Thursday, October 15, 2009

Denise Amber Lee Timeline January 17, 2008

reposted from January 9, 2008

For those who have already read this, please, forgive my repeating the story. I've written several time lines for several different people. I can't remember who knows what. And, so, I'm writing as much as I can down here. So, that it's clear and if anyone wants to dispute any of it, they can. What I'm about to write is part what we experienced and part of what I got out of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs report. No part of my timeline has come from the newspapers because as we learned from them erroneously printing about Denise being at the post office, newspapers can be wrong. I'll try to be as objective as possible and not let anger seep through.

Here goes:

The last time Nathan talked to Denise was just shortly after 11AM. His last words to her were "I love you".

Nate was working for the Florida Power and Light Company as a meter reader. His days started early by leaving the house so early it was still dark out. Denise and the boys would still be sleeping. Noah had just turned two years old. Adam was 6 months old and still being breast fed.

They had been over Mark's and my house the evening before. We had dinner together. After dinner Mark and Nate worked at the dining room table going over Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" book. They were working on a budget. Nathan had been working evenings as well as for FPL. He worked at Winn Dixie stocking shelves whenever he could. He played trumpet in the evenings for the Venice Symphony when they had concerts. He played every Christmas at our church. During the summer he would umpire Little League games for $50 a game. So, Denise didn't get out much. She stayed home with the boys.

Because she was quiet and shy or maybe just because she loved Nathan so much, she rarely went out without him. That and the two babies were and still are a handful for one person to lug around. She wrote a beautiful passage on her myspace the previous August about going to the mall and trying to purchase sunglasses. You'll have to check out her and Nate's family myspace page. It's speaks of what kind of a mother she was. Her babies always came first.

Here's the story I'm talking about quoted from myspace:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The joy of having two boys...

Today I thought it might be fun to take the boys to the mall... by myself. It started off really well. Noah and I ate lunch in the food court while Adam slept. I let Noah go on one of those rides that cost 75 cents. Then we went to Old Navy. Noah started getting a little hyper and wouldn't stay with me so I had to hold him and push the stroller at the same time. At the check out both of them started crying. Adam was hungry so we went back out to the car where I fed Adam ('cause he's breastfeeding) and Noah played in the car rolling the window down. Finally we went back in the mall and I let Noah play in the play area so I could get a chance to just sit. Noah was knocked down twice by older boys running around wild. Of course then Adam needed changing and I couldn't take my eyes off of Noah or else he'd run out of the play area. So I put them both on the changing table and changed both their diapers. Fun fun. Then we went to JCPenny. I was trying on sunglasses when Noah tried to run away. So I had to carry Noah while trying on sunglasses and then Nathan called. Both of the boys start crying once again so I put Noah down and picked up Adam. Noah thought it would be funny to try to run away again. So i caught him while holding Adam and put Noah in the stroller. An old man commented that I must have my hands full and said he checked in the bottom basket of the stroller to make sure I didn't have a third one in there. LOL, can you imagin if I had three? So I finally bought my sunglasses and we went home. Something so simple as going to the mall to buy new sunglasses is a thousand times harder when you have two boys under two. But it was still fun. Anytime I get to leave the house is a treat for me.

We also have a few new pics of the boys. I made a new album of Noah and Adam and there's a couple new ones in Adam's album. Check 'em out.


As far as I know she didn't leave the house that day. Nate says she gave Noah a haircut out on the lanai. And when he got home around 3:30PM her clothes were laid out as if she was getting ready to take a shower. She had probably just laid the babies down for naps. When Nate arrived home he found both babies in the same crib. That was odd. Noah's voice was hoarse. All Denise's belongings were still there, cellphone, purse, keys etc... But no Denise. The windows were shut but not latched. Nathan and she had spoken earlier about opening the windows to save on air conditioning bills. January in Florida is one of the best times weather wise in Florida. And living so close to the coast we have some wonderful breezes. So, the windows being closed without the air on was also odd. It was stuffy. Searching frantically for Denise, Nathan called Sue (Denise's mom) first to see if she knew anything. Of course, she didn't and he immediately called 9-1-1 to report Denise missing. Then he called Rick and Rick went into action.

