News and Tribune

March 6, 2013

911 call from teen’s death released

Boyfriend tried revive 17-year-old girlfriend

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

CLARKSVILLE — A recording of the 911 call the boyfriend of Tara Willenborg made after he discovered the 17-year-old girl murdered in their bedroom has been released by Clarksville police.

Joshua Lewis returned to the couple’s home in Cambridge Square Apartments in Clarksville about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, according to police, to find the girl lying lifeless and naked on their bedroom floor.

The audio track begins with Lewis’ call being answered by a dispatch operator, who first asked for the address of the emergency location.

“My girlfriend was raped and I think she’s dead. I need someone here now,” a shocked Lewis responded.

The dispatcher asked Lewis if the woman was breathing.

“No. She ain’t. There is vomit. She’s been beat,” Lewis told the dispatcher. “There was something tied around her neck. I just cut it off. She is dead. I have been doing CPR for the past 20 minutes. She ain’t coming back.”

Lewis clearly provided to the operator the address of the his and Willenborg’s location. He then informed the operator that he thought someone else had already called for an ambulance.

“Who called the ambulance?” the dispatcher asked.

“My neighbors,” Lewis responded.

“Okay. We don’t have a call on it,” the dispatcher said. “You said you’ve been doing CPR?”

Lewis confirmed that he had, then several seconds later says, “Get someone down here right now, before I kill him.”

“They are on their way, okay?” the dispatcher asked.

“Because I think my neighbor did it,” Lewis interjected.

The dispatcher told Lewis another dispatcher had sent out ambulance, then asked Lewis if he wanted to continue performing CPR.

“Yes,” he said. “Tell me what I need to do.”

The dispatcher then gave instructions on how to properly administer CPR.

For the next several minutes of the phone call, Lewis continued to receive instruction from the dispatcher as he attempted to save Willenborg’s life.

The call disconnected. The 911 dispatched called Lewis back, and after Lewis picked up the phone, the dispatcher asked if he was still performing CPR.

Lewis then told another person in his area, “Come here. My girlfriend has been [indecipherable word]. She is (expletive) dead.”

Other voices then become audible in the background.

“I don’t know, but I will (expletive) kill him if I find him,” Lewis is heard saying.

Lewis then told a man named Chris to talk to the dispatcher.

The dispatcher asked the victim’s age and the man told the operator that Lewis was working to “bring her back.”

The man then told the dispatcher that EMS had arrived at the apartment, and the call ends shortly thereafter.

Richard Carley Hooten, 49, was arrested by Clarksville police about 5 hours after the 911 call was made.

He was found walking along Eastern Boulevard, police reported, after his physical description was provided to responding officers.

Police reported that after Hooten was taken into custody he admitted to forcibly raping and strangling Willenborg in her home.

Officials reported that Willenborg and Lewis were acquaintances of Hooten, who was the boyfriend of a neighbor across the hall from their apartment.

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said Tuesday that he expects charges to be officially issued against Hooten today.

During his advisement of rights hearing Monday in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1, Hooten was informed of the charges that could be brought against him. Those charges include murder; rape and criminal deviant conduct, both class A felonies; criminal confinement, a class B felony; sexual battery, a class C felony; and strangulation, a class D felony.

Mull said the Office of the Clark County Prosecutor had not decided if the death penalty will be sought.