Officials release 911 calls that launched murder investigation i - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Officials release 911 calls that launched murder investigation in Little River

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The 911 calls that lead to the discovery of 29-year-old Christian Hope Phipps’ body and the arrest of her boyfriend and alleged killer, Leon Collier, were released Monday.

Both calls came from Collier’s childhood friends from out of state. “I'm calling, for a sergeant or someone. I'm trying to report something. This is the fourth number I've been given,” the first caller said.

The first caller, who was calling from Florida, struggled to find the right number to call for help.

“I'm not there I'm in Florida, a friend of mine, a childhood friend of mine, called, I believe he's going to hurt himself, and I believe he may have already hurt someone,” he said.

“You believe he already hurt someone, what do you mean, he may have hurt someone?” the dispatcher asked.

“I think he may have killed someone,” he said.

The caller said he was on the phone with Collier all night and again in the morning.

“I got off the phone with him and in a way, kind of said that he killed his girlfriend. In a way kind of mentioned… kind of… it stinks in here, she wanted it to happen… you know what I'm saying?” he said.


The second caller, another childhood friend called from upstate New York.
 

“The Horry County Police department requires an administrative message from your agency to be able to send someone out,” the dispatcher said.

“Yeah I called 911 in my area and spoke with my local police department and they gave me another police department in North Myrtle,” he explained.
 

The dispatcher then moved on to other questions. The second caller also showed concern for Collier's girlfriend.
 

“He’s depressed and his girlfriend is missing,” he said.

“How long has she been missing?” the dispatcher said.

“I don’t know, that’s all I know… I wish somebody would just go over there,” he said.
 

The 911 Director for Horry County, Toni Bessent, explained why the callers from out of state had trouble getting a hold of dispatch. One being, they aren't familiar with the area. Bessent said it is policy to have a callers agency contact the county on behalf of the call because at times, people don't have the best intentions.

“They’re using the police for a purpose that's not intended and it wastes our resources from sending folks to legitimate calls,” Bessent explains.

Which is why Bessent says dispatchers have to make sure the calls are legitimate.

“Sometimes it comes down to a feeling of the telecommunicator but it comes down to asking the appropriate questions and getting the right answers,” she said.

Bessent says the long pauses heard in the calls are because the dispatchers are multitasking and communicating with responders. She explained even though dispatchers may be on the phone with callers a long time, most times responders are on their way to the call and dispatchers are trying to get the most information possible.

Bessent says it’s also imperative dispatchers make sure they aren’t sending responders into a dangerous situation. She says dispatchers are trained to remain calm, and keep the caller calm. Dispatchers also use a priority dispatch list to identify the incident type. Bessent explains this list breaks down each incident, what to ask, and depending on the given answers, the next questions to ask.

Leon Collier remains behind bars.

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