‘Mommy needs help’: Child’s 911 call leads to long, frantic search to rescue mother

CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained 911 calls made by a 4-year-old to get help for her sick mother, and the calls show how Cleveland dispatchers spent 30 minutes on the phone with the child trying to find out where they needed to send help.

It happened last week in the city’s Lee-Harvard area. The mother was having trouble breathing and had become unresponsive.

A child told a 911 dispatcher, “Mommy needs help.” But the child didn’t know the address. Dispatchers kept asking if another grown-up was around, or if there was a piece of mail, or if the child could describe the color of the house.

As precious minutes ticked by, police worked on narrowing in on the address by trying to track the signal from the cell phone the child was using. First, the tracking got police to within a two-block range, but they still had to go door-to-door searching. A dispatcher could even be heard asking the child to flip porch lights on and off.

After 18 minutes, the phone went dead. But dispatchers called back for more than another 11 minutes. Finally, police and paramedics found the home.

They got mom to a doctor, and police praised the child. A phone recording shows an officer saying, “You did a good job. Good job, OK. Really good.”

Commander Debra Cavett oversees the Cleveland 911 center. She said, "We were able to get an estimated address within a two block range. And the longer we keep somebody on the phone, the more precise that address is." She added the dispatchers involved could relate to the child. She said, “They didn't give up. Actually, they're all mothers with young children, so they were really able to reach out to this child."

Police now plan to pay a special visit to the child to honor him and say congratulations.