Normally in a missing adult case, they wait to start searching. There's usually a credible explanation as to why the person is not there or the person has left willingly. Rick and Nate both stressed, of course, that this wasn't the case. That there was just no way Denise would leave her kids. So, I believe, in deference to Rick, the North Port Police Department took this more seriously than they probably would normally have. (that's just opinion on my part). Rick works for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office and has for the past 25 years. It had to be terribly frustrating for him to watch the neighboring agency handle the case. But Nate and Denise lived in North Port which is in Sarasota County. So North Port had jurisdiction.

I have already written in an earlier blog how Mark called me and my mad rush to get out to the house. I was at work and my phone was turned off so I was missing calls. Finally Mark called on the store phone. Sue had already picked up the babies. So, I stayed with Nate. You could see Rick's frustration with the NPPD. You could see NPPD 's frustration with Rick. In a word? It was heartbreaking. Nathan was a suspect. A helicopter was overhead. It was getting dark. The thoughts that run through your head. We all knew (our family knew) that there was no way Denise would leave willingly. It was just impossible. Doubts enter but they are quickly brushed aside. Because we knew her. And, she worshiped the ground Nathan walked on and those babies were her life. Nathan I believe, wanted me to leave to help Sue with the boys but I wouldn't. I kept my distance and didn't want to be in the way. But, I so wanted to be there for my baby. I can't describe the pain and agony on Nathan's face. On Rick's face. It's damn difficult watching your son's world fall apart.

Sometime around 4:20PM (I'm estimating times because I don't have the report in front of me. If I'm way off, I'll correct later but I've got this stuff pretty well memorized. I live it over and over again) NPPD requested a K-9 from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office. This is the first time the CCSO 9-1-1 center became aware that Rick Goff's daughter is missing and that the children may have been involved.

At 3:30PM the CCSO had sent it's Teletype operator home early as to save paying overtime. At 4:59PM the first BOLO (Be On the Look Out) is broadcast over the Teletype from North Port mentioning a green Camaro, a description of the suspect and Denise. They give her name, age, haircolor etc... The next door neighbor had seen a green Camaro cruising up and down their road and then parked in Nathan and Denise's driveway.

Now since the Teletype operator went home the dispatchers were to monitor the Teletype every 5 or 10 minutes. Sadly, this BOLO was ignored.

At 5:38PM the CCSO says they issued their own BOLO but oddly, it's not in the CAD system which would have notified the deputies in the field immediately on their computers. The CCSO deputies were all over the place along the Sarasota County/Charlotte County border. But they don't know what they are looking for and they are frustrated they don't have any leads. Again, they never saw this BOLO and testified to that. Also, this BOLO isn't listed on a pass on log the call takers and dispatchers read when coming on duty. It lists what's going on, BOLOs etc... after reading it the on coming squad initials it. I have a copy of it. There is no BOLO listed as being sent out at 5:38PM by CCSO. (Oddly the summary of the I/A report says it was sent out at 5:31PM just one of many discrepancies in the summary). So, what do we have here? Deputies unaware and the dispatchers being unaware that Denise could be in a green Camaro. 2 other BOLOs sent across the Teletype are also ignored from North Port. One at 5:58PM and one at 6:46PM. So, IMO, there's no way that Teletype was being monitored. Now is this the dispatchers fault? I don't know who's fault it is. But obviously the time between 3:30PM and 6:45PM were critical for Denise.

Interestingly a call taker (Millie Stepp) testified she knew about the green Camaro but only because she heard about it over a Sarasota County radio. The supervisor of the 9-1-1 had been busy patching radios through to North Port. This takes close to an hour to do.

Okay, so deputies from the CCSO and Rick out at the house aren't aware of the green Camaro lead (maybe Rick is but he's assuming the Teletype is being monitored and the information is getting out). He's pacing and begging for information.

