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You never know, day to day, what kind of calls you’ll receive as a communicator. From directions to a local restaurant to UFO sightings, they have to be ready for anything.


On this specific night, 911 Operator Rebecca Astles answered the phone and heard the faint whispers of a woman in trouble. Realizing the woman was using an old, unregistered cellphone, and that she didn’t speak English, Rebecca immediately brought in our AT&T interpreter service. The words “husband” and “father” were eventually made out and the fact the woman needed help. The woman did not know where she was.


She had been held captive in a house for five months after coming to Canada on a vacation with her husband. Once in Canada, he told her she and the children were never going home. Acting supervisor Janice Goodwin started making calls, trying to figure out who might be providing service to the old cellphone. They determined the signal was bouncing off a tower on Westney Road South and officers were dispatched to search the area. The 911 Operators tried every trick in the book, exhausting all avenues. They even downloaded the audio file and sent it to an officer who spoke Farsi to help with the translation. Then the caller hung up.


Four hours passed before the woman called again. Operator Megan Tilley answered and determined the victim was hiding in a bathroom; speaking in hushed tones so her husband won’t hear. This time, the 37-year-old woman was able to give a little more information – a few names, the fact she had three kids, and that she had been beaten badly the night before. She said that her older children had also been beaten. She had no idea where she lived, or even where her kids went to school. All she knew was her house number; 45.


Communications Supervisor Andie McDowell started looking for houses with the number 45 on them in the area of Westney Road South. The race was on, and with the addition of a version of the last name the woman had relayed, officers soon found the home. The woman and her children were finally rescued from their oppressive situation. The suspect was arrested and charged with Assault x3 and Threaten Death x2.


Without their dogged determination, their professionalism and their unwillingness to quit, these 911 superstars located and saved a captive woman and freed a terrified family. On that day, Nothing was Beyond Their Reach.

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