Outrage follows strangling death of Murphy boy

Outrage follows strangling death of Murphy boy

MURPHY – The parents of a boy accidentally strangled while entangled in a soccer net are speaking out about their frustrations with the city of Murphy.

Michael and Ave Cantrell said their aggravation at the city stems from a frustrating 911 call to the treatment and lack of help given by the Murphy Police Department.

The tragedy began on an October day in 2007, which was when Mrs. Cantrell said she dozed off while watching cartoons with her two boys. As she napped, one-year-old Matthew Cantrell somehow managed to wander outside of the family’s baby-proofed home. At some point, he hung himself after he became stuck in a soccer net in the backyard.

“I was trying to get his head back through the soccer net and it wouldn’t go back through,” Mrs. Cantrell said of when she discovered Matthew.

Full Story Here:
Outrage follows strangling death of Murphy boy

You may remember the Perverted Justice story from Murphy, TX. a while back, here http://texasfred.net/archives/119 and here http://texasfred.net/archives/353.

The Murphy PD, and their rumored *paid involvement* in those stings cast some serious doubts upon their leadership and management.

Now it appears that some level of serious incompetence has once again surfaced in the Murphy PD, their officers, their 9-1-1 system and it’s less than stellar response to this terrible tragedy.

I know we have police officers and 1st responders that read here, I would seriously like for you to read, and fully digest this piece from WFAA.com and Shelly Slater, read the report of the actions of the 9-1-1 operator, the EMT personnel and the responding officer, read it very carefully, and then let us know what YOU think!

Shelly Slater is one of the great reporters from WFAA News here in Dallas, I have used their stories on occasion, most recently the stories by Byron Harris of WFAA , one of the best investigative reporters in the business.

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16 Responses to Outrage follows strangling death of Murphy boy

  1. I’ve wondered about the many 911 calls we hear. They usually DO sound short with the caller. Often telling them to calm down, which is the right advice, but in the meantime, they need to get the wheels rolling. Much better that there is a fraudulent call than arriving late for a real emergency.

    Anyone hearing the distress in this phone call must know that it is real.

  2. ChicagoRay says:

    It’s easy to say here, but I as a Chicago suburban part time 911 operator for 6 years I would have been dispatching an ambulance to the residence as I calmly explained to the woman “I couldn’t offer official advice but she could she could listen to what I would do, and that would be to cut the net surrounding the child’s neck”.

    Then again some people are too freaked out to listen to anything closely as this lady sounds like she was, I mean tough to figure out what to do there?.. I’m sorry to say.

    But you know, sadly even 911 operators can be idiots ( I work with plenty) and not know what to do in all kinds of situations, particularly of late since here in Chicago we spend an awful lot of time talking to people who don’t speak English or speak it and don’t comprehend it, so what can anyone do when the population is all on their own wavelengths and in their own worlds.

    I can only imagine the culture and communication problem is equally as troublesome there as it is here. We have lots of Mexican, Indian and Arabic people in the area who misuse the emergency number, people of Polish decent and Russian too, so it’s a big problem here in Chicago too.

    Sometimes it’s just the dang parents fault for not watching their kids no?

    We cant’ babysit everyone’s children all day everyday at school and at home and elsewhere like liberals pretend it should be. I always remember Hillary ” It Takes A village” Sometimes the village is filled with idiots too.,

  3. My issue goes back to the ADULT FALLING ASLEEP while the children are able to move about freely. Childproofed home? I doubt it – MY home is childproofed, and there is no way I would fall asleep while MEG was awake, nor would she be able to get out of this house undetected when it is locked down.

    I understand the tragedy, I can see where people may be up in arms about slow response, but if the issue had not occurred in the first place the response time wouldn’t have mattered.

    In case you are wondering, yes, yes I am a cold hearted realist way deep down inside.

  4. Basti says:

    Not long ago there was a piece about a 911 operator falling asleep while taking a call and other malfeasance by 911 people. Then there is the ‘calm down’ thing, people aren’t going to ever be calm in situations like this. Just how is that helpful and if the dispatcher can’t give medical advice why aren’t they trained to do so?

    I know that in my local area if you want to get hired in any position concerning 911 you have to be related to the right people, contribute big to the right political party, or have some dirt on the powers that be. This isn’t rumor I’ve heard on my part, I know these things as fact.

  5. Thor says:

    I had heard this story last night and was aghast at the entire situation. First of all, the mother didn’t even have the common sense to grab a knife, scissors or other cutting object in order to free her child. Secondly, she was asleep. Child-proofed house ?!?!?!? I haven’t seen one yet.

    What disturbs me more is the 9-1-1 operator and the actions of the police officer. The police officer’s lack of action and attitude disturbed me the most.

  6. TexasFred says:

    Thor, on the *childproof* thing, absolutely, my 3 kids were not *child proofable*… They ALL read here and will tell you, they could get into ANYTHING… 🙁

  7. Basti says:

    I agree ain’t nothing child proof or cat proof. I’ve had 3 children and numerous cats so I know wherefore I speak.

  8. Carl Andrews says:

    I had my son, who is an EMT, read this story.
    His feeling is that this must be the most inept 911 center/police force on the face of this earth. He agrees that SOME 911 dispatchers leave a lot to be desired, but for the police to block access is inexcuseable!
    He remind me of a call he responded to at a nightclub where a shooting had taken place.
    Although the police worked to preserve the scene, he and his fellow responder were allowed free access to the victim.
    My heart goes out to this family.

