911 Operator Ignores Frantic Call; Victim Found Dead
TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ An emergency operator ignored a witness’s frantic call about an abduction that left a 19-year-old woman dead, police said.
Police were trying to determine whether the 911 operator’s failure to dispatch officers to the scene cost the victim her life, said Police Chief Drew Diamond.
A woman telephoned police Friday night about an accident she witnessed in southeast Tulsa, Diamond said. A motorist left the road, drove onto a sidewalk and struck a woman, identified as Tammy Garret, authorities said.
The witness told the 911 operator that the driver stopped and put the woman inside the car.
Ms. Garrett’s body was found the next morning in a nearby field along the Arkansas River. She was stabbed several times and her throat slashed. Police believe she was killed in the field.
Jack G. Lynch, 33, was arrested Tuesday and was held on a murder charge, court records show.
″It should have gone out as a Priority One call,″ Diamond said Wednesday at a news conference. ″This call was not, regrettably, put into the system.″
Diamond said the operator also failed to record the name of the caller, who police believe may be the only witness to the abduction. The caller volunteered her name but the operator said it wasn’t needed.
Diamond would not speculate whether police dispatched to the scene could have prevented Ms. Garrett’s death, even though the caller was able to provide the location, description of the suspect’s car and the vehicle’s tag number.
The information led to Lynch’s arrest on Tuesday, said Lt. Jack Putnam.
″There’s just no way to tell,″ Diamond said. ″We’ve been struggling with that question. We want to sleep, also.″
The 911 operator, who Diamond refused to identify, resigned Wednesday after being on the job for only 30 days.