Tori Stafford's story: a Canadian tragedy fit for Chekhov -

Tori Stafford’s story: a Canadian tragedy fit for Chekhov

The tale is as tragic as any in literature—and even more tragically, true

A Canadian tragedy fit for Chekhov

Dave Chidley/CP

Victoria “Tori” Stafford was murdered in 2009. Terri-Lynne McClintic, the young woman in the Honda Civic driven by her boyfriend, confessed to the murder. Now the sometime boyfriend Michael Rafferty is on trial. The details of Terri-Lynne’s confession, sealed for over two years in order to avoid prejudicing Rafferty’s court proceedings, are now in the public domain.

As the story comes out in court, wretched detail upon detail, the dead girl seems like a butterfly on a dung heap. Her innocence shimmers but she came from the seamy side of town.

Tori Stafford was eight years old when her life was ended with kicks and hammer blows wielded by a girl who was only 18 years old herself. Both Tori and her murderer, Terri-Lynne McClintic, have mothers who have been druggies: the murderer’s mother uses and sells and the victim’s mother bought from her. So much of this is like a stagnant pool of water, the filmy surface hiding giardia multiplying in filth at the bottom.

No live-in fathers here: both mothers have boyfriends. The sound of cash registers and quickie books fills the air. Tori’s father is unemployed, distraught, and given to talking regularly to the press. The mother of the confessed murderer says she will tell the real story. Tori’s mother, suffering hell over the loss of her daughter in so grim a circumstance as this, testifies about her past OxyContin addiction, though what this has to do with the last moments of Tori’s life can only be understood in a world of defective people hitching their excuses to this tragedy.

Journalists are publishing blow-by-blow accounts of the testimony complete with health warnings like those on cigarette packages: this report may disturb some readers. Coverage is laced with accounts of the reporters’ own revulsion at what they are hearing and explanations as to why they are burdening readers with the trial details.

By now, we are here. Terri-Lynne, by her own account, after witnessing the naked legs of her boyfriend sticking out of the car and having seen the blood in the snow when in the middle of this special hell the little girl has a break to urinate, returned the child to Rafferty for another round of rape. Then, with a hammer bought after abducting the child, she smashed the butterfly to death. Why? Only a Chekhov or Theodore Dreiser could explain this Canadian Tragedy.

All the material for such a writer is here, all the pathos one could ever want. The butterfly and the hammer, each as inevitably tragic as the 13-year-old servant girl Varka in Chekhov’s story Sleepy, who strangles the baby she rocks in the cradle, and then “laughs with delight that she can sleep, and in a minute is sleeping as sound as the dead.” Chekhov reveals the logic of this merciless tale. Great writers transmute clay into gold when their talent contains an uncanny insight into human nature and sympathy for its wrong turns. As Terri-Lynne gropes to explain her relationship with Michael Rafferty, her words paint an outline of such a pathetic life that it would require Émile Zola to fill it in with a novel to match his portrait of deadbeats in his great L’Assommoir.

“Mike,” explains Terri-Lynne, was so much better than her. He was polite and said nice things. After all the other dreadful experiences with men, now she could “finally have a good man in my life.” What if this was actually true? Not for a nanosecond does this justify the barbarity of it all, but look at what it says. What parade of twisted humans could this woman have been with in her 18 years? Handed from her biological mother, a stripper, to her new adoptive mother, an exotic dancer who becomes a “bagman,” bringing her into a land of “ox” and “abandominiums” and the thousand slang terms of the druggies.

And just when the brain is trying to absorb this, because the facts coming out in the courtroom in London, Ont., are naked, unadorned, not helped by the context of the necessary thousand and one details, there is mention in the court of Terri-Lynne’s “godmother” who visits her at the jail. The term belongs to another world, a place where children are baptized and confirmed. And this godmother is the chosen recipient of the new confession that Terri-Lynne, when a child—as if she had ever been adult—had barbecued a little dog in the microwave. Perhaps she did. Her jail letters sound as if she were in a 19th-century Parisian gutter, high on laudanum and absinthe, in the grip of hallucinations.

Thrifty nature uses the same organs for waste as for procreation. The throat takes in air, fluids and food with only a little flap to protect our lungs. When the flap fails, we choke and apologize that “it went down the wrong way.” The brain is thrifty too, sharing pathways for different emotions.

“I couldn’t be there for that,” Terri-Lynne said after she glimpsed the alleged rape. But then she “snapped.” What if it was jealousy? Just when she found a good man, she thinks, this snip came between them. She had to, as she says, “do something.” What if love and hate went down the wrong way and the innocent little girl in her mother’s butterfly earrings had to die? Twisted, but very human and rock-bottom pathetic. Nothing can ever make this right, but in the hands of a master we might at least begin to understand.


Tori Stafford’s story: a Canadian tragedy fit for Chekhov

  1. Are you daft?  Terri-Lynne didn’t kill that little girl you nutter.  Didn’t you read her initial confession?

    • I don’t think McClintic was the actual killer of the girl either. She barely could watch from a distance what was happening to the girl and was frozen to do anything about it. She was definitely the accomplice to the crime but was not the initiator or the one who did the actual harm to the girl. And by the looks of the jury’s visit to the location McClintic had precisely described landmarks, trees, fences, etc that placed her a distance away from the car and at the same time being able to see clearly what was going on, so her initial confession seems to be a truthful one because the details are now matching at the site.

      • I didn’t get it at first, because WTF is wrong with her.

        …but if this is a woman who could procure a child for her BF to rape, she is also a woman who could kill the child – and from McClintic’s description, it makes sense, criminal sense.

        In his books, John Douglas, FBI Profiler, repeats the fact that a majority of children dies within the first 24 hours of abduction, and explains that while some child molesters are also sadists, a lot of them desires a ‘consenting’ relationship with a willing child – and deluded themselves into believing that the child would want it. 

        When the child,  being a child, starts to cry, the fantasy is broken, and the child rapist who actually didn’t set out to kill the child (especially not if it’s a first abduction), panics – he has lost control of the situation – he is suddenly, overwhelming ashamed – then he seeks to “erase the crime by erasing the child”.

        McClintic said that Tori was brave, after the first assault, it sounded like Tori managed to maintain composure, Tori was a bright and strong little girl who looked after her younger classmates.  So when McClintic was busy being her own mess after /Tori/ was the one who was assaulted, eight year old Tori actually comforted her adult abductor when she said, “It’s okay, /just don’t let him do it again/.”

        McClintic then betrayed Tori again.

        It was after the second round of assault, did the brave little girl lost her composure and was crying on the ground, and it was then and only then, was McClintic finally overcame with a sense of shame – so even though she didn’t molest Tori herself, she reacted as a majority of child abductors do after the molestation – erase the crime by erasing the child.

        …and because the trash bag was placed over Tori’s head, she was thus depersonalized – McClintic didn’t have to look at her face when she brought the hammer down.

        • There’s no doubt about it that McClintic is a very damaged human being and is where she is because she lured a child to be raped, tortured and murdered. But before the rape even occurred McClintic stated that Rafferty had said “we just can’t keep her and we can’t take her back” so I guess that makes him a sadist even more than a child molester because his intent was to be brutally violent to an innocent child. And in McClintic’s 2009 confession about the fatal hammer blows which she accused Rafferty of inflicting, she stated “He knew what he was doing, there was no, like, blood splatter”.  It’s just the intricate details she provided back then is putting the pieces of the puzzle together as to who did what and pointing to Rafferty having more motive to kill the child than she did. 

          • If Rafferty had done it, I’ve started wondering if of the 4 general type of rapist, if he’s the Power-Assertive Type.

            The Power Reassurance type doesn’t know how to relate to woman and feel emasculated, would generally target his age peers, within his own race (and class?): women that he feels match him, that he wants to date.

            Some child molesters are the PR type, but instead of their age peers, children, because they are so inadequate, they are intimidated by adults (even if they are attracted to adults). These type don’t set out to kill, but they will, when the sense of shame comes. They will often feel remorseful, redress the victim, cover the face – not throw the body away like trash. They might feel compelled to visit the victim’s grave, sometimes giving back an object they had taken from the victim.

            Then there is Power Assertive rapist, this is the guy that would have an insulated jury going “I can’t believe he’s the rapist, he’s so handsome, charming, employed, and he has a girlfriend!”, Ted Bundy, Paul Bernado. Listing the motives of why people molest children, John Douglas pegs these people as ‘try-sexuals’, because it’s something new and because they could.

            There is this livejournaler, I think his screenname was ‘ohbutyouwillpet’, Encylopedia Dramatica has a page on him…he assaulted a baby! He was into BDSM and liked to be addressed as Lord, he had a wife, he had all SORTS of stuff on his computer, not just CP (power assertive try-sexual).

