WINSLOW — Said aloud, “Marie” and “Murray” can sound similar.

That turned out to be a problem the night of June 6 when a Winslow woman used her cell phone to call 911. Sarah Gordon, 30, reported that her husband, 32-year-old Nathaniel Gordon, was threatening to kill her.

Soon after the call, Nathaniel Gordon gunned down his wife outside their home and drove away, later shooting himself after being chased by state police on Interstate 95 in southern Maine. The murder-suicide shocked family and friends.

When Sarah Gordon dialed 911, her call was picked up at the Central Maine Regional Communications Center in Augusta. The dispatcher there apparently misheard her, believing she lived on Winslow’s Murray Lane, according to radio logs provided by local police.

But the Gordons lived at 4 Marie St., in a quiet neighborhood off Cushman Road that’s at the southern end of Winslow’s downtown – the opposite direction of the northerly Murray Lane.

At 7:52 p.m., Gordon called 911 and the Murray Lane address was passed along to the dispatch center in Waterville, which relayed the information to Winslow officers.

At 7:58 p.m., the Augusta dispatch center received calls from neighbors about gun shots being fired on Marie Street. That’s when police on scene began to realize the error, after seeing no signs of a disturbance, and headed back out. Dispatchers redirected the officers to Marie Street.

At 8:02 p.m., the first Winslow officer arrived at the correct location, a full 10 minutes after Sarah Gordon’s 911 call.

“My guys went to where they were sent,” Winslow Police Chief Jeffrey Fenlason said Monday. “The officers at some point made contact with neighbors there (on Murray Lane) and began to believe around the same time that this might be the wrong address.”

At least six minutes were lost because of the incorrect address. When police arrived, Sarah Gordon was dead and Nathaniel Gordon had already fled, although it remains unclear precisely when she was shot and when he left.

Police are investigating the mix-up.

“It’s to make sure we’re covering everything and because of the confusion we want to make sure something like this never happens again,” Fenlason said.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said Monday that state authorities became aware of the address confusion late last week. Public Safety Commissioner John Morris ordered an inquiry, McCausland said.

“We’re aware there was likely confusion over the name, over the wording, and we’re looking into it,” McCausland said. “The inquiry has just begun.”

Authorities declined to comment on whether the time delay caused by the incorrect address had any impact on police’s ability to intervene in the murder-suicide.

“What happened was simply a tragedy and we’ll never know if it would have made a difference,” said Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey.

But the situation illustrates a frustration for Massey other Maine police chiefs, who have criticized the state’s consolidation of 911 call centers, which are also known as public safety answering points.

Under the current system, all 911 calls made on cell phones in the Waterville area are routed first to the Augusta dispatch center, while 911 calls made from landlines are first routed to the Somerset County Communications Center in Skowhegan.

The consolidation began in 2003 when the state had 48 emergency call centers, including one in Waterville.

Massey has warned that the consolidation has degraded emergency services, leading to a loss of available technology, institutional memory and local knowledge to aid police responses.

With 911 calls on cell phones bouncing from Augusta dispatch, to Waterville dispatch, to local officers, there’s a greater chance that mistakes will happen, he said.

“Anytime you have two dispatchers doing an emergency function that one can do, you’ve created more opportunities for mistakes,” Massey said. “We have complained consistently about a system that’s seen dropped or missed calls and misinformation. The more people you have relaying that information, the more opportunity you have for misinformation.”

State officials are considering a further consolidation of the 911 call centers from 26 down to 17.

Fenlason said it’s uncommon for his department to receive incorrect information from dispatchers. “I think it’s a very rare occurrence,” he said.

Massey doesn’t think there’s a chance of reversing the 911 call center consolidation back to where it was in 2003 because of the costs, but he thinks local and state officials need to continue working on ways to improve the system’s reliability.

“We need to make sure we do the best we can and can get units out there in a timely manner,” Massey said.