A 55-year-old man accused of hiring a private investigator to follow his ex-girlfriend, and stalking her has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Daniel Hatch, who is out on a $30,000 cash bond, was in front of Racine County Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch Tuesday morning when he entered a plea of not guilty.

The Racine County District Attorney’s Office charged Hatch on November 21 with a single felony count of stalking, four misdemeanor counts of bail jumping, and two misdemeanor counts of violating a domestic order.

But the incident stems from a much longer string of events that had been ongoing for about two weeks and crossed over into three different jurisdictions.

Woman Alleges Hatch Made Threats To Kill Himself

According to the man’s ex-girlfriend (who did not want to be named) and call logs from the Racine Police Department, Hatch threatened to kill himself with a knife in front of the woman on Nov. 4 at their residence on Michigan Avenue.

The woman told officers that Hatch dropped the knife and she was able to put it in her top dresser drawer. The situation seemed to have calmed down. But then Hatch grew agitated again, went downstairs, and picked up a butcher knife. The woman — fearing for her own safety — fled the home. Running down to North Beach, she hid in some bushes and called 911.

“I was on the beach. I was whispering and hiding. I am telling them (the dispatcher) what happened… I am shaking,” she said. “Visibly my entire body is shaking and I am just terrified.”

Because there was no weapon found and Hatch denied wanting to kill himself, officers told the woman there was nothing that they could do. Hatch wasn’t taken in on a mental health commitment because he didn’t fit the criteria for being a threat to himself or others. They explained to the woman that it was Hatch’s word against hers and there was no basis for arresting him since there wasn’t a “violent encounter” between the two, according to the Racine Police Department.

But concerns were noted in the call log.

“Daniel displayed controlling behavior towards (the woman) during our contact, saying he would change the locks, empty the house and call her bosses,” according to notes from the Racine Police officer.

The woman said she felt like the police didn’t believe her story. She went back into the home to retrieve her belongings with the police with her and she told them the knife was in her dresser drawer. But the officer told her to get her things and leave. There is no mention of this interaction in the call notes.

“They just said we’re not taking him to jail… and it was my choice to leave,” she said. “I was truly scared.”

Woman Has ‘Gift Of Fear’

Refusing to stay in the house with Hatch, the woman drove to a friend’s home in Yorkville.

“I had the gift of fear,” the woman said. “But I felt like I called the police to protect me… and granted I got myself out of the situation, but they had done nothing to intervene.”

After the woman and the police left the scene, Hatch called her on her cell phone under different numbers — the woman’s daughter’s phone number, a former boyfriend’s phone number, and the Racine Police Department non-emergency number. This is also known as spoofing. When the woman answered, Hatch responded.

“It still sends chills up my spine just thinking about it,” she said.

Hatch followed the woman to her friend’s home, who happens to be a dispatcher for another county. Arming themselves with guns, Hatch turned around and left in his car. The woman called 911 again and deputies with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department searched for Hatch. But they were unable to find him.

“He still kept spoofing me (by calling her cell phone) and the deputies are now answering the phone for me,” the woman said.

Hatch called from the woman’s phone number, the woman’s other daughter’s phone number, a friend’s number and her former boyfriend’s phone number again.

“The deputy answered, ‘Hey Daniel, we’re coming to arrest you,'” the woman and her friend said.

The Racine County Sheriff’s Department issued a warrant for Hatch’s arrest.

Multiple Calls Made To Police

The next day, Hatch followed the woman and her daughter to her former boyfriend’s home in Sturtevant, then left after the woman’s daughter confronted him. Calling 911, the officer from the Sturtevant Police Department told the woman Hatch had just passed him. But they were still unable to find him.

The woman filed a temporary restraining order. And between Nov. 4 and Nov. 21, Hatch was arrested two more times — once for disorderly conduct and then for bail jumping, according to Wisconsin Circuit Court records.

When the woman went back to the home with a police escort, she learned — after officers ran a background check from other states — that Hatch had six open temporary restraining orders and was on probation in Illinois, the woman and her friend.

Hatch Out On Bond On Stalking Charge

Because Hatch remains out on a $30,000 cash bond, the woman still fears for her safety, she said.

If convicted on all charges for the felony complaint, Hatch faces up to 7-1/2 years in prison and/or up to $70,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, a woman obtained a restraining order earlier this month against the man, and the next day he hired private investigators to watch the woman. The P.I. team reported to investigators on Nov. 18 the man lied to them, telling them he did not have orders against him and that the man had been in the woman’s home.

Police say the woman told them she is always on the move because she’s afraid of the man. He admitted to officers when he was taken into custody that he was fully aware of the restraining order against him.

Hatch is expected back in court at 8:15 a.m. March 3.

 

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.