"It was a very high-pitched scream, and it was unlike any type of scream I'd ever heard in my entire life," Kowalski said. She said she even made eye contact with King. "He's looking at me, and as he's looking at me, he's pushing down in the back seat of his car.
"After he does that, a hand comes up from the back seat and is slapping on the window as loud as can be," she said.
After witnessing this, she immediately called 911 between 6:30 p.m. and 6:39 p.m. and was connected to the Charlotte County 911 Call Center. She told the operator exactly where King's car was driving, but described it as a blue Chevrolet Camaro. She repeatedly told the operator that she heard screaming, crying and banging on the passenger-side window, as if this person wanted to get out.
At that very moment, deputies were nearby, some on foot with police dogs, some in patrol cars, and there was even a helicopter. But Charlotte County dispatchers failed to tell patrol cars on the street what they learned from Kowalski: that there was a Chevrolet Camaro at a precise location with screaming person in it, within their reach.
Sheriff John Davenport of the North Port Police Department described the breakdown of this basic police procedure as a "missed opportunity."
"This 911 call, one dispatcher thought the other had sent it out, the other thought the other one had sent it out, and they didn't send it out," Davenport said.
Less than three miles away from where Kowalski made the last 911 call, Denise Lee was shot to death. King was apprehended that same night by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper on Toledo Blade Boulevard, trying to enter Interstate 75 in Sarasota.
King was initially booked into the South County jail on one charge of kidnapping. He refused to provide any information about whether he was involved in Denise Lee's disappearance and, instead, told investigators he was the victim along with Lee.
But an incredible revelation was made while searching King's green Camaro. Apparently, afraid that her death was imminent, Lee left clues for the North Port police investigator in the back of the car. They found blond locks of hair and a ring, which Nathan said belonged to his wife.
"It was a ring that I gave her on our first Valentine's Day ... It took me less than a second to confirm that it was hers," Nathan said.
Two days later, Lee's body was found in a shallow grave near Interstate 75 and Toledo Blade Road. Authorities say they also have DNA evidence that King sexually assaulted her.
On Jan. 23, Sarasota County prosecutors charged King with the abduction and murder of Denise Amber Lee. He pleaded not guilty.
It still remains unclear why he allegedly chose to terrorize Lee. King's ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Robb, said she did not know if or how King and Lee were connected.
"I couldn't see him just randomly picking somebody," Robb said. Despite the accusations, Robb has stood by King's side and said she never saw him act violently.
"He was a good person, never had any problems, he helped raise my kids. ... I mean, he was a regular family guy," Robb said. "It was hard to believe, you know, without evidence, that he could do something like that. ... It was hard to sit there and believe that he could just do it."
In the end, who is to blame in Lee's murder? Davenport says it is wrong to assume the botched 911 calls cost Lee her life.