Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In today's Sun-Herald

FWIW, we knew this was coming. Whatever. I rarely think of Michael King. What's fascinating is I still run into people who have no idea who Michael King is. They know about Denise and the 9-1-1 debacle but not about King. Just yesterday a customer asked me if they caught "the guy" yet. Two weeks ago someone asked "did they catch the guys who did this?" There are so many people out there that don't read newspapers or blogs.

It's just like nails on a chalkboard. I guess it'll get worse. I'm not looking forward to it.

Here's the article:

Venue change requested in King trial

SARASOTA COUNTY -- With media coverage ranging from hundreds of local newspaper articles to an hour-long "Dateline NBC" TV broadcast, Michael King's name has been associated with Denise Amber Lee since police named him as a suspect in her kidnapping, rape and murder on Jan. 17, 2008.

Now King's attorneys are trying to have his upcoming trial, set for August at the Sarasota County Courthouse, moved because of the vast amount of media coverage of the case.

More than 75 pages of court documents were recently submitted by one of King's public defenders asking for the highly publicized trial to be moved out of the county.

However, according to Sarasota County Assistant State Attorney Lon Arend, the request will not be considered until the jury selection process beings.

"We don't really address it until we are trying to pick a jury," Arend said Monday. "If we tried to pick a jury and can't find enough people who are not familiar with the case, then it would be decided if the trial should be moved."

Arend said it's standard procedure for an attorney to ask for the trial to be moved if it generates massive media attention.

This isn't the first time King's attorneys have sought accommodations. Shortly after King was arrested last year, assistant public defender John Scotese asked a judge for a gag order banning everyone involved in the case from speaking to all news media.

In his motion, Scotese wrote that the more information reported about King, 37, would make it harder for a fair trial.

The motion requested attorneys, witnesses, law enforcement and court personnel, and the prosecution not give information to any news agencies. Scotese also requested a motion asking the judge to keep specific information secret until the trial ended.

The judge did not uphold the gag order request. A copy of a 911 tape from witness Jane Kowalski, who spotted King's green Camaro on the night of the murder, was released to the media. Police investigators held news conferences to brief the public about updates in the case, and some documents in King's file have been made public.

Since Denise Lee's murder, her widower Nathan has appeared on the "Dr. Phil Show" and "Primetime," and has been interviewed by a multitude of reporters throughout the nation.

Blogs and Web sites include postings from local citizens to residents of New Zealand who discuss all aspects of the King case, including police finding Denise's ring in King's Camaro, a DNA sample taken from Lee's body that matched King's, and strands of the 21-year-old's hair found at his North Port home.

"I expected this. I was warned that his attorney would be scrambling," Lee said Monday. "Evidence is evidence. Justice will prevail for Denise.

"I have to have faith in the State Attorney's Office. I hope (King) has the best defense so he has no chance to appeal it."

Earlier this month, Assistant Public Defender Carolyn Schlemmer filed a motion to block the death penalty for King, citing lethal injection, if not done properly would create "unnecessary pain."

She also asked that some evidence be banned from the trial, citing King's rights were violated on the night he was arrested. She said King was not read his rights before being questioned for hours.

However, in a series of taped interviews with King on the night Lee was abducted, released to the media, an officer read King his rights.

E-mail: eallen@sun-herald.com


North Port Community News Editor

Dear Anonymous

this post was edited by me on April 1, 2009. (I had difficulty sleeping last night after mulling over what I posted. No sense everyone in the world knowing our personal finances but the trips are important.)

This question was asked on one of the comments to my blog. I wanted to address it.

"Peggy, I was wondering if you were going to address the question regarding the washington trip and who is paying? Is it coming from the donations that were meant for the kids? "

You can see it here:


Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment and question. I'm having difficulty wondering why you would ask such a question. But in answer, there is a trust fund that was set up for Nathan and the boys which you can donate to at any SunTrust Bank. And there is the foundation fund which is used for 9-1-1 mishap awareness and to help other families with loved ones who died due to a 9-1-1 mishap.

We would never consider using the money that has been raised for Nathan and the children.

The Denise Amber Lee Foundation was launched in June 2008 as a result of the January 2008 tragic abduction and murder of Denise. The Foundation is a nonprofit initiative of my son, Nathan, Denise's widowed husband, who felt the need to honor the memory of Denise. The amazing response of the community to this senseless tragedy touched Nathan and our family so deeply that he felt compelled to return that support by helping to improve the 9-1-1 system.

It is the Foundation’s intention to raise awareness and promote more efficient 9-1-1 call centers through improved training and better technologies. We also intend to help other families who may have lost loved ones through 9-1-1 mishaps.

If you'd like to donate so that more of these trips are possible please send a check to:

The Denise Amber Lee Foundation
P. O. Box 639
Englewood, FL 34295-0639

Thank you.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pins and Needles and work

Sitting here at work is driving me crazy. Nathan and Mark are in meetings still discussing even more changes to the bills being proposed up in Tallahassee.

I sure hope they get this right. I have to have faith. We need changes and we need them pronto. But they need to be the right changes and what's best for public safety.

I mean it. You can't imagine how strongly we feel about this and helping to prevent another family from suffering the way Olidia's family, our family and other families have suffered knowing that the death of their loved one could have been prevented.

It's a shame and IMO a sin to put politics, money and power before public safety.

Gotta get back to work. I just had to write and do something. It's terribly frustrating. I feel like that "hand wringing" parent John Walsh was talking about. Mark and Nate are smart and strong and honest. They are working with some very good peeps that I've come to consider closer to me than some of my family. I don't what we would've done without these people. They know who they are. God bless you.

So many wonderful people in our lives..............

Thank you.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"When is Governor Charlie Crist going to step up"

Be prepared for a rant.

Seriously, how can we wait? Right now there are two bills being proposed up in Tallahassee both requiring some sort of mandatory 9-1-1 dispatcher/call taker training. Both bills are flawed.

Both bills expect us to wait until 2012 before persons need to be certified. The bill headed to the house states that police and sheriff departments can submit to the Department of Health their training standards before 2012 and have them approved. This essentially means that the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office can submit for approval their training program and may not have to change their "business as usual".

Either way 2012 is way too far away.

Someone asked me just this morning (and it's what got me fired up even more than usual, I'm always fired up over this but still....) "Can we find out how many people die due to 9-1-1 mistakes?"

NO! There's no possible way to find this out without someone (preferably a regular citizen) overseeing the 9-1-1 community in Florida. How many people have died in Florida due to 9-1-1 mistakes? We have no idea.

We would never have known about Denise's mishandled 9-1-1 call if it hadn't been for Jane Kowalski. See bottom paragraph of this post http://toosad4words.blogspot.com/2009/01/denise-amber-leetop-ten-reasons-i.html

Jane, God bless her, hounded the NPPD until they figured out who she was. Once they figured it all out they had to REQUEST the information on her call from the CCSO. Why? Because they knew they not only mishandled the call and didn't dispatch a car but they weren't monitoring their Teletype and several BOLO's issued by the NPPD were ignored describing the suspect and his car. They were covering it up.

Their side of the story is one person thought the other person called the NPPD while the other person said the other one did. Yeah. Just like the one dispatcher said she thought the other dispatcher dispatched a car and the other dispatcher thought.....................


Who's overseeing the 9-1-1 community in Florida?

Yep. 9-1-1 industry people.

As Nathan said in his speech YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?????

PEOPLE ARE DYING. And it's not just because of human errors. It's because we have a system where all the counties, townships etc... have different protocols and procedures.

