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Vigil for Dayton man, 71, found in Wolf Creek turns into call for justice


DAYTON - UPDATE @ 8:22 p.m. (Sept. 28):  The family and friends of Charles Romine gathered on the bridge spanning the Wolf Creek, where his body was found Sept. 20, for a vigil that turned into a protest rally focused on a call for justice. 

Reva Romine said the family wants to find out what happened between the time her brother called 9-1-1 on Monday, Sept. 18, and the time she called 9-1-1 for help in trying to find him.

Charles Romine was found dead, in the Wolf Creek, two days after his initial call to 9-1-1.

“Nobody should be afraid, or should have to say, ‘I would have called 9-1-1 but they’re not going to come because we’re black or we live on this side of town or we’re out in a rich neighborhood....,” Reva Romine said.

“There should be no criteria when you want to target the bottom line of helping somebody,” she said.

Reva Romine and others at the vigil-rally held signs for motorists to read as they drove by the gathering. One of the signs read, “We want justice 4 Charles Romine.”

“When you call 9-1-1 for help, we don’t feel like you should say, ‘Oh, well, are you Caucasian? Are you black? Are you Hispanic? When you call 9-1-1, you’re supposed to receive the help you’re asking for,” she said.

Family members have told News Center 7’s Caroline Reinwald they have retained an attorney because they feel the Dayton Police Department and Montgomery County Regional Dispatch, where 9-1-1 calls are handled, did not do enough to find Charles Romine.

“It sounds like they just left him hanging in the rocks [along the Wolf Creek, where he was found], dehydrated, without any care,” Reva Romine said.

Neither the police department nor the sheriff’s office has responded to the family’s claims.

The funeral for Charles Romine is set for Friday morning.

EARLIER REPORT (Sept. 22)

Here’s a brief timeline regarding Charles Romine, of Dayton, and the 9-1-1 calls he made:

  • He called 9-1-1 just after 2:20 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18
  • He called 9-1-1 at 2:20 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20
  • Call log closed after police could not find Romine and he didn’t answer dispatchers’ calls
  • Romine’s body was found in Wolf Creek about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20

On Monday afternoon, Charles Romine was tired, thirsty, alone and confused about where he was when he called 911. Two days later, the Dayton man’s body was found in Wolf Creek. 

Romine — who relatives said had vision problems but was a regular on RTA buses — called 911 just after 2:20 p.m. Monday. In a nearly 8-minute conversation, he tried to relay where he thought he was and that he hadn’t drank water in hours. 

“I need a rescue,” Romine told a dispatcher, according to audio obtained by this news organization. “I’ve been on these rocks for, like, three hours.” 

Three Dayton police officers searched for him, but Romine was not near the South Main Street location he told the dispatcher. 

An endangered missing adult alert was sent out, but Romine wasn’t located until Wednesday when his body was recovered from Wolf Creek at least three miles to the northwest from the downtown location he gave a dispatcher. 

RELATED: Dayton police ask for help finding endangered missing man

A Montgomery County Regional Dispatch representative said Romine’s cell phone call was examined, but that search only netted which tower the call went through. 

Romine’s grandson said he was “beyond hurt” and “very angry” with first responders. 

“That 911 call didn’t save anything,” Darshawn Romine said. “They couldn’t prevent a life from dying. They couldn’t prevent a family from a whole lot of pain.”

RELATED: Man recovered from Wolf Creek remembered as family oriented

“The Dayton Police Department extends our sincere condolences to the family of Charles Romine,” Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl said in a prepared statement. 

“We are currently reviewing all information regarding Mr. Romine’s case, from his initial contact with the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center to the very sad conclusion of Mr. Romine being found deceased by one of our detectives. 

“Until we have a chance to review all those events and the actions taken, we are not in a position to talk about what decisions were made or if certain technology should have been used.” 

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