Since the convictions of her killers in 2010 and 2012 respectively, all the family of eight-year-old Tori Stafford has sought is closure.
Stafford was raped and murdered on April 8, 2009, and would have been 18 years old today.
Her father, Rodney Stafford, said he is still haunted by the life his daughter could have lived by this time.
“The milestones she’s already missed, like her 13th birthday, becoming a teenager… that’s a big one,” he told Global News outside his Woodstock home on Thursday.
“And then, driver’s licence, sweet 16, (high school) graduation.”
It would be easier for Rodney to cope with those feelings if his daughter’s story wasn’t brought back to the fore every few years.
First, it was convicted killer Michael Rafferty’s failed appeal in 2016. Most recently, it’s the relocation of Rafferty’s co-convicted ex-girlfriend, Terri-Lynne McClintic, to a lower-security Indigenous healing lodge in Saskatchewan.
“It made me sick to be quite honest,” Rodney said while recounting the day he found out, which was nine months after the fact.
Global News first got word of McClintic’s relocation in late August and contacted Correctional Service Canada (CSC) for comment. Senior communications officer Andrea Asbil responded on Aug. 29 and would not confirm the move, but said in a written statement that victims’ families have the opportunity to provide input in such cases.
“Victims may submit information at any time to either the Board or CSC regarding any safety concerns, or their perspective on the offender’s risk to re-offend and/or the effect the crime has had on them, their family, or the community,” the statement said.
“A victim can also request that special conditions be imposed and these will be considered by the Board as part of their decision-making.”
Rodney said he didn’t get that opportunity because he moved and his contact information changed. He was informed by family that CSC had contacted them looking for him, and that he only learned of the relocation when he called them back in early August.
“I had to (ask), ‘Pardon?’ Yeah, Terri-Lynne had been moved and (the representative on the phone) had brought up (McClintic’s) file that she was moved last December.”
The effect of the decision has rippled all the way to Parliament Hill and beyond. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he has no control over such things but asked CSC to review the decision, which it has agreed to do.
On Wednesday, Chief Alvin Francis of the Nekaneet First Nation, where the lodge is located, also expressed an inability to control the situation but a concern with it.
“It is quite shocking because of the crime,” he told reporters.
What Rodney said is even more baffling about McClintic’s relocation is that she has been far from a model inmate. In 2012, she pleaded guilty to the assault of a follow inmate at the prison in Kitchener where she had previously been serving time.
It is also unclear how McClintic is able to identify as Indigenous. She was given up by her birth mother and a member of her biological family, who spoke to Global News on condition of anonymity, said McClintic’s mother never knew who the father of her child was.
Rodney, along with his family and friends, are planning to hold a rally on Parliament Hill to protest the decision on Nov. 2.
It’s unknown if he will get the opportunity to speak to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on or before that day. But Rodney said he has a message for Trudeau
“Just please take a good look (at the decision). This could affect any one of your Canadians as well as yourself. (Trudeau) has children too,” he said.