News 8 has obtained an audio recording from the disciplinary hearing of the 911 call center sergeant who bungled an emergency call regarding D'Lisa Kelley, who was found murdered seven days later.


DALLAS -- It was a frantic call to 911.

D'Lisa Kelley's grandmother called saying she'd made an accidental phone call to her sister.

"She could hear her screaming for her life, telling someone in the background, 'Get off of me! Get off of me! Stop! Stop!'" said her sister, LaShaun Steward, in March. "It was a male voice in the background saying, 'Shut up! Be quiet! Stop screaming!'"

But no police officers responded to that initial 911 call this past March. Now News 8 has obtained an audio recording from the disciplinary hearing of the 911 call center sergeant who bungled the call and decided not to send police officers to the family's home.

Kelley was found murdered seven days later.

"It was just a mistake on my part that night, and I apologize to everybody," said Sgt. Kevin Mansell, explaining that he simply forgot to follow up on the call.

This isn't the first time that there's been concerns about the handling of a 911 call.

In August 2012, a firestorm of controversy erupted after a Dallas emergency call taker mishandled a 911 call from Deanna Cook, who could be heard being choked to death on the call. Her family found her body two days later. That resulted in the department dramatically beefing up the call center's staffing, the transfer of the existing management, and the implementation of new procedures for domestic disturbance calls.

"This man failed to do the procedures that you do, and he's supposed to be a sergeant," said Kelley family spokesperson Dominique Alexander. "He took personal responsibility of this call, but yet, he forgot."

Mansell received a one-day suspension for failing to properly process a 911 emergency call sheet.

"We believe that it's just a slap on the wrist," Alexander said.

On March 7, the day she disappeared, Kelley left her grandmother's home about 4:30 p.m. She was headed to a friend's wake. She never made it.

Shortly after 6 p.m., Kelley made the unintentional phone call to her sister. The sister repeatedly tried to call her back. Kelley's sister soon received a text message saying that she would call later. D'Lisa Kelley never made that call.

At about 8:40 p.m., Kelley's grandmother called 911, sobbing and begging for help. On the other end of the line, the 911 call taker asked Mansell what she should do.

Mansell told commanders that particular call taker asks lots of questions.

"She's one of those that she's constantly calling up [...] to the supervisor desk," he said.

He told the call taker not to send police officers to the family's home because he wanted to try to get a location on her cell phone. Mansell contacted her cell provider. Kelley's cell was disconnected. He asked the provider to provide him her phone's last known coordinates.

Mansell said he never heard back from the provider, and he simply forgot about it on that busy Friday night.

"That particular night, my intent was to find the person that was in trouble, and to send the resources to that person that was in trouble," Mansell said. "I'm 45 years old now, and things do tend to kind of slip out of a memory -- especially on a busy Friday night."

The audio of the hearing also provides a window into the busy world off the 911 call center. That night, only two supervisors were on duty. They had just finished up handling a kidnapping call "in which our call taker was on the phone the entire hour and 15 minutes," he said.

"Other emergencies come in constantly in 911, so you're always dealing with this for a moment and moving on," Mansell said.

The call was placed in a designation for 911 calls that are "abandoned or hang up calls," according to police records.

The 911 call taker told internal investigators that she asked Mansell later that night whether he had heard from the cell provider. Mansell said he did not recall that conversation.

Another Kelley family member called that Saturday. Police officers were dispatched and made a want-to-locate report.

But it wasn't until that Monday that a detective went to Kelley's grandmother's house and police began canvassing the area.

On March 14 - seven days after that first 911 call - Kelley's body was found her in an abandoned house. She'd been beaten and strangled.

Ask what should have taken place, Mansell responded matter-of-fact: "Definitely send the police to grandmother's house, because it seemed like it was the PR thing to do. [...] Would the results have been different? Probably not."

That logic infuriates Kelley's family, who note the autopsy showed she was killed several days after her disappearance.

"I believe there would have been a different outcome if he would have responded just a little bit sooner," Alexander said. "She was tortured for a couple of days."

Mansell is still assigned to the 911 call center. He is the appealing the suspension.

Kelley's killer has not been caught. Her two-and-a-half-year-old son now lives with his grandmother.

Her family is pushing is for the Kelley Alert, which would require police to immediately issue an alert in cases when it's reported that someone is in imminent danger.

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