            I thought that if Rafferty had done it, that he’s an inadequate anger-retaliatory type: John Robinson used a hammer to kill his victims, striking them from behind in the head, just that. …but Tori was smashed up, torture? Since it was McClintic who did it, and it was through a trashbag (depersonalization), this explain why there were other wounds that was not the head wound.

            There are some sadists who needed to kill the victims themselves, with their own hands, it’s something they need to do as a part of their fantasy. For others, the death is but an instrument: concealing the sexual assault. Frankly, I really believe that it was Karla who did the killing – not that Paul Bernado deserve anything less than life in prison no parole – but what I got out of “Invisible Darkness” was that Bernado had a sick ego – and he wanted his victims to remember him, he made one say Merry Christmas to him when he assaulted outside in December (he took psychology, he was out to ruin her happy memories and make sure she would be reminded of him). His thing was control and pain was his instrument. Karla on the otherhand, was obsessed with death, it wouldn’t surprise me if she had been regularly killing animals at her vet clinic – she mailed a puppy dog’s tail to her friend.

            What I’m saying is, if McClintic’s account of Rafferty could be believed, that means that Rafferty is a dangerous rapist like Bernardo and we should never let him out. …but Rafferty’s guilt dos not resolve McClintic any of hers. She tries to paint herself as Rafferty’s puppet, but she told her godmother she only regrets that Tori was a child, if not a child, she’ll do it again. Sounds like it was the match-up between a power-assertive rapist who doesn’t give a damn about the welfare and life of his victims, and a power reassurance rager – a woman who felt helpless about her life, and therefore acts out, she stabbed a robbery victim who questioned if she had the guts to do it.

          • He new what he was doing….he got her to kidnap the child so he could, as sick as it sounds…get his cheap thrills then he got her to do the murder. im sure he was aware that if the body sat as long as it did, there would be no evidence of sexual assault. She is guilty of the kidnapping and murder and he is not guilty of anything because of no proof….maybe he has had practice in the past?????

          • “…maybe he has had practice in the past?????”

            See, that’s the thing, if Rafferty did murder Tori, he would most probably have committed a sexual offence before! A guy doesn’t just get up one day and kill his wife, or kidnaps and assault a child. A decent normal guy doesn’t just turn monster overnight, that does not happen. There will be a /progression/ of offences.

            When John Douglas gets called in to look for a serial rapist who assault women in their homes, he’ll tell cops to look for people not just with a record of sexual assault, but tom peeping, and break and enter – and in one case, one guy’s prior home robbery victim, a woman, recall feeling unsettled when she woke up to him staring at her.

            A lot of women who are killed by their husbands, die carrying their restraining orders against him – the murder was the /culmination/ of previous, progressively more violent and controlling behaviour.

            The killer of Holly Jones? He wasn’t this normal decent guy who was suddenly strickened with the desire to kidnap and assault a child – consciously or not, he’s been working up to it – he was viewing CP, and he confessed /his/ bad feelings over how in real life, it wasn’t what he had /fantasized/. The snatching of Holly Jones was opportunistic, but the assault of a child was something he had been fantasizing for a long time, aided by his use of CP (which is in itself a crime against the children involved in its production).

            Paul Bernardo blitzed and assaulted women walking home from bus stops before he kidnapped two schoolgirls and took them home in his car. …and before Bernado was the jump from a bush rapist, where that the act is rape is not at all questioned by greater society, he probably committed date rape, he definitely did against one female peer (“Invisible Darkness”, he assaulted her in the bathroom, she called for help, their friends ignored her, thereby condoning Bernardo as normal), and he was definitely sexually coercive with women he’s actually in a relationship with.

            So, what were Rafferty’s other GF like? Did he creep them out (his comments about children)? If he did say the younger, easier to control, how young and controllable were his other GFs? Pedophilia manifest when the pedo is in his 20s, recently, last December 26th, a man in his twenties in TO kidnapped and assaulted a 4yr old, who was thankfully recovered alive. To look at stuff like this, they may have to go back 10 years around the life of a 30 yr old suspect – when he was more careless.

          • Who can even begin to figure out why type he is but obviously a cruel person who has a lot of anger issues that were directed to a child. We don’t know what lies in his head or closet but if dig deep enough may find some skeletons. I do believe he knew what he was doing by having McClintic as an accomplice to take the fall as she was easy to manipulate, just like he had stated to her that a child was easy to manipulate. And who’s to say that he hasn’t raped a child before, maybe a younger one that may not have a memory of it, was drugged or was threatened not to tell. Or maybe he has had a fantasy and only now acted on it because he found someone who could do his dirty work.