Then Sabrina Muxlow's 9-1-1 call comes into Sarasota County and she describes what her father told her. This is around 6:00Pm. She says her dad saw her cousin with a girl tied up in the backseat of the car and that the girl screamed "call the cops!" You'd think this guy would call the cops but no...... It's his cousin. And instead he lends him a flashlight, a gascan and a shovel. And 20 minutes later instead of calling the cops, he calls his daughter.

hmmm... deep breath here.

Then something truly miraculous happens. At 6:14PM the Sarasota County 9-1-1 center received a call from Denise herself. She has somehow managed to get the suspects cell phone and call 9-1-1. Sweet brave smart girl. She dupes him into thinking she's talking to him all the while giving information to the call taker. She indeed confirms that she's been taken against her will and that she's in a green Camaro. Her call lasts 7 minutes. Until it's abruptly ended with Michael King looking for his phone.

Now things at the house are starting to happen. Rick and CCSO Sgt Floyd Davis listen to Denise's frantic call. Rick confirms it's indeed her. My heart breaks for him thinking of his having to listen to it. But he heard her fighting and he must have been damn proud of her. Her call ends around 6:22PM and Floyd Davis calls the CCSO dispatch and requests a BOLO to be sent out immediately to look for a green Camaro. Finally, at 6:36PM the CCSO dispatch issues it's first documented BOLO telling their deputies (who have been waiting for this) to look for a green Camaro. All along for the past hour and a half they could've been looking for it but didn't know to.

At 6:30PM Jane Kowalski is watching Denise's hand pound the back window of the dark Camaro and hears her screaming bloody murder. She calls 9-1-1 but because she's crossed the county line she reaches the CCSO 9-1-1 center. It is the only 9-1-1 call in reference to Denise that the CCSO 9-1-1 center receives. The call lasts 9 minutes but no car is ever dispatched to the location Jane has described. Jane waits to hear from the CCSO but never does.

The 9-1-1 supervisor testifies "she didn't really know what was going on".

We at the house, are unaware of this call. Jane not only sees Denise's hand and makes eye contact with Michael King, she gives the CCSO call taker cross streets. On the 9-1-1 tape you hear the call taker is rattled, not in control, asking for direction from a supervisor and completely at sea as to what to do. Instead of entering information in the CAD immediately the way she was trained to do, so the deputies can see the information in their cars on their computers, she writes it down on a piece of paper and yells it across the room.

At the same time, Sgt Davis is on the phone with one of the dispatchers requesting the BOLO I mentioned earlier. The dispatcher tells him a little about the call Millie is in the process of taking. She asks Sgt Davis if the Camaro is blue. Sgt Davis says no, he believes it's green but tells her to call the NPPD to confirm. She never does. I don't know why not. It was not asked in the report. She also fails to mention to Sgt Davis that there's another person in the car in re to the phone call Millie's taking. He testifies "if she had, things would have turned out way different".

Also, at the same time the new shift comes on duty. They all initial a pass on log listing the incidents that are occuring or have occured. Updating them as to what is going on. Sadly, none of the 3 BOLOs North Port issued over the Teletype are listed. Neither is the supposed BOLO the CCSO sent out at 5:38PM. They testify that all they knew going in was that Rick Goff's daughter was taken, that maybe children were involved and that K-9 was requested. It was never asked in the report what the on coming supervisor knew or was told considering the other supervisor "didn't know what was going on" because she says "she was patching radios".

I can't tell you what is going on with Denise at this time. I don't honestly know. I assume she's on her way to her final destination. She had been torn away from her children, taken to the suspect's home, brutally raped and terrorized but still kept enough presence of mind to snatch his phone, call 9-1-1 and in a last ditch effort, take off her precious heart ring Nathan had given to her so that he could later identify it. She saved her kids and handed the prosecution their case on a silver platter.

What a hero.

Another BOLO is issued by North Port over the Teletype sometime around 7. From Denise's 9-1-1 call to Sarasota County they glean information on Michael King, where he lives, etc.... That information along with the tag number is in the this BOLO.

