MARY MEAUX — Making fake 9-1-1 calls leads to real problems
Published 12:20 am Saturday, March 12, 2022
It shouldn’t have to be stated, but calling 9-1-1 is for emergencies only.
Emergencies like medical issues and car wrecks, fires and crimes. You know, real emergencies.
We’ve all heard stories of people calling this special number for mundane reasons. I’ve heard of people calling for emergency services because they need their toenails clipped and they are elderly and diabetic. Or the calls on a neighbor because their grass is too high.
Yes, those have happened.
Recently, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 dispatcher received what sounded like a desperate and frantic call from a woman saying a 23-year-old daughter-in-law had just been carjacked at gun point and kidnapped by the suspect who left the daughter-in-law’s truck.
This led the dispatcher to broadcast the info to all patrol deputies, who then raced to the scene to catch the suspect and rescue the victim, according to information from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Ben Garcia was assigned as the lead patrol investigator, who relayed info to the other deputies and dispatcher.
“As is common practice in such emergency situations, the dispatcher shut down all radio traffic except for information on the alleged robbery and kidnapping case,” a media release said.
The deputy found a truck that matched the description and pulled the driver over, got him out of the truck and temporarily detained him until he learned it was not the right truck or driver.
But the correct Chevrolet truck was found, as was the caller and the daughter-in-law at a Valero station. Seeing the flurry of law enforcement buzzing around the scene reportedly led the woman, identified as Rosemary Martinez Ortiz, to apologize, saying she “faked the 911 call in order to get deputies to the scene faster and that her daughter-in-law, who was staying with her, was not kidnapped nor was there a suspect with a gun hidden inside of a folded towel.”
The true story, according to police, was the women were from Houston and the truck was stolen from that city. Ortiz, reportedly not happy with the response time of the Houston Police Department, said her daughter-in-law left her air pods in the stolen truck and had followed the air pods to the Liberty County area.
When she arrived she reportedly made the fake 9-1-1 call to the sheriff’s office to get a deputy there quickly.
That’s when deputies explained her reckless actions cold have led to someone being hurt or to the emergency dispatcher to be tied up when someone was really in need of help.
Dep. Garcia took Ortiz into custody and charged her with the state jail felony of false alarm or report where she was then booked into the Liberty County Jail.
Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader called it frustrating and time consuming to chase false information and in this case an innocent person was detained.
The original case of the stolen truck will be handled by the Houston Police Department.
The lesson, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, is no not play with the 9-1-1 emergency number… lesson learned; do not do this.
Mary Meaux is a guest reporter got the Orange Leader. She can be reached at email@example.com.