What we learned from Victor Zaborsky’s 9-1-1 call
Among the new bits of information in last week’s Washington Post online series was, of course, audio of the 9-1-1 call Victor Zaborsky placed at 11:49pm on August 2nd, 2006.
As we’ve noted before, there’s no telling how any one of us would respond in a crisis situation until we’ve been there. Perhaps because several of this team have faced life-or-death situations, we’re clear in not judging anyone’s response to immediate mortal threat.
The 911_call (Right click to open in new browser)
That said, several questions arise. They are, in brief: the timing, the location, and the language of the call.
First the timing. For long-time readers here, this won’t be new. We wish the continuing question were as easily dismissed.
Victor phoned 9-1-1 at 11:49pm. He also told MPD investigators – as originally reported in the affidavit for Dylan Ward’s arrest – that he screamed on seeing Robert Wone’s body. A witness – W3 – corroborates this, unfortunately only placing the reference around the time of seeing Maureen Bunyan on the evening news. Cross-referencing with WJLA’s schedules, that places the scream somewhere between 11 and 11:34pm. As we have noted before, even in the best of circumstances, a curious length of time to pass before alerting authorities.
Second, the location. In their statements to MPD, Joe Price clearly states that, upon discovering Robert’s body, he told Victor to go upstairs (to their third floor master bedroom) and phone the authorities. Why upstairs?
One can assume two things:
- There was no hard-wired phone service in the house and the only phone they had available was a mobile upstairs, or;
- There were only a few hard-wired phone lines in the house, and one of them was in the master bedroom.
The first situation presents lesser concerns, as one could explain the need to run to the charging cell-phone to alert police. OK, understandable in a crisis, one might say. Still, as one clever reader pointed out: if Robert’s cell phone was at hand on the night table, wouldn’t that provide the first best option?
The second situation raises more concern. It’s clear that if he is using a hard-wired phone, it’s wireless as we’re able to hear Victor move from third to second to first floors without break. Why, then, did Victor wait so long on the third floor when being asked for details by the dispatcher on Robert’s condition?
The 9-1-1 call presents a clue in this issue. The dispatcher never asks for Victor’s address – merely asks to confirm that they are, in fact, at 1509 Swann Street. While calling 9-1-1 from a cell often provides the dispatcher with an approximate location, it isn’t exact. Judging from the call, it seems as though Victor is using a wireless landline phone.
Which raises yet another puzzle. If landlines were installed in the house, isn’t it natural to assume there would be one on each floor? Perhaps even in the guest room, or Dylan’s room? Was the third floor phone really the closest at hand?
Tomorrow, we dive into the meat of the call, examining what exactly was said, and what it may say about the events of that night.
– posted by Doug