Dispatcher Commended for Arrest of Known Sex Trafficker
911 dispatchers are somewhat unsung heroes when it comes to being first responders. They answer emergency calls with the number one goal of getting help to a scene as fast as possible.
Christ Hollingsworth says that his parental instincts kicked in when he answered the phone in March and heard the plea of a 15-year-old girl. She told him her friend had gone missing and had been sending her text messages saying that she needed help.
Hollingsworth says, “It could have been very bad. The TBI mentions that [teen] go from missing children to a runaway to a throwaway and I was hoping that it would not turn into that type of case.”
It was on March 31ST when Hollingsworth answered the phone and received the details about the location where a young girl from Ooltewah was being held.
“She was able to give us an address which was very specific and caught my attention. Usually, people just say they are in such and such town or at a friend’s house, but don’t [have] an address,” says Hollingsworth.
Hollingsworth took that tip and called the local police in that area that happened to be Colquitt, Georiga. An officer was able to confirm that the teen has been at the address. Later that day they were able to recover the teen.
He says “things like that don’t happen often. People always call in with leads …very rarely do we get to see things fall into place as it’s happening.”
The Colquitt Police Department arrested Jeffrey Byrd. He was charged with statutory rape and is also under investigation with the Georgia Burea of Investigation. The GBS’s website says that Byrd was convicted of Sex Trafficking in New York in 2011. He is currently in jail in Miller County, Georgia.
Hollingsworth received the outstanding performance award, but he says it was teamwork that brought the young girl home safely.