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Elderly woman's death tragic timing or missed opportunities?

8:03 PM, Dec 3, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The 911 calls of a Henry County homeowner reporting finding Lucilla Harris' car were released Tuesday.

The man called twice, two days apart.  The first call he reports a "stolen" or "abandoned" car on his property.  The second time he calls he say 11Alive's news report about the missing woman.

LISTEN | 911 calls reporting missing woman's car found

11Alive News now has a timeline of the days leading up to the discovery of a missing elderly woman's body in Henry County. 

There are questions as to whether two police agencies could have done more during her reported absence or if it was simply as case of poor timing.

Saturday,  November 23- Family members say they can't get a hold of  72-year-old Lucilla Harris who lives by herself in Atlanta. They say she has bouts of dementia and has become lost before. Her car is gone and she does not carry a cell phone.

Saturday night at 11:38- A Henry County Police officer pulled over Harris.  He radioed dispatch that he believed she might be under the influence because her car was veering in and out of the lane. The officer reported she was not inebriated and asked him for directions back to Atlanta. He let her go.

It appears Harris instead continues into Henry County to subdivision where she somehow drove behind a cul-de-sac of homes and parked her car near some massive power lines.

Sunday, November 24,  3:41 am.- Harris is captured on  a homeowner's video security surveillance system walking onto the back porch and looking to see if anyone is home. You can hear her softly saying, "hello, hello?"  Sadly the homeowner isn't home and doesn't discover these images until days later.

Monday, November 25, 3:30 pm  Harris' niece files a missing persons report.  the Atlanta Police Department says that information was entered into a statewide database called GCIC at 6:30 pm.

We asked the APD about the approximately 3 hour delay between gathering the missing information and putting it into GCIC. 

"This was not a delay.  It took time for the officer to investigate the circumstances and gather sufficient information to put Ms. Harris and her vehicle on the system," said APD Spokesman John Chafee.

Monday, 3:37 - 4:18 pm - The same afternoon Henry County officers respond to a call about a suspicious car parked in the woods behind a subdivision. They knock on the door. No one answers. They run the license tag through GCIC, but nothing comes up.

Wednesday, November 27- APD issues a Mattie's Call for Harris.

Friday, November 29, 9 pm - A different neighbor in the same subdivision sees a story about Harris on 11Alive News and calls police saying he believes the stranded car is hers. Officers and others search the area.

Saturday, November 30, 11 am - A searcher finds a body, believed to be Lucilla Harris, lying in the brush not far from that car. 

The APD declined to go on camera Monday, but 11Alive News has asked in writing why there was a two day delay in issuing a Mattie's call for Ms. Harris.

Follow 11Alive's Duffie Dixon on Twitter and Facebook. 

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