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N4T Investigators: Oro Valley woman found dead by daughter called 911. Why did nobody respond?

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Alicia Mercer

ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (KVOA) - It's any child's worst nightmare to find your mother dead, but that's what happened to Megan Kuhne a few weeks ago.

Kuhne told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that on November 26th, she returned home to her Oro Valley apartment she shared with her mother Alicia Mercer and was shocked to find her mother lying face down on the floor dead.

"I was yelling, screaming, crying, trying to find my phone trying to get the dogs back," Kuhne explained.

She learned her mother's death was due to natural causes, but her grief turned into anger when she looked through her mother's cell phone which was lying next to her body.

Kuhne noticed her mother had called 911 before her death followed by calls back from the Pima County Sheriff's Office, then Oro Valley Police, but nobody responded to help her mother.

The N4T Investigators reviewed the call log, which matched what she said.

"I should not have been the one to find her. They should have come, they should have done their job. I feel let down and feel like I don't want this to happen to anyone else," she said.

The N4T Investigators reached out to the Oro Valley Police Department to understand what happened.

Oro Valley Police Support Services Commander John Teachout confirmed that nobody had responded to her mother's address and that she did contact 911.

"This is one of those [situations] that is truly truly unfortunate, and a thorough investigation was completed," Teachout said.

But that investigation he said found that there was no negligence from dispatchers or first responders.

He said Mercer's call went through to dispatchers but was hung up without any communication, as we saw the Sheriff's Office tried calling her back then passed it on to Oro Valley Police who also couldn't get through. The cell phone pinged in the heavily populated Oracle and Magee area; he said the radius was too large to figure out where she was.

"We couldn't pinpoint where the call had come from, there was no actionable information for the police department to take in order to further investigate; one, where the call came from and two, who made the call and what the situation was," he explained.

He says what could have made the difference, which he hopes others will pay attention to, is staying on the line with dispatchers. It's unclear why Mercer may have hung up the phone and if it was by choice. 

"Even if you can't speak into it leave the phone connected that way first responders can with that refreshed data narrow down the location where it is you're located," he said.

Megan will never know if time could have made a difference for her mother. She still believes police could have done more to find her.

"If they would have done any investigating at all or any type of follow up they would have found out who she was, her phone was registered in her name, there's no reason for it. They didn't do their duty, they failed us, they failed my mother," Kuhne said.

Oro Valley Police said there was no evidence of foul play and confirmed Mercer's death was due to natural causes. 

If you have a story, you'd like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to look into email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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