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Police Turn Away Girl Who Is Later Killed, Her Teachers Say

June 8, 1988

MIAMI (AP) _ Five days before Tammy Wimbley was stabbed to death, she told police her boyfriend might kill her.

The boyfriend, Steven Royal, 30, has been charged with second-degree murder in her killing May 25. He has yet to enter a plea.

Teachers at Ms. Wimbley’s school in Coral Gables say that despite five calls to police and visits to two offices, no one would take down a report on Royal’s threats against the 17-year-old.

″She wanted help that day,″ said Andrea Loring, assistant principal at the Academy for Community Education, an alternative school for students with behavioral or academic problems.

″She was angry and hurt enough that she made an attempt to be not just another abused female,″ Loring said. ″If this guy had been approached by a policeman, it might have made a difference.″

Police Chief Clarence Dickson said Ms. Wimbley was a victim of the system. ″A report should have been made″ by police, he said.

Detective John Buhrmaster said police will review communications tapes to determine who handled the calls. ″Somebody should have been able to help this girl,″ he said.

Dade County State Attorney Janet Reno said her office will investigate.

Ms. Wimbley had dated Royal for three years and in January they had a baby girl.

On the Friday before she died, Ms. Wimbley told teachers Royal had punched her and threatened to kill her because he suspected her of cheating.

Ana DeMahy, assistant dean at the school, said she and Ms. Wimbley made five calls to Miami and Coral Gables police. Each time, they were referred to another number or told Ms. Wimbley had to file a report in person.

Scott Hamilton, a college senior working as an apprentice teacher at the school, drove Ms. Wimbley to Metro-Dade Police headquarters and the state attorney’s office.

″She was crying the whole time,″ Hamilton said. ″She was terrified. She just wanted protection for that day, to know that it was on record, that the police knew this man physically abused her.″

The following Wednesday, Ms. Wimbley was fatally stabbed.

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