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Family sues over how dispatcher handled Kerry Repp's 9-1-1 call

An April civil trial will examine Kerry Repp's final call for help.

Repp's parents, Ron and JoeAnn Johnson of Medford, are seeking a &

36;2.1 million judgment against the city of Medford for negligence in the handling of a 9-1-1 call placed from Repp's Central Point home on May 4, 2002, the day of her death. Their suit alleges a dispatcher for Medford Central Communications (C-COM) disconnected the call after 17 seconds in violation of local and national standards.

Medford C-COM formerly provided dispatch services for the city of Central Point. That contract was not renewed last year.

Forensic analysts determined Repp was calling for help at the moment she was shot in the back of the head while sitting on the edge of her bed. Blood and pieces of her teeth were found on a cordless telephone handset under the bed.

When detectives hit the re-dial button at the crime scene, the phone called 9-1-1.

— Testifying in last year's trial of Repp's husband, Gary Marvin Repp Jr., dispatcher Celia Jones told the court she did not follow police department policy when handling the call. Dispatchers must either phone back if the caller doesn't respond or send officers to the address. Jones was not a city employee at the time of her testimony.

The city did not cause nor could have prevented the death of Kerry Repp, who died almost immediately, according to city attorneys' response to the suit. Yet the Johnsons claim their daughter's killer likely would have been apprehended at the scene if officers had responded as they should.

Gary Repp was the only one charged with Kerry's murder. A jury found him not guilty in March. Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston said after the trial there were no other suspects.

The trial's outcome left the Johnsons and Kerry's two young sons without closure, according to documents filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. The Johnsons have lost weight, suffer from poor sleep and fatigue and experience physical, mental and emotional distress, the suit alleges.

The Johnsons refused to discuss the lawsuit on the advice of their attorney. City Attorney Ron Doyle had no comment other than to confirm that the case was scheduled for an April 19 trial date.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail .