Tori Stafford accused familiar with area where body found
WARNING: This story contains disturbing details
The trial of a man accused of killing Victoria (Tori) Stafford is hearing that he was familiar with areas near where the eight-year-old was killed, including working at a landfill site a few side roads away.
Michael Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in the girl's April 8, 2009, death.
Tori's remains were found in a farmer's field just southeast of Mount Forest, Ont., in July 2009 and Rafferty's trial has heard he went to middle school near there.
An ex-girlfriend testified today that while they were dating a few years ago, Rafferty often took her on drives down side roads in areas south of Mount Forest and seemed to know where he was going.
Court also heard today from a man who employed Rafferty at his landscaping business, and he testified that Rafferty worked for him at landfill sites in the area, including one about five kilometres from where Tori was killed.
Other women Rafferty dated testified today, including one who was a friend of Tori's family, who said Rafferty consoled her during the girl's disappearance by saying he believed she would be found safe.
Amanda Chambers testified that when she was helping search for Tori on April 9, 2009, Rafferty texted her to say he too was out searching.
The next day, Chambers says, they met up at a Tim Hortons. She was upset that Tori was still missing, so Rafferty told her Tori would be all right.
"He kept telling me he believed she's OK," Chambers testified. "I'm sure she'll return safe."
Another woman who had chatted online with Rafferty after meeting him through the same dating website, Plenty of Fish, testified that Rafferty changed his status message shortly after Tori disappeared to read: "Bring Tori home."