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911 calls raise questions in 5-year-old's death

Shawn Ley has the second 911 call from a stepmother of a 5-year-old who died of malnourishment.
Shawn Ley has the second 911 call from a stepmother of a 5-year-old who died of malnourishment.

PORT HURON, Mich. – Recently-released 911 calls are raising questions in the case of 5-year-old Makenzie Maison's death from child neglect and malnourishment. Makenzie's father and stepmother have been charged in the incident, but now a 911 call made by the stepmother when Makenzie stopped breathing is being brought into question.

Local 4's Shawn Ley learned Wednesday that the dispatcher had to be retrained after not offering CPR instructions to Makenzie's stepmom when she called in for help.

Here's a transcript of the 911 call:

When the dispatcher answered the phone, he said "St. Clair County 911, what's the location of your emergency?"

Stepmom Hillary Maison made the call at 8:29 on May 27. It took the dispatcher 30 seconds to ask her what the emergency was.

"What's goin' on there?" they dispatcher asked.

"Uh, well, the last couple days or so our, my husband and I, our 5-year-old has been rebelling against food," Maison answered.

Maison talked for 27 seconds before she revealed that Makenzie wasn't breathing. The dispatcher didn't ask where the girl was or what condition she was in.

"I just gave her a bath and she's not even, she's not even coherent, it doesn't even look like she's breathing right now," she said.

"So this is more of a medical issue, then?" the dispatcher responded.

Maison went on to say that they've been giving Makenzie food but she wouldn't eat. She finally revealed that her husband, Andrew Maison, was performing CPR.

The dispatcher asked no questions and offered no instruction.

"She's been stumbling around the house," Hillary Maison said. "We've tried a lot. Nothing seems to be working. Right now it doesn't even look like she's breathing. My husband's got her in the kitchen right now trying to get her, you know, like CPR, he says it sounds like she's go fluid in her lungs, but..."

"Okay," the 911 dispatcher answered. Maison then said "I'm freaking out, I'm sorry."

"Okay, we'll get help over to you, okay?" the dispatcher said, ending the call.

The supervisor of the St. Clair County Central Dispatch said they had a lot of severe weather calls coming in at that time and that the dispatcher may have been distracted during the call.

"The dispatcher from the first call was in fact brought into my office on his next duty day, counseled by me and retrained," Tim Conger, director at St. Clair County Central Dispatch said. "There was no delay in full emergency response dispatched from the first call."

Listen: First 911 call from 5-year-old's stepmother

That dispatcher sent an ambulance to the home, calling it a case of "difficulty breathing."

But Hillary Maison's second 911 call, which came 10 minutes later, had a very different tone.

At one point, the new dispatcher said "Okay, we have help on the way, anything changed?"

"She's, she's not moving!" Maison responded.

"Okay, is she breathing?" the dispatcher asked.

"We don't think she's breathing!" Maison said.

"Okay, I need you to get right next to her and check, okay?" the dispatcher said.

That dispatcher kept Maison on the line, giving directions and asking directions, as opposed to the first call, when few questions were asked and little information was gained.

"My husband's right next to her and is trying to do CPR on her, but..." Maison said.

"Okay. Is she laying flat on the floor?" the dispatcher asked?"

"She's laying flat on the floor," Maison said.

With a child involved, the dispatcher tried to get to the bottom of what exactly was going on.

"Was she eating something?" the dispatcher asked.

"No! She's, she's been rebelling against food lately," Maison said. "If it's not what she wants, she won't eat it."

"Okay, and she's not awake?" the dispatcher asked.

"She acts like she's not even there," Maison said.

The response time was not impacted by the calls, as medics got to the home in 12 minutes. When the medics got to the home, they called for a police investigator right away. The scene was so alarming that they wanted a criminal investigation launched as quickly as possible.