Suspects arrested. Now for the trial. We expected it to be a simple case of convicting – little did we know.

Part 7

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

 By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTOCK, ON  May 10, 2012  With Tori’s accused murderers finally behind bars, now there was nothing to do but prepare for the trial. Things became calm and quiet for quite a long time. But on December 9, 2010 news broke that Terri-Lynn McClintic had plead guilty to the first degree murder of Tori Stafford. But not on that day- way back on April 30, 2010. A publication ban placed by the courts had pre-empted our knowledge of this fact, but a Supreme court decision was now allowing us some of the details of McClintic’ s plea and how it played out.


The community felt cheated when there was no trial for Terri-Lynne McClintic -just a sentencing hearing at which Tori's brother spoke of losing his "bestest" friend.

As a member of this city I have to admit, I was stunned. I couldn’t believe this all happened months ago and was hidden from us. I felt cheated. Our community collectively looked for Tori, worried about Tori and mourned Tori and now we had been shut out of getting justice for “our” little girl.

I understand that it was all a necessary part of the legal wrangling that go hand-in-hand with a case like this, but still it hurt. Terri-Lynn McClintic escaped having to face the community as a whole and I was just going to have to get over the injustice of it all.

At least she had to face Tori’s family. They were in court that day and even gave victim impact statements before her sentencing. One by one, they took the stand. Tori’s mother Tara, father Rodney, brother Darren and other family members, told of a loss that pales to all else in this world. Their messages were a blend of sadness for the loss of Tori in their life, how their world was different now and the outrage of why it was their family member who had to die. Darren’s was perhaps the most painful to hear, speaking of the loss of his “bestest friend” and how she was the most important person in the world to him.

After all the proceedings were said and done, Terri-Lynn was sentenced to life- the mandatory sentence in a first degree murder plea. Her sentence was to be served at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario. Terri-Lynn had already served 7 months of her sentence by the time we finally found this all out.

In addition to Terri-Lynn’s plea arrangement and sentence, an edited version of McClintic’s statement to police, an edited version of the agreed statement of facts describing the events of April 8, 2009 and details of her cooperation with police were also publicized for the first time. Finally we had a time-line of the day in question, from when Tori was abducted to her untimely death only hours later.  McClintic admitted her guilt, freely and willingly, even attempting to express remorse for her actions. And now she was going to jail, her part in this tragedy played out and judged. But that was not the end of Terri-Lynn’s involvement. We would see her again in 2012.

We heard almost nothing from McClintic during her sentencing - but we would hear from her again in 2012 - it was to be terrible.

With McClintic successfully navigating a clear and media-free path to jail, the public was still looking to hold someone accountable. Enter Mr. Michael Rafferty, McClintic’s boyfriend and co-conspirator. Upon his arrest, Rafferty took the opposite approach to that of his former girlfriend. He hid from the cameras and refused to co-operate with police. Since his arrest in May 2009, Rafferty has not said one word. He never spoke out; not even to proclaim his innocence. There is a saying “ better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Either Rafferty or his lawyers must have seen the wisdom  in this old adage.  And as we were about to find out it would seem his whole defense was based on this premise.

On March 5th, 2012, the case that was supposed to happen in 2010 finally began in a courtroom in London. Proceedings had been moved from Woodstock to protect the integrity and fairness of the trial. No one in Woodstock seemed to mind though. No one wanted Rafferty to have grounds for appeal, so it had to be done right. The general outlook on the situation can be summed up using the words of a fellow Woodstonians. “(Rafferty was).. far enough to be tried and close enough to burn.” And almost everyone in Woodstock wanted him to “burn”.

As anxious as we were to have the murder trial underway, we weren’t prepared for some of the horrible details that would be revealed through the course of witness testimony. I will warn you, just as the judge warned the jury, some of these details are very disturbing and can be quite difficult to handle. But as I see it, we have to face the evil in order to honour Tori and her memory. The only way to acknowledge Tori’s life is to acknowledge the agony she endure for those last few hours of her life.

The Crown called 61 witnesses in total- Tori’s 3rd grade teacher, her mother Tara McDonald, co-accused Terri McClintic, the Coroner and the OPP officer who found Tori’s body, just to name a few.

Tori Stafford's grade three teacher took the stand for what had to be one of the hardest days in her teaching career.

Tori had left school just like any other day and was walking to her mother’s place on Frances St. But as we all too well know, she never made it there. Terri-Lynn picked up the tale at that point, telling the courtroom how she approach Tori and talked to her about seeing her puppy. She lured Tori into Rafferty’s car and the final moments of Tori’s life began to tick away. She told how they stopped so Rafferty could buy drugs and another stop at the Home Depot in Guelph so she could purchase the supplies that would aid in concealing Tori’s broken little body.

