National hotel chains vow to change 911 systems after ETX mother - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

National hotel chains vow to change 911 systems after ETX mother murdered

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Kari Rene Hunt (Family Photo) Kari Rene Hunt (Family Photo)
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas mother's death continues to spark change across the country.  In December, we told you about Kari Rene Hunt Dunn. According to Marshall Police, she was murdered by her estranged husband, Brad Dunn, at a local motel.

Brad and Kari were meeting up so he could visit their young children. However, police say Brad attacked her. Kari's 9-year-old daughter tried calling 911 four times but she couldn't get help. The 911 calls would not go through because the phone required the child to dial a "9" first. It's a problem that Kari's family vowed to see fixed. Now, they're well on their way.

"I live though that same day everyday," says Hank Hunt, reflecting on the day his daughter, Kari, was murdered.

Hunt has been fighting for change since the days after Kari's death.

"I never dreamed I would be in this position. I'm in an exclusive club that I don't want to be in -- it's not just me. I keep saying I, but the whole family and friends-- it's just a hard thing to accept," he says.

Kari's family accepted that something had to be done. They say dialing 911 should be just that simple, so they got started with a petition on change.org.

"We wanted 100 signatures and we're up to a half a million almost," says Hunt.

Since they started the survey, the FCC has gotten involved. A survey revealed that direct 911 dialing is only available in  45 percent of franchised hotels and motels and 35 percent of independent hotels.

The statistics are considered "unacceptable" by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai.

In Arlington, Virginia on Monday, Pai said, "These statistics are alarming. They show that the telephone systems at tens of thousands of lodging properties across this country could fail Americans when it counts."

"I don't want another child, --or even an adult-- to have to go through something like that... knowing they're dialing for help and getting static," says Hunt.

Major hotel chains have sprung into action. Intercontinental, Marriott and Hilton properties have pledged to solve the problem.

Hotels like the Staybridge Inn and Suites in Longview took it upon themselves to update their 911 calling systems just weeks after Kari's death. By April 1, La Quinta says all of their hotels will allow direct 911 dialing... no extra 9's required.

Hunt says Kari would be taken aback by her family's progress.

"She would be floored. She would be shocked, impressed... embarrassed probably. She'd punch me in the shoulder and say, 'Good job,' ...at least, I hope," says Hunt.

Kari's family says their journey is far from over and they'd like all of the support they can get.

If you want to sign or share Kari's petition, click here.

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