Tuesday, 6 Dec 2022

OPP teaming up with ‘Bolo’ program to solve 2002 cold case

A cold case from over a decade ago is back in the spotlight, thanks to a partnership between the OPP and a new program that aims to help police find Canada’s most wanted.

During a news conference at OPP West Region headquarters on Wednesday, officials announced that provincial police are teaming up with the Bolo program — short for “be on the look out” — to help find the suspect wanted in connection to the death of Riad Baroud.

Baroud was kidnapped from Windsor in 2002 and beaten to death. His body was dumped in a bush lot in Chatham-Kent.

Savang Sychantha, who is wanted for first-degree murder in the case, fled to Laos but is now believed to be hiding in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver.

A wanted poster distributed by the Bolo program featuring Savang Sychantha, who is wanted in the first-degree murder investigation into the 2002 death of Riad Baroud.

The Bolo program amplifies already public information about a case using media, including social media, in hopes of generating new leads for police.

OPP Detective Inspector Randy Wright is excited to be working with the Bolo program to help solve Baroud’s murder.

“What they can do for us now, and the reason why we thought it would be a good pairing, is they can amplify this all across the world for us,” Wright said. “I think in a lot of cases, whether it’s a first-degree murder or some other type of crime, they are a good fit for us because of what they can do for us.”

Sychantha is the subject of the first partnership between the OPP and Bolo, which is currently focusing on five different criminal cases. The program hopes to expand to 15 to 20 cases within the next three years.

The Bolo program was launched earlier this year by the Stephan Crétier Foundation, a charity organization established in Montreal in 2006. Bolo provides its services to police at no cost.

Instead of collecting tips from the public, similar to Crimestoppers, Bolo directs anyone with information about a case to the proper police channels.

Bolo program director Maxime Langlois tells Global News Radio 980 CFPL how they plan to get the information about Sychantha out to the public.

“It’s a very difficult case because OPP investigators don’t have a lot of information on the whereabouts of this man, so we’re going to start with a digital campaign,” he said. “People in Ontario, mostly in the Windsor and London regions, are going to see promoted posts on Facebook and Twitter.”

Langlois said they could eventually expand to media such as billboards, bus ads, and radio and TV ads.

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information that will lead to the arrest of Sychantha.

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