Oddly, the CCSO doesn't respond to this BOLO until 8:15PM when they finally issue their own BOLO. The first mention in the CAD system about looking for a Camaro is at 7:02PM and it says gray. I figure Denise is gone by then.

At 9:15PM or therabouts, a CCSO patrol car spots the Camaro and it's Eddie Pope, with the FHP, that stops it and arrests King. There is no Denise.

I don't know what time the search was called off that night. I had Noah spending the night. And kept him the next day while hundreds of people met to search for Denise. Many from FPL are turned away. Mark described to me walking hand in hand with others and being given little red flags to place where they may spot a clue. The searchers search at the end of Salford Blvd because that's where Michael King suggests they look. They still know nothing of Kowalski's call to the CCSO 9-1-1 center telling them he was last seen with Denise in the car turning east on Toledo Blade. They are at the same time searching a small area on Toledo Blade not far from where they arrested King. The CCSO's silence in this matter is unconscionable in my opinion.

I imagine if they would have known about Kowalski's call maybe the bigger search effort would have been along Toledo Blade and not Salford. I imagine her not having to spend an extra day and a half in that shallow grave, naked and exposed to the Florida elements longer than she had to. Or us suffering that day and half agonizing over what happened to her for longer than we had to. The only thing that could possibly account for this silence is cover up. And if it wasn't cover up, it was gross negligence.

There was negligence in how they handled the BOLO's and the Teletype as well. Maybe the thought of possibly losing their Teletype machine for not monitoring it appropriately and being caught silenced them. I don't know. But they knew.

When they called off the search early Saturday afternoon we assumed they had found her but we still don't know where or how or in what condition. There is still a glimmer of hope she's still alive. Shattered but alive. But, no, we're officially informed it was her around 4PM.

deep breath here

She was shot in the head.

I really can't go on. There were several other tragic errors the CCSO made that night. The piece of paper the call taker had written on had been handed to one of the dispatchers who didn't believe her radio was working. But according to the CAD it is the entire time and she's on it. Millie testifies she yelled the info to Dispatcher A but Dispatcher A and Dispatcher B testify she yelled it to Dispatcher B. The supervisor testifies she didn't know what was going on. It was very shoddy work indeed.

We don't find out about Kowalski's call until the day of the viewing. That would be the following Tuesday. We're numb already and for me it didn't sink in right away. The only reason we ever found out about her call was because she persisted in calling the North Port Police wanting to help. They didn't know who she was. Finally they figured it out on Saturday the day Denise was found and had to "request" information from the CCSO. The CCSO wasn't going to give it to them.

Jane Kowalski's interview with the North Port Police Department. They are still not sure who she is.

We find out more from the I/A report but it takes reading it 3 times to figure it out. It's that convoluted and there are so many errors in the summary.

Then we find out that the woman leading the investigation was actually working as Director of Communications. She had been promoted to Internal Affairs just before but because Sherman Robinson was on vacation, she filled in for him.

We also find out that the CCSO treated Jane Kowalski with derision and disdain. They blamed her for giving them erroneous information. She said blue Camaro and said it was a child. They never even followed her up with a phone call.

Sweet sweet Denise. I'm trying my hardest baby to get the bigger, more important story out. I'm sure people are sick of reading about it, but I don't know what else to do. Somehow we must make people aware of what's going on at the CCSO. I just don't know how else to do it.

I really need to write next about all the good things that followed. All the people who came out in droves for your funeral. All the fundraisers. All the hugs and prayers. The on-line community (a piano forum) that raised $16K for the boys education. How everyone's hearts broke and are still breaking everytime your story is played on DateLine or PrimeTime. Of how our families have bonded and we're doing out bests for Nate, Noah and Adam. There have been thousands more angels than villains in this piece. You have your own tree now. And your own classroom! You may get a playground. So many people now look at you as a hero. I'll always remember you put those babies first. In the Catholic church I believe you would be considered a martyr and a saint. Your last thought of Nate and his ring. How your heart must have broke.