We're not using technologies that are available to us. More and more people are using cell phones to report emergencies and we can't find them!!! The two most glaring examples are of course, Denise and Olidia Kerr Day. But how many others aren't being found? How about those football players lost in that boating accident? And how about the errors being made in these 9-1-1 centers? Olidia asked the dispatcher to have police waiting for her outside the station! Our call taker had a CAD and didn't use it! Or at least didn't use it properly because she wrote things down on a piece of paper! And then handed the piece of paper to a dispatcher! Huh? Florida's 9-1-1 "system", if you will, is flawed! Big time.

And more people are going to die. Some we'll hear about and others will be swept under the rug.

When is Governor Charlie Crist going to step up and say "This is wrong. We need to have someone OUTSIDE OF THE 9-1-1 INDUSTRY looking into these tragedies. And then 9-1-1 industry experts from many companies (not just one) looking into the problems, then suggesting and providing solutions! Our citizens are dying and we can do better!"

Having 9-1-1 industry peeps watchdogging their own industry is like having the fox watch over the henhouse.

I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to North Port City Commissioner David Garofalo, Senator Nancy Detert, Representatives Paige Kreegel and Ken Roberson for their hard work, dedication, diligence and compassion for our cause. You are our heroes and I'm in tears just thinking about all you are doing for us. You all have been simply wonderful.

But it is my opinion that we can do better. WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.

And to those lobbyists and companies with agendas to make more money and garner more control, I say........ shame on you. People are dying.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today's Top Story in the Sun

Published on: Thursday, March 26, 2009

Area legislators sponsor 911 training bill

Kreegel, Roberson have authored a bill requiring certification of dispatchers.

House 0769: Relating to 911 Emergency Dispatcher Certification
Senate 2040: Relating to 911 Emergency Dispatcher Certification
Florida House of Representatives
Florida Senate

With the help of all five North Port city commissioners, state representatives Ken Roberson and Paige Kreegel pushed a bill through committee Wednesday that would require certification standards for 911 operators in Florida.

House Bill 769, titled "911 Emergency Dispatcher Certification," is a measure pushed by the Charlotte County Republicans in reaction to the murder of 21-year-old Denise Amber Lee, who was kidnapped from her North Port home last year. The Lee family believes the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office botched a 911 call to dispatch units to the intersection where Denise was last seen by a motorist.

"I think it's going to go a long way to improve the public's confidence in the 911 system and hopefully save lives here in Florida," Roberson, of Port Charlotte, said from Tallahassee Wednesday. It was one of three bills he had which successfully passed through committee.

If it completes the committee process and becomes law through the Legislature, the bill would require any person serving as a 911 emergency dispatcher to be certified by the Florida Department of Health by Oct. 1, 2012, through a set of statewide standards. Currently, each emergency dispatch call center mandates its own criteria.

A similar bill also is being pushed by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Sarasota.

The bill was given unanimous approval by the Health Care Regulation Committee after an impassioned speech by North Port City Commissioner David Garofalo, who also is on the board of the Denise Amber Lee Foundation. Roberson said Garofalo told the harrowing tale of Lee's demise to a captivated audience of around 200.

"You could hear a pin drop when he was telling the story," Roberson said.

No one was more surprised than Garofalo by his speech -- the commissioner did not expect to address the committee in his visit Wednesday. But seeing the bill face opposition from Tallahassee lobbyists, Garofalo said he felt compelled to give his all for Denise.

"I'm not going to have her name die in this committee right here," the commissioner, still fired up from the meeting, recalled himself thinking Wednesday.

Garofalo said he had tears welling up in his eyes as he spoke, earning the 5-0 vote. Given that, he thinks he got through to the members of the House that this bill is about more than the Lee family's tragedy.

"It's not just a grieving family," Garofalo said. "This is what needs to happen."

See this story at www.sunnewspapers.net to read both the House and Senate bills.

E-mail: nhughes@sun-herald.com


Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

North Port School Naming Update

Nathan talked to the principal of the new school in North Port this morning. He had concerns. He didn't want Denise to be remembered in a negative light. In other words as "the woman murdered in North Port" which is what was printed in the newspaper. He wants her remembered for all the positives she brought to us and continues to bring to us through the boys, the 9-1-1 reform and for the way the community came together. All were and are awesome.

Anyhow, the principal said that it's down to 5 names and Denise's name is not included. They didn't select any person's name but selected only geographical names.

We're a little let down but not a lot. It would've been such an honor! But then Joan Morgan deserves the honor too! And it may have taken away from the other tragedies etc..... Who would want to minimize someone else's pain and suffering?
So maybe it's a good thing!

Olidia Kerr Day (part two)

I posted about Olidia Kerr Day the other day and missed some startling tragic details. I heard from Olidia's sister, Olga this morning. Gosh, it gets worse. You can hear the emotions in Olga's words just by reading them. Anyhow, read what she asked me to add. I can't imagine Olidia's last moments. Just as I can't imagine Denise's.

Both thought at some point they would be saved! Both were expecting something from 9-1-1 that they didn't get. Is that 9-1-1's fault? Was it human error? Was it lack of compassion on the call takers parts? Was it the latest technology available not being used? Was it Denise and Olidia not understanding how 9-1-1 works? Could Olidia have been saved? Yes! Could Denise have been saved? Yes!

Fortunately we know that changes are in the works. Representative Ken Roberson is introducing a bill in the Florida State Legislature asking that standards be made "mandatory". Unfortunately the standards and training will not be enforced totally until 2012 and we need those changes now. That's okay, it's a good second step. The Denise Amber Lee Act was the first step. We just got back from Washington DC that was fruitful. The guys just got back from California all pumped up and motivated. And it's true that the majority of 9-1-1 calls ARE handled appropriately. Out in California Mark and Nate said they met many wonderful, conscientious, diligent and dedicated call takers and dispatchers. I'm sure we must have them here in Florida!

But Olidia's and Denise's call takers definitely dropped the ball. Lives were lost.

And with more and more people using cell phones to call 9-1-1 in our increasingly mobile society, we need to use the technology available to us. It's hard to believe you can GPS a coral reef, 30 miles off the coast to go scuba diving, but you can't find a person using a cell phone.

We need to address the problems that need fixing and fix them so that other families do not have to suffer the way our families have. Bad enough having a loved one murdered by a maniac. But then to know they could've been saved and that the police departments will not acknowledge what went wrong and then have them treat you with disdain, well........ it's words can't describe the pain.

see former post: http://toosad4words.blogspot.com/2009/03/olidia-kerr-day.html

This is what Olidia's sister wrote to me this morning:

"...the only thing that I would add is that Olidia eventually remembered the address to the police station, told the operator that she remembered now and to have police outside waiting for her.

How she must have felt when she drove up and not seen anyone, Olidia knew she was going to be murdered and those were her last words "Oh God he is going to kill me".

She was gunned down by the front door of the police station.

It still pains me to remember and I am full of anger by the way that Denise and Olida lost their lives because someone did not care enough to do their jobs correctly.

I understand that Denise's calls were not dispatched either, every time I remember the eyewitness in her case who was following (this should read 'in front of the car') the car I get chills.

What a tragedy! I can't understand how these people are still working for the 911 centers. They should be in jail, I am sorry as you can see I am still angry and I don't know if it will ever go away."

North Port Sun article (March 18, 2009)

What can I say? Not much I can say. But, I thought I'd put this out there for you to read. I would like to thank Elaine for emailing me the evening before this was printed. That was very considerate and greatly appreciated. She warned me about some of what was going to be in the article. Thank you, Elaine. It helped me be emotionally prepared when I read it.

