LONDON, Ont. - Victoria Stafford's mother crossed paths before with the woman convicted of the eight-year-old's murder when she bought drugs at her house, though 18-year-old Terri-Lynne McClintic seemed too strung out to even notice, court heard Wednesday.
McClintic, now 21, pleaded guilty two years ago to first-degree murder in Tori's death. Michael Rafferty, her boyfriend at the time, is now on trial for first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping.
He has pleaded not guilty.
Tara McDonald testified Wednesday at Rafferty's trial and said she was addicted to OxyContin at the time her daughter was abducted outside her Woodstock, Ont., school on April 8, 2009. She had even taken some that day in the hours before Tori was supposed to arrive home from school, she said.
She and her boyfriend James Goris bought their OxyContin a few times from a woman named Carol McClintic a couple of months before Tori was killed, McDonald said. They went to her house twice — one time her 18-year-old daughter Terri-Lynne was leaving the house as McDonald and Goris arrived, and a second time Terri-Lynne McClintic returned home while McDonald and Goris were there, she said.
The McClintics had two shih tzu dogs and McDonald had one, so they were discussing breeding them, court heard. She and her boyfriend were invited further into a bedroom in the dilapidated home and sat on the edge of a futon mattress, the only thing resembling furniture in the room, McDonald said.
"We sat on the edge and we started discussing the dogs and Terri-Lynne came in," McDonald said. "She (had gone) to go and use a payphone. She gave her mom a message then sat down. She was...very, very under the influence and I'm not sure if she had even noticed we were there that day."
Court was shown two items that were found in a bedroom in the McClintic house with McDonald's phone number on it — one that McDonald said was in her writing, the other was not.
McDonald decided she didn't want to breed her dog with McClintics', and though Carol McClintic was upset, Goris continued to buy OxyContin from her. McDonald didn't go back to the McClintic house after that.
Terri-Lynne McClintic is set to take the stand at Rafferty's trial starting Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney told the jury.
Tori had never met McClintic, but McDonald said she might have discussed the dog breeding at home in front of Tori and her brother Daryn. As of March 17 she will have been clean of both OxyContin and methadone for six months, she added.
Under cross-examination from Rafferty's lawyer Dirk Derstine, McDonald said there was no way Tori would have gone somewhere with a stranger.
Getting ready for school on what would be her last day alive, Tori was in an "abnormally good mood," McDonald said. Her daughter was not a morning person. But the night before they had set up Tori's bedroom in their new house, decorating it with Bratz wall decals, Disney princess and "High School Musical" posters.
Tori loved makeup, barrettes and shopping, but was also a tomboy, McDonald said.
"She'd be outside in a dress picking up worms and bugs, getting dirty and jumping in puddles," she said. "She loved music and 'Hannah Montana,' art, colouring. She spent a lot of time with her brother. They were extremely close."
The evening of April 8, 2009, Tori was supposed to spend some time with her father — who McDonald had married at age 17 but split up with six years later — then call some friends to watch "High School Musical 3" at her new house, McDonald said. She let Tori wear her headband and butterfly earrings and allowed her to get a little dressed up.
"I put a little bit of clear lip gloss on her lips and light pink blush on her cheeks," she said. "She brushed her own hair that day."
Her brother Daryn, 10 years old at the time, was supposed to walk home with Tori for the first time to their new house after dropping off a pair of younger children who lived right next to the school, McDonald said. It was in the same complex beside the school where she, Tori and Daryn had lived until moving a few blocks away a week earlier.
But after he did that he couldn't find his sister, and when she wasn't at home either he rode around the neighbourhood on a bicycle searching for her. McDonald called friends' houses and eventually her mother Linda Winters reported Tori missing to the police at 6:04 p.m.
Crown attorney Brian Crockett said he wanted to address "some of the speculation that's been out in the community," and asked if McDonald owed anyone drug money at the time or had received a ransom call. She said no, but that Goris had ripped 20 or 30 OxyContin pills off someone, worth about $400.
The jury also got a sense Wednesday of the massive scale of the effort to find the Grade 3 student and solve her murder.
From the time Tori went missing to the current trial the investigation has involved more than 900 police officers and thousands of pieces of evidence, court heard. Ontario Provincial Police Const. Gary Scoyne testified he was responsible for in excess of 1,100 physical exhibits and more than 4,500 photographs.
Scoyne, who has been a forensic identification officer for 23 years and was the lead identification officer on Tori's case, said he has never seen a larger investigation — calling the case "unusual."
"I have worked on major cases before, but this is, the volume of this was enormous and the amount of personnel was too," he said.
Scoyne, who court heard will be testifying about pieces of evidence at various points through the trial, expected to last 2 1/2 months, said in his career he has been to about 3,800 crime scenes. Eighty-four specific exhibits were forwarded to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for further investigation in the Stafford case, which is an "unusually large" amount, he added.
Woodstock Police Service Acting Insp. Paul Hess was off duty when Tori was reported missed, but quickly went into work and got detectives from various departments to start working the case.
"I called in pretty much every member of our criminal investigations branch and all the detectives to assist in our investigation," Hess testified. "I didn't have a very good feeling about the investigation...The fact that she's missing, eight years old — I wanted to utilize all the resources we had available to locate Tori Stafford."
In the days following Tori's disappearance officers searched her home, previous homes and her school, called friends, brought in the canine unit, interviewed the family, canvassed about 2,500 homes in the area, searched backyards, handed out missing posters, pored over surveillance tapes, contacted all of the registered sex offenders in the area, checked out recently released parolees and canvassed confidential informants and drug dealers in town.
Police in Woodstock also called in at least half a dozen other police forces for help as well as firefighters who scoured waterways.
Hess, the initial case manager until the Ontario Provincial Police took over on April 16, said the officers were working flat out to try to find Tori.
"It was not an issue getting people to stay," he said. "It was more of an issue getting people to get some rest."
Scoyne showed the court dozens of photographs Wednesday of areas of note in and around Woodstock. Tori's school is just down the road from a high school, whose surveillance cameras captured McClintic leading Tori away. Across the street from the high school is a retirement home where the Crown alleges Rafferty was waiting in his car in which they abducted Tori.
Tori's mother's house at the time was just a few blocks northwest of the school. McClintic's house was a few blocks north of there.
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