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8-year-old’s desperate 911 call can’t save mother

Mother and her boyfriend were killed by an acquaintance, police believe

By Corey Williams
The Associated Press

DETROIT — Her mother shot and dying in a Detroit home, an 8-year-old girl desperately pleaded to a 911 dispatcher for help. But Monica Botello’s daughter didn’t know where she was or how to tell police to get there.

“My mommy’s in the basement and, I need, emergency, and I need ... hello?” the girl said during the frantic call Monday night from Botello’s cell phone.

“Where at?” the dispatcher replied in the recording police released Friday.

“Um, I’m at ... I’ll go ask my mommy,” the distressed girl told the woman who was on the other end of the phone.

“Mommy?” the girl yelled. But it wasn’t clear if her mother was able to respond.

Still looking for an answer, the girl said into the phone: “I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you where we at. I’ll tell you.”

“Let me speak to your mom,” the dispatcher continued.

“No. She’s, she’s almost dead. Mommy!” the girl screamed. “Where we at?”

“She’s almost dead! Please!” the girl said, crying as her voice grew softer. “Please help me, you promise you will help me.”

The dispatcher coaxed the girl into going out on the porch and reading the address on the front of the home she and her family were visiting. The girl also was able to read off the first few letters of the street name, which helped authorities locate the northwest Detroit home.

The 8-year-old and her 6-year-old half-sister were upstairs when officers arrived. Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans said the two girls were the only witnesses to the shooting that killed their 26-year-old mother and her 26-year-old boyfriend, Purcell Carson. Evans said investigators believe the couple were gunned down by an acquaintance.

The 911 recording was released with permission from Botello’s family to show the distress and “agony” her young daughter experienced while making the call and to “get the public’s righteous indignation in what kind of guy we’re looking for here,” the chief said.

Prosecutors have signed a first-degree murder warrant for the 42-year-old man who has convictions for kidnapping, armed robbery and assault dating back to 1986, according to state corrections records.

The chief added that making an arrest in the case “kind of tugs at us a little bit more than some of the others.”

Evans said his office has initiated an administrative investigation into the tone used by the dispatcher who took Monday’s 911 call. The department also is looking into how much time it took before officers were sent to the house.

“There’s information that needs to be gleaned,” he added, “but there’s also an issue of when you know a kid’s traumatized and you should, I think, have a strong sense that something terrible is happening at that house and we need to get a car there.”