            Since McClintic is convicted for 1st degree murder and serving her life sentence it doesn’t matter if she inflicted the fatal blows or not as the sentence is the same as if she did but Rafferty, on the other hand, could walk the streets to do it again if he doesn’t get convicted. 

            His lawyer is already using some things to his advantage such as the pathologist could not determine if Tori was sexually assaulted because that area was obliterated due to decomposition even though the lower part of her body had no clothing, and by McClintic changing her story to she was the killer of the child, which is questionable because the police interrogator in the 2009 confession was able to get enough details out of her that pieced the puzzle together as to what occurred that horrific day.

            McClintic did state she has never harmed a child and talked both in present and past tense so maybe she didn’t actually kill the child but feels her life is so worthless that taking the fall for Rafferty would be within the scope of the way of her thinking. And even if she did do the actual killing do you think Rafferty, who orchestrated the crime, raped a child with intent to kill should be let off the hook?

          • A young girl who puts a living, feeling thing – a puppy – in the mircowave, kills it, then lies about it sounds a lot like a young girl who could kidnap a girl, assault her, kill her, then lie about it.

            A small girl and an animal are very similar – they are weak and easy targets to hurt.

            McClintic is a sociopath who enjoys the feeling of power of dominating and controlling over another.

            They are both guilty. The female as much as the male.

            Don’t fall into the trap of believing she couldn’t do it.
            Liard who killed a young Mississauga girl walked free because of her gender. 

          • That’s true they are both guilty but one is convicted due to her own admission of guilt while the other one is not who is lying and thinks he can get away with rape & murder of an innocent child. It’s all about justice for Tori and this Rafferty character needs to be off the streets and permanently rotting in jail!

    • Are you serious?What is it about society where we STILL believe that women are not capable of hurting things/people/themselves?

      She testified that she killed Tori on the stand, under oath. She wrote stories in prison, when she was serving time before the murder, of “smashin someone’s skull to bits”

      She was high the day of the murder
      She bought the hammer in guelph

      Do you really believe that she would lure a girl into the car, and just wanted to go out driving around to look at roses and posies?? And then circumstances got out of her control?

      Get a grip.
      Karla Hamolka.
      She helped kill 2 girls and her own sister.
      And she’s out now.

      At least McClintic will be away for a few years.

      • Sure women can do harm too but in this particular case Rafferty’s trial is showing him as a master manipulator. Not only was he able to get McClintic to lure a child for him to rape & kill, he also got another one to work as an escort and give him all the money she made while at the same time stringing along 15 (at last count) women around the same time of Tori’s murder. Still think this crime was all McClintic’s doing? It shouldn’t be hard to believe that Rafferty was the mastermind behind raping and killing of an innocent child when he has no conscience. 

  2. So ,so sick.this is so disgusting, i am at a loss for words .Although in this case life should be life, not 25 years. 

  3. I will always be against the death penalty.
    And I will always be for castration.

    • Castration will not work as long as they have fingers and a tongue.  How simplistic!

      • Brutal, torturous death is the answer. Source it out to the chinese and have him executed over the course of days via 1000 cuts. Sick twisted POS

        • Him? What about her? They both face the same sentence

          • I believe the subject was castration, which is gender specific..

        • Ha!  Love the outsourcing!

          • Castration is good for sexual assault, but how about the horrific way they killed this litlle child? So, they deserve a second chance, but they had no mercy for Tori…

          • Both should suffer the circumstances. They need to know that Tori was innocent and shouldn’t deserve and have to be FORCED into the assault. Every murderer deserves to have the same punishment as people do in a death sentence. Having both maybe into a death sentence would probably make Tori the most relieved girl in the world if she had survived the abduction. She would have no worries if her murderers were gone. But considering Both McClintic and Rafferty were found guilty in this crime, both should deserve an extreme punishment for murdering an 8-year old little girl. The one who had murdered Tori should have the death sentence and the other should be put in jail for many many decades for not doing anything to help the child escape. Knowing or not, Tori shouldn’t have been put in misery at such a young age. Me myself could be abducted and only being still young, I could think of many possible ways to escape with them keeping an eye on me or not. There are a lot of things to do to prevent child abductions and murderers by parents keeping an eye on their children all the time. Even children going on walks should bring a guard dog or well trained dog or a friend. Most should also have a plan to help get in contact with a friend or family member if thinking be stalked. Stores are also great places for being stalked. Stay with the cashier the entire time until somebody you know and trust enters and can help you.

