Faria Murder: 911 operator speaks out for the first time

FOX Files
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

TROY, MO (KTVI)– Prosecutors say a 911 call was an act.  It`s a call from convicted murderer Russ Faria, reporting his wife killed herself.  A jury later convicted Faria for stabbing his wife 55 times and leaving a steak knife in her neck.  Now the 911 operator who took the call, is speaking out.

Prosecutors narrowed in on the 911 call as what they called an example of Russ Faria`s evil nature.  They called to the stand a 911 supervisor who testified Faria`s call was strange.  But the supervisor did not take the call.  We tracked down the 911 operator who answered the call.  Her story is one the jury did not hear.

Russ Faria began his call to 911 sobbing.  The operator asked, “What`s the address?”

Faria stuttered in response, “1-1-1-130 sumac.”

Former 911 operator Tammy Vaughn picked up that call.   She immediately knew it might be her toughest.  Vaughn said, “I could hardly take the call, because I looked over at my supervisor and I did one of those, ‘I don`t know if I can do this.'”

Vaughn continued the entire ten minute call.   She did what she says she`s trained to do, get Faria to answer questions about his dead wife Betsy.

Russ was screaming when Vaughn asked, “How long were you gone today?”  Faria answered, “I left around five and I just got back.  She was at her Mom`s and her friend was bringing her back and I don`t know when she got home.”

In court, a 911 supervisor testified that it was unusual the way Faria went in and out of his hysteria.  The defense objected, but the judge overruled it and the jury was led to believe that even 911 operators thought the call was odd.  But the prosecution never called the actual 911 operator, Tammy Vaughn, who says she never questioned the call.

Vaughn said, “You can`t fake that.  You can`t fake that emotion. In my personal opinion you can`t.  Are there are people out there who can do it? I don`t know because all the calls I have taken have been true, hysterical callers.”

Vaughn says 911 operators are expected to get hysterical callers to answer questions.  She explained, “It`s a redirection.  It`s a technique that communicators use to try to redirect, calm them down.  Ask him the question and then whenever they have to focus back on the victim or the patient the person that`s there that`s needing the help, then they do what`s called a re-freak.”

It happened repeatedly on the Faria call.

Once when Faria was screaming, Vaughn asked him, “Has she been depressed lately?”  Faria responded, “She`s got, she`s got, she`s got cancer.”  Vaughn kept engaging him when she said, “I need you to get those medications for me.”  Faria answered, “I think they`re here on the table.”

Then in another twist, Vaughn discovered something the following week.  She told us, “I later on learned that I knew them.  At the time I took the call I had no idea who it was and then later on I realized that it was a couple that I went to church with.”

She can now see them standing side by side in her mind and she cannot forget one particular phrase she heard during Russ Faria`s call.
He cried, “What am I gonna do?”

When she heard that, she says she thought she might not last.  Instead, she held on with him until police arrived.

Even though Russ Faria gave his full name at the beginning of that call, Vaughn said she didn`t put it together at that time that she knew him.  She said she didn`t know him well, rather only in passing at church.

Related Stories:

Daughters of murdered woman suing family friend for insurance proceeds

Fox Files Special Report: The Faria Murder

Fox Files Special Report: The Faria Murder (Part 2)

Fox Files Special Report: The Faria Murder (Part 3)

Secret court evidence revealed in Faria murder case

Man sentenced to life for stabbing wife 55 times

Fox Files reveals more secret evidence in stabbing murder

Inside murder trial of man accused of stabbing wife 55 times

Join Chris on Twitter http://twitter.com/ChrisHayesTV
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ChrisHayesTV
E-mail Chris.Hayes@TvStl.com

About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.


Latest News

More News