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Sandy Hook Investigation Why the 911 Calls Matter

Published on November 23rd, 2013 | by -swansong-


Sandy Hook & The Cheshire Murders – Why the 911 Calls Matter

In this article titled Sandy Hook & The Cheshire Murders – Why the 911 Calls Matter we will look at the delays in the issuing of a final report on Sandy Hook and the upcoming decision of a Connecticut judge to release, or not, the 911 calls from that day. We will compare them to another, slightly less famous, Connecticut tragedy to try to determine if Sandy Hook is unique or just par for Connecticut justice.

Nothing fuels a conspiracy more than secrecy and goodness knows we’ve seen more than our fair share of that over these many months. Those of us that spend any time on internet forums discussing this issue or requesting further information have had to endure all manner of vicious descriptions of our character for simply requesting information allowed us by law. These comments from a NewsTimes commenter is a good example of what I mean.

Why does the media continue to frustrate the public and the “families” with the very sensitive subject of Sandy Hook Elementary School? Where is your compassion, sympathy and consideration for the citizens of Newtown? Leave it alone!!!!!

The “hard copy” of all the details is NONE of our business! We do not need to hear any more descriptions of issues that are too painful to those immediate families to be made public yet again. If the families need the details, they should be given privately, without the publicity that has covered this circumstance since Day 1

While it may be easy to allow emotion to dictate our decisions in matters such as these there are very real and long established reasons for the public availability of information related to crimes and the police response to them.

Sandy Hook & The Cheshire Murders – Why the 911 Calls Matter

It has now been 11 months since the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. During that time much has been made about the ever increasing length of time it is taking the State’s Attorney to finalize the report and the extraordinary lengths to which officials (and families) seem willing to go to keep the information of this event secret from the public. The delays and ever changing deadlines seem suspicious enough for an event that has, in every way except officially, been blamed on a single, mentally disturbed young man but what if this isn’t the first time Connecticut police have dragged their feet and denied critical information to investigators and families in a major crime?

The Cheshire Murders HBO

I recently had the opportunity to view a new documentary on HBO titled The Cheshire Murders. The full documentary is available at the end of this article. It tells the tragic story of a Cheshire Connecticut family, the Petits, Dr. William Petit, his wife, Jennifer-Hawke Petit and their daughters Hayley (17) and Michaela (11). It is, unfortunately, a story we have heard all too often. Two men perpetrate an armed home invasion and when the smoke clears (literally) a mother and her 2 daughters are dead.

That tragedy, in and of itself, would be cause enough for a lifetime of grief and sadness for the family of Hawke-Petit and her children but as we’ll soon see the response by police and their continuing reluctance to release critical information to the family is causing that pain to go on with seemingly no end in sight.

July 23/07 – Cheshire Ct. police receive a 911 call regarding a possible home invasion/kidnapping. Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Ct State Police describes the events.



Some notable statements from Lt. Vance:

“An incident took place this morning here in the town of Cheshire, uh, shortly after 9:30 this morning.”

“The facts are as follows…this morning, shortly after 9:30, a suspicious incident took place at the Bank of America…”

“Immediately Cheshire dispatched officers to the area of the bank and to the area of the victim’s residence…”

“Upon arrival at the victim’s residence the first officer observed 2 male subjects exit the private residence and also observed the private residence fully engulfed in flame.”

cheshire murders house fire

As I listened to Vance’s presser I couldn’t help but think that I’d heard it before. Similar language in describing the police response, almost as though it’s just a script they immediately pull out to make sure everyone knows that no matter how bad things are the police acted immediately and professionally…whether it happens to be true, or not.



In this video we’ll hear Cheshire Town Manager, Michael Milone, praising the efforts of first responders. And again, as with Vance, the message is driven home long before any real details emerge that the police and first responders acted promptly and flawlessly.

As it turned out, the response by Cheshire Police was anything but prompt or flawless.

