Push for new 911 system after mother of 3 is murdered


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE


Posted on January 2, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 3 at 12:01 AM

AUSTIN -- It was the 911 phone call that may have saved Kari Dunn’s life.

"She started calling 911 as soon as the attack started happening and couldn't get through," said Robbi Cross, Kari’s aunt.

Cross said her niece had left her husband of 10 years, Brad Allen Dunn, but on Dec. 1, they met at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Marshall,Texas.

“They had met at the hotel so that the kids could have visitation with their dad," Cross said.

That’s when Marshall police say Dunn stabbed Kari, and during the attack their nine-year old daughter tried calling 911.

However, she couldn’t get through because she failed to dial "nine" before 911 for an outside line.

"We train all of our kids to call 911 and not think about, 'Well, in this building, you have to dial this, and in this building, you have to dial that,'" said Cross.

Dunn took his four-year old daughter, leaving the other two children behind. The Department of Public Safety issued an Amber Alert, and Dunn was caught two hours later.

The child was safe, but when EMS arrived at the hotel, Kari was dead.

"I don't know if it would have saved her if they got through to 911, but there's a chance it could have. There's a chance it could have," Cross said. "The lead detective in the case was furious. She tried calling 9-1-1 from her desk and she can't from within the police station."

That’s why Kari’s family is pushing for a change in the form of "Kari’s Law."

They've started an online petition that now has more than 332,000 signatures.

"I figure, if we change it here in Texas, then it can spread," said Cross.

They want all hotel and motel phones to update to what's called an E911 system. With this system, if you only dial 911 you will be connected to an emergency operator, so what happened to Kari’s children won't happen to someone else.

"I feel like our system let her down. Our system, what we've taught our kids to do, what schools teach, what police say, what everybody has taught, let her down," said Cross.

She said she hopes with enough support, Kari's life and death will make a difference to someone else’s.

"I can't bring Kari back. I can't. But at least I can try to make a change that she would be proud of," Cross said.

Her family has asked United States Congress to enact these changes to all hotels’ 911 systems, and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert's (R-Texas) office said they are researching how much this new law would cost.

If you would like to sign the online petition for Kari’s Law, go here.


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