Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where is Tori?

I’ve completed the manuscript for my new book. It is entitled: Sun Struck: 16 Infamous Murders in the Sunshine State. It will be published in November of this year. Now that I have a break from writing Sun Struck I hope I can go back to posting some original stories on my blog. Many thanks to the readers who stuck with me over these last few hectic months.

On Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2009, Tori Stafford walked out of existence. Despite a videotape that shows the 8-year-old leaving the campus of Oliver Stephens Middle School in Ontario, Canada with an unknown woman, police have not learned what happened to Tori.

At first, the Oxford Community Police Department seemed reluctant to even believe the schoolgirl had been abducted. It was three days before they issued an Amber-style alert. A week into the investigation, police were still labeling the disappearance a “missing persons” case. “Even the police and Victoria’s parents have said it’s strange because Victoria is not leaving against her will,” explained the Canadian Missing and Exploited Children’s website.

(I don’t think it’s strange at all. I’d suggest the police conduct an experiment. Take an inoffensive-looking woman to a school as it’s letting out--then have her approach children and tell them the child’s mother is ill and the child is needed right away. I venture to say that many, if not most, of the pre-teen children would willingly leave with the stranger.)

After a week of what Tori’s parents termed an ineffective investigation, the Ontario Provincial Police took over the case.

It’s been more than a month now and still no word of the girl. Rumors about biker gangs and family drug problems have been swirling about the parents. Rodney Stafford and Tara McDonald were divorced many years ago. McDonald lives with her boyfriend, James Gorris. No wrong-doing has been substantiated, although investigators still say that “everyone” is still a suspect.

Why was Tori kidnapped?

Did some lonely or disturbed woman take the child? In most such cases, the abductor snatches an infant, not a pre-teen. That scenario doesn’t fit this case.

Why of all the children in the universe did she pick out Tori? Is there something to the rumors? Did some unpaid drug dealer steal the child for revenge or ransom? So far nothing has been released that indicates this to be true.

Did a sexual predator steal the child? Several recent cases have shown that women sometimes sexually molest young girls. But why Tori? She wasn’t randomly abducted off the street or while playing in front of her home. In some way, she seems to have been chosen.

A fog shrouds this case.

And yet there may be hope.

One Canadian case that comes to mind is the Abby Drover abduction. In 1976, the twelve-year-old was held captive in an underground room for six months before escaping. In America, many kidnapping victims have been rescued. Katie Beers, Elizabeth Smart, and Shawn Hornbeck are just a few that come to mind.

Here’s hoping that this case will also come to a quick and satisfactory conclusion.

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