This article about eight-year old Victoria Stafford wandered through my facebook newsfeed yesterday. I knew I shouldn’t, but I had to read it. From my newsfeed the little face looking out at me looked so much like Michaela, and … well, as someone who commented on it on facebook said, this was this little girl’s reality. She had to live it. Let’s face it … I have said before that pretty nine-year old girls are not kidnapped to be adopted by some nice, childless family. Babies and toddlers, sure, but older children who actually need to be adopted by families can’t even find them. No. It is something along these lines that is the fate of most of these older children who are kidnapped. This is what lies in that dark black hole in the center of my existence, and why I try so valiantly to keep from falling into its field of gravity.
But let’s go back to the concept of this being this little girl’s reality, because that is why I read this article, and that is why I repost it. I have no doubt that Michaela suffered terribly after she was kidnapped, and there has always been something in me that draws back when the possibility of learning the truth has raised its head. There is only one thing that gives me the courage to step forward and open myself to the possible knowledge of the truth, and that is that if there is something terrible that my daughter had to find the strength and courage to endure, then I can and will find the strength and encourage to embrace her in the midst of whatever pain, terror, and struggle she may have experienced.
Michaela, Michaela, if you are out there, I know your life hasn’t just been sad because you miss your family and because you didn’t get to graduate from high school with your friends, etc., etc. I know your life has been an effing living hell. I can’t be shocked, I can’t be disgusted, and above all I can’t in any way blame you for anything that happened to you. What I can do is embrace you, embrace your sorrows, your terrors, your pains, hold you in that darkness and just simply love you. And cry with you … because, my baby girl, I do that anyway. And if, somehow, you have found a way to turn that hell into a something you can live with, then I could only be happy for that, and applaud you for your courage in being able to survive … and still love you, embrace you and all you are, all you have ever been, all you could ever become. You are my baby girl, and as that book we used to read together says, “I love you forever … I like you for always.”
And for the rest of you, if you don’t want to read this article, that’s okay. I understand. But know in your heart that it is full of terror. I know you care about those who have been kidnapped, or you wouldn’t be here reading this blog. But we have to let our hearts bleed for these children. We have to let our souls weep. We have to open up, and we have to tell what we know, and we have to save them. If that old lady driving out of the cemetery across the street, who witnessed Michaela’s kidnapping, had read this article, perhaps she would have had the guts to call the police and tell what she had seen. Perhaps she would have actually helped to FIND my innocent little girl instead of cowering in her home, wrapping herself in some imaginary fear for her own self. And YES, I am angry about this, still now, 23 years later.
But for this moment, let’s give our hearts over to Victoria Stafford, who lived to be only eight years old.
‘Don’t let him do it to me again’: Final moments of Canadian girl, eight, abducted, raped and murdered on way home from school
The last horrifying moments of an eight-year-old girl’s life were revealed in graphic detail today by a woman who has admitted bludgeoning her to death with a hammer.
Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford was abducted from outside her school in Woodstock, Ontario, on April 8, 2009. Her body was found 103 days later stashed in garbage bags and buried under a pile of rocks.
Terry-Lynne McClintic took to the stand for the second day at London, Ontario’s crown court for the murder trial of her ex-boyfriend and alleged orchestrator of the abduction and brutal murder.
She broke down as she revealed the little girl begged for help moments before she was killed.
Disturbing case: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford was only eight-years-old when she was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered by a couple who were high on drugs
Michael Rafferty, 31, is accused in the first-degree murder, sexual assault and abduction of Tori. He pleads not guilty.
McClintic had already plead guilty to a first-degree murder charge and is serving life in prison.
Since the trial started on March 5, the court has heard that the school girl was pummeled with a hammer, sexually assaulted, slain and buried like an animal.
Her body was found naked from the waist down and she had blunt injuries to her body that lacerated her liver and fractured her ribs — injuries that could have been fatal on their own.
From the ploy she used to lure the girl away from school, to the conversations they had when she promised she wouldn’t let Rafferty rape her again, to the rage she said overtook her and led her to beat Tori to death with a hammer, McClintic spared no detail in her gut-wrenching testimony.
Trial: Michael Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to murder, sexual assault and abduction
As Tori’s devastated parents listened, the 21-year-old described how she and Rafferty singled out the little girl because she was on her own – the first day she was allowed to walk back from school alone – and lured her to the car by saying they had a schitzu puppy.
McClintic was high on Oxycontin, as she was most days, and had also smoked marijuana.
The drug-addicted couple made three stops, she said, to pick up Percocet, a highly-addictive narcotic pain killer, coffee and a hammer and garbage bags before arriving at the remote area chosen to kill the innocent school girl.
McClintic said she ‘knew what was about to happen’, so walked away from the car. When pressed as to what that was, she replied: ‘I believed he was going to rape her.’