  4. ‘in the hands of a master-understand’  –  What a pathetic, ignorant approach, as if this horrendous crime has any explanation. Some things are beyond explanation, as is this crime!

    • Do you think the perpetrators were baby murderers when they were born?  Otherwise, there must be reasons for what they evolved into, yes?  And understanding would help to recognize and eliminate those reasons.

  5. A tragedy of epic failure on so many levels.

  6. These scumbags deserve the hangman’s noose! Bring back the death penalty now! He raped and murdered that poor kid. Terri-Lynne was at the very least a knowing accomplice and had no problem with it. Both are a danger to society. On the plus side, maybe Rafferty will get a big cellmate that finds him as sexually appealing  and has the power to force himself on Rafferty.

    • I have to agree with this comment those sick SOB i have 5 children and couldnt imagine godwilling someone gives these pigs a good go round

  7. sick and pathetic are these criminals. to hurt a beautiful an innoscent child that way?  animals would’t do that to each other, yet these scumbags see nothing wrong with it… McClintic said she had no remorse, only that the child was young… so had it been an older child, it would be ok????? what kind of logic is that… pathetic excuse for human beings – both Terry-Lynne and Rafferty.

    • …that’s why we have to bring back the death penalty in Canada, that’s the only way to get justice for poor Tori….and many other kids murdered by vicious criminals like those 2…

  8. The sound of cash registers and quickie books fills the air. Tori’s father is unemployed, distraught, and given to talking regularly to the press”

    My first reaction is to tell you to D.I.A.F.

    My more mature reaction to recommend you trying to read John Douglas books, he observe that the families of the victims often keep mentions and knowledge of the victim in their lives – I think much more and much longer than if the victim had left them by going to college instead of having the misfortune of being murdered.

    See, you don’t have to talk about your children for your children to be in your life, when they are alive, you could be trying to get some alone adult time and they’ll come running in with muddy shoes about a puppy that totally totally followed them home.  …but when you lose your kid, they are not there anymore – to remind you that you ever had a kid in the first place.

    Other people might say: move on, move on.  …but parents of lost kids often don’t WANT to move on: what they want is for their kid to come back, no matter how irrational it is – and they can be terrified of forgetting their kid, of their kid being forgotten, of what is left to be gone.

  9. In my entire life I never heard such a terrible end to a child….those two monsters (as I can not call them humans)  must die in the same way litlle Tori died (only she was innocent)…I feel terrible every time I read the news and Victoria is always on my mind, my heart is fullfield with pain for the way she suffered (being raped, tortured and murdered). We should start a petition to bring back the Death Penalty in Canada, as 25 yrs is too litlle for those animals; they are safe in prison, protected by guards, and mostly they are alive, they are able to live), but litlle innocent Victoria was killed in the most horrific, barbaric way…I can’t even think of her last moments….beautiful Victoria….

    • This man will NOT be safe in prison. Guards will turn their backs on him given the crime. He will die in prison, a brutal death, with the same fear coursing through his veins that little Tori experienced in her last moments. And if that is NOT the case, it should be. But the majority of even violent criminals view child molestation and murder the same way most human beings do. That said, our tax dollars shouldn’t be used to put food in his belly or a roof over his head for ANY length of time outside of trial. Death sentance, and in this case not the nice “we put this in your veins and you fall asleep and never wake up” kind, should be the only option. Yep, in this case, throw him in a pit full of army ants and let nature take it’s course.

      • And what of McClintic? Does she not deserve to be raped as well?
        She played an equal part.
        Do you support her being killed as well, or are women allowed to be killers like Karla and Liard was?

        • there should be “an eye for an eye”….

  10. Good piece of writing here. But I’m thinking Chekhov’s servant girl was kinda sorta different. I do believe if McClinty didn’t plead guilty, we would find out the degree of her fetal alcohol syndrome. Born to a stripper – the rest don’t much matter where her brain is concerned – but it would be good to know just how FAS she is (actually I believe she shows some facial features of the syndrome as well). This story, severe as it is, would make one great impact against those who would ever decide to fuel the body with alcohol while the body trys to ‘build’ brain tissue in a fetus, very early in pregnancy.  Very defective brain … very defective human .. not fully human in fact.

    • There are people who are monsters that come from very wealthy families.
      I suggest this is more from her environment than her genetics.

      She nuked a puppy in the microwave once.

      Part of the reason why I feel people who hurt and kill animals need to be put on a public list so we know where they are and can control them.

