The murder of an East Texas mother is now getting national attention, and the FCC is asking major hotel chains to take a closer look at their 911 dialing systems.
In December, Kari Rene Hunt was murdered in a Marshall motel room. Police say the attacker was Kari's estranged husband. According to Kari's family, her young children, who witnessed the attack, tried calling 911 for help but the call never went through because the phone required the children to dial "9" first to get an outside line.
Monday, Kari's father, Hank Hunt, and her sister, Laura Napier, got word that Kari's story has captured the attention of the people with the power to do something about it.
"It's a good feeling," says Hank.
Weeks after Kari's death, her family started a petition on change.org. What they're asking for seems simple. They want dialing 9-1-1 from any phone in the country to connect the caller with an emergency operator.
"That's our national emergency number... 911. You don't say, 'Ok here's 911, but kids, make sure if you're in this, this or this building do an extra 9,'" says Kari's sister Laura.
Kari's petition has received hundreds of thousands of signatures and support from all over the world.
"It has been amazing. It's fresh. It has been less than two months since she has been gone, but to know that she's up there and watching us..." says Laura.
Monday the FCC asked major hotel chains across the country what can be done to make sure a tragedy like what happened to Kari and her family never happens again.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai writes, "[Kari's] death will not be in vain if we can take action to ensure that whenever someone calls 911, they connect with emergency personnel. Over the coming weeks and months, that's exactly what I intend to do."
"It's hope. It gives me hope that we can keep going with it. It's headed in the right direction but we still have a long way to go,' says Hank.
"If we can't have her back... this is the next best thing. If she knew that her life meant something and that what happened to her helped who knows how many other people..." says Laura.
However, their journey is far from over, and they're welcoming all of the support they can get.
"We've gotten a lot of East Texas support --support from, well, around the world-- but we need more. I think the more voices we have, the faster it's going to move and I think we're kind of proving that," says Hank.
Monday Commissioner Pai specifically asked the 10 largest United States hotel chains to inspect what happens when a guest dials 911 from a phone in his or her room. The commissioner says, if the guest is not directly connected to an emergency operator, the FCC needs to know the hotel's plan for fixing this.
If you'd like to support Kari's family by signing their petition, click here.
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