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Dane County 911 mistake sends cops wrong way in co-ed's murder investigation

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New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

A mistake at Dane County's 911 Center caused Madison Police to chase a false lead for two weeks in the murder of Brittany Zimmermann.

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According to County Executive Kathleen Falk, police were wrongly told that a dispatcher called back Zimmermann's cell number, after she called just minutes before her murder.

The dispatcher reportedly heard two men on the call-back. But that call-back was not for Zimmermann's original call. It was for another 911 call that came in about the same time.

Officials at the 911 Center discovered the mistake about two weeks after Zimmermann, a University of Wisconsin medical student from Marshfield, was killed on April 2.

Also, Falk said Tuesday the center could not determine if the dispatcher hung up on Zimmermann's original call or if the caller hung up.

Either way, Falk said police should have been alerted because there were sounds on the call that should have led the dispatcher to alert officers.

Until now, we were told Zimmermann's line was silent.

Falk's comments came from a 40-page report from the 911 center on its involvement in the case.

Falk said she couldn't release the whole report, because it would interfere with the police investigation into the slaying.

Falk has asked that an outside professional group review the matter and evaluate the 911 center's overall performance.

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