      People who prey on one type of weak or defenceless creature will seek out others

      • She was adopted by a drug abusing and child abusing piece of crap and her equally abusive husband. They split and she was taken into state foster care. Anyone blaming this on genetics is stupid and ridiculous.  I agree this is more from her upbringing, but many others had horrific upbringings in various situations including evil adoptive parents, evil fosterers and also evil natural parents. What makes a monster and someone else different is hard to say, but abusing animals is a sign without question. I think you are right in paying more attention to that.

        They should save the shrink bill on this one and hang both of them!! They are pure evil.

    • Ridiculous – she was raised with an adoptive mother drug addict abuser, FAS is nothing but nonsense. She was also given to state foster care, she is a monster and FAS is nothing but a crock. Bring back the death penalty.

  11. I dont know what I find more disgusting. That a mother could stand by and watch her child being degraded in such a manner. A child of eight years! And not fighting for that child! Regardless what her feeling were for her boyfriend. Or the creep of a boyfriend who would performed such an outrageous act on innocent child! There are a lot of people out there in the world whose reaction is what I would call cold blooded. They dont care! And as a result, both of these people are a danger to society in general! They didnt care! I am not a violent person by nature. I believe that people in our country, in all walks of life. Would rather see there children grow up and become the best they can be in life and be happy! Tori (Victoria) will never get that chance! She was deprived of that chance! It was taken away! Their continued existence after such an act is unforgiveable, heartless and without remorse. There is no way to change that. What punishment could we possibly do to them that they should seek restitution? None. Maybe an example should be made that this crime is not acceptable under any circumstances. Bring back the death penalty.

    • Bring back the death penalty. The fact we have to pay to keep these two sick people alive in jail is a crime itself

    •  Terry-Lynne McClintic wasn’t Tori’s mother. That being said, noone but a monster could stand by and watch that happen to any child.

    • What are you talking about? Her mother was trying!! Police weren’t a big help. And hell knows where she could find her daughter!

  12. We must always remember that the devil roams the earth to seek and destroy souls. It’s a stark reminder but all children must be protected at all times.  We must never let our guard down.  God Bless Tori

  13. The video of the killers at the restaurant, which was admitted into evidence, seemed to show him as a latent psycho, and her as a sweetly needy, attractive young woman.  There are a lot of victims here. 

    • Please, don’t play the gender card.
      If you believe that women are just so easily manipulated, and are innately harmless, you will put your own children at risk.

      All people are capable of horror, on their own – and McClintic is no exception.

      No one coerced her into puting a puppy in the micorwave when she was 9. Where did that evil come from? Future psychic influence from Rafferty?

      No. It was from her. She is putrid, and should rot as long as Rafferty

      • “seemed to show…her as a sweetly needy, attractive young woman” does not state that she was manipulated into what she was. She did a terrible, terrible, terrible thing.  I do think, though, that her life story is extremely pathetic.  Ms. Mandel’s story in the London Free Press captured that well.

    • …who cares to watch those two child kilers on a date????? They should be killed in the same way they did to that poor, innocent, beautiful child…..
      please SIGN this PETITION as JUSTICE for TORI….

  14. This disgusting and immoral horror happens to children all over the world, all the time. This article is the first I’ve read in weeks, because I cannot bear to hear these tragic and horrifying details of Tori’s death over and over again. The writer says that “Nothing can ever make this right, but in the hands of a master we might at least begin to understand”. I disagree. This is not “Chekhov” This is not a work of fiction. There are real monsters in the world, monsters who would prey on our children. The media has been so relentless in its ‘pursuit of the truth” so that this poor innocent childs dignity in her last moments have been stolen from her. I choose to look away from the media. I choose to remember Victoria Stafford. I have a picture of her on my desk and every morning I say to her “Good Morning Sweetheart, I hope you are having a wonderful day in heaven”. Justice For Tori <3

    • Tori Stafford’s broken father went on TV and asked Canadians to pay attention to what happened to his little girl.  We can’t turn away just because it’s awful — we ALL need to be vigilant for our children, and others’ children too.  I understand how you feel, but I am also somebody’s mother and I am going to arm myself with knowledge.  If we turn away, this will happen again. 

      • Oh c’mon – the knowledge of danger to our children is there. I do pay attention. I just choose not to listen to the gory details and relive Tori’s suffering like it’s some kind of a serial drama. I know there is danger out there. I also know where my daughter is at all times.

