Sheriff#039;s office probing response to incident

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

ROME TOWNSHIP- What happened and why?

Lawrence County Sheriff's Office officials are looking into why there was a lengthy delay between the time a call for help was placed and a deputy made contact with an alleged crime victim and her good Samaritans.

Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jeff Lawless said Sunday, people called the Lawrence County 911 dispatch center and advised they had found a woman wandering along Reeves Creek in Rome Township.

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When they stopped to help her, she told them she had been brought to Lawrence County from Huntington, W.Va., and had been raped.

"The people who found her called (911) at 2 a.m., and officer did not arrive until an hour-and-a-half later and the people had to call several times. We're investigating to see what happened," Lawless said.

From his initial investigation, Lawless said it appears that sheriff's deputies were busy assisting other people at the time that call was placed and a Chesapeake police officer agreed to handle the call.

"We sent the Chesapeake officer out and he thought she was still walking alongside the road and actually, the people who found her had taken her to their house," he said. "We're trying to find out where there was a breakdown in communication."