And then the drive to the abandoned, secluded field off of 6th Concession near Mount Forest. McClintic said Rafferty had been talking of abducting a child and had even wanted one younger than Tori for his sinister purposes. According to McClintic, she walked away from the car, giving Rafferty the opportunity to repeatedly rape the little girl. McClintic only came back when Tori asked to go to the bathroom, taking the little girl by the hand. I can only imagine what must have been said between them. Tori’s tear-stained face, pleading to just go home. McClintic reassuring the girl to quiet her.

Tori died shortly after that, leaving the mystery of who really killed her. Crushing her skull with a claw hammer and breaking 16 of her ribs, one of them brutally murdered Tori. Only three people know the truth about that moment: Rafferty, McClintic and Tori. No matter who delivered the devastating blows, one could argue the other facilitated these events. One killed Tori and the other helped kill Tori with their inaction. Then they worked together to bury Tori in garbage bags, under a pile of rocks.

The Coroner Dr. Pollanen testified to Tori’s injuries, supporting McClintic’s account of events, but could not offer proof of the sexual assault. Tori’s body was found with no pants, clad only in her Hannah Montana shirt.  Her body was already in an advanced state of decomposition when she was found and that area of her body had already deteriorated completely, thus eliminating any trace of the alleged assault.

She had been murdered the day she was abducted her body left under a pile of rocks.

OPP Det.-Staff Sgt. Jim Smyth, also took the stand, as the officer that found Tori’s body. He testified to the nature in which Tori was found and corroborated McClintic’s testimony of how she & Rafferty disposed of the body.  Smyth had used information regarding Rafferty’s cell phone usage in the area, and acting on a hunch went for a drive to check out the area. After noting similarities to McClintic’s confession he continued to investigate until he found a rock pile,…and Tori.

Rafferty’s behavior after the crime was also presented to the court. Rafferty was portrayed as a womanizer, frequently juggling women. They attempted to show how he manipulated them, specifically talking one, a mother of four, into prostitution and channeling the proceeds directly to him.  After eight  weeks of testimony, the prosecution rested.

The media waited with baited breath- would Rafferty take the stand to refute the testimony of his ex-girlfriend?  Maintaining his silence it was announced Rafferty would not be taking the stand in his own defense. Instead the Defence’s response was short and simple. They called one witness, previously unknown to anyone. This witness, a grandmother of another student at Oliver Stephens, testified that she saw Terri-Lynn inside Oliver Stevens. She claimed she saw McClintic walk away with Tori, looking very determined and on a mission. Rafferty’s attorney, Dirk Derstine, was trying to inject reasonable doubt into McClintic’ s testimony. Implying she forged the plot to abduct Tori as a means of enforcing a drug debt. He connected the dots between Tara buying drug’s from McClintic’ s mother Carol and showing they had previous knowledge of each other. Mr. Derstine was not trying to prove his client innocent, but merely to cast a broad enough shadow of doubt.


Rafferty in a police car. He chose not to take the witness stand. Was there enough evidence to convict?

And then unceremoniously, the Defence rested.

That brings us to today. Wrapping up it’s closing arguments, the defence went through its alternate theory once more and pointed out what was circumstantial. Almost wagging a finger at the jury and reminding them that they cannot convict if there is a reasonable doubt.

And in a day or two, Ontario Superior Court Justice Thomas Heeney will charge the jury with determining the fate of Michael Rafferty. The decision to convict or acquit will be their’ s, and their’ s alone. All we can do is have faith and wait, hoping they make the best choice with the information presented to them.


Tori Stafford. We lost her - too soon. Woodstock needed a conviction.

It’s no secret that Tori’s family and the community of Woodstock are praying for a conviction in this case. Closure is desperately needed. Tori left our world just over three years ago, her last hours on this planet the most horrible a child could suffer. Tori was not allowed to die in peace, but perhaps with the end of the trial looming near, she will soon get to rest in peace.

Part 6

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We didn’t know it at the time but there was a break developing in the case. The police had a suspect.

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.


By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTOCK, ON  May 5, 2012  The trial trying Michael Rafferty for the murder of Tori Stafford is in its final stages.  The prosecution made its case with close to a score of witnesses; the defence called just the one witness who with her testimony shed some serious light on the relation between Terri-Lynne McClintic and eight year old Tori.  It would appear from that testimony that the child knew McClintic who earlier plead guilty to the murder of the child.

