Charles Romine’s grandson, daughter and good friend all had conversations with 911 dispatchers on Sept. 19 — the day before Romine’s body was found in Wolf Creek northwest of downtown Dayton.
Romine, 71, was found deceased Sept. 20 at least three miles northwest of where he told dispatchers he thought he was when he called 911 at about 2:20 p.m. Sept. 18.
Dayton police dispatched numerous officers to locate Romine, but couldn’t find him near the area of the BP Station in downtown Dayton, according to dispatch records.
The three calls obtained by this news organization via open records laws illustrate that those closest to the 71-year-old told dispatchers about Romine’s story.
“He said he fell in a hole and it was too dark for him to climb out of it,” Darshawn Romine, Charles’ grandson, told dispatchers during a nearly four-minute call at 8:11 p.m. Sept. 19. “He’s stuck. I don’t know where this hole is.”
Darshawn asked Dayton police to put out an all-points bulletin or a search team. Dayton police posted on Twitter an endangered senior adult alert with a photo of Romine.
Cherie Romine, Charles’ daughter, called at 9:27 p.m. Sept. 19 and talked to a dispatcher for nearly 7½ minutes.
“Is there any way you all can track his phone number, the last call, to see what area he’s at downtown?” Cherie asked a dispatcher.
After speaking with Cherie, a 911 dispatcher called Charles’ friend Richard, who said that Romine was going to get some cash and play some numbers, but thought that the BP station had been demolished.
“He doesn’t make any sense at all,” the friend told a dispatcher. “He didn’t sound right.”
The friend said he talked to Romine between 3 and 4 p.m. Sept. 20 and that Romine thought he got off the bus near Chaminade-Julienne High School.
On Sept. 19, the friend said he tried to call Romine’s cell phone: “I’ve been trying to use it to call the number all day, but the answering machine picks it up.”
The dispatch log shows Dayton police tried to call the number early Sept. 20 but got no answer.
When Romine called 911 Sept. 18, he said: “I need a rescue. I’ve been on these rocks for, like, three hours.”
He also said he didn’t want to be humiliated, but that he knew he needed help.
“I don’t want to be looking embarrassed, that’s the main thing,” Romine told the dispatcher. “But I don’t want to lose my life, either.”
At a Sept. 28 vigil/protest on the bridge over where Romine’s body was found, his family called for justice for what they saw as a racial issue.
OBITUARY: Charles Romine, 71
“Nobody should be afraid, or should have to say, ‘I would have called 9-1-1 but they’re not going to come because we’re black or we live on this side of town or we’re out in a rich neighborhood….,” said Reva Romine, another of Charles’ children. “There should be no criteria when you want to target the bottom line of helping somebody.”
Dayton police have declined to fulfill an information request asking about efforts made to get Romine’s cell phone company to help, citing “specific confidential investigatory technique.” A request for additional comment has not yet been fulfilled.
Services for Romine were held Sept. 29.
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