Riverside County sheriff’s dispatcher credited with saving kidnap victim’s life after 911 call, text message

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Wednesday, October 25, 2023 4:35PM

IE sheriff's dispatcher credited with saving kidnap victim's life

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) — Riverside County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher Meghan Gonzalez has been on the job for four years, handling all kinds of calls for help. The 911 call she received on May 2, will be one she’ll never forget.

“Nobody said anything, and so I had a really weird gut feeling about it,” said Gonzalez.

She listened for three minutes taking in the sounds and tried to get the caller to respond to her question.

“I said, If you have an emergency but cannot hear me press a button. I could hear a guy in the background although I couldn’t make out what he said just something felt off about it and she ended hanging up as soon as I said that.”

Gonzalez initiated the text-from-911 feature within RapidDeploy’s Radius Mapping system which allowed her to identify the caller’s location and communicate via text message. The response Gonzalez received back from her changed everything.

“It said that she had been bitten, beaten, and she was naked in the back of a trunk,” recalled Gonzalez.

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It was a kidnapping in progress. The victim was able to text she had been taken by the suspect in Blyth, that she had a restraining order against him, but didn’t know where she was. Gonzalez did know her location by using GPS to pinpoint the victim’s cell phone signal she was able to locate the victim within 7 meters of the nearest cell tower.

But that’s not all, before the caller had hangup Gonzalez recognized a familiar sound.

“On the open line I could hear a vehicle door open and to me I thought it was an Explorer turns out it’s the sound for all Ford vehicles when you leave the door open it makes a specific sound,” she said.

Utilizing that bit of information deputies were able to zero in on the suspect’s car parked at a liquor store in Moreno Valley. Inside the trunk of the vehicle deputies found the victim and arrested her kidnapper.

Gonzalez is credited with saving the victim’s life. Earlier this month, Gonzalez was recognized with the Rapid Deploy “Superstar” award which honors those who made a lifesaving impact and use of the Rapid Deploy technology.

“It was just that gut feeling that made me generate that call for service,” she said.

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