by Lauren | January 15th 1:15pm
Just before Christmas, I received a call into Sean’s 800-number from a man named Hank Hunt. His voice sounded heavy with heartache and somewhat discouraged as he began to tell me that he didn’t know why he decided to even call the show. The next words out of his mouth, however, brought tightness to my chest and tears to my eyes: “My daughter was murdered two weeks ago,” he said. And as if the story could get any worse, Hank informed me that his three grandchildren, aged 9, 4, and 3 were present when his daughter and mother of the children, Kari Rene Hunt Dunn was stabbed to death by her husband (whom she had been planning to divorce) in a hotel in Texas:
Via HuffPo: “Police in Marshall, about 150 miles east of Dallas, say Brad Dunn entered a room in the Baymont Inn where Kari Dunn and their three children were staying. Hunt said Brad Dunn took his estranged wife into the bathroom, leaving the children outside.
Det. Sonya Johnson said that as Brad Dunn began stabbing Kari Dunn, their eldest daughter tried to call for help. Four times, Hunt said, she dialed 911. Each time, it came up with static. Hunt said the children eventually ran into the hallway and found someone in a nearby room to call 911.”
Kari’s daughter could not dial 9-1-1 because she wasn’t aware she had to dial "9" first, before being able to call emergency services. Now, Hank has made it his mission to ensure that anyone needing emergency help does not have to press “9” before dialing 9-1-1. He started a petition, which people can sign here, which states, “We are attempting to ensure that any person needing police, EMS or the Fire Department at any hotel or motel location may be able to dial the numbers 911 and receive emergency response. In a panic, any under age child, or for that matter anyone in an emergency situation should be able to depend on dialing 911 from any phone in the United States and receiving assistance.”
Hank says he can't stop wondering what his granddaughter was hearing while she tried to dial 9-1-1. "What was this 9 -year-old thinking, hearing, all while trying to get help and push her younger siblings to safety? We have repeatedly told her that she did right, that she is the 'hero' of all this but while she smiles at that, her eyes go to the floor as if she's wondering if what we are telling her is true.”
Kari's story has prompted many high-profile figures to rally behind Hank's efforts, including his Congressman, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Dog the Bounty Hunter's wife, Beth Chapman, and "Pretty Little Liars" star, Lindsey Shaw.
What happened to Hank's grandchild sheds light on an important but probably unnoticed flaw in our emergency services system. When you think about it, many of today's cell phones allow for us to make "emergency calls" without entering passwords or dialing any special codes. The tragedy that unfolded on Dec 1 exposes a weakness in our system that begs for correction.
Anyone interested in aiding in Hank's efforts can sign the petition here or plan on calling their Congressman on February 9th (which would have been Kari's 32nd birthday) and urge them to support the law.