King's lawyer files motion to have evidence thrown out in Lee case


North Port Community News Editor

SARASOTA -- Michael King's attorney is trying to have evidence and King's alleged confession to the Jan. 17, 2008, kidnapping, rape and murder of Denise Amber Lee thrown out before his August trial begins, saying her client's rights were violated.

Assistant Public Defender Carolyn Schlemmer is trying to block the death penalty against King being sought by the state, according to a recently filed motion.

Following an evaluation of King, 37, the state asked that he be examined by a second doctor. The documents show the first physician, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Kasper -- selected by King's attorney -- found King "incompetent to proceed with the upcoming trial."

Schlemmer wrote that King's rights were violated shortly after he was arrested on Interstate 75 off Toledo Blade Boulevard near where the 21-year-old's body was found Jan. 19. At the time, police observed King's pants were soaking wet and saw a shovel in his car.

Minutes after he was handcuffed, King said he would like to speak to an attorney, according to the 11-page document detailing King's questioning on the night of the incident.

At the same time, numerous law enforcement agencies were on a massive manhunt for Lee.

Earlier in the evening, police dispatchers in North Port received four different 911 calls relating to Lee's kidnapping, including one Lee made from King's cell phone when he got out of his car to allegedly borrow a gas can, flashlight and shovel from his cousin, Harold Muxlow Jr., while in North Port.

Schlemmer wrote that instead of clarifying King's request for an attorney, North Port detectives took him on a "ride-along," searching for Lee while questioning him. She added that King's rights were "clearly violated" as his Miranda rights were not read to him until hours after he was taken into custody.

She wrote that police obtained information illegally when asking about injuries or bruises on King's body. She asked to suppress the information during the trial.

According to documents, Schlemmer alleges police also illegally searched and seized evidence after breaking into King's North Port home. Schlemmer wrote that hair strands reportedly belonging to Lee, pieces of duct tape and hair ties, bedding, carpeting and clothing were illegally removed from the home before police had a search warrant. Therefore, this information should not be used against King.

"At the time of the illegal entry into Mr. King's house, there was no evidence that any crime had been committed in his house," Schlemmer wrote, referring to police officer's reaction to a 911 call Jan. 17 from Sabrina Muxlow -- King's niece -- who reported her father, Harold, was concerned King might do something harmful to a woman in his green Camaro.

North Port Police Detective Chris Morales maintains the department "didn't do anything wrong."

"That's false," he said Tuesday, regarding the accusations of the department's method of questioning King. "It's (interviews with King) all on video."

Schlemmer said none of the information gathered from Muxlow should be allowed in court.

According to documents, police "circumvented" King's rights by allowing Muxlow to come to the police department and identify the items King borrowed.

The state is seeking the death penalty for King in this case. However, King's attorney wrote that lethal injection is "unconstitutional." She cited cases where lethal injection didn't immediately kill a prisoner. The anesthetic wore off and caused five to seven minutes of "unnecessary pain," the report said.

King's trial is set for August.

E-mail: eallen@sun-herald.com

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Today's Sun Herald

Wouldn't this be something? We don't want Denise to always be remembered as the young mother murdered in North Port but we do want her remembered! And we want her remembered as the woman who brought about positive changes in the 9-1-1 system and who brought a community together so remarkably.

Okay, I'm crying.

North Port school in search of a name

By TERRY O'CONNOR Correspondent

Published: Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 12:53 a.m.

NORTH PORT - The new $19 million elementary school in North Port is still in search of a name and input from prospective parents and students.


All meetings will be held at Toledo Blade Elementary School in North Port, 1201 Geranium Ave., portable room 846, unless otherwise noted. Spanish, Haitian Creole, Russian and Ukrainian interpreters will be available.

Times include:

March 24, family meeting, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

April 2, family meeting, 9:30 to 11 a.m.

April 14, PTO meeting, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

April 15, family meeting, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

April 29, family meeting, 9 to 10:30 a.m.

April 29, Kindergarten Round-Up, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Woodland Middle School cafeteria, 2700Panacea Blvd.

May 4, family meeting, 6 to 7:30 p.m.


Principal Kirk Hutchinson’s naming committee is choosing two of the following name suggestions to recommend to the Sarasota County School Board this month. Proposals and the reason they
were selected:

Atwater Elementary — A reference to school’s location.

Calusa Elementary – Native American tribe from Southwest Florida.

Celebration Elementary – Denoting school opening in year of North Port’s 50th anniversary. Golden Elementary, North Celebration Elementary, North Port Elementary and North Port Celebration Elementary for same reason.

Coralrose/Coralrose Fullwood Elementary – Honors Coralrose Fullwood, a Toledo Blade Elementary student murdered in 2006.

Denise Amber Lee Elementary – Honors Denise Amber Lee, a North Port resident murdered in 2008.

Estuary Elementary – Refers to nearby Charlotte Harbor and other estuaries.

Hamilton Elementary – Honors former superintendent Wilma Hamilton.

Joan Morgan Elementary - Honors North Port activist and former City Commissioner Joan Morgan. Also, Morgan Elementary, honoring Joan Morgan and her husband, Ed.

Mangrove Elementary – For mangroves’ ability to provide shelter and stability.

New London Elementary – Denotes street and waterway next to school property.

North Port East Elementary – School is in easternmost North Port.

Pine Forest Elementary – Pine trees are prevalent in North Port.

River Crest Elementary – Refers to riverbanks and island habitats for local birds.

River Haven Elementary – Myakka/Peace rivers and Charlotte Harbor create one of the largest working estuaries in Florida.

Sandhill Elementary – Denotes sandhill cranes prevalent in North Port.

Sharon Christa McAuliffe Elementary – Honors McAuliffe, teacher who died in the 1986 Challenger shuttle accident.

Skyway Elementary – Refers to nearby street.

Spartan Elementary – A warrior up for any fight.

Whispering Pines Elementary – Area surrounding school has many tall pines.

The 124,000-square-foot school on Huntsville Avenue, now known only as Elementary I, is being built on 35 acres a block south of the East Price Boulevard-Atwater Street intersection.

The school will open in August for the 2009-10 school year with room for 970 students, although initial enrollment is estimated to be closer to 650, according to Principal Kirk Hutchinson.

Hutchinson's naming committee will recommend to the Sarasota County School Board two of the 24 school names suggested by the end of this month.

Hutchinson has also scheduled a series of five organizational town hall meetings for families of prospective students and community members beginning Tuesday. A Parent-Teacher Organization and a Kindergarten Round-Up meeting will be held later, too.

In the town hall meetings, Hutchinson will discuss construction progress, school policies and timelines. All meetings are open to the public.

Jon F. Swift General Contractors of Sarasota is building the school to withstand 180-mph winds. The design is by BRPH Architects/Engineers of Melbourne, which also helped create Lamarque and Cranberry elementary schools in North Port and Tatum Ridge Elementary in Sarasota.

Green features include use of regional building and recycled materials, energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning, minimized water usage and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Olidia Kerr Day

I promised myself earlier that I would blog about Olidia Kerr Day and her family today. I feel such a connection to this story. From what I understand, Olidia saved her children and her family that day just as Denise saved Noah and Adam.

Olidia Kerr Day was a lovely woman living in SE Florida. Her tragedy parallels Denise's in a couple of ways.

First, she got the killer as far away from her family as she possibly could. What a hero.

Second, because she was using a cell phone things didn't go as she expected them to.

