Police search woods in Taylor after ‘disturbing 911 call’


Police are now trying to locate Kayla DiDonna, who they believe may be in danger

TAYLOR BOROUGH, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Police in Lackawanna County spent hours searching for a woman who could possibly be in danger, but at first, they didn’t know who she was.

Police in Taylor Borough say this all started with a disturbing 911 call. A female voice was screaming for help when suddenly the phone went dead.

That voice was later identified as 23-year-old Kayla DiDonna, who police believe may be in danger.

Around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon, dispatchers at the Lackawanna County Emergency Communications Center took a 911 call from a woman screaming for help.

“The dispatcher did an outstanding job trying to get as much information as possible, but the audio was so garbled it was hard to understand the female,” Taylor Police Department chief Stephen Derenick said.

According to Derenick, the caller said someone was trying to kill her. They could also hear what sounded like movement or commotion. Then the phone went dead.

“The 911 dispatchers every so many minutes kept calling the number and it never regained service,” Derenick said.

Derenick says the caller’s phone pinged off the tower in the Norfolk Southern Railyards in Taylor Borough.

“We asked for assistance from the state police helicopter, we had the Lackawanna County SWAT drone unit come out, officers from surrounding communities, firemen with their utility vehicles came out,” Derenick said.

He says dispatchers could also make out the words, ‘Taylor’, ‘woods’ and possibly the word ‘way’, which lead them to the area behind the Subway in the Taylor shopping center,but they couldn’t find the caller.

For more than five hours they searched a three-to-four-mile radius around the tower, which includes old mining land along North Main Street. Some officers huddled around a phone listening to the 911 recording over and over for any clues that might lead them to the caller.

“The way the girl was screaming for help, I mean we’ve dealt with swatting calls. This, to everyone that listened, it did sound legitimate,” Derenick said.

Police also canvassed a homeless camp in the area but the search came up empty. With very limited information and no new leads, police called off the search for the night just before 7 p.m.

“Because of the terrain that the firemen and the police were searching in, it’s very rough terrain and I don’t want to take the chance of anyone getting hurt,” Derenick said.

DiDonna was last seen with a white male who is 5’8, 160-175 lbs. and has a beard, or she may be accompanied by an Eric Zimmerman.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Taylor Police Department at 570-342-9111

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