A gruesome murder in a Texas hotel room and a 9-year-old's futile effort to call 911 has prompted a national petition to seek a remedy, reports the Texas Tribune. On Dec. 1, Kari Rene Hunt arrived at a Marshall, Tx., hotel with her three young children for a visitation with her estranged husband, Brad Dunn. Authorities say Dunn attacked Hunt, stabbing her multiple times before fleeing the scene. He has been charged with murder. the couple's 9-year-old daughter did what she had been taught to do: dial 911. Her four calls for help never went through because the hotel's phone system required callers to dial 9 to reach an outside line.
Keri’s father, Hank, started a campaign on Change.org to enact “Kari's Law,” a requirement that all hotel and motel chains ensure their phones may direct-dial 911 without a prefix. In the last month, more than 420,000 people have signed the petition. U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and at least one member of the Federal Communications Commission have said they're seeking a nationwide solution. Whether there's a prefix on a hotel phone depends on the programming of the hotel's switchboard, technology that can be dated and difficult to reprogram or modify. Justin Bragiel of the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association said that in cases where reprogramming isn't an option, “the only way to get around that is to actually replace the motherboard, which varies in cost. It could be $10,000 or less, depending on the size of the property.”