Sandy Hook & The Cheshire Murders – Why the 911 Calls Matter

Recordings Shed Light on Response to Cheshire Murders

Authorities responding to a 2007 home invasion that left a woman and her two daughters dead in Connecticut told a hostage negotiator not to report to the scene and had doubts the Petit family was in danger, according to newly released police recordings.

In one of the recordings, police Lt. James Fasano tells a dispatcher that he isn’t sure about the accuracy of Hawke-Petit’s comments to a bank teller about her daughters being held hostage at their home. Fasano said he wasn’t sure if Hawke-Petit was just saying her daughters were in danger in order to get money out of an account in her husband’s name.

In another recording, town hostage negotiator Eric Granoth called in to ask a dispatcher if he was needed at the scene. The dispatcher, after conferring with the deputy police chief, told Granoth he wasn’t needed.

Cheshire Crime Scene Bed Post

Cheshire Dispatch Log Released

Newly released dispatch records show a nearly five-minute gap between the time Cheshire police received an initial 911 call last July about an “incident” at the home of Dr. William Petit and the time officers were dispatched to the scene.

It took seven minutes from the time of the 911 call for police to broadcast a detailed description, including a license plate, of a possible suspect’s car that may have been driving in the area, records indicate.

A Cheshire officer was only a few blocks away on Higgins Road when the call to respond to the Petit home at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive went out. But the officer was ordered to stay back and not approach the house. Instead he parked out of view of the house and hid in some nearby woods watching the back of it.

As we heard from Lt. Vance earlier on, Cheshire Police received a call shortly after 9:30 and responded “immediately”. Let’s see if the police logs confirm this.

From The Cheshire Murders: As you look through this dispatch, you can’t help but walk away thinking there was another tragedy within the tragedy that occurred to the Petit family here. Nine-twenty-one-twenty-eight, initial call comes into the police department, 911. And this is the call that was actually from the bank manager.

hawke petit bank

Bank Teller 911 call

Some police officers were actually at the scene within second or minutes of when Steven Hayes and Jennifer Petit get back to the house. They had the phone number of the house early on. Nobody made a call. Nobody knocked on the door.

Nine-fifty-six, two suspects are moving into Chrysler. Nine-fifty- seven, there is a fire also at the scene. Initial call comes in at 9:21. This is over a half an hour later. They were actually at the scene for 30 minutes.

Sandy Hook & The Cheshire Murders – Why the 911 Calls Matter

Compare the above comments with Lt. Vance’s statement that, “Upon arrival at the victim’s residence the first officer observed 2 male subjects exit the private residence and also observed the private residence fully engulfed in flame.”

The strangulation of Jennifer Petit occurred. The rape of Jennifer Petit occurred. The pouring of gasoline occurred throughout the house and the actual setting on fire of the house. All of this is taking place while the police are watching the house, setting up their perimeter. It’s really outrageous.

Hawke-Petit Sister

Jennifer Hawke-Petit’s sister: I get really tired of the stories that say, oh, by the time the police showed up, the house was already in flames, and that’s not true at all.

When Billy came out of the house, he was pretty sure he saw men in the woods hiding behind trees, and we think those were all the police officers. And he was calling out to a neighbor, while hopping across the yard, tied and badly beaten.

Cheshire Murders Petit basement

William Petit somehow manages to escape from his restraints, get out of the basement and hop, with his feet still tied, to his next door neighbor’s house. Meanwhile tactical officers are hiding in the woods, safe and sound, watching the entire situation unfold.

Petit Neighbor 911 call

HAWKE RENN: We have asked a lot of questions, written a lot of letters, but they have not sat with me and they have not sat with my parents to tell us what happened and what unfolded and why and how. I believe that truly they think they did something wrong. I have heard all kinds of things, that it was a small town, and they hadn’t had the experience in the past.

I think they were afraid.

To date police have still not provided the family of Jennifer Hawke-Petit with the answers they so rightly deserve…and need.

