(CN) - A woman who was kidnapped and shot in April last year by three gang members filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego in state court Tuesday, claiming that police dispatchers persuaded her mother to treat the woman’s ransom calls as a “hoax” and led to her gunshot injuries by the three, causing her to become a quadriplegic.
On April 11, 2018, Mya Hendrix was kidnapped by Cesar Alvarado, Britney Canal and Michael Pedraza, tortured with a stun gun and asked to call family and friends for ransom, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
Hendrix called her mother, Misti Hendrix, early that morning to say she had been kidnapped and that her captors would kill her unless they received $2,500.
When her mother called 911, the dispatcher told her that her daughter’s call was a “hoax” and that “no further action was needed,” according to the 13-page complaint filed in San Diego County Superior Court.
“Despite [Misti Hendrix’s] repeated protests that her daughter would never concoct such a scam, [the police dispatcher] violated all aspects of,” state law concerning emergency calls, “and actively convinced [her] to do nothing to save her daughter,” the lawsuit states.
Due to the dispatcher’s assurance that the call was a scam, Misti Hendrix didn’t call other law enforcement agencies or try to secure the ransom.
Later that day, she received another, more distressing call from Mya.
“This time, Plaintiff sounded panicked and was crying on the phone,” the complaint states. “She said her abductors were going to kill her. A male and female voice both told Plaintiff's mother that they were going to kill Plaintiff if Plaintiff's mother did not pay the $2,500 immediately. Plaintiff’s mother heard the kidnappers hurting Plaintiff with a Taser or some other implement. Plaintiff sounded muffled as though she was being gagged. In the background Plaintiff's mother heard a man's voice state, ‘You don't know how serious this is.’”
Following the second ransom call from her daughter, Misti called 911 again and spoke to a second dispatcher who “referenced the event number” the previous dispatcher entered and told the mother that the calls were part of a scam.
After Misti insisted that the ransom calls were real, the second dispatcher told her “I have to keep this line open for emergencies” and told her to call the police’s non-emergency number before hanging up on her, according to the complaint.
Misti then called the non-emergency line where she spoke to another dispatcher who said the police would contact her daughter’s cellphone provider in order to track her down and then call her back. Instead, according to the lawsuit, the third dispatcher did nothing.
On the early morning hours of April 12, a passerby discovered Mya lying in the ocean at the bottom of Sunset Cliffs.
She had been shot three times.
The three suspected kidnappers face additional charges related to an alleged two-week crime spree that culminated in the shooting of Mya and the shooting death of a bystander the three mistook for an undercover police officer.
Hendrix is suing the city for gross negligence and bad faith. She is represented by Martin Kanarek of the Dominguez Firm, based in Los Angeles.
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