New police audio suggests communication delay for mother and daughter search in Northridge Lake investigation

NOW: New police audio suggests communication delay for mother and daughter search in Northridge Lake investigation

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Through an open records request, CBS 58 has obtained police communications that suggest a 20-minute delay in the search for 25-year-old Khalilah Brister and her seven-year-old daughter Tyrielle Jefferson.

The mother and daughter were found dead in a submerged car last Thursday, one day after a witness called 911 with concerns for their mental health and safety.

This is an excerpt of internal communication from the Brown Deer Police Department, frustrated about getting this information too late to act on it:

Brown Deer Police Department:

"I've got like a 20-minute delay on it, so I guarantee this person is not going to be over there, but you're looking for a dark Nissan Sentra."

The new audio is the latest piece of a puzzle that has not determined which law enforcement agency led the case. Audio from Brown Deer police shows a dispatcher saying, "They said that because she's not going to be in their city, or in their jurisdiction, they're not taking it. It's all your guys' case if you want it."

Despite the delay, Brown Deer police did look for Brister's gray Nissan Sentra, but a responding officer later cleared the call. "I'll probably be clearing here shortly. I didn't see anything of that nature, so…" Another responded, "Yeah and I doubt there's anything for it."

It came after the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management relayed information from a witness at Bradford Beach. Seven-year-old Tyrielle Robinson went to a stranger trying to warn someone that her mother was threatening to do the unthinkable.

That witness called 911.

A dispatcher relayed: "Caller got a call from a witness stating that her daughter was going through some things and that she was going to try to drive into the lake."

Here is an excerpt from the emergency dispatch communications from Dec 7:

Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management:

"So the daughter ran up to the witness and stated that their mother was going to harm themselves. We don't have the mother's name or the daughter's name.

North Shore 911:

"Ok so the one in the pink coat and the pink hat is the one that talked to a witness."

Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management:


The witness told 911 emergency dispatch that a seven-year-old girl was afraid for her mom, who was threatening to drive both of them into a lake.

The witness told dispatch that she gave Khalilah $20 in gas money, and she left. Milwaukee County OEM notified other agencies that a mother and daughter in distress could be headed their way.

After the tragedy, questions linger about the response to the original 911 call, and the cry for help from a seven-year-old girl. County Executive David Crowley said on Tuesday that he plans to get answers.

"I am really interested in seeing what really happened and where the ball was dropped," he said.

In a news conference today, Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffery Norman was asked why an AMBER Alert was never issued for 7-year-old Tyrielle.

"My understanding is that there was a response, but again I don't have all the details and I don't like to speculate," Norman said. "Definitely it's a concern of ours and our team's looking into it."

He added, "Without having all the information, understanding who all is involved, what was said, there are a lot of tapes that need to be listened to, a lot of people need to be spoken to."

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, there are specific criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert.

  • Child must be 17 years of age or younger
  • Child must be in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
  • Initiating agency must have enough descriptive information about the child, the suspect and/or the suspect vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help locate the child.

It has not been confirmed those criteria were met, but authorities knew Tyrielle was a little girl, that Khalilah threatened to drive them into the water, and what car they were in and what they were wearing.

But it's also unclear which agency was in charge to even request the alert.

Norman said, "Unfortunately, the information I'm getting is there was a lot of different phone calls, a lot of different contacts out there."

The new audio from Brown Deer Police Department was obtained late Wednesday afternoon, shortly before this story's deadline. CBS 58 was not able to get official response to any potential delay in communication in the search for the mother and daughter, but plan to reach out for a response from officials.

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