Detroit police have been deeply affected by an 8-year-old girl's heartrending call to 911 to report her mother's fatal shooting. The courageous girl's recorded pleas for help were the motivating force behind the hunt for the man police believe is responsible.

On March 1, 2010, police say 26-year-old Monica Botello and her two young daughters were visiting her boyfriend, Purcell Carson, 26, in his Detroit home.

At some point during the visit, however, things took a terrifying turn. Cops say 42-year-old Derrick Dennard Smith entered the home and shot Monica and Purcell to death in the basement as Monica's girls hid in an upstairs bathroom.


"No, she's almost dead! Mommy! Where are we at? Tell me, I got the police on the phone. Tell me! Mommy, tell me! Where are we at?"

A Brave Girl's Emergency Call


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Purcell Carson, 26

Once the panicked children thought the coast was clear, cops say Monica's oldest daughter bravely used a cell phone to call 911.

In the recording of the call, portions of which cops released to the media, the little girl struggles to keep calm as she tries to explain to an emergency operator that her mother has been shot and is dying as she speaks.

Complicating her cry for help, cops say the girl was unfamiliar with her location and didn't know Purcell's home address. Her desperate pleas continued as she begged her dying mother to tell her where they were.

Operator: "Let me speak to your mom."

Monica's daughter: "No, she's almost dead! Mommy! Where are we at? Tell me, I got the police on the phone. Tell me! Mommy, tell me! Where are we at?"

The girl was ultimately able to find the address and units were dispatched -- but neither Monica nor Purcell survived the shooting.

Police say they released the girl's frantic 911 call in an effort to pull the heart strings of those who knew where Smith was hiding.

"We need people to understand what this child went through, allegedly at the hands of Derrick Smith," explains Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans.



Smith's Criminal Past

According to police, a motive for the double murder hasn't fully been determined, but cops say both Smith and Purcell have extensive criminal histories and may have been acquainted.

Cops say Smith is a career criminal who was discharged from prison Jan. 17, 2010. He has served prison time for convictions of armed robbery, kidnapping, felony firearms, assault with a dangerous weapon, and other serious offenses, according to police.

Smith was arrested in Gardena, Calif., on March 19, 2010.