Because we're using old technology and not using the technology available precious minutes were lost in saving her life. Her 9-1-1 call went to the wrong police station.

She was begging for directions to the closest police station but because the dispatcher continued to ask questions as opposed to answering questions, Olidia didn't get the directions she needed.

She was eventually gunned down right outside the police station doors. The gunman then turned the gun on himself.

Was it Olidia's fault or the 9-1-1 dispatchers fault? All I know is that the system needs to change. I do know Olidia could've been saved had things been handled differently.

I'm not posting the video because in the video you actually see the murder.

Full story and transcript here along with audio if desired:


Memorial website here:


Wasn't she a beautiful woman? It's simply heartbreaking. It's just wrong. What is wrong with our society? And why? why? why? The why's are endless.

Nathan was able to meet her son when they were both on Dr Phil a few months ago. I've been in some contact with her sister. But truly, what can you say? "sorry for your loss"..... just seems too trite.

God bless her family with much love and peace. I'm at such a loss with words.

I really do have to slow down

My blood pressure the last couple of days has been very high. Friday I just knew it was high. I have some blurred vision and I just don't feel right. I have a blood pressure machine therefore I took it when I got home. It was 187/97. I've taken it off and on since Friday and it's up and down.

I just don't feel right.

After reading what I blogged this morning and I'm not sure if I've repeated myself or not. I did add a new sidebar that gives 9-1-1 cell phone tips. I like that. It makes me feel as if I'm doing something positive.

I should probably help with the boys more today but I just can't. That saddens me.


Doctors tomorrow, I guess. Everything is starting to take it's toll.

double sigh

If only I was 10 years younger.

triple sigh

sorry for the mood:o) I'll get out of it.

Denise Amber Lee, the Foundation and making a difference

We are so honored

I feel awkward not highlighting the reasons of our trip. Nathan, Mark and Sean were there to learn all they could about 9-1-1 from the experts in the industry. The president of NENA (National Emergency Number Association) expressed a desire to meet in Washington after he met Nathan at CalNENA the 9-1-1 conference in San Diego.

I wish I knew the details and was a fly on the wall at the meetings. I did glean some information but not as much as I'd like. I believe they want Nathan and Mark to lend some help in drafting the legislation to put before Congress for improving 9-1-1. Denise would be so proud knowing that her story and tragedy has helped change laws that will help save lives.

We can't bring her back but we can do all we can to see that others don't have to suffer needlessly because of poor 9-1-1 standards.

The meeting with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children was also a much needed meeting. He helped guide us on how to expose our cause tastefully. He suggested follow up Primetime and Dateline stories. And even getting in touch with Oprah.

I didn't know that John Walsh and his wife lost their home, too, after Adam went missing. We can't blame Denise's tragedy for losing our home. The economy did that. But the loss of work certainly didn't help matters and probably sped the process a long.

The representative from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children helped us greatly with some ideas on how to handle this. We're still so new at this. But! We want to make this change happen and will do what we have to do.

We hear about so many 9-1-1 tragedies from people. Part of our mission statement is to help other families who have experienced loss of a loved one through a 9-1-1 mishap. It would break your heart to read about them all.

I may start posting some of the stories here. I already wrote about poor little Matthew Cantrell and his family. I've yet to write about Olidia Kerr Day's family and her tragic death. I hesitate even to start naming stories because there are so many important ones (they are all important) that I hate to leave any one out!

Yes, maybe later today I'll write about Olidia Kerr Day if I'm up to it. If I do this I'll be continuing to bring awareness to this issue.

The fight (for me at least) is bittersweet. Bitter because it's not easy reading all these stories and putting our pain out there for all to see. Sweet because Denise was simply so sweet and innocent and doing this for her makes it all worthwhile. And who couldn't or wouldn't do this for her? I believe this was the reason she had to go. It's the only reason I can think of.

Much love and peace.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Denise Amber Lee Foundation goes to Washington DC (part two)

Okay, where did I leave off? Sorry about that. I was so tired from the trip I simply couldn't stay awake enough to write last night :o)

So, we visited with Chris and Emily and shared many giggles. Chris brought some old photos of me that were hysterically funny. And! An old letter my brother Danny wrote to me back in 1981. Crap. I'm tearing up again.

One of our priorities was to see my niece Mary. She's been confined to best rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. I remember being confined to bed rest when I had Nathan:o( Not fun at all. Very boring and can be very lonely. Actually Mary was the first person I wanted to see getting off the plane but we had an old phone number and no Internet access. Fortunately we did get in touch with her and drove down to see her on our way to dinner. I HATED leaving her behind while we all went to dinner. It just didn't seem right leaving her behind. But, this pregnancy is important to her and indeed all of us. So, she's doing what she has to do. If you're reading this, Mary, I love you.

Off to dinner........... I sat next to my sister Ann and as I mentioned in my last post she had me laughing in the aisles! We swapped "naughty" jokes and had a fantastic time. It was so pleasant to just sit, relax and be myself. I couldn't believe I was able to still laugh that much. To see Nathan actually belly laughing. We were so tired from the trip I actually think we were giddy.

Alas, the evening ended way to soon for any of us but we all had driving to do and I know Ann was anxious to get back to Mary. Chris had to drive Emily back to Philadelphia. Emily had to be at work for an early shift at 6:30AM the next day....... sigh.

Emily is so sweet. And I'm not bragging when I say that I don't think I have a single niece or nephew that isn't sweet.

We collapsed back at the room knowing we had to be in DC early the next day. None of us were sure of where we were going. We decided to use the Metro.

NENA and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and our Maryland contingent

Nathan, Mark and Sean (Lowery) met with the head of NENA. (National Emergency Number Association). That meeting went extremely well and I believe they want Nathan's help in drafting legislation for mandatory 9-1-1 training nationally. How cool is that? I don't know any of the specifics and will wait for our plans and goals to be posted on the Denise Amber Lee website. Everything is still in the works. But it's awesome to know how Nathan and the foundation have been accepted and encouraged.

The next day (Wednesday) we got a very late start. We slept much later than we should have and were trying to figure out how we could make time to meet our Maryland contingent. Two wonderful women from Maryland got in touch with the foundation early on asking how they could help. They were so moved by Denise's bravery and story that they wrote to their local senator inquiring about 9-1-1 training standards in Maryland. They had no clue that our family is originally from Baltimore........ We couldn't believe it. It's just strange how things work out. Anyhow, we were able to meet them for lunch on Wednesday before going back into DC to meet with the Center of Missing and Exploited Children.

Throughout this journey we have seen true evil. But the goodness in people such as Angie, Katie, the 9-1-1 industry people across the country, our family, friends and our neighbors has totally trumped any evil.

Aside here to Angie and Katie if you're reading this: NO! I haven't seen the boys yet but I'll see them tonight. We plan on bowling in the backyard:o)

After that it was back on the Metro so Nathan, Mark and Sean could meet with a gentleman from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Again, I don't want to go into detail but he was very generous with their representative's knowledge, compassion and advice on what we're doing and where to go from here was invaluable. He was extremely supportive and gave us a lot of food for thought and much much encouragement.

I didn't know until I read his book "Tears of Rage" that John and Reve Walsh (Adam Walsh's parents) also lost their home after they lost Adam. It seems we're not unique at all. And that most homicide survivors have financial difficulties. Thinking straight, making good decisions, being able to make any decision at all and working are just......... I don't know how to describe it but I'm going to wait and describe it in the other blog where it belongs.

Suffice to say, we don't need to re-invent the wheel and we do plan on making a difference.

