Emergency. Do you need police, fire or ambulance?” McCoy said he needed police, and the calltaker asked, “Where you need the police at?” McCoy responded, “I need to tell you what happened first,” and then paused briefly. The calltaker, intent on obtaining a location immediately asked, “No. I need to know where you’re at.” Her question came at the moment that McCoy continued talking to say, “I just killed my wife.” The calltaker failed to head McCoy’s statement. She continued to obtain the location, and transferred McCoy to an Elyria police dispatcher, who asked several questions. But then the cellular call became worse and finally the connection broke. Officials at the Elyria police and county 911 center have offered different versions of whether McCoy’s telephone number or location appeared on their ANI/ALI display. McCoy did give his telephone number to the 911 calltaker, and county officials say his location was displayed to the calltaker. But Elyria police officials say they never obtained McCoy’s telephone number or address. Police never responded to the McCoy home until the next day when the bodies were discovered by a relative. Police revealed the 911 call only last week. Read more about the incident and listen closely to the 911 call here. [Editor - Corrected to note this occurred in Ohio, not New York state.]

3 comments… add one

  • Paul Linnee October 25, 2011, 9:45 am

    Gary:

    I think this case took place in Lorain County, OH and Elyria, Ohio, not New York.

  • Anthony Ciarlante February 12, 2012, 8:43 pm

    Ridiculous – A dispatcher is always trying to get the location first so that they can dispatch units. That was what I found appalling in the firing of Florida dispatcher Amanda Hill over the Jennifer Johnson case – I believe Hill really didn’t do anything wrong in relation to her handling of the call. She, and the dispatcher in this case, were acting as they would have been trained: Get the location, send help, then ask questions.