OPP say responses flood in after mass-texting campaign in murder investigation

Frederick John Hatch

The Ontario Provincial Police's phone lines have been lighting up after the force sent text messages to 7,500 cell phones on Wednesday, in the hopes of gathering new evidence in the nearly year-old homicide of Frederick John Hatch.

All of those cell numbers pinged off of towers in the West Hunt Club and Merivale area on December 16th, 2015 - the last day that the 65-year-old drifter was seen alive.

Detective Superintendent Dave Truax says they've received a number of responses.

"As a result of responses, there was information received that's resulted in some follow-up assignments for some OPP detectives based in Ottawa," he says. "Our tip line was busy as well with information."

The hope is that one of the responses will lead to a break in the case. OPP say the mass texting campaign is an evolution of the traditional door knock, adding it will likely only be used as a last resort.

""It could be just that one call," Truax says. "That one text reply that could help us catch a killer. There's obviously analysis that needs to be done, in relation to who responded, who did not, what information did we learn," Truax says. "So, all of that has to be put forward to be able to say, 'Did it work? Did it not work?' But I have to say early responses were good."

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