Kari’s Law will require any businesses entity with multi-line telephone systems to allow direct dial to 911, without any prefix. In part one of our three-part series examining how Kari’s Law came about, guest blogger and Kari’s father, Hank Hunt recalls that terrible night when his life changed forever.
A Daughters Cry Goes Unanswered
The FULL story behind Kari’s Law as told by Hank Hunt, Kari’s father.
How would YOU handle that horrific phone call? The call telling you your daughter had just been brutally murdered.
What would YOU do?
For me, at 55 years old, I simply hit the floor, screaming, “No!” Desperately trying to process what I had just been told, my brain began going 1000 mph wondering, “What the hell am I going to do next?”
As hard as you might try, you simply can’t scream the word “NO” enough times to change something that has already happened, but I tried as hard as I could. Then, I had to call people, which was something that you’re also not prepared to do.
For the first time in my life, I heard my mother scream.
I ask again, what would YOU do?
On December 1st, 2013 my daughter, Kari, took her three children to a local hotel where her estranged husband, Brad, was staying. She had moved in with a sister in Marshall, Texas, 70 miles from their home in Lindale. Kari was seeking a divorce and had finally decided that the amount of neglect and abuse from this man was enough. She took the children to the hotel where Brad was staying, for visitation. She followed him inside to settle the children in, and he asked her to join him in the bathroom to “smoke a cigarette” and talk. After repeated requests for her not to leave him, he decided that it was futile and asked for “one more hug.”
Next, in his greatest cowardly act, once he had his arms around her, he began stabbing her. Repeatedly.
Once the attack and commotion began, my granddaughter, their nine-year-old daughter, followed the exact instructions she had been taught by her parents, her grandparents, as well as teachers, firefighters, and police officers.
If you need help call 9-1-1.
She bravely picked up the receiver from the phone in the hotel room and dialed 9-1-1.
She tried again, 9-1-1 – still NOTHING.
She tried yet a third and even a fourth time, 9-1-1; but all had the same result.
The entire time she was doing this over and over, she was hearing her mother screaming and fighting for her life behind that bathroom door.
Despite all of this, she made sure her younger brother and sister were safe by sending them out of the room and kicked at the bathroom door in a futile attempt to help. Outside of the room, she sought help from hotel housekeeping staff, but they claimed to not speak English, leaving this child to be the protector of her mother, brother, and sister. She tried hard, incredibly HARD, to get help for her mother.
In the end, the reason she couldn’t was because we don’t teach our children to dial 9 9-1-1.
Hotels, office buildings, schools, retail stores, etc. use what are known as Multi Line Telephone Systems. It’s a common practice when using an MLTS to require a prefix number in order to get an “outside line” before dialing a number. This has been a practice for many years. The biggest flaw is that these systems also often require the same prefix number before dialing 9-1-1.
THAT is what caused my daughter to die.
A medical expert testifies, out of the 29 stab wounds my daughter suffered that day, none of them were fatal; except for time. Had she gotten help in a timely manner she would still be with us today. Instead, she died that day, scratching at a bathroom door in a hotel room. The amount of time it took 9-1-1 to finally be notified, was enough time for her to die.
When Brad ran, he took with him the middle child, a four-year-old girl. He demanded that my older granddaughter bring her brother with him, but she refused, holding her little brother behind her. There’s nothing like hearing your phone explode with an Amber Alert only to see your granddaughter’s photo and the words indicating she’s in grave danger. Fortunately, the Amber Alert worked, we got her back, and Brad was apprehended.
Later that day, while sitting at the police station with my oldest granddaughter, she told me, “I tried four times Papa but it didn’t work.” When I asked her what didn’t work she looked me straight in the eye and said, “9-1-1.”
Not knowing why, I looked at the detective sitting next to me and we both at the same time realized it was a hotel and she needed to dial a “9” first. We briefly discussed the type of phone in question and she abruptly got up, went to the offices in the back of the station and in a few moments came back out and shook her head at me.
She wasn’t able to dial 9-1-1 from the police station without dialing a “9” first.
It was then that I made the foolish promise to my granddaughter that I would fix it. Not knowing where to start, I turned to social media. I started a petition on a website called Change.org hoping to get a few hundred signatures to take to my Congressman for help.
About a week later, I received a phone call . . . that was when it got interesting.
Part 2 coming Wednesday, April 17th