Girl's texts credited with saving mother's life - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Girl's texts credited with saving mother's life


A granddaughter texting with a Janesville police officer is credited with saving the life of her mother following a domestic incident in Janesville Tuesday that injured three.

Dennis James McNeal, 57, faces charges of first-degree reckless injury, first-degree endangering safety and two counts of aggravated battery.

During a Wednesday morning news conference, Janesville Police Chief David Moore credited a text message dialogue between a police officer and the granddaughter of one of the victims with saving the woman's life.

Police were called at 4:37 p.m. Tuesday to a home in the 1800 block of S. Osborne Street. following a report of shots fired. Shortly after police arrived, police discovered a man and a woman who came out of the house and were seriously injured. 

As police were investigating, a neighbor told police they should try to contact one of the victim's daughters. Investigators found a cell phone number for the daughter and placed a call that went unanswered.

Shortly after, police received a text from the phone, which began a dialogue between the texter and police. Officers soon learned that the texter was actually the 15-year-old granddaughter of the original victims. 

Police later learned the girl had a disability that would have made it difficult for her to communicate with officers in a phone call.

Through a series of text messages, the granddaughter directed officers to a nearby home where they discovered a third victim, the texter's mother, with a serious gunshot wound to her head.

Moore said that had the grand daughter not contacted officers, the girl's mother only had 10 minutes to live.

According to police, McNeal struck the first victim in the head with the butt end of a shotgun inside the home.

The second victim was shot in the legs and was in need of immediate medical attention. 

The third victim, the teen's mother, had been struck in the back of the head by McNeal and sustained a severe injury as a result, according to police. She was also transported to Mercy Hospital by ambulance and transferred to UW Hospital in Madison.

She currently is in critical condition but is expected to survive. The gunshot victim also is hospitalized, and the first victim police encountered on the scene has been treated and release.

McNeal was arrested nearby in the area of the 1700 block of Patton Place. He is currently being held at the Rock County Jail.

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