After Rafferty sexually assaulted Tori the first time in the front seat of his Honda Civic, during which time she could hear screams and cries for help, he called McClintic to take her to the toilet, she told the court.
The 21-year-old recalled Tori was bleeding and crying and pleaded with her: ‘Just don’t let him do it to me again.’
‘I told her I was sorry and that she was a very strong girl. And she said “Like you?” And I told her she was much stronger’, she testified. The convicted child killer then took Tori back to Rafferty, so he could commit the senseless, depraved act again.
At this point in her testimony, Tori’s parents Tara McDonald and Rodney Stafford broke down in tears.
Rafferty’s former girlfriend told the packed courtroom that as they were walking back to the car, Tori wouldn’t let go of her hand. All she was wearing was her favourite Hannah Montana T-shirt.
Testimony: Terri-Lynne McClintic, then 18, pleaded guilty to the murder of Victoria Stafford and is the key witness in the murder trial of Michael Rafferty, her ex-boyfriend and co-accused
Court sketch: Terri-Lynne McClintic took to the stand for the second time today as she recounted the horrific details of Victoria Stafford’s murder at the hands of her and Michael Rafferty
‘She asked me to stay with her. I tried to hold on to her hand but I couldn’t stay because I knew what was going to happen,’ said the former drug addict. ‘I couldn’t be there for that. I left.’
‘She asked me to stay with her. I tried to hold on to her hand but I couldn’t stay because I knew what was going to happen’
As she described what happened next, McClintic broke down. She said she was overcome by an anger and rage that seemed to engulf her as she stood in the distance trying to block out the sounds of the assault. It brought back painful memories of past abuse. Of what she didn’t elaborate.
‘I kept having flashbacks. Sometimes it was like I wasn’t even there,’ she said. ‘I realized I needed to do something so I turned back to the vehicle and . . . when I saw what was going on, all I saw was myself when I was that age and all the anger and hate and rage that I’d had and blame that I still feel towards myself came boiling up out of me.’
She walked back to the car, put a garbage bag over Tori’s head and started to kick her. She then struck her repeatedly with both sides of the hammer on the head, she told the court.
Happy child: Victoria Stafford loved Hannah Montana and was looking forward to going home that day so she could play in her newly decorated room and watch High School Musical
Parents: Rodney Stafford, father of slain Victoria Stafford walks into court for proceedings in the Michael Rafferty trial today, and mother Tara McDonald arrived at court yesterday, right
Mother: Tara McDonald’s addiction to Oxycontin was highlighted during her testimony. She encountered Terry-Lynne McClintic twice before she abducted her daughter when she bought drugs from her
‘I went back to the vehicle and I savagely murdered that little girl,’ she said to a stunned and horrified courtroom.
They both buried the body, she recounted, before washing themselves and the car so no evidence could be found.
‘She pleaded with me to help her and wouldn’t let go of my hand…but I went back to the vehicle and I savagely murdered that little girl‘
The pair had been dating just over a month when they carried out the gruesome crime. McClintic said it was Rafferty’s idea and said they would be like Bonnie and Clyde.
Last week, the court heard that before she snatched Tori, McClintic went to an employment centre, filling out various forms but citing anger issues and a Grade 9 education as impediments to finding a job.
Before that she had smoked marijuana, got a food voucher from church, bought groceries and shot up some Oxycontin. It was then that Rafferty showed up at her house unexpectedly.
The surveillance video showing Tori walking away from school with a woman in a white puffy coat was released soon after her abduction.
When Victoria Stafford was abducted, it was the first day she had been allowed to walk home from school on her own and it was for that reason she was singled out by Terry-Lynne McClintic and Michael Rafferty
Police received a tip from Tori’s mother, Tara McDonald, who said she heard from a friend that it looked like McClintic.
McDonald has testified she crossed paths with McClintic twice previously when she and her boyfriend bought Oxycontin illegally from her home.
Ms McDonald’s addiction to the painkiller has also been flagged up by prosecutors.
A check turned up a warrant for McClintic’s arrest on a parole violation, breach of custody and supervision. Police arrested her April 12, 2009, and she confessed to Tori’s murder on May 19.
She said today the whole thing was her ex-lover’s idea. She recalled Rafferty urging her to kidnap a ‘young female, because the younger they were the easier they were to manipulate’.
As they drove past Oliver Stephens Elementary school on that fateful day, Rafferty dared her to prove she wasn’t ‘all talk’.
Through tears, McClintic testified: ‘He said it would be easy. “They’re getting out of school now. All you have to do is talk about dogs or candy or something like that”.’
He had previously asked her if she thought it would be weird if he wanted to kidnap somebody. They couple had only met a month before and had sex in his car the first night they met.
McClintic told the court she went along with whatever he said as she ‘badly wanted to meet a good man’.
The trial continues.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2114924/Victoria-Tori-Stafford-trial-2012-Final-moments-girl-8-raped-murdered-Woodstock-Ontario.html#ixzz1pUATpFK6