        • “…choose not to listen to the gory details and relive Tori’s suffering like it’s some kind of serial drama”. Well said.
           Poor little girl!  It is almost too horrible to comprehend, not something to savor and ruminate.   It seems lewd to focus only on her terrible exit.  God grant her repose.

    • /
      I choose to remember Victoria Stafford. I have a picture of her on my desk and every morning I say to her “Good Morning Sweetheart, I hope you are having a wonderful day in heaven”. /

      Good for you.  I have a radio clock, so some morning I have been waking up in the middle of the news something something trash bag something something liver something something 8yr-old.

      It’s nightmarish, I’m pretty good at visualization, and I was caught in a terrible mood loop of lovely little girl -> trashbag = the end.  But while what happened to Tori was terrible and should never happen to her at all, /her death was not the sum of her life/. 

      A longer time ago, John Lennon was murdered, but we still listen to his music.  What Tori left behind in her short life is more subtle, but it is still essential. Some younger students who felt looked after.  A stressed out teacher juggling a mixed-grade class who had some better days because Tori was one of the students that made her glad to be a teacher instead of overwhelmed.  One more reason for her mother not to OD and to pull her life together against what started her on drugs in the first place.

      I like to picture Tori with butterfly wings when the news loop of her death comes up, sitting on a sun lit porch asking what Bea Arthur is knitting.  (The awesome grandma Bea Arthur departed one month before Tori did).

  15. We should all start a petition and sign it to bring back the death penalty in Canada, to make justice for Victoria and for all other innocent children who were murdered and who have no voice….together we can…..

    • There is one on the Charles Adler site, I agree both should be hung from the highest rafter.

    • please enter this site…………..and SIGN this PETITION as justice for TORI and all children who were murdered and who have no voice……
      we need 3000 more signatures….

  16. Holding your nose and looking down on others from the wrong side of the tracks with druggie mothers and absent fathers is divisive and does not provide a moral example for those still and growing up within those conditions. Granted, it comforts the better classes. It also robs the majority of folks who live in poverty in our fine country of their dignity. When will media rediscover its manners?

    • Wrong.

      This isn’t a class issue, as there are many middle class and wealthy parents who deal with drugs (cocaine is a rich person drug, btw, and prescription pain killers are abused by the rich as well).

      The discussion here is that there are hundreds of girls like Tori who are in exactly the same situation.

      Scandalwood: What are we doing about it right now? Which kids are at risk?

      We don’t know. We didn’t know about Tori. We won’t know about others.

      We have to face this issue head on.

      • “Please don’t play the gender card.”  Girls are not the only victims.

    • You are certainly entitled to your opinon.
       Ms. Amiel’s column seemed to me to be quite sympathetic to these issues, though.

  17. For all the people advocating for the death penalty on here…I want to share a story.  During the sentencing of the prolific green river killer Gary Ridgway family members of the young women he killed were allowed to get up to the podium and speak to their loved-ones killer. The green river killer sits there, emotionless, as each person approaches the podium spitting venom at him.   At one point, an old man with a long white beard gets up, and tells him he does not hate him, and that he is forgiven, prompting Mr. Ridgway to burst into tears.  I watched this documentary when I was young, and understood even at a young age that all must be forgiven.   I am an athiest, and I believe this.  Long live Canada’s abolition of the death penalty.   Watch at 4:36:

    • Hey Guest, I’ll make a deal with you. If one of your relative’s is murdered then you can have the murderer avoid execution. However, if I have a relative murdered than I have the right to insist on his execution. What should I say to such a person that murders one of mine? Should I say I forgive you and am happy to pay all his expenses for the rest of his life? Would you then come to me Guest and tell me how enlightened I am or proud I make you? The truth is that the death penalty already exists in Canada! It is carried out about 600 times a year by lowlifes on the law abiding citizens of Canada. They slaughter us and you tell us to show compassion to the ones that knock us off. The Green River Killer was a sicko who deserved death. You look and see that his heart was affected by one man’s speech. I see a man who cut short dozens of lives. His victims may not have been the liberal urban yuppie type that frequent parties in central Toronto or Ottawa but they had value. To make their relatives pay the cost of the killer’s upkeep is to spit again in the faces of the victim’s families. Just ask the relatives’ of Clifford Olson’s victims who were psychologically tortured by that piece of trash how they feel about our weak as water justice system? The majority of Canadians understand this even if most of our politicians. Why do you think that the latest Angus Reid poll shows that NDP supporters back the death penalty at almost the same rate as Conservative Party supporters? The poll shows that even Liberals and Bloc supporters lean in favor of the death penalty despite their partys’ fierce opposition.The truth is that there are some people like Paul Bernardo, the Pig Farmer in BC, or this crew that took Tori that deserve either a needle or a hangman’s noose.The Canadian people have had roughly 50 years without the death penalty(last executions in 1962). We tried it your way and we are sick of it. Now, its time for the majority of the citizenry to try it our way!

