Kathleen Hatcher was a loving mother “who never gave up on her children” during tough times, friends say.
On Saturday, police accused one of her three children of killing her — a tragedy that left friends of the 69-year-old recent retiree, a doting grandmother and skilled quilter, stunned.
Toronto police announced they had arrested Colin Hatcher, 37, of Toronto, and charged him with second-degree murder. Spokesperson Const. Alex Li confirmed he is Kathleen Hatcher’s son.
Colin Hatcher is scheduled for a court appearance Sunday.
On Friday morning, at around 10:44 a.m., Hatcher called 911 from the King’s Mill Park Trail area in Etobicoke.
“She was looking for help, she was looking for assistance from the police,” Duty Insp. Andy Singh said in a press conference Friday. “She was in crisis.”
Hatcher was found by police with “significant injuries,” transported to the hospital and pronounced dead shortly after, the city’s 13th homicide this year.
Earlier Saturday, Toronto police released a photograph of Hatcher and urged anyone who might have seen her in the King’s Mill Park Trail area, especially between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., or witnessed anything suspicious to contact police.
Hatcher was walking on a trail in the park, which is popular among runners and dog-walkers.
“Even the smallest amount of information could be vital to the investigation,” a police press release said.
“We are still investigating what the possible motive of this could have been,” Singh said.
Singh did not comment on the nature of Hatcher’s injuries.
A blue hatchback was towed out of the park by police, but police did not confirm whether the car belonged to Hatcher.
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Hatcher retired last December from her job as an assessor for the Essential Skills Upgrading Program at Burnhamthorpe Collegiate Adult Learning Centre, where she had been since 2003, according to a statement from Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board.
“She’s being remembered as an extraordinary person who was wonderful with learners and colleagues and will be dearly missed. We extend our sincere condolences to Kathleen’s loved ones and former co-workers following her tragic passing,” Bird said.
Close friend Susie Whelehan told the Star Hatcher recently had been the happiest she’d seen her in a long time. Hatcher, who had two sons and a daughter, had recently become a grandmother and loved babysitting her grandson a couple days a week.
“This is a such a tragedy,” Whelehan said, noting Hatcher’s daughter broke the news of her mother’s death to her. “Kath was just a beautiful soul. She was a very loving mother who never gave up on her children.”
Over the years, Hatcher had taken each of her kids on one-on-one trips to Ireland, where her father was from, to meet relatives, Whelehan said.
“She felt very much at home there.”
Whatever difficulties she encountered in life, she persevered with her “faith and courage,” Whelehan said.
She described Hatcher as a beautiful writer, who had taken to memoir-style creative writing, as well as an accomplished artist. One year, Hatcher made a quilt for each member of a refugee family from Africa — a mother and her seven children.
Hatcher was a beloved member of the Etobicoke Quilters’ Guild, guild president Karen Cooper told the Star.
“She was a skilled quilting teacher who introduced a number of our members into this art. We will miss her very much, and our love goes out to her family,” Cooper said.
In 2019, Youth Without Shelter, a charity supporting homeless youth, thanked Hatcher and the guild for their donation of seven handmade quilts.
Anyone who might have seen Hatcher or have any information are urged to contact investigators by calling 416-808-2200 or by leaving an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS or at www.222tips.com.
With files from Alyshah Hasham
Kevin Jiang is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Reach him via email: [email protected]
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