From Whispers to Roars

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Police lay murder charge in Tori Stafford case

Police lay murder charge in Tori Stafford case
Updated Wed. May. 20 2009 11:23 AM ET

A man has been charged with murder and a woman has been charged with being an accessory after the fact in connection with the case of missing Woodstock, Ont. girl Victoria "Tori" Stafford.
Police spent Wednesday morning in Guelph, Ont. looking for the child's body after arresting the two suspects late last night.

Authorities are expected to release details of the arrest at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The Woodstock, Ont., girl went missing on April 8 and was last seen walking away from her school with an unidentified woman.

A surveillance camera in the area caught the woman and child walking together. Investigators have previously released a composite sketch of a suspect but despite a number of tips from the public, have failed to locate any trace of the child.

Sources say the suspects in custody are a man and woman but they are not the girl's parents, according to crime reporter Sue Sgambati. However, police say they are known to Victoria's family.

Friends and family of the missing child are said to be gathering at the home of Tara McDonald, the girl's mother.

Victoria's aunt Rebecca Stafford said Wednesday on a Facebook group dedicated to finding her niece that she is closing down a portion of the online social networking site to help stop the spread of rumours.

"As we've all heard, there has been police progress in this investigation. Since we are not sure of what is happening, out of respect for my family, I have closed down the wall temporarily," she wrote. "The rumour mill has already been put into overdrive this morning and we are anxiously awaiting the answers to the same questions you are asking.

"Thank you for understanding my desire to protect my family from further uncertainty," she added. "Thank you for all your support during these very trying times."

Victoria abducted

Police believe Victoria was abducted for "sexual purposes," Sgambati told CTV's Canada AM in an interview from Woodstock.

Investigators are now looking for the child's body near Guelph, Ont., with the help of the female suspect, she said.

"This was an opportunistic crime, described to me by sources as a worst-case scenario," Sgambati said. "Police are looking for Tori's body as we speak outside of this jurisdiction."

Although the suspects know Victoria's parents, police don't believe they knew who their daughter was at the time she was kidnapped, Sgambati said.

Craig Racini, whose girlfriend lives next door to the female suspect in Woodstock, said he suspected his neighbour had something to do with the girl's disappearance after he saw the surveillance video.

He said two women moved next door about two months ago and that one of the women recently cut her hair short. Racini said that when he asked her why, she said it was because she got bubblegum stuck in her hair.

Racini said "no comment" when he was asked if he called in the tip to police.

He said he doesn't know a lot about his neighbours but said that he doesn't believe a man lives in the house.

He wouldn't say exactly what made him suspicious but said that "there were hints."

Michael Thomas C.S. Rafferty, 28, and Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, are both facing charges in connection with the case. They have both been remanded in custody until May 28.
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Our thoughts and prayers are with this family, and the families of All Missing People.

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