The woman on the line was frantic. She had been kidnapped the day before and didn't know where she was, she told the 911 operator. She just knew she was in a house with one of her captors and could see a parked Dodge pickup from the tiny bathroom window.
With that, the line went dead.
Dispatchers were able to triangulate the caller's location to a single block in Duncanville, and police quickly spotted the Dodge pickup parked behind 619 Willowbrook Circle. A woman, young and wearing a sundress, bolted out the front door toward the cops as they surrounded the home.
A few minutes later, a man later identified as Steric Paul Mitchell, a career criminal with a rap sheet stretching back to the late 1980s, opened the glass storm door and stood there for 30 seconds or so, seemingly oblivious to officers' orders. He stepped back inside. When he reappeared, officers took him to the ground with a Taser and cuffed him.
Inside his pocket, they found the woman's drivers license and a scrap of duct tape, strands of the young woman's hair stuck to it.
The woman's story, which prosecutors recount in state and federal court filings, started a few days before. A 21-year-old Oklahoman identified only as K.R., she offered her 19-year-old brother-in-law $700 to drive her to Dallas. It was not her first such trip. She often came here to perform in strip clubs and make some extra money.
She got a room at the Suburban Stay Inn and found a Wednesday-to-Saturday gig at a local club. She was looking for somewhere to dance that Sunday when a woman who had recently befriended her told her about a private party. The pay was $400, and all she had to do was dance a bit and mingle. No sex. The woman said KC, the guy throwing the party, was safe.
KC, later identified as Gregory Steven Hunt, picked the dancer up from the motel on May 6, 2012 in his beige 1997 Buick. She brought her things in a large bag: silver high heels, makeup, several bottles of perfume. He drove her to a house on Wheatland Road. It seemed to be abandoned, and she asked KC as they went inside where all the other people were. On their way, he assured her.
When she stepped inside she saw Mitchell, whom she recognized as the boyfriend of the woman who had set her up with KC, and someone whose repeated sexual advances she had rebuffed. By then, it was too late.
Mitchell pointed a gold and silver handgun at her and suggested she do whatever KC wanted. For good measure, as KC began to grope her and stick his hands beneath her dress, Mitchell used his stun gun on her bare butt.
"I could sell that in Mexico for $5,000," KC commented after he was done. Then, Mitchell stunned her again. The men then bound her wrists and ankles, wrapped her in a bed sheet, and threw her in the backseat of a car.
At the second house, she was tied to a chair and had her mouth sealed with duct tape while Mitchell went to get soda and cigarettes. Then he moved her to the air mattress, then back into the bed sheet and on to the next stop.
This was the Duncanville house that, as it turns out, belongs to Mitchell's mother. She doesn't seem to have been home when he brought the girl in, fed her some pills, and put her to bed on an air mattress.
She woke up on the morning of May 7. Mitchell seemed to be out, so she crept through the house in search of a phone but found nothing before Mitchell's footsteps sent her scurrying back to the bedroom, where she pretended to be asleep. Mitchell woke her and tried to feed her more pills, orange ones this time. Then he walked outside. She resumed her search for a phone.
She found Mitchell's cell on the kitchen counter and dialed 911 but had barely spoken to the operator when he returned, forcing her to hang up and hide the phone. He asked her what she wanted to eat. Spaghetti, she said.
After another aborted 911 call, she asked to use the bathroom. There she was finally able to relay the information that led the cops to her.
Mitchell has been in the Dallas County jail ever since. Detectives tracked Hunt down at Charlston Methodist Hospital, where he was being treated for a gunshot wound to the foot.
Hunt was charged last year in Dallas County court with aggravated kidnapping and forgery. The federal government piled on yesterday, indicting Hunt and Mitchell with multiple kidnapping and firearms charges. And they say Hunt's threats weren't just idle talk: Had she not found that phone, prosecutors allege, he may have actually sold her to someone in Mexico.