Family demands change to make 911 calls easier

MARSHALL, TX (KTRK) -- A Marshall, Texas, family, who has been through unimaginable grief, is now working to make it easier for you to dial 911.

Kari Hunt, 31, was murdered just over a year ago, allegedly by her ex-husband. Her nine-year-old daughter was in the hotel room when it happened, and says she tried to call police four times.

"She got static, what she described to us as static," said Kari's father, Hank Hunt. "Each time it was the same thing. She never even got a dial tone."

At the hotel, just like at so many other businesses and offices, you have to dial an access code to dial out of the building. Kari's daughter, courageously trying to save her mother, didn't know that.

"She said, 'Why didn't this work? This is what you told me to do.' Then the guilt came to me because adults caused it, adults need to fix it," Hunt said.

The Hunts demanded change from the FCC, and Friday, they learned they got it.

Last year at this time, no major hotel chains required their franchises to have direct 911 dialing. Today, 70 percent of major chains have required or are in the process of requiring it. That translates to 7800 properties, and many more are still signing on.

"If every phone that was shipped in this country had default settings for direct access to 911, if every customer of a phone in this country was able to reprogram it very easily, this problem would go away," said FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. "Each of those things are achievable."

The Hunt family says direct 911 access is now Kari's legacy. "She would've been honking her horn on the way," Hank said. "Roll the windows down and yell it. That's exactly how she would've felt about it."

If you'd like to support the Hunt family's cause, go to
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.