Aside to Denise: I love you, sweetheart........ Miss you. And we're working hard. I miss the boys very much and plan on seeing them tonight. Last night was their night with their Daddy:o)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Denise Amber Lee Foundation goes to Washington DC (part one)

I gotta tell you, I've been contemplating this post all day. What to write? There was so much happening at such a fast pace it's difficult to know where to begin. So? I'll begin with family.

My family

I can't say enough about my family and how thrilled I was to see them. Monday afternoon we decided (Mark and I) to go on up to Havre de Grace to see my parents who I hadn't seen since Denise's funeral. At that time things were so emotional and so numbing that it's difficult to even remember. So much happened during those first few days after Denise's body was found that the remembrance of the time with my family (who ALL showed up except Danny who was serving in Iraq) is almost blurred.

My parents have aged, especially my dad, so much! Dad physically. Mom mentally. Dad is having an horrific time with his legs. He's so weak or is it pain? Mom looks wonderful physically and has actually lost quite a bit of weight and looks fantastic! But mentally is struggling. She has Alzheimers.

We happened to be exhausted. We had gotten up at 4 AM to catch a 6:30 AM flight. I decided to take a nap. I just laid down in an upstairs bedroom and lo and behold by just looking out the window, who did I see? Emily? Was that my niece Emily getting out of a car and Chris my younger sister? Sure enough! I was so surprised!!!!! Gosh... Words can't express my wonder that they were there. I'm sure you are all thinking that I'm just being nice but I'm not. It meant the world to me. I'm tearring up just thinking about it. Emily lives is Philadelphia and Chris lives is Valparaiso, IL. Chris had changed flights so she could see us. Emily expressed a desire so Christy got her and brought her down.

There went the nap. But who needed a nap??? I was so thrilled to see them.

You have to understand. I come from a very large family. My parents had 10 kids in total. There is always a crowd around. To have one-on-one time with any of them is considered a special treat. One-on-one communication is a valued commodity in my family. At least to me and Mark.

We were going out to eat at a favorite restaurant and Emily rode with us. Hah! She was trapped in the backseat with us. Mark and I loved it and we drilled her with questions. Poor sweetheart. She held up to the inquisition very well. But then she's an Ivy League graduate who graduated on a full ride. She tests well. No. Seriously. Emily is such a sweet person. She's a nurse. And her patients I'm sure are blessed.

Chris (my sister) is alway such a laugh. She's not laughable. It's when we get together! We just laugh! Out of all my sister's, Christy generates genuine laughter in me. We saw, Ann (an older sister) later that night who just had me rolling in the aisles but Christy knows how to lighten any situation.

will continue with part two tomorrow. Let's end part one by saying I am truly blessed. I'm not "close" to any of my siblings. I don't chat daily or even email daily with any of the nine. I'm not buddy buddy with any of them. I was a middle child and never had a "favorite". Hopefully they all know how much I love each and every one of them. There's not one I don't appreciate or not think highly of.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Home and family

I can't wait to see them all. Actually I won't see them all. Many are scatterered throughout the country. But I will see the ones in Maryland and Southern Pennsyvania!

I just wish we were taking Noah and Adam. Next trip hopefully will be longer and more of a vacation. I'm gonna miss showing them off to everyone.

But I truly can't wait to see my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. I love them all so much.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My day with Noah and Adam

What a nice day!

It was so good to see both of them for some quality time. Now that we're feeling more settled in the house it was easier for me and for them to relax. I picked them up early from daycare. The first thing we did was come back to the house and walk down to the water. I'll have to look for some pics to post but we're living directly on Lemon Bay. And it's beautiful:o) We sat on the bench and simply watched the boats. The boys were a bit mischievous and were wanting to dangle their feet over the seawall but I wasn't at all comfortable with that. But we ran around the grass and played tag. We watched birds and Noah saw two dolphins.

Then we came back to the house and they were thrilled! I was worried because yesterday didn't go so well....

Adam picked out a chair as if he was an explorer and staking a claim. If he had a flag I'm sure he would've planted it in the chair. He's like that. He has his spot. No one else is allowed in it. He'll be playing with a truck having a good time but stop immediately if he sees you sitting in his spot! He gets quite indignant and upset.

Noah kept saying things like "Grandma! you brought our blocks!" then "Grandma, you brought our train!" then "Grandma, you brought our ambulance!" then "Grandma, you brought our movies!" I replied with "of course!"

Then I said to Noah "I even brought mommy's picture!" I hadn't unpacked it yet so we went to the box and we unwrapped and unpacked all Denise's picture. He was thrilled! He held it very delicately. I said "she was so pretty!" and he said "Yeah!" I allowed him to pick the place for the special one we always kept at eye level. Adam later accidently knocked it over and Noah jumped up and instead of scolding Adam, he said "I'll fix it" and gingerly placed it back where it needed to be.

Then we took another walk down to see the boats and sit on the bench.

It was truly a precious time. I was so thrilled to see them happy. Adam is usually always happy unless he's not feeling well. But, Noah is moody. Today was a good mood.

Later I took them over to MomMom. It was a very good day:o)

not sure which blog to post this in. I originally posted it here but think that it may help homicide survivors with children in the other. It'll be posted in both.

Internet access is back and we're all moved in

I'll blog more when I can. I just finished blogging in the other blog and I'm emotionally spent. But for now we're moved in. Everything is topsy turvy. We're in an emotional lala land!

Other news

We're going to Washington DC! Nathan, Mark, Sean Lowery and David Garofalo (City of North Port commissioner) will be representing the Denise Amber Lee Foundation. I'm going to try and sit in on meetings if it's not too many people. I'm pretty sure we are meeting with the head of NENA and other 9-1-1 industry peoples. I'm not sure what it's all about so I'll have to expand on that later. Mark is anxious to meet with people from the Center of Missing and Exploited Children. It seems they have 9-1-1 operators trained specifically for missing kids! That sounds very interesting. It's all exciting.

I just know Denise would be proud of how hard Nathan and Mark are working on all this. It's not easy. They're both missing a lot of work. And it takes Nathan's time away from the boys.

But! We believe it will all be worth it. We love you, Denise. And miss you more and more everyday. Noah was mssing you last night especially more than usual. I don't know why. While we were moving I came across some more pictures of you. Those are always a treasure to find. I still can't find that blue frame you made me for Christmas. I don't know where it is and it's driving me crazy. I took a picture out of it that Nathan wanted but now I can't find the frame. I love you sweetheart.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Internet access

I'll be without it for a few days while we're moving. Will post as soon as I can!

Much love and peace to all.

My 100th post dedicated to Alex Teehee

The article below was in today's paper. I can't imagine what this family is going through. They are certainly getting the run around. I'll say this I'm happy for them that they are meeting with Bill Cameron. I can only hope and pray that he gives him straight answers as opposed to his political spin and the lies he gave Nathan.

I don't trust in an inch. But maybe he'll bring them some peace. For their sake I hope so. But I doubt it. And will never trust him.

I have a special place in my heart for Alex Teehee. Like Denise, he left behind two small children. And like us and the Goffs the grandparents have had to step up and do what they can in helping raise the children. And as Carol Teehee and I have both said "thank God for the children".

Last night in my post over on the homicide blog I mentioned a family where the children were killed too. That couple lost their daughter and grandchildren. I can't imagine. I simply can't imagine.

Well I better get packing. We're to be out of the house today but I wanted to let the Teehees know they are in my heart and prayers. I hope they keep fighting and not take no for an answer.

