Cheshire Police Defend Response Time to Deadly Home Invasion

Cheshire police say reports that it took 30 minutes to reach the burning home where a mother and her two daughters were found dead are "absolutely false."

The state's attorney who is prosecuting the case has asked that the exact time when officers were dispatched to the scene not be immediately released, police say.

But Lt. Jay Markella, a spokesman for the Cheshire Police Department, denied that it took police a half-hour to get to the home where Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters died after being held hostage.

"Any reporting of a 30-minute response time is absolutely false," he told The Associated Press on Monday. "I don't know where they're getting their information from."

"I am proud of the way this department responded," Markella said. "It seems some aspects of the media are just looking for a scapegoat as to why this happened."

William Petit Sr., the father of the lone survivor of the July 23 fire, said his family does not have a problem with how long it took police to arrive at the home.

"As far as we know, the response time was immediate," he said. "We're very satisfied with the police response."

The killings have attracted national media attention. In addition to a few media reports, some Cheshire residents have publicly questioned whether there was too long a lag time between the initial 911 call and police arriving at the home.

State police, which is the lead investigator in the case, have said Jennifer Hawke-Petit was taken by one of the suspects to a local Bank of America branch shortly after 9:30 a.m. and withdrew money. Bank officials then notified Cheshire police about theease of information from preventing the individuals from receiving what they deserve, and that would be death."