LAGRANGE COUNTY – Earlier today, two 911 dispatchers were honored for the bravery, calm attitudes and quick thinking they displayed after Michael Elliot, a convicted quadruple murderer, escaped from prison on Feb. 2.
On Monday, Feb. 17, Heather Lock and Kelly Landers were given Meritorious Service Awards and Proclamation for the work they did helping a woman Elliot carjacked and held hostage escape, which in turn alerted police to Elliot's general location and allowed him to be captured within 24 hours of his prison break.
A short distance away from Ionia Correctional Facility, Elliot forced his way into the woman's vehicle with a knife, a hammer and a roll of grey tape. About four hours into the carjacking, Elliot stopped at a gas station in Middlebury, and the woman managed to call 911 on her cell phone. Up until this point, no one knew the carjacking had occurred or had noticed the victim's disappearance.
Lock answered the call. In a moment of quick-thinking, she advised the woman to lock herself inside of the gas station's restroom. In the meantime, Landers contacted the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department. The two worked from there to ensure police arrived on the scene and the woman was safe.
A news release from the LaGrange County Sheriff's Department explained Lock and Landers' actions weren't ones specifically outlined in their training. The dispatchers were forced to make split second decisions.
"This is not something that is taught or read in a manual," the news release said. "It was pure instinct and fear for the safety of the victim."