Canada

Tori Stafford missing poster found in Rafferty's home

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details. Police officers found a missing poster for Victoria (Tori) Stafford at the home of the man who is accused of killing and sexually assaulting the eight-year-old girl, a London, Ont., court has been told.

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details

Victoria (Tori) Stafford disappeared after leaving her elementary school in Woodstock, Ont., on April 8, 2009. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

Police officers found a missing poster for Victoria (Tori) Stafford at the home of the man who is accused of killing and sexually assaulting the eight-year-old girl, a London, Ont., court has been told.

Investigators executed a search warrant on the home of Michael Rafferty, where he lived with his mother in Woodstock, Ont, several days after his May 19, 2009, arrest.

Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and abduction.

Inside a kitchen drawer in his home investigators found a missing poster for Tori, who disappeared outside her elementary school in Woodstock on April 8, 2009, said Const. Gary Scoyne, a forensic identification officer with the Ontario Provincial Police.

Investigators discovered a similar poster in the home of Terri-Lynne McClintic, who pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Tori two years ago.

Prosecutors contend Tori was lured to Rafferty's car by Terri-Lynne McClintic shortly after Tori left Oliver Stephens Public School in Woodstock. The pair then drove the girl first to Guelph, and later to a rural area north of the city where she was allegedly raped and killed.

Michael Rafferty has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and abduction in the death of Victoria (Tori) Stafford. Terri-Lynne McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder two years ago. (Ontario Provincial Police)

Const. Scoyne told the court on Thursday that police also found a receipt for hair dye, which had been purchased three days after Tori disappeared, that matched a box found in McClintic's home.

McClintic testified last month that Rafferty had contacted her shortly after the alleged abduction and told her she needed to change her appearance.

Police also found a black pea coat in Rafferty's home, similar to the one McClintic testified was used to cover Tori as they left Woodstock.

Another interesting discovery for investigators, Const. Scoyne testified, were water bottles. McClintic testified Rafferty used a number of them to clean himself after he allegedly raped Tori and two bottle caps were found with the girl's remains.

As the trial nears the end of its fifth week, jurors are expected to hear more about Rafferty. The Crown has said his Honda Civic would play a key role in the trial, including DNA evidence collected from inside.

Scoyne told the court that the interior of Rafferty’s car had been sprayed extensively with white paint, all over the plastic panelling, dashboard and even the glass covering the instruments. The rear bench seat had been removed and replaced by a blanket covering the floor area. The window cranks for the rear doors had also been removed.

A mixture of blood from Tori and Rafferty was found on a gym bag discovered in the rear seat area, the Crown has said.

Undercover officers shared cell with Rafferty

A document read to the court at the end of the day described the placement of two undercover officers into police cells with Rafferty after his arrest. The document, an admission signed by the Crown and defence that the jury was to accept as fact, stated that the officers had been told not to solicit any information about the case from Rafferty directly, but to listen to what he said.

Rafferty asked the officers posing as inmates if they were carrying any drugs. They said no, but when he was asked what he was looking for, Rafferty said he wanted "Oxy," or OxyContin. He said he would take five 80 mg OxyContin pills a day, or 11 or 12 if they were 40 mg size. Rafferty said he would take 20 to 30 Percocets a day. 

"It's going to be a hard few days," Rafferty told them.

The trial concluded for the week after the document was read. It will resume Tuesday with testimony from scientists who ran DNA and other tests on several of the items found in Rafferty's car.

Police launched huge search to find Tori

On Wednesday, court heard about the massive search launched following Tori's disappearance. Hundreds of police officers fanned out across a wide swath of land north of Guelph, searching waterways, landfills and highways.

Her remains were eventually located in Mount Forest, a small community 100 kilometres north of Woodstock, by an Ontario Provincial Police interrogator on July 19, 2009. Det. Staff Sgt. Jim Smyth found the site after recognizing landmarks described by McClintic, who had agreed to help police locate the girl's body two months earlier.

A pathologist testified earlier in the week that Tori died after being hit at least four times by a hammer. Her remains also showed signs of stomping or kicking, injuries sustained while she was still alive.

Dr. Michael Pollanen, chief forensic pathologist for Ontario, told the court her body was too decomposed to determine whether she had been sexually assaulted.

Last month, McClintic testified she was the one who delivered the fatal blows to the girl, contradicting a number of statements she gave to police that Rafferty was the one who killed the girl.

Rafferty's trial is expected to last for several more weeks.

With files from The Canadian Press

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