Alex deserves the fight and so do his children. God bless them all.

from the Sun Herald:

Family Looking for answers

Almost nine months after Alex Teehee's death, relatives say investigation is slow

A chilling call explaining his son was hit by a van was placed to Alex's Teehee's father, Tab, from a friend who took Alex's cell phone from the scene of the hit-and-run last July.

Now Tab wants to know why investigators allowed the cell phone to be removed by one of Alex's friends and why "no real follow-up" was done regarding the threatening messages left on Alex's phone.

Tab and his wife, Carol, of North Port, have a multitude of questions about the events leading up to Alex's death.

On July 13, Alex, 20, was struck by a van while walking on the edge of Sibley Bay Street around 11 p.m. in Port Charlotte, where he had just moved from North Port.

He was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, but died the next day. A North Port High School graduate, Alex also was the father of two young boys. His sons, Kaden, 3, and Eli, 2, are in the custody of his parents.

"Alex's friend gave us back the cell phone," Tab said on Friday. "We played his voice-mail messages and learned someone threatened to kill him several times. We played it for investigators. They didn't ask us to take the phone as evidence. We still have it."

The Florida Highway Patrol is in charge of the investigation. The Teehees said from the beginning, the FHP and other law enforcement agencies have had limited communication with them.

"We just want to know if investigators have the same information as we do," Tab said. "We know they have possible suspects and know who the van is registered to. So much time has gone by, and there is still no arrest."

FHP Lt. Chris Miller said he understands the family is frustrated.

"We have not treated this as a cold case," Miller said. "In fact, we have had new leads and have spent time investigating. What has made things hard is some of the witnesses have left the area."

Tab says his family cooperated with law enforcement early on to assist in making a possible arrest. But after repeated unanswered phone calls to FHP, the State Attorney's Office in Punta Gorda, and the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, the family is fed up.

"Alex's murder was one of four in Charlotte County last year, and we have yet to be granted a face-to-face talk with the sheriff," Tab said.

However, on Friday afternoon, the CCSO called the Teehees to meet this week with Sheriff Bill Cameron.

The family likely will be told the CCSO is "not the lead agency" investigating.

"We are assisting FHP and the State Attorney's Office in their investigation," said David Bonsall, corporal in charge of operations for the CCSO. "We were asked to help follow up and assist them. We understand the family's concern."

Bonsall said he met with the family several weeks ago and passed along their concerns to the lead investigating agencies.

Tab says he has done a little investigating on his own and is disappointed law enforcement officials haven't questioned enough people in his son's neighborhood.

"I asked the hotel owner, who has seasonal residents living there, if he or anyone there was questioned by officers about the night Alex was killed," Tab said. "I was told, 'No.'"

Tab said he had to "throw a fit" when he learned the person investigating Alex's death was scheduled for vacation shortly after receiving the case.

He said Alex's clothing and jewelry went missing from Lee Memorial, and he still can't get answers about what happened to his son's belongings.

Miller said the FHP is collecting solid evidence, but it's time-consuming.

"We want to do this case right," he said. "We are gathering all of the facts."

Anonymous tips in the Alex Teehee hit-and-run case may be left at the Crime Stoppers tip line at 941-366-8477.

The family is offering a a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect.

E-mail: eallen@sun-herald.com


North Port Community News Editor

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Our last night in the house

Started out to be very depressing and then extremely frustrating. All the major big pieces of furniture have been moved out. We're down to just the necessities. Mark says it reminds him of college. For me it reminds me of my old apartment. We only have to move the TV, the bed, the computer (LOL) and a couple of chairs. Then, of course the kitchen stuff. And of course clothes.

The house is a mess with leftover items strewn all about. It's so depressing Mark and I are numb and can't make any decisions. I just look at some of the stuff and stare with a blank look on my face. A lot of it I've just tossed.

Anyhow, we had to get out and get away from all of it. It was that depressing. We needed some sort of diversion. Mark hadn't eaten all day. He had breakfast around 8AM and that was it. By 8PM he still hadn't had anything else to eat. I had driven thru Burger Barf on my way home from work. He didn't want that but I needed to eat something. Anyhow, it was late so I said "let's go get something for you to eat. I'll just have a beer and you need to eat. Let's get out of here" and we left.

On the way to Leverock's which is only about 5 miles from our house we ran out of gas. Apparently the gas gauge is broken. Nathan had borrowed the car while Mark used Nathan's truck. Mark said as we left the house "oh look! Nate filled up the gas tank! That was nice!" And I agreed. Well, Nathan didn't (he didn't think he had to cuz the gauge said 'full') and we ran out of gas. I felt like someone was sticking needles in me. I mean, really, it was the LAST thing we needed.

We cancelled our AAA a few months ago because of the expense. Therefore, Nathan ended up having to go buy a gas can and bring us gas. It was awful. Poor Nate had been working all day and was still in his Best Buy shirt. Mark was tired. I was tired. Mark was frustrated. I was numb.

So, after Nathan filled the car up we still went into the restaurant.

AND WOW! Were we pleasantly surprised! They had a couple playing live country music. It was wonderful. Music can be such therapy and it transported us to a different place emotionally. I asked the lady (who was fantastic singing Sugarland and Faith Hill) for a business card for future reference in playing at some of our 9-1-1 fundraisers. The man ended up being JR Davis's brother. JR was the Charlotte County policeman who listened with Rick (Denise's dad) to Denise's frantic 9-1-1 call. God bless him for that. I don't remember meeting JR but I'm sure we had to of either at the viewing or the funeral. We've met so many people and we were zombies at the time. But I think of JR quite often. He probably doesn't know that. But having read the IA report so many times it's hard not to think of someone who was that close to everything.

He's the person that finally requested and got the first BOLO issued out of Charlotte County. I'm sure he's been effected by all this. If he ever reads this, I want him to know how grateful we are to him and he'll always be in our prayers. My prayers are pretty meager right now, but they are prayers and they go out to him in gratitude.

What nice people at the restaurant. What talent! And what started out as a very dismal evening became a very pleasant evening for us.

You gotta understand we don't get out much. And we love country music. They even played some Keith Whitley. Wow! One song about Lori Morgan had me in tears (honestly that doesn't take much but it was beautiful).

I do hope they look into Lonestar's "Not a Day Goes By". I think this guy good do a fantastic job with it. I KNOW she could sing Faithless Love.....

This is their website:


I feel very blessed tonight. I see light. Music is so good for the soul.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Poor little Adam

Yes, he's feeling better so not to worry but! This is him on the right. That's Evan Longoria's (The Rays third baseman's) autograph.

Yesterday the guy went through a lot of trauma!!! He wasn't feeling well so we decided he needed to go to the doctor. I took him.

When we got to the office the electricity was out! Oh no! And Adam was running a temperature so this wasn't a good sign.

The nurses and the doctor were WONDERFUL. They saw him in the dark. I was glad of this. I didn't want to sit there and wait for the lights to come back on while he was miserable and I didn't want to reschedule. Anyhow, in the dark they checked his ears, nose and throat. Finally the lights came back on! Thank goodness because it had to be traumatic for Adam being checked out like that in the dark.

It gets worse. Poor pumpkin ended up having 7 (SEVEN!) needle pricks. First they thought it was strep. Nathan had strep two weeks ago before he went to CA. First they had to take a swab of his throat! AAAAH! Poor pumpkin. Then they pricked his finger for a blood count. Then they decided it wasn't strep but some form of tonsilitis. So they wanted to take a blood sample. They tried to take blood from inside both elbows. Nothing. (Adam wasn't hydrated so that wasn't the problem). Then they tried the tops of each hand. Poor pumpkin!

