Home invasion call left police dispatcher in tears

Posted at 11:44 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 07:38:30-05

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Jessica Prichard has taken over 100,000 emergency calls in her 10 years as a police dispatcher, but a call she fielded Friday night left her in tears.

When Stephanie Noble called 911 from a closet inside her home, she told Prichard that she was too afraid to speak above a whisper. Three armed men claiming to be police had kicked in the door of her Winton Avenue home and forced the family upstairs, she said; at the time of the call, she was crammed inside the closet alongside her 12-year-old, 11-year-old and 8-month-old children.

Her oldest daughter, Anise Hill, had run outside when the men arrived, and Noble told Prichard she was afraid they had taken her. She spoke in a whisper, she said, because she thought one of the intruders might still be in the house.

"He put the gun to my head," she said. “He put the gun to my kid’s head."

Prichard spent 40 minutes on the phone with Noble, attempting to soothe the other woman’s fears, learn more about the incident and guide police to her location. In the 911 calls released by Hamilton County authorities, her voice is steady and her tone is professional -- even remote.

Internally, she said Monday night, she felt Noble’s terror as acutely as if it were her own. Her own daughter turned one year old in 2016 -- and despite her in-depth emergency training, that call hit close to home.

"I have to maintain that tone that’s just professional and letting her know that I’m doing everything I can to help her," Prichard said. "But inside I’m feeling the exact same thing that she’s feeling. I could feel that I need to do everything I can to protect her and her children."

Anise Hill had not been kidnapped. At the same time her mother called police, she was calling them, too -- and she wasn’t whispering. She was frantic. The men had run at the sound of a nearby siren, she said, but she was afraid they would come back.

With Prichard’s help and that of other Hamilton County emergency responders, mother and daughter were safely reunited, although no arrests were made in the home invasion.

And Prichard hung up the phone and cried.

"Knowing that she was OK, knowing that her daughter was OK, knowing that her other three kids were OK -- it was a huge sense of relief," she said.

In a news release issued Friday night, Springfield Township police said that the intruders had not returned and that they did not believe the crime had been random.

No arrests were made the night of the incident. Police encouraged anyone with information about the break-in to contact them at 513-729-1300 or Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.