It’s been nearly 24 hours since Michael Elliot, an escaped inmate from Michigan, was captured in LaPorte, Indiana and put back behind bars. However, Elliot’s actions during his brief stint of freedom have changed the lives of a few people.
Heather Lock was the 911 dispatcher who answered the call from Elliot’s hostage. The caller, only identified as Cheryl, hid her cell phone from the escaped prisoner. When they stopped for gas in Middlebury, Indiana, she called 911 while he was inside paying. Lock quickly worked to find the woman’s location. In a copy of the 911 call, you can hear Lock telling the woman, “He escaped. He was in prison for murder.”
Lock has worked at the Lagrange County Dispatch for three years but said she has never encountered a call quite like the one on Sunday night.
“That 30 minutes went by so fast,” Lock said.
She said up until Cheryl’s call around midnight she had maybe had one other phone call.
“I did not expect that intense of a situation was going to happen with the calmness of her voice,” Lock said.
Lock told the woman to tell the man she had to use the bathroom and to go inside and lock the door.
“I just had an instinct kick in…Get inside, get away from him, get some type of barrier in between you guys,” Lock said.
Lock said at one point the man came and knocked on the door telling the hostage it was time to leave, but, she knew that couldn’t happen. She told the woman to stay in the bathroom until police arrived, assuring her it would not be long. Even though her quick thinking helped save the caller’s life, Lock doesn’t consider herself a hero.
“Our job was to help serve and protect our community, and she was someone who needed my help, and that’s what I was trained to do,” Lock said.
Lock said she hasn’t talked to the victim since their phone call Sunday night. However, there is a possibility that the two will meet in Michigan soon.