The police who were called to check on a pair of children after their mother said she feared for their lives are now being investigated after they didn’t respond to the welfare check until hours later. By the time police arrived, the children had been killed by their father.
On October 20, 2016, 5-year-old Zaraiyah-Lily Headland and 3-year-old Andreas Headland were with their father when their mother, Anatoria Takiwa, called authorities for help, the Australian Associated Press reports. She believed her children were in danger and believed their father was going to harm them.
Takiwa said she feared for her children’s lives after receiving a disturbing call from Jason Craig Headland. Headland and Takiwa were estranged at the time.
Headland reportedly told Takiwa, “I’m going to hurt you … I’m going to break your heart into 50 million pieces. Say goodbye to your kids. This is the last time you’re going to speak to them.”
But for reasons that are now being investigated, it took police three hours to respond to the mother’s cry for help. By the time they responded to the call, Zaraiyah-Lily and Andreas were discovered dead on a bed in their father’s Perth, Australia home.
Headland, as the Australian Associated Press reports, was also found with self-inflicted wounds but has since recovered. He was then sentenced to life in prison after he pled guilty to his children’s murders, in which he drugged and strangled them.
A friend of Takiwa’s who was with the mom when she received the phone call convinced the mom to go to the police first, rather than Headland’s home, because she feared for their safety. “I thought they needed to go and make sure the kids were OK. I thought that they would do it straight away. I expected them to do what they’re meant to do in those situations.”
According to the Australian Associated Press, about a half-hour after arriving at the police station for help, one of the officers working with Takiwa got ahold of Headland over the phone. The father said he would bring his children to the police station, and the women were told to leave.
However, Headland never showed up and the officer was unable to reach him by phone again. After contacting Takiwa, the officer allegedly put the call in the system and labeled it a priority three, meaning it would need to be taken care of within the hour.
Officers finally arrived at Headland’s home at 10:17 p.m. three hours after Takiwa first arrived at the police station. The investigation into the actions of the police, or lack thereof, is still ongoing.