Ruth Price 911 call fact or fiction? An examination of the evidence.

Ruth Price 911 call fact or fiction? An examination of the evidence.

Image for postIs this a photograph of Ruth Price? (Source:

There has been a recording of a 911 call made by a woman named Ruth Price circulating the internet for some time. I first stumbled across the recording a couple of years ago in a collection of 911 recordings and transcripts.

The disturbing call is placed by an elderly woman who identifies herself as Ruth Price she informs the operator that she has seen a man prowling around her property. Before the operator is able to get any more information the caller goes quiet before the line is filled with sickening horrifying screams. Several seconds later the line goes dead. The caller was killed by the prowler while the operator could only listen on helplessly.

To listen to the recording of the call please follow the link below, and please be advised that it may disturb some listeners.

Although the recording itself is less than a minuet long it is particularly chilling to hear the absolute horror and terror in the woman?s screams. The recording has been shared widely on the internet and features frequently in collections of morbid and disturbing material. Even within these more subversive and irreverent communities the recording is considered to be particularly haunting.

Image for postTranscribed from Ruth Price 911 call

?Although the recording is short and there are no visuals I still find this tape particularly sad, I think it?s the vulnerability of an elderly lady and the horror of some monster invading her home.? (Reddit User )

But is this what actually happened? Did the call actually take place and was Ruth Price even a real person? In many of the places where this recording is shared one of the most frequent topics of discussion is its authenticity. Is the recording a genuine 911 call which records the horrific murder of an elderly woman by a prowler or is it a convincing fake?

The Evidence

Considering the disturbing and tragic nature of the recording there is very little information available on the internet regarding the case. This seems unusual given its infamous status and the fact that someone was reportedly killed. Surely this would generate media attention and we would have more information regarding who the woman was, what actually happened and whether the perpetrator was apprehended.

The lack of any official reports online about this case is the strongest argument that it is a fake. However, it is possible that this incident occurred prior to the advent of the internet and the newspaper reports are held on a microfiche somewhere.

Other people have commented on the ineptitude of the 911 operator, she interrupts the caller when she is providing her address; she fails to ask consistent follow up questions and is largely silent during the screaming. The call handler is certainly in need of some additional training but is her incompetence evidence of a fake?

Despite the scarcity of verifiable evidence a bit of internet research does bring up some information which asserts that the recording is sadly genuine and provides some background information.

A Cautionary Training Exercise

One individual posts on the forum Reddit that the call is genuine and it was played for him in the early 1990?s as part of a training exercise for 911 dispatchers. The call has been used as an example of how NOT to take a call, as a consequence of this call and similar incidents it became policy across various police departments to open the call by stating ?911. What is your location?? before asking anything else. The poster notes that the recording may very well still be used for training purposes to this day.

The Reddit poster states that the call was reportedly made in 1988 by an elderly woman named Ruth Price who was killed by a prowler, and the prowler was not apprehended.

This assertion that the recording is used as part of a training exercise for new emergency call handlers has been corroborated by a second source. An individual using the name ?HNDLC3? posted on the forum in June 2002 stating that the Ruth Price 911 call was played to him during ?dispatcher class?.

?I?ve heard this one before. This is the tape that has stuck with me these last few years. It has reminded me not to treat every call as ?routine.? During my dispatcher class, our instructor pointed out how the dispatcher sounded disinterested in this lady?s problem. Had she not cut her off from giving her address the police may have been there sooner. I don?t know if the agency had ANI/ALI or E-911 when this happened, but our instructor said that it took a while to find her, obviously too late.? (HNDLC3 on

The same poster later states that the prowler was never apprehended.

This is interesting information and may well provide answers to some of the questions previously posed by the recording. The ineptitude of the call handler reflected the outdated system of how emergency calls were processed, her mistakes later being used as a cautionary tail to warn and train new staff.

One other objection to the authenticity argument is that it is apparently illegal to release a 911 call to the public which records someone?s death. This may well be the case but if it is true that the call has been used frequently in training exercises then it is possible that at some point it was secretly recorded or covertly released. The individual responsible would be unlikely to admit to their role in its release.

While there are laws to prevent the release of certain documents and the courts can seal certain pieces of evidence, on occasions these restrictions fail and things slip through and emerge on the internet. In late April 2019 images of deceased footballer Emiliano Sala lying in a morgue were shared online, two people have since been arrested in connection with the leak. Just because the recording should not have been released does not mean that it was not leaked.

The First Picture Emerges?

In 2017 a picture emerged on the website of the Spanish instalment of the A&E cable and satellite television channel purporting to be Ruth Price.

Image for postRuth Price (Source:

But there has been no further information about the source of the photograph and reverse image searches bring up no results. The photograph is just another piece of tantalising evidence in this bizarre story.

The caller identifies herself as Ruth Price but in several different places online she is referred to as Ruth Price or Ruth Price Dugas. Is it possible that the name the caller provided to the police was not the name she was known as in official documentation? Despite this interesting lead there is no information about a Ruth Dugas or a Ruth Price Dugas online. Once again, a potential lead goes nowhere.

Image for postRuth Price on

The website Find A Grave has a listing for a Ruth Price (b1905-d1988) in Shady Grove Cemetery in Polk County, Missouri, USA could this be the Ruth Price from the recording. The date of death certainly corresponds with that stated by the Reddit poster who heard the recording as part of a dispatcher training exercise. If the Ruth Price in the recording was born in 1905 then she would have been 79?80 years old when the incident happened and she did refer to herself as ?an old lady?.

In Conclusion

The story behind the disturbing Ruth Price 911 call is compelling and the evidence pointing towards both its authenticity and its forgery are persuasive but ultimately the truth is evasive. The only sources of information available regarding the call are non-verifiable and we cannot establish their credibility or reliability. With the information available there is no way of knowing without uncertainty whether it was genuine or not.

Unfortunately, unlike a good mystery story there are no answers and no conclusions in this case. In the absence of any definitive explanation and based on the limited information available I will conclude by offering some observations and my judgement on the authenticity of the recording.

If the Ruth Price 911 call was indeed a fake, then what would have been its purpose? Could it have been a staged role-play scenario, a ?sketch? designed to teach call operators what not to do? If so, why make the dialogue so short? There are barely 30 seconds of interaction before the ?intruder? attacks and all communication ceases. This provides limited opportunities for learning points within the ?sketch?, a longer scenario could have included many more ?important lessons? for the trainees to observe.

Was the purpose then simply to shock the trainees into realising the importance of obtaining the caller?s address immediately? If so, it seems like an extreme method of training. Remember the recording of this call has circulated the internet, become infamous and shocked countless people with its raw brutal horror. Does this sound like the kind of recording that would be scripted and acted as a training device? I find that difficult to imagine.

After listening to the call many many times I am repeatedly struck by both the tone of voice and the cadence of the dialogue, it appears natural and genuine. The words used and the way they are spoken strike me as examples of natural speech rather than scripted dialogue. One particular example of what I would consider to be a ?natural speech? pattern is when the caller say?s ?So I went?So I live alone?. She commences a sentence then corrects herself which sounds particularly genuine and natural.

If the recording is sadly genuine then the lack of credible information online is unusual and surprising given the circulation of the video. If however the call was placed in the late 1980?s as some people have asserted then it is more understandable. With the limited information available the recording stands alone as the key piece of evidence up for scrutiny. My opinion is that the recording is more likely to be genuine than fake though I cannot assert this with any certainty or conviction.

The Ruth Price 911 call recording remains a haunting mystery which will likely live on to disturb all those who hear it for many years to come.


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