I had to hold him down through all this indignity! Poor pumpkin. My back and neck still hurt.

They finally got some blood through the wrist. That was number 6.

Poor pumpkin was whimpering. Literally whimpering and kept pointing at the door. I just know he's traumatized for life!

Then they came in with a humongous needle and gave him a shot of antibiotics in the thigh!

But Adam didn't give up without a fight. Everytime they put a Band Aid on him, he ripped it off and threw it at them!!!

He put up a remarkably glorious fight!!!!! Adam's tough!

Seriously though, he's fine. And seriously, the doctor and the nurses were fantastic. No complaints.

I just felt bad for Adam. He's such a good egg.

On a brighter, lighter note

Through this journey we are meeting many MANY good people. Mark and Nathan both came home from California talking about the 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers they met. Mark and Nate both said these people were eager for knowledge and eager for information on how they can do their jobs better.

I have also been in touch with a former dispatcher from Charlotte County. She, too, wants so much to see how things can improve.

This industry is chock full of dedicated, passionate and diligent individuals. So, when I get angry I don't intend or mean to diss on the entire industry.

This is a sample of some of the notes and emails Nathan and Mark have received:


I wanted to thank you for telling your story. I am even more thankful that God sent Kevin Willet to bring us together. Your loss of Denise has served as my wake up call. It is so easy to get lost in the day to day routines and to lose focus of why we do the job we were called to do. Both D~~~ and I have made it a point to bring more awareness to your story. We are actively telling all C~~ dispatchers we encounter , your story. We hope we can help you further now, tomorrow and in the future. Don't take no for an answer. We support you and will keep Denise alive by improving the way we do business. Thank you.

My point being there are positives in all this madness. And it is (as I've expressed before) madness.

The more these tragic stories are told the more people will know that this industry needs our help. So many depend on 9-1-1. Denise did. Mrs Cantrell did. Brittany Zimmerman did. Olidia Kerr Day and countless others expected something more than they received. Was it the industry's fault or is it our fault because we're not educated in the way 9-1-1 works? Especially with the use of cell phones. In the Cantrell's case it obviously had nothing to do with cell phones but with procedure.

I hope with all these cases we learn from them and fix the issues to help prevent and minimize mistakes in the future.

Awareness. That's what it's all about.

God bless all 9-1-1 dispatchers and call takers with direction, guidance, steadiness, passion and empathy. And thank you. I never mean to sound ungrateful.

Matthew Cantrell and 9-1-1

I thought my babies and grandbabies were adorable but look at this little guy! Isn't he or I should say wasn't he adorable. Yes, wasn't. Another 9-1-1 tragedy. And one I simply can't get out of my mind.

Little Matthew was from Murphy, Texas. He, his mom and his older brother were watching TV when Matthew wandered away. He somehow became tangled up in a play soccer net. By the time the mom noticed he was missing he was in deep trouble. Matthew's mom tried desperately to save his life. I listened to the 9-1-1 call today and you can literally hear the desperation in her voice.

It brought back some memories of my own two boys when they were little. One time Brian somehow got out of the house and he was standing in the middle of Carrollton Road. He was standing on the double yellow line wearing nothing but a diaper. I forget what I was doing. I must've been doing something. Because there he was out there in the street.

Nathan when he was two swallowed all my high blood pressure pills. He climbed up the kitchen counter and somehow got the pills. The child proof lid wasn't on tight. I thought he was upstairs napping and there he was in there eating my pills as if they were candy. We rushed him to the hospital and on the way I heard his death rattle. They saw us come in the ER and pushed everyone who was ahead of us out of the way and all the doctors started working on him.

My point is things happen. I wasn't an unfit mother.

In Matthew's case the 9-1-1 call taker can be heard saying "he either tried to strangle himself or someone tried to strangle him". What bull. The baby was only a year old! You can hear the call taker saying that as clear as day! Who did he think he was? God? Accidents and tragedies happen. Not everyone these days wants to harm their kids. Sadly there are folks out there that do great harm and actually kill their kids. But if this call taker had listened, truly listened instead of judging he would have heard the mom (who, yes, tragically was hysterical) trying her best to calm herself down. She literally begged the man to tell her what to do.

Do these call takers become desensitized through time? Do they witness so much tragedy that they don't feel it anymore?

You hear them discussing it afterwards and they're just cold. It's creepy. One says "yeah, she wasn't going to listen. I tried and she just wasn't going to listen". That's totally untrue. She did try and you can hear her telling herself "calm down. I have to calm down. Breathe."

Then the police on the scene separate this poor distraught mother from her son! Because they presumed it was a crime scene? OH MY GOD! HOW DO YOU DO THAT? WHO MADE THAT DECISION???? Then they tell the paramedics that "he is gone" and that it is "now a crime scene". Meanwhile the paramedics testified how the mom could be heard screaming her grief. Well heck yeah! The paramedics understood. I'd be screaming too if they had separated me from Nathan or Brian. Just watch the movie "Dumbo" when Dumbo's taken from his mom. Yes, I think I could become violent. The night Nathan was a suspect in Denise's death, I wouldn't leave. He wanted me to. He asked me almost begged me to go home and help Sue with the babies. Would I leave? Hell NO! Even tho' he was 23 years old, I wasn't leaving. He was in danger. His wife was in danger.

Fortunately those paramedics forced the issue and told the cop who thought he was God, that they were the ones to decide whether there was life.

Sadly and tragically because of all the wasted time any chance of little Matthew surviving was thrown away and it all began with the call taker who wasn't helping the mom. Then just as in Denise's case it all snowballed and like Denise, little Matthew didn't have a chance.

And this cop decides to play God and separate the boy from his mom and treat it as a crime scene? The call taker assumes someone tried to strangle him? Holy Hell.

Excuse my language but I'm quite distraught over this.

Also, Matthew's 4 yo older brother witnessed the whole thing. Mom sent him for the scissors to cut through the net. Does that sound like someone who just tried to strangle her child?

I just look at that beautiful face. He was beautiful! It's obvious in his face and chubby arms his parents adored him! That he was a healthy beautiful boy.

I would think that the citizens in Murphy, Texas would be up in arms saying "hey! this is wrong! We deserve better!" "We can do better!"

But, you know, just like in Charlotte County the City of Murphy doesn't think they handled anyo of this wrong. They feel they handled everything appropriately. Sound familiar?

Hah! Sorry for the rant.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Denise Amber Lee and Matthew Cantrell, In Heaven Together

Today Mark has interviews with some professional video makers. (Sean did this one and it was beautiful. There were glitches tho' in the audio). Anyhow, Mark has to watch the video 3 more times today at those interviews. Since Nathan will be speaking more and more it's important to get something polished.


Putting your pain on public display is not an easy task. I truly don't know how Nathan does it. I guess he has his purpose and he's driven. My part was reading that IA report 3 times. That wasn't easy either. But I was driven and had my purpose.

I guess the human race can endure all sorts of suffering if in the end they feel they've contributed something positive to their fellow man.

I honestly believe 9-1-1 reform is desperately needed.

I was in communication with a family from Texas last week while the guys were away in California. They lost their son, Matthew, only a year old to a tragic accident. He accidentally got caught up in a soccer net. His mother called 9-1-1. She asked the 9-1-1 call taker 8 (eight) times "what should I do?" She was never told and wasn't connected to a EMT for another 2 and a half minutes. Even after being connected to the EMT she wasn't helped. They said she was too hysterical. Ugh!

