x
Breaking News
More () »

11 Investigates | Murder of Oregon grandmother raises questions about 911 response

Help arrived too late despite call warning of man’s deadly intentions.

OREGON, Ohio — Johanna Crawford's family believes her death could have been avoided last year had their cries for help been handled differently by local law enforcement. 

It happened in mid-December, about a month after Oregon's 911 dispatch center was rolled into the Lucas County 911 Regional Council of Governments. 

Crawford knew she was going to be a victim of a murder. During a 911 call, she said Malcolm Fisher said as much the day before he shot and killed her.

The following is an excerpt from a Dec. 15, 2021 911 call placed at 10:26 p.m.:

Crawford: The father of my grandchild has said that he is going to kill my husband and myself. This is not the first time that he's made this threat.

Dispatcher: Ma'am, what's your address? 

Crawford: 3165 Hazelton, Oregon, Ohio.

Just over 24 hours later at 10:49 p.m. on Dec. 16, 911 received this call from a neighbor. 

Neighbor: I just heard some gun shots next door to my neighbor's house.

Fisher committed violent crimes in the past and was charged with robbing multiple people at gun point. He was just released from jail in the summer of 2021. 

A week before Crawford's death, Fisher was accused of punching a woman in Point Place, leading to a misdemeanor assault charge. The alleged victim made this call to 911 on Dec. 11:

Victim: A guy with his girlfriend from the neighborhood just literally jumped me and robbed me.

Crawford was prompted to call 911 the day before her death after her daughter, Elizabeth Huber, said Fisher made yet another violent threat captured on voicemail.

"You better call me back or your mom, your dad, [child's name] and me are all dead tonight," Fisher said in a voicemail to Huber.

The next day, Dec. 16 and minutes before the homicide, Fisher's cousin Stevenson Hicks called 911 at 10:38 p.m. He told dispatchers Fisher was on his way to Crawford's home and wanted police to stop a murder from happening. 

But there was confusion over the exact address.

Hicks: A cousin of mine is threatening to do some harm to some people and I'm trying to get the police to get out there before he gets out there. 

Dispatcher: Do you have an address where he's supposed to go? 

Hicks: I think it's 31-- 3110 Hazelton?

Dispatcher: 13-65 Hazelhurst? Can you spell the street?

Hicks: It's in Oregon, 1365 Hazelhurst - or Hazel-something. Hazelhurst? Is it Hazelton?

About 10 minutes after Fisher's cousin first called 911, Johanna Crawford, a 66-year-old grandmother, was killed.

11 Investigates spoke with multiple sources to determine if proper protocols were followed. We had a lot of questions for the two police departments involved, as well as for the newly-consolidated county dispatch center.

RELATED: A look inside Lucas County 911 dispatch

But first, let's take you back to Dec. 15, the day before Crawford died.

"I didn't like what he was saying. He was threatening to kill me, my mom and kidnap my daughter," Elizabeth Huber said about an argument she and Malcolm Fisher had on Joel and Albion streets in Toledo, the day before the deadly shooting. "I get out the car and proceeded to try to walk away from him and he chased me down, seemed like he was going to run me over with his car."

The two have a child together. Crawford was Huber's mother and had legal custody along with Huber's father.

"I ended up calling the cops and waiting a half an hour, almost an hour before they showed up," Huber said.

A joint statement from Lucas County 911, Toledo police and Oregon police issued on Dec. 23, 2021 shows the Toledo police officers who responded to Huber's call drafted a domestic dispute report. The officers weren't aware that Fisher had an active misdemeanor warrant for his arrest for the alleged assault in Point Place the week prior. 

"I ended up calling my mom that night, to let her know what happened," Huber said.

Huber said while she was on the phone with her mother, Fisher left a threatening voicemail.

Later that night, Crawford called 911 to report the threat. Oregon police said officers stepped up patrols around her home in response to her call.

Why didn't dispatchers know the situation when Fisher's cousin called 911 24 hours later to warn he was headed to Crawford's home?

Oregon Police Chief Brandon Begin told 11 Investigates over the phone the 911 Center has access to police department notes, but everything is in the system by address. Without a correct address, the 911 operator was in the dark

"I gave them the information I knew and they told me to stay calm and they would figure it out," Huber said. "Then my dad called me right after I got done talking to the cops. He told me basically that my mom was shot and killed and my daughter was missing."

Fisher was arrested a few hours after Crawford was killed. His and Huber's daughter was found with him, safe. 

Fisher entered an Alford plea and was sentenced earlier this month to 55 years-to-life in prison. 

RELATED: Grandmother dead, 9-year-old safe after alleged shooting, abduction involving non-custodial father

WTOL 11 reached out to the 911 center and Toledo police multiple times to get answers. The assistant Lucas County prosecuting attorney said, "We do not comment on matters that may be the subject of litigation." 

"Her life probably still would have been here if Oregon and Toledo police would have done more about it. That's how I feel," Huber said.

Chief Begin said he believes protocol was followed by his department, including stepping up patrols near Crawford's home. 

While the request for an interview was denied, WTOL 11 submitted an open records request to see if any dispatchers were disciplined as a result of the events on Dec. 16. We were told there was no discipline.

RELATED VIDEO

Paid Advertisement