A couple more points before I go. You may have noticed the inclusion of crime scene photos in this article. There are many to be found online of this crime. What’s noteworthy is that the world didn’t stop spinning due to their release. They were not gratuitously spread around the internet. There was no organized cry to have these photos and information kept from the public. On the contrary, the family wished this information to come out so they could understand, as best they could, what happened that day.

As you watch the documentary or view the crime scene photos take note of some other differences from Sandy Hook. You will not see one smile out of any of the various family members…6 years later. You will not notice the presence of the FBI…or the CIA…or the DEA…or ATF…or armed DEEP agents as we did at Sandy Hook. You will only see members of local and state police. You will see a properly catalogued crime scene complete with evidence markers, something glaringly absent from Sandy Hook.

I am also struck by the amount of surveillance camera footage from the bank, a convenience store and an atm as well as the text messages from the assailants, etc… These are all digital footprints completely absent…so far…from the Sandy Hook event.

Cheshire Murder Assailants

As if provided to further drive home the point of this article, a new article from the Danbury NewsTimes:

Sources: Sandy Hook 911 Tapes Reveal Cops Told to ‘Wait’

Before I quote some highlites from this article I have to be fair. I have railed against news organizations, including the Courant, for continually creating articles based on the statements of unnamed sources. I even went as far as to dedicate an article to it. Sandy Hook Official Sources So I must concede that this information must be taken with a large grain of salt.

Questions about the police department’s response to the mass shooting surfaced after two sources told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers on Wednesday that 911 calls between the school and emergency dispatchers indicated someone at police headquarters ordered officers to “wait until you go into the building”

The first call came around the time Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into the school at about 9:45 a.m.

An interesting statement considering we have been told time and again that the first call came in “shortly after 9:30am”. Interesting to note that this article has been updated a time or two and they have chosen to leave that fact, as is.

At another point, Rick Thorne, a school custodian who has declined comment on the shooting but who has been hailed for alerting staff to Lanza’s assault-weapon rampage, is disconnected by dispatchers.

In one of the last calls, Thorne says, “I’m standing in a corner not knowing what to do. I’m a custodian. The shootings happened five minutes ago.”

As this is written it gives the indication that the shooting had ended at least 5min prior to the arrival of police and was not continuing upon their arrival as has been stated.

…according to sources who have listened to about nine calls made to Newtown police on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012.

All previous reports have the judge assigned to determine whether the 911 calls will be released reviewing 7 calls…not 9.

State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky will be releasing his 40 page summary of the 2,000 page report on Monday, November 25. That is also the day the judge will make a ruling regarding the release of the 911 calls.

While many of us have been frustrated by the pace at which information has been released in this crime we should at least feel fortunate that it has not dragged on as long as the Cheshire Murders…yet.



Update 11/26/13

Judge Orders Release of Sandy Hook 911 Calls:Sedensky Weighs His Options

Judge Eliot D. Prescott ordered police to release the tapes by 2 p.m. on Dec. 4 unless Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III can convince the Appellate Court that the ruling should be reversed.

Good luck, Mr. Sedensky…you’re gonna need it.

It is well-established that 911 tapes are public records under the Freedom of Information Act, but Sedensky argued that they should be withheld as relating to an incident of child abuse or that they be treated as signed witness statements. He also said that their release would have a “chilling effect” on others who may need to call 911.

The judge rejected those arguments as a matter of law and logic.

Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

Sedensky also tried to justify the refusal to release the tapes by claiming that they are exempt from disclosure under a law that allows authorities to keep confidential signed witness statements in criminal investigations.

“The plaintiff’s claim borders on the frivolous,” Prescott wrote.

And a little salt in the wound, for good measure.

I may just have to send this judge a Christmas card.


What are your thoughts on Sandy Hook & The Cheshire Murders – Why the 911 Calls Matter? Do you think they’ll actually matter or is the whole event too far gone?

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About the Author

Is just a guy...sick of the lies. A guy who is sick of the constant manipulating, spinning, massaging, altering, sensationalizing and outright bastardizing of the news. There's a reason they're called the "public" airwaves. They belong to us...and it's time we took them back.

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