  18. In Connecticut, there was a horrible case where two men broke into the home of a doctor and his family. They left the doctor for dead. Then, they got his wife to drive with one of them to her bank and withdraw money under the threat that the kids would be killed otherwise. The wife did as mentioned and left a note for the bank teller. Back at the house, the men then murdered the wife and raped the two daughters ages 11 and 18. Meanwhile, the father though seriously injured, managed to get to the neighbor’s house and have the police called. The police arrived as the two criminals had tied the two girls to their beds and set the house on fire. The two men were caught but the police were unable to rescue the  two girls who were burned alive. We now know that one girl died in the hallway after the flames burnt through her restraints. In other words, she was alive and on fire when she made it into the hallway.  The two murderers expressed no regret. In fact, the two murderers even mocked the gravely wounded father for going for help instead of rushing inside to defend his family.The murder trial galvanized the generally liberal population of Connecticut. Support fot the death penalty rose from the low 60’s to almost 80% in the very liberal state. Even the anti-death penalty Democrat governor said that he wouldn’t commute  the sentence if the order for death came down. Those two murderers are now on death row in Connecticut( a state that has carried out executions in recent years). It is a virtual certainity that they will be executed within the next 10 years. Where was the real justice? In this case, where the two murderers have a date with a needle. Or in Tori’s case, where they can go to the parole board after 25 years?

    • In Idaho, there was a terrible case where the sight of an 8 year-old girl standing in her yard in her bathing suit motivated a killer (who subsequently told her all about it) to break into the family home and kill her mother, stepfather, and elder brother; he kidnapped her and her 9 year-old brother.  There was a massive search for Shasta and Dylan and seven weeks later, Shasta was rescued after being recognized by a courageous  pancake house waitress. Dylan was dead; both children had been molested and tortured; Dylan was murdered.  That is the worst case of which I’ve heard, ever.

      There are monsters out there.  That is just a fact.  Children are vulnerable and precious.

      Now the Idaho killer has three death sentences, three federal life sentences, and pending charges in other states where he had earlier raped and murdered children.  (His crimes there went unsolved until he confessed.) He’s now involved in the appeals process.
      Where IS the justice? If you apprehend a killer and sentence to death, we taxpayers pay to feed, clothe, and house him for decades.  He gets to know when he’s going to die.  He isn’t systematically tortured.  The death penalty is an illusory recompense. No solution.

      “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” Proverbs 29:7

  19. Why is there so little coverage about this story in Macleans, but the Canal drownings had daily reports of what happened in court?

    • Perhaps it’s due to the lurid sexual angle and the extreme cruelty of this case, combined with the fact that there is no clash of cultures?  There were so many victims, and such conflicting expert testimonies, and opinions in the canal murders.  It had so many different angles, whereas this case is less complex. 

  20. I was just wondering who was this erudite journalist writing beautifully about a filthy murder and then saw it was Barbara. Thank you MacLeans for giving us wonderful writers. Also, just saw MacLeans referenced on where a writer marvels at this magazine publishing stories about Afghanistan written so well and from a different angel.
    Now if you could fix your app so my subscription does not disappear that would be great.


  22. i hope that there is a god and Tori is in a happy place now. i hope that there is a hell that those two pieces of @#$% end up there. they should be put to death NOW!!!…… #$%^ them both

  23. Stop blaming the parents!!!!  NOBODY IS PERFECT, and EVERYBODY has an addict or alcoholic in their family- if they tell you different they are LYING!!! What happened to this poor little girl- lays on the hands of the 2 SICK AND TWISTED vermon who raped and killed her.  No family situation is picture perfect and EVERY PICTURE I see of this Angel- she is genuinely smiling and her eyes are HAPPY.  Look at the eyes of abused children and you can see the “light” has gone out of their poor tortured souls.  Nobody can change what happened!!!! I am so sick of PEOPLE PASSING JUDGEMENT!  LOOK IN THE MIRROR OR IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!!!

      please SIGN this PETITION…..we need 3000 more signatures……
      justice for little, innocent, beautiful TORI….thank you!