“Help” One-word Text-to-911 messages lead Janesville officers to domestic attack, police report

Dispatchers tracked the source of the message in less than a minute.
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 12:57 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 7:11 PM CST
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - A pair of Text-to-911 messages to Rock Co. authorities with the simple message “help” led to the arrest of a Chicago woman who allegedly strangled and battered her ex-boyfriend at a Janesville home, the city’s police department reported.

When the messages arrived around 2:45 p.m. on Monday, dispatchers tried replying to the sender to get more information but got no response.

“Then something clicked when I was looking at the priors with the number that this person,” Rock County Dispatcher Matthew Husen said. “We’d been told in briefing before, there were issues with this guy having a stalker.”

In less than a minute, though, authorities were able to determine that the number associated with the texts had prior contacts in the 100 block of Red Apple Dr. and spotted an alert warning that person who lived there was the victim of previous stalking incidents. In that time, they also were able to pinpoint the location of the text, tracing it to the Red Apple Drive address, and officers were soon on their way.

“There were some caution flags from the police department for an incident for them to use caution and that the caller might be in danger if we happen to get an abandoned 911 call or an unknown problem call,” Kathy Sukus, Communications Dir. of Rock County 911 said.

When officers forced their way into the home they found the suspect, identified as Nicole Dunlap, and the victim engaged in an altercation, police reported. The JPD statement alleges that once police were inside the home, Dunlap lunged at an officer and punched him in the face before another officer was able to detain her. She was then arrested and taken to the Rock Co. jail where she awaits her first court appearance.

According to the police department, investigators later determined Dunlap when into the man’s home while he was at work and confronted him when he returned. Police say during the incident soon turned physical.

“We don’t get a lot of texts to 911,” Husen said. “A lot of time it’s an accident, sometimes it’s a child [playing with] the phone, but in this case it might of saved his life.”

In their statement, the police department noted Dunlap, 26, is out on bond for charges stemming from three previous incidents where she either assaulted or threatened the man. In July, she was given a $300 signature bond and told not to have contact with the victim after criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct allegations.

Less than a month later, she was in court again on charges of disorderly conduct with the use of a dangerous weapon, obstructing and officer, and threatening the victim via a computer message. A judge gave her a $1,000 signature bond and she was again instructed not to have contact with the victim.

Just over a month ago, Dunlap was back in court, facing new charges of stalking, battery, theft, criminal trespass to a dwelling, and unlawful use of a phone against a victim. At that time, she was given a $2,000 cash bond - and told to avoid the victim.

For this latest incident, police have booked Dunlap on counts of:

  • Bail Jumping (Felony)
  • Bail Jumping (2 Counts Misdemeanor)
  • Battery to Law Enforcement (Felony)
  • Intimidate a Victim (Felony)
  • Battery (Misdemeanor)
  • Criminal Trespass to Dwelling (Misdemeanor)
  • Strangulation (Felony)
  • Resist Officer (Misdemeanor)

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