The police arrived followed by the paramedics. Shockingly the police separated the mother from her dying son. Then when the paramedics arrived the police with arms spread out blocked their entry way and said that it was a crime scene. At least that's how I read the articles. I got it wrong or the articles did (nothing unusual there) because this is what the father told me:

"The paramedics that were blocked by the police were from the fire department. The first two paramedics had already entered my house. The first two paramedics were met by one of the police officers at the ambulance. This meant that the police officer left Matthew to tell the paramedics that 'He is gone' and 'This is a crime scene'. The paramedics had to advise the police officer that they would determine if he was alive. Matthew was alive, but was left for dead by the police officer and the police officer did delay the paramedics instead of helping them come inside."

Can you imagine? The boy wasn't dead. And he lived for another 3 days until the family decided to take him off life support. He was only a year old. sigh.


It's bad. Bad things happen. And the little Texas town where this happened should be outraged. It was PRESUMED that the young mom intentionally hurt her child! It's just too horrific to think about. It's literally worse than a family's worst nightmare.

The dad says he relives all the facts over and over again. I do the same thing with the IA report. People say "don't dwell on it". Heh! Like we're trying to dwell on it.

Good for this young family from Texas! They are advocating changes in the 9-1-1 system. They already have had success getting the soccer nets recalled. They are driven to seeing that this never happens again to another little boy. God bless them for that and keep them strong.

Nathan is looking forward to meeting this family when he goes to Texas. Denise will not have died in vain and neither will have little Matthew.

Okay. I have to go pack. What a depressing day. Everyday without Denise is sad. And for this Texas family, everyday without Matthew must be as equally heartbreaking.

I don't know how their call taker was reprimanded. I should find out. The heartbroken family doesn't believe they were reprimanded at all.

The dad is supposed to send me a link to the 9-1-1 call. If I get his permission I'll post it.

Our call taker only had to take 12 hours of remedial training. heh. As if that's going to help. Some people are simply untrainable.

Much love and peace.

In other news:

We are moving this weekend. I don't know how we're going to do it. The piano was picked up today. We sent it over to Nathan's house. So, it's not too far away.

Again, much love and peace and please pray for the Cantrell family in Texas.

Little Matthew Cantrell. Sweet angel.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I probably shouldn't blog tonight but here goes.....

As everyone who reads my blog knows, Mark and I are in the process of moving. Big task with lots going on. So many emotions. Not easy.

Anyhow, I ended up having the boys tonight while Mark and Nate went to a "night" spring training game. I watched the babies.

Today started off difficult because I was expecting to get a lot done. Mostly bathroom closets, kitchen and refrigerator. Unfortunately Adam came home early sick today! AAAAH! That messed me up a little.

Nathan was wonderful and helped Mark move lots (practically all) of the heavy big stuff. Thank you, Nate! I don't know what we would've done!!!!

It was funny. The babies came home and at first didn't want to come in. The neighbor was putting up some sort of inflatable fun house! Well.... the boys wanted that! Until I said "hey, Grandma's furniture is all gone! Come see! I don't have a sofa or a table! Come look, it's all gone!!"

That peeked Noah's interest instantly.

At first I was extremely frustrated having to watch the boys. I have so much I need to do. And getting stuff done around the babies is impossible. And then when it's around "sick" babies who aren't feeling well........... well.......... Tomorrow if Adam's sick who knows what I'll get done????

but I gotta tell you. With all that stress and knowing I'm not getting done what I wished to get done at the pace I wanted it done in the end, it didn't matter.

The boys were simply marvelous. And I mean that especially as Billy Crystal expresses it "they were maaaaarvelooooous!" Adam was a little grumpy but after his pizza, he went to bed at 8 and went to bed peacefully. Noah and I played a little longer. He even watched "Down With Love" with me. It's with Ewan MacGregor and Renee Zellweger. A spoof of Rock Hudson and Doris day. And he wanted to sit by me the entire time. Then we played with his blocks. We made a fire station.

Gee. Stress? Anger? Crap? Yeah, we have it all. But we also have these boys!!!!!! And they really are maaaaaarvelooooous even when they are fighting over a toy.

I gotta tell you. I got absolutely nothing done tonight but I played with my grandbabies. And after all is said and done, that was what was important. They bring me so much joy.

Even Adam being sick, brought me joy. You know why? Because he simply wanted to be held. Well, don't I want to be held? So, we were a match made in heaven probably made by Denise.

The nice thing is Noah and Adam are both small children who enjoy being held. And do I love holding? Oh yes. Bliss.

And Mark and Nate had some alone time together having a good time!

Much love and peace...............

Monday, March 2, 2009

Not much news tonight

Things are kind of quiet at home. I suppose that's a good thing. That doesn't mean that there isn't a lot happening. There is.

I'm just so overwhelmed by it I can't post on it all.

It's all good and it all has to do with 9-1-1. Why I feel depressed and frustrated, I don't know.

Maybe it's because with all the excitement about all the possible improvements etc.... I feel.... still lost without Denise.

I still can't stop missing her.

Maybe I feel guilty for the relief I feel that so much is finally happening. It's certainly not happiness I feel. It's more a relief and a certain satisfaction that some of what we've been doing is paying off.

We're moving on without her. We're fighting to expose the problems in certain 9-1-1 centers, and we're fighting to fix those problems. We're trying to reach out to others and their frustrations with the system. We're doing all we can. And it's a lot. It's emotional.

Sadly, it's so much sometimes I think it really takes it's toll on us.

It's a bittersweet feeling. Sweet and sour.

Sweet because, thank goodness, change we now know is coming. And sour because.......... well........... we know why it's sour.

Thank goodness, at least for me, for the babies. They bring the happiness. I find very little in much else.

Michael King, the alleged murderer has so much to answer for. He has no clue as to the grief he's caused this family. He has no clue what he has stolen from us.

John Davenport and Bill Cameron along with others who were on duty that night in the CCSO 9-1-1 center have no clue as to what grief they have caused us. They have no clue. NO CLUE.

Michael King is a low life and though I may not understand I accept that he's enough of a psychopath to be oblivious. But as to the others (John Davenport and Bill Cameron), and those who participated willingly in that convoluted I/A report put out by the sheriff's office? You'd expect better from them. They have no clue as to the additional pain and suffering they've caused our family.

deep breath

Nathan made a statement this morning about how he was naive before Denise was murdered. Heck, I think we were all a bit naive. Even those of us in our fifties. Heck, even maybe Denise's dad who is a veteran police officerand has probably seen just about all you can see.

In someway a major part of all of us died that day.

I want so bad to feel good about what's happening. There is so much that's going to come of this as far as 9-1-1. I hope so much that lives will be saved and the improvements will help minimize these tragedies caused by 9-1-1 mishaps. Michael King killed Denise. We know that. But as you all know the 9-1-1 center clearly screwed up.

The improvements I speak of? They are nothing we've started. They've been in the works. It's apparently a continual process. With technology changing as rapidly as it does, 9-1-1 has a major responsibility to keep up. It's not easy. So, the fight has been out there and it's been on going.

The good news! We have so much support. And now that the guys have come back from CalNENA we have even more support and it's by the hundreds. They were so moved by Denise's story. And now Nathan is in even more demand to speak at other venues.

Denise's tragedy just may be a catalyst to help things move at a faster pace. I hope so. I wouldn't want to wish this on anyone.

I just hate that she had to die for all this to happen. I hate to be so blunt. But... I just wish she didn't have to die.

Sorry to ramble. I'm tired tonight between moving, babies and this. I'm just tired.

Much love and peace.