  9. This just plain sucks. I even emailed that reporter about the more than few things that were pretty obviously just not right.

    I spent more than twenty years in EMS, in all phases. While I am not all that up on Texas law I can assure everyone that national Standard was not followed, not at all.
    Ray, not to denigrate you or your service, but Chi Town does have E 911, that small town may not. Yes, tell her to cut the kid free while typing the incident location into the command software would be job one. The whole shebang should have been launched in under a minute. Cops don’t call people dead, Doctors, Coroners, and Paramedics do. Some remote locations have protocols where an EMT can, but those are rare.

    The few times that I, as an Officer, took voluntary statements from co-responders? Those people that the statements were about were history shortly thereafter. You don’t do that so you can sit on documentation and pencil whip someone at a later date in the distant future.

    Carl, your Son has a good head on his shoulders.

    I’m too angry to keep going on this…

    Patrick Sperry
    NREMT-Paramedic Retired

  10. 2cents says:

    Words fail me. As someone who has lost a child, my heart goes out to the Cantrells – they are living an unimaginable horror right now.

    While I certainly put a measure of the responsibility on the parents (for all the reasons stated in the comments above), this is real life. Accidents happen, kids find their way into trouble, and panic is a very real phenomenon. That’s precisely why we have trained and professional personnel like police officers, 911 operators, and such – to stay cool in emergency situations, and to act with speed and decisiveness to save lives. Clearly, that did not happen here, and the Cantrells are paying a heavy price. It appears there is a systemic problem in this city, and it puts the public at considerable risk. That is inexcusable.

    Reading this story makes my blood boil – this is utter incompetence of the highest degree, bordering on criminal, in my opinion. It is one thing if the emergency workers do their best and still lose the child; this is something entirely different. Those worthless sacks of garbage who were supposed to protect and help the Cantrells so totally failed in their responsibility that they quite possibly allowed this child to die.

    Rational or not, right or not, if it were me I think I’d be suing their butts into every courtroom I could find, both to remove their dangerous worthlessness from where they could cause further harm to the public, and to make them pay in as painful and personal a way as possible.

    May God hold the Cantrell family in His hands. They need it.

  11. At first blush, this appears to be an entire emergency response SYSTEM that is ill-educated. Yes, you DO keep the person on the line and if you’re not equipped or trained to suggest medical advice (many systems and agencies, however, are equipped with “cheat sheets” from which they can read if it is determined that, for example, CPR may be a suggested response), the very FIRST thing you do is ringover or bi-transfer the call to the the nearest fire/EMT response center or network, however the system is structured. In our area, on what appears first to be solely a medic call, fire/EMT response would be first notified immediately, THEN a secondary response (if units available) for law enforcement. In general, around here, fire/EMTs arrive MUCH sooner because of their numerous stations in the communities. Fire dudes used to beat me to med calls about 99.9% of the time. I only had to perform CPR 3 times in my career, luckily.

    I say again, only at first blush and lacking all the requisite facts, this appears to be an entire first response SYSTEM that is out of whack — dispatch and LE and, possibly because they are ill-trained and they KNOW it, they are defensive from the start.


  12. ” say again, only at first blush and lacking all the requisite facts, this appears to be an entire first response SYSTEM that is out of whack — dispatch and LE and, possibly because they are ill-trained and they KNOW it, they are defensive from the start.”

    True enough BZ. However, in my book it’s no excuse for performance of this kind. Training is available at little or no cost from so many places it’s pathetic. I know, because whenever I saw a deficiency all it took were a few phone calls to get the ball rolling. From simple refresher training all the way through regional incident command. It’s there, if leadership steps up to the plate and gets things going toward improvement.
    Sorry, I see this incident as having crossed the boundary between misfeasance to malfeasance.
    I’m just very glad that when I woke up to my daughter dead on my chest Denver Fire and Paramedics did the best that could be done. So yes, I am coming from a been there done that situation.

  13. PS: no denying that but, in consideration, I know nothing about the Murphy agency, its history, its size, its revenue or Texas training mandates and law. I know that some dispatch centers are purposely instructed NOT to provide medical advice or assistance over the phone. I have no idea which model of dispatch system applies here, or any pertinent laws. In Fornicalia we are constantly at odds with budgets but, with my department, we historically have had the luxury of meeting most training mandates due to our size (2,500+), importance and overall philosophy. When you get to smaller departments (and I have no idea, again, what applies to Murphy), they customarily run the edge of incorporation or disincorporation due to budget. In any event, there needs to be a pointed evaluation of the ENTIRE emergency response system in the area of Murphy, whatever geographical or political or agency boundaries may exist.

    I don’t disagree with your conclusion. The first priority, however, is to first identify the specific problems in the smaller context and in the LARGER systemic context as well.


  14. TexasFred says:

    BZ, Murphy is a bigger version of Boss Hogg, Roscoe P. Coltrane and Ennis the Deputy…

    They must be Texas certified, the officers, but that doesn’t mean a hell of a lot if the standards of Texas Law Enforcement are not upheld by the Chief and Supervisors.

    Are you familiar with the term *good ol’ boy network*??

  15. Yeah. Unfortunately.


  16. BZ, that was why I interjected “National Standard.”

    To the best of my knowledge, Texas requirements exceed the National Standard.

    I think Fred nailed it though. A good ol’ boy situation that, yes indeed, most probably is systemic.

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