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Dispatcher describes 911 call with family of Utah boy lost to suicide

Posted at 5:52 PM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 19:52:39-05

TOOELE, Utah — Annalyssa Wrenn has been a dispatcher with the Tooele County Sheriff's Office for 13 months.

Two weeks ago, she answered a frantic 911 call.

"911, what is your address?" Wrenn asked.

"My little brother is not breathing," the caller responded.

On the other end was the Hardman family, tending to 12-year-old Drayke, after he attempted to take his own life. He passed away the next day.

READ: Support pours in for Drayke Hardman's family after 12-year-old's suicide

Wrenn described what the call was like and what she tried to do to help.

"The family distressed, for sure," she said. "[I was] trying to help them, give them instructions to try to help while we had units on the way."

For more than five minutes, Wrenn can be heard on the call with the family, doing what she can to keep them calm.

"We are getting help. I'm going to need you to take a breath so we can get some help," she said.

She gave instructions to the caller on how to perform CPR on Drayke.

"We are going to do this until help can take over, and if you can count out loud so I can count with you," said Wrenn.

Wrenn says she was also trying to provide some comfort to the family until officers and paramedics could get to the home.

"To make sure that the officers and units can get in as quick as possible, making sure the house is accessible, figuring out where they are in the home," she explained. "Just reassuring them that we're getting them as quick as possible."

READ: Families of Izzy Tichenor, Drayke Hardman present All-Star rings to Mitchell, Gobert

While Wrenn has only been a dispatcher for a little more than a year, this was an incident she was prepared for.

"Standard training ... usually lasts about six months, and they learn everything from answering calls police, fire, medical, how to the radio, the phones, all of that," said Sgt. Shannon Gowans with Tooele County Sheriff's Office Dispatch.

Sgt. Gowans says there are also 20 hours of annual training required a year for dispatchers to keep their certifications.

She says they answer anywhere from 6,000-7,000 calls a month, and they have a system that they go through on every call they take.

Without training and protocols, Sgt. Gowans says they wouldn't be able to do the job.

"The training teaches you how to control the caller and how to take control of the call, so you can get the information needed for the responding units," she said.

Even with that training, Wrenn says calls like this one stick with her.

"You think about it — you always want to think about it and think about what you can do better next time," she said.

Wrenn says what happened with Drayke is tragic, and she sends her condolences to the Hardman family.

The Hardman family said on social media last week that they would be interested in meeting the dispatcher who helped them.  It's something Wrenn tells FOX 13 News she would be willing to do.

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If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visiting suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Utah Crisis Line: 801-587-3000