A recorded phone message that seemed to be from a little girl in dire trouble turned out to be some teenage girls crying wolf.
Sistersville police Cpl. Joey Richardson said Tyler County police dispatch received an anonymous call Saturday from a girl who said a phone message left on a woman's answering machine Sept. 28 actually was a prank.
Richardson said the caller's number was traced automatically by dispatch, which led them to a cellular phone owned by a Tyler Consolidated High School student. That female student, another girl and others may face charges for the prank call, Richardson said, noting he first must talk with Tyler County Prosecutor Dean Rohrig.
One of the students had the woman's number in their cellular phone and decided to call it for the prank, much like the fabled shepherd boy who cried "Wolf!" to entertain himself. The woman who received the call has a child attending the high school who "wasn't involved," Richardson noted.
Richardson said he and other officers spent many hours trying to trace the call from what they believed was a little girl in trouble. In the fake message, captured by the woman's home phone answering machine, the voice asks for her grandmother, says her mother dropped her off and yells frantically about a man who is "going to get me."
Sistersville police called the woman's phone company to try and trace the call, but they were given the runaround and mixed messages about the possibility of tracing the call, Richardson said.
In addition to their regular shifts, many officers worked around the clock during the investigation, Richardson said. Some officers were so worried about the child they believed was in trouble, they lost sleep at night.
"I personally had 46 hours of overtime. I worked every day, all day," Richardson said. "It was a long week."