Does an anonymous 911 caller hold the key to solving a murder?

Smiling Jamie Santos in a white turtle neck

Jamie Santos

Jamie's lifeless body on the floor of her bedroom

Jamie was found dead in her home


A man talking into a cell phone

Did the killer make the call?

On October 28, 1991, an emergency operator in Wheeling, Illinois, received a troubling call. The caller gave the operator the address of a young woman who wasn’t breathing. However, he refused to give his name and said he was calling from a pay phone. Authorities arrived to the scene moments later and discovered that the anonymous caller was right. 27-year-old Jamie Santos wasn’t breathing. She had been smothered with a pillow and could not be revived. Police now believe that the unidentified caller holds the key to solving a murder.

Jamie lived just down the road from her family. According to her mother, Dottie, calls and visits were frequent:

“She was just like a burst of energy. When she walked in, you knew she was there. Her presence… would just radiate.”

Paramedics wheeling the covered body of Jamie Santos in to an ambulance outside her home

Paramedics arrived at Jamie’s house

Jamie used her natural good looks to earn a steady income. She pulled in more than a thousand dollars a week dancing for exclusive parties in and around Chicago. Jamie’s father, Pete, was initially troubled by his daughter’s provocative career choice:

“When Jamie first told us that she was going into dancing entertainment, it was a little difficult to handle. Our main concern really wasn’t the type of work she was doing, but it was for her safety. Once she reassured us that she’d have somebody accompanying her at all times, the driver or bodyguard, we felt a little bit more comfortable.”

On Sunday October 27, 1991, Jamie didn’t feel well. She cancelled her bookings, rented a couple of movies, and called a friend. That is all that is known about the last night Jamie Santos was alive.

A man in a flannel shirt and hat walking into the Santos home

Was the caller just someone passing by?

The call for help came the following morning. Paramedics found Jamie in her bedroom. There were signs of a struggle, yet Jamie’s head was carefully propped on a pillow. She had not been raped. There were no eyewitnesses, fingerprints, or anything that would yield a DNA profile. According to William Benson, a detective for the Wheeling Police Department, the only lead was the male voice on the 911 tape:

“There’s a possibility the 911 caller could be an innocent bystander that stumbled upon this. There’s evidence of a struggle. Possibly, somebody could have heard a struggle. Possibly, somebody could have seen somebody running from the area and seen an open door. The 911 caller could be afraid to come forward, thinking that they’ll be accused of being the killer, when, in fact, they were a bystander.”

But in a case as perplexing as this one, Detective Benson envisioned the possibility that the 911 call was made by the killer himself:

Jamie on a couch in her living room talking on a cellphone

Jamie spoke to a friend that night

“We don’t have evidence that there was forced entry, so there’s a good chance the person was an invited guest. Could be a crime of passion. It could have been something that started out innocently and turned bad. It could have been a domestic-type argument. Things went too far, and when the person realized that he had hurt Jamie, he had remorse. He put a pillow under her head, he made an honest effort to get medical help for her.”

Authorities believed that if the killer knew Jamie Santos, he may have met her while she was working as an exotic dancer. Perhaps one of Jamie’s clients couldn’t take “no” for an answer. Perhaps one of her drivers had been nursing a secret passion that flared out of control. But still one question remains: Who killed Jamie Santos?

External Link: Click here to listen to the actual 911 call.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season nine with Robert Stack and in season three with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. Patrick

    The 911 caller sure was in a panic, rushed to get off the phone. Could’ve been some nerd who from the strip club and she refused his advances. Didn’t intend to kill her so he reported it and got out of dodge. Wonder if they investigated the clients at the dance club she worked at?


  2. Jordan

    The link provided doesn’t have the recording anymore


  3. Anonymous

    Only a thought but try looking at bible John’s pics he looks similar to the one I watched on YouTube video


  4. Chanita

    Who Had The Motive To Killer Her!? She was An dancer At A Night Club I’m Assuming That That The Killer Had Obsession With Her And He Could Not Take No For An Answer! Or The Killer Have Issues With Women! And Another Theory Is That He Was Married And He Wanted Out Either Way It Goes She Did not Deserve To Die! RIP sweet Girl! And As For U The Killer Read John 3:16


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