Now it was all coming to a close – the jury would hear closing arguments from the prosecution and the defence and the judge would then instruct the jury and they would then deliberate and come back with a verdict.  In less than ten days the decision would be known.  Would Woodstock feel any sense of relief?  The city was feeling very anxious, worried and afraid three years earlier when we didn’t know enough.

In the weeks following Tori’s abduction, Woodstock had weathered a roller coaster of events. The parents were investigated, searches were conducted and the police scandalized over the Amber Alert. A reward for Tori’s safe return was offered by a mysterious unnamed benefactor and the child’s story was highlighted on America’s Most Wanted. The drama had played on and on and the emotion of it all was wearing on the community. We didn’t seem to be any further ahead than we were 41 days ago when it all started. Hope was dwindling. People began to vocally speculate Tori had met an unfortunate end. No trace, no signs – what other answer could there be?

Even Tara McDonald and Rodney Stafford, Tori’s parents, were reaching their limit. For the most part they had respected each other’s boundaries, not treading on each other in the public eye. But by May 15th,  2009,  something snapped and they were caught publicly bickering at each other during a news conference. The fact that they made it this far without something happening sooner was laudable. But the emotional toll of constant interviews and media conferences seemed to finally get to them. They made up a few days later when they jointly announced they had accepted the help of a private investigator and apologized to the media for their previous behavior. They wanted the focus to remain on Tori.

While being held on an unrelated charge Terri-Lynne McClintic was questioned about the murder of Tori Stafford.

Unbeknownst to Tara & Rodney, as they were representing their unified front, police were working on a break in the case.  A young woman named Terri-Lynn McClintic was in police custody and had been since April 12th on an unrelated charge. She had been placed in Genst Youth Detention Centre in London, and during her time there, had agreed to a polygraph test regarding that other charge. In order to prepare for administering the polygraph, police interviewed several of Terri-Lynn’s acquaintances, including Michael Rafferty, who had made two visits to see McClintic during her stay at Genst. On May 19th police administered the polygraph to McClintic with surprising results.

On the same day police arrested McClintic and later her friend Rafferty. During that polygraph on the unrelated charge, Terri-Lynn confessed to the abduction of Tori Stafford and implicated her friend Michael as her co-conspirator and identified him as Tori’s rapist and murderer. Rafferty was charged with first degree murder and abduction of someone under the age of 16. McClinitc was booked on abducting someone under the age of 16 and accessory to murder.

So there it was. Six weeks of mystery concluded with an answer no one wanted- Tori was dead. There was no body, so some in the community refused to give up hope. Most others accepted what they already felt all along. Tori’s young bright light had been snuffed out in a twisted reality that seemed more like an episode of Law & Order SVU than real life. It was a relief in some ways. It was over and the parties presumed responsible were in police custody.

It was also a  frustrating end to a very painful six weeks. Woodstock had invested a lot of time into Tori and finding her. The community involvement in the case was overwhelming, with many people actively volunteering. The last thing we had was hope- waning hope, but still hope. And now that too was taken from us. The fear of the unknown was gone and we were faced with the stark reality.

While the details were not fully known - there were now two people that were identified as being somehow involved with the murder of Tori Stafford. Michael Rafferty was the second suspect.

The attention in the community now shifted from Tori to these two suspects. Who were they? Where in the city did they live?  Had we been interacting with these people and not know what they really were? To many of us it was hard to comprehend that the people charged with this heinous set of crimes had been living amongst us all along. I found myself wondering if I had passed one or both in the local Wal-Mart or one of the grocery stores. It’s one thing to suspect there is a predator on the loose, it’s another to realize you may have been standing next to one of them in a line somewhere.

And my daughter- she was with me in those stores. Did they look at her? Did they think about taking another child?…. maybe even my own? It was a horrid thought but a realization I could not help but come to. How close did we come to these two suspects? Too close for me. I later found out both McClintic and Rafferty lived within less than a 2 km radius of my home.

The following weeks and months would be a continuous leak of new information about these two individuals. What they posted on Facebook, the things they said, the people they knew. What was once a lack of information had become an almost overwhelming wave of detail and minutia. Did I want to know this much about the alleged murderers of our beloved Tori? No, but I needed to know. I needed to face it out of respect for Tori.

The pictures of Tori Stafford were now harder to look at because we knew now we would never see her again.

