Cellphone ping leads deputies to assault site

jpawloski@theolympian.comApril 23, 2013 

When the line went dead after the victim of an attempted sexual assault called 911 Saturday night, Thurston County sheriff’s deputies located her after an emergency dispatcher “pinged” the victim’s cellphone by using its global positioning system, court papers state.

When sheriff’s deputies located the woman at a residence in the 1400 block of Warner Street Northeast in Thurston County, she “had several fresh, bloody lacerations all over her face,” court papers state. “She said over and over, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you for coming.’” The suspect was “buttoning the front of his pants,” when the deputy found him inside the residence, according to court papers.

Michael Jordan, 49, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault, second-degree rape, domestic violence and interfering with reporting domestic violence. A Thurston County Superior Court judge found probable cause Monday to support Jordan being held on suspicion of those charges and set bail at $35,000.

According to court papers:

Dispatchers received the 911 call about 11:15 p.m. Saturday, but, after answering the call “the phone line was open, but no one was talking into the phone. The call receiver heard a disturbance in the background and attempted several times to get someone to respond to him.” After the line disconnected, the dispatcher called the line back. A woman answered, but she “was unable to speak freely to provide any pertinent information.”

The dispatcher first “pinged” the cellphone tower and got a rough location of where the call was coming from, then was able to pinpoint the location after contacting the cellphone company. Thurston County sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said it is customary for dispatchers to get information from cellphone companies about a caller’s location during urgent, public safety crises such as interrupted 911 calls.

An emergency dispatch supervisor at the Thurston County 911 center said Monday that “pinging” a cellphone to find a caller’s location is a measure of last resort. When a 911 call is interrupted or goes dead, “we have to take every step we can to determine whether it’s an emergency or not,” he added.

During an interview with the 911 caller at the Warner Street residence, the woman told deputies that Jordan was an ex-boyfriend and that they were drinking beers at the residence when he became aggressive and demanded sex from her. She said that when she refused, he pushed her down on the bed and began to choke her. She said that during the altercation, she was able to “discreetly” call 911 using the phone at her side. But she said Jordan then found the cellphone and took it from her.

She said that when deputies arrived, Jordan attempted to “coach” her on what to say so that they would leave.

Jordan denied to deputies that there had been any altercation at the residence. He said that the red substance on his shirt was paint, “because he had been painting earlier,” court papers state.

Jordan has a lengthy criminal history, including arrests on suspicion of domestic violence, of violating domestic violence protection orders, heroin possession and forgery.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service