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Text messages sent to 911 in Spanish alert police to woman being held captive

Police forced their way inside of the apartment and located the suspect, 34-year-old David Renard Devaughn.

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — A woman found the courage during a domestic violence situation to reach out to police through text messages. Those texts and the quick-thinking of a dispatcher helped save the woman, who was allegedly being held captive in metro Atlanta.

According to Brookhaven Police, around 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 28, dispatchers at the Chattahoochee River Valley 911 Authority started getting text messages from someone in trouble, but there was an obstacle they had to overcome to read them - they were all in Spanish.

Police said the dispatcher used quick thinking and decided to use an online translator. By doing so, authorities learned a woman was being held against her will by a man with a gun.

Dispatchers worked for the next half hour, exchanging messages with the victim, to figure out her location. Eventually, they discovered she was inside of an apartment complex off of Buford Highway.

When officers arrived in the area, they heard a commotion coming from one of the units. Brookhaven Police knocked on the door, but no one answered.

They eventually forced their way inside of the apartment and found the suspect, 34-year-old David Renard Devaughn. 

Credit: DeKalb County
David Devaughn

They executed a search warrant and found a gun, ammo, and enough cocaine that police said was consistent with drug trafficking. The also found a large amount of marijuana. 

Officers said they also found evidence that connected the suspect with an armed robbery that happened last month.

Devaughn was charged with aggravated assault by strangulation, armed robbery, trafficking cocaine, and other charges.

Now, Brookhaven authorities are reminding others that if you can't call during an emergency - text.

"Emergencies are best reported by telephone, allowing Emergency Communications Officers to ask clarifying questions and provide pre-arrival instructions while emergency responders are en-route," police said in a news release. "But, when the circumstances prevent someone from calling 91-1, Brookhaven Police and ChatComm 911 are ready and able to receive text message requests for help."

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