The end of May brought the announcement that McClintic and Rafferty would be tried separately. Rafferty’s newly hired counsel speculated publicly that there was no need for it unless there was a deal in the works, a very bold jab at McClintic’ s camp. The pieces were starting to fall into place, with everyone beginning their preparations for the eventual trial. The roller coaster of information would take another dive as each camp begun to hold their cards closer to their chest, not wanting to tip their hand before their day in court. It would be the start of a 3 year battle to bring the accused killers to justice.

And what of Tori’s family? Now having to face the idea that they will never see their precious little girl again. Never again to hold her hand when crossing the street or feel the brush of her cheek as she kisses them goodnight. No prom, no graduation, no wedding or grandchildren. It was more than the loss of a life, it was the loss of a future. There is no charge for that, although there should be.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5






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Community begins to question how police are handling the search. Why no amber alert? OPP take over the case.

Part 5

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

  By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTCOK, Ontario May 6, 2012    The presentation of evidence in the trial is over.  Lawyers for each side in the murder trial of eight year old Tori Stafford prepare to make their submissions to a jury after which a judge will charge that jury and they will decide if there is any guilt.

The decision on the part of the defence lawyer to call just the one witness, did manage to raise some doubt as to just how young Tori Stafford came to walk out of her school with someone that was not her Mother.

The first degree murder trial of Michael Rafferty, boyfriend of Terri-Lynne McClintic who had already pled guilty of murdering the child, had been moved to London, Ontario.  McClintic had already plead guilty to the murder of Tori Stafford and was serving a life sentence.   The prosecution had made their case against Rafferty – his defence counsel said Rafferty will not testify and that they will call just the one witness.

The missing child case was still in the hands of the local police - the Provincial Police had not yet been called in. The community was not happy.

Throughout the duration of Tori’s disappearance, many questions had been raised. Why was Tori taken? Who was the woman in the video? Was she involved? Did the parents have something to do with her abduction? The list goes on. But no one question caused as much controversy, contention and anger than why didn’t the Oxford Community Police Services (OCPS) issue an Amber Alert?

Welcome to Woodstock, the “Friendly City”. A typical quiet community of 40,000 and the epicentre of a county servicing approximately 150,000 people. Woodstock at one time had its own police force. But several years back the county amalgamated the police force into one big happy Oxford Community Police Services. This spread 84 police officers over the county to service those 150,000 people.

Now I know what a lot of you might silently be thinking. Little backwards town, the police probably don’t get much experience with this type of situation. And you would be right- we don’t. But don’t mistake that for ineptness. They aren’t perfect, but neither is any other police force.

The imperfection of the OCPS was put under the spotlight when Tori was abducted. But can we really call it an imperfection? The OCPS consulted the Amber Alert guidelines shortly after Tori disappeared, but the case did not meet them. Quoting from the RCMP web page “Amber Alert is intended only for the most serious, time critical abduction cases.” With such a grave disclaimer, one would think those guidelines should be met fully and without question before raising the alarm. And this is what OCPS was looking at when the Alert was being considered.

Days passed and the residents of Woodstock became more and more agitated with the situation. Local blogs carried comments on the police force, some particularly aimed at the Chief of Police, Ron Fraser. Many weren’t specifically aware of the Amber Alert criteria and only saw black and white: missing child = issue Amber Alert. Some demanded he step down, some called him incompetent. Jokes were made about cops eating donuts instead of doing their job.

All the community had were pictures of an innocent child - not a single solid lead. She was just gone.

Realizing they were being demonized in the public eye for their course of action, OCPS put forth their spokesperson, Constable Laurie-Anne Maitland who handles public communications for the OCPS and often fields media enquiries. Defending the collective efforts of the OCPS she spoke to the media on April 13th advising the search “has not located something that would lead us to believe foul play may be a factor. “The news was not well-received and tensions grew.

But OCPS wasn’t the only game in town. On the day Const. Maitland, of the OCPS spoke and five days into Tori’s disappearance, a unit of the Ontario Provincial Police joined the case. It was given the special task of compiling a profile of Tori’s abductor(s). This single action almost confirmed the legitimacy of questioning OCPS’ actions and undermined their place in the case in one swoop. The OPP came in to “save the day”, and OCPS was left with egg on its face.

Const. Maitland was dispatched once again offering a defense for the handling of the case. She emphasized that they did not have the criteria to issue the Amber Alert, but reiterated the case was being treated as an absolute priority. While the explanation may have been legit, the public wasn’t willing to buy it this late in the game. The reasoning was offered too late. Had this been stated in the beginning, it may have been ok. Their cards would have been on the table and we wouldn’t have had to spend so much time guessing. After all, how do you convince the public that a child is not in imminent danger when she has been missing for days?

A day after vehemently defending their actions, the police were announcing that many tips have been received but none have been compelling enough to move the investigation forward. Feeling stalemated, the community rallied once more around Tori. On April 15th, they assembled to release purple balloons skyward, carrying Tori’s picture. It was a small gesture, but it was also action, something we the community had been craving.

All the community knew was that Tori was seen with a woman in a white puffy coat that no one knew.

For many, permanent relief came a mere two days later, when the OPP announced they were taking the lead in the investigation. Inspector Bill Renton was placed in charge. His first order of business was to announce Tori’s case, moving forward, would be treated as abduction. Finally! Many of us were stunned, probably because we weren’t sure we were ever going to hear those words. We had been waiting so long for someone to admit one of our children had been snatched from the safety of our streets. It was vindication. We knew it and now so did everyone else!

With the simple acknowledgement of what we as a community already knew, hope was almost instantly renewed. But truth be told, that is the only thing the OPP were able to give us over OCPS. All future evidence and endeavours into the investigation were a joint effort of the two police forces, although the OPP retains most of the credit.

OCPS stained by a lack of communication early in the case doomed themselves to lack of recognition for the actual hard work they put into the case. Many of the police officers at OCPS worked long hours, in the search for Tori. Once the dust had settled, many of us in Woodstock were able to acknowledge the contributions they made to the case, and how it took a toll on many of them. We could finally appreciate what they did and how they contributed to the search for Tori.

With some resolution to the animosity for the handling of case out of the way, Woodstock was left with only one concern: Where was Tori? Now the focus was back where it belonged all along. On our missing little girl and why hadn’t she come home. The investigation was about to turn. Fears of what happened to Tori would begin to be played out in the media as theories. No longer would they be in our head, but in black and white and in a manner we could not hide from.

A multi part series on the murder of Tori Stafford

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


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We knew next to nothing and had to live with rumours as the fear for our own children grew. Was Tori still alive?

Part 4

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception”.  Aldous Huxley, English Novelist, 1894-1963

 This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

By Elizabeth Maloney


ON  May 4, 2012   Terri-Lynne McClintic had pleaded guilty to the murder of Tori Stafford and her boyfriend was now on trial for the same offence.  The prosecution and the defence have rested their cases and are now into their address to the jury after which a judge will charge the jury and they will then deliberate.  A murder trial that has consumed Woodstock is coming to a close.  Getting to this point has taken years.  Martha Maloney has been a community based observer of all this and she tells the story from her perspective.  We pick up that story in the early stages of the case.

Tori Stafford was taken from her school where she was normally picked up by her brother. Other than some grainy video film we never got to see her again.

It’s human nature to want answers. And when there is a lack of it, then we humans create a theory or supposition. And in a case like the disappearance of Tori Stafford the fear of the situation, the dire need for answers, for her family and for the community, certainly fueled this basic human nature.

Suspicions about Tori’s parents’ involvement began to fly almost immediately. Within four days of Tori’s disappearance they were subjected to polygraph tests and questioning. To be a parent of a missing child is difficult enough, but to be considered suspect in your own child’s abduction is beyond comprehension. Yet that is what happened, with a heavy emphasis placed on Tori’s mother, Tara McDonald. Rodney Stafford, Tori’s father seemed to be spared further scrutiny once he had completed the polygraph.

Tara was first considered as a suspect in Tori’s disappearance early in the case. Speculation ignited over the grainy security camera footage obtained from the local high school that bordered Oliver Steven’s, Tori’s school. Similarities between the “person of interest” caught on tape and Tara were noted throughout the community. Comments turned more harsh when Tara began appearing at media conferences wearing a white coat. Many in Woodstock felt that at the very least, this was in poor taste. Ignoring the possibility that it may not have occurred as inappropriate to Tara given her state, many in the community began to paint Tara as a villain.

All the community and the police had was this grainy piece of video footage.

Then unexpectedly, late in April there was a brief reprieve from Tara’s vilification. Photos from the candlelight vigil held for Tori at the IGA plaza parking lot on April 12th started to surface.  And in them a woman was sited, and she had a remarkable resemblance to the composite sketch that police had issued on April 21st. The likeness between the two was uncanny. People got excited. This woman’s picture was posted on some of the local blogs with comments hoping police were looking into this. Nothing ever evolved from this though. We can only suppose the police investigated and found nothing.

On April 28th, 2009 Tara drew attention back to herself when she came forth to the media and police with the incredulous story of a mysterious benefactor who supposedly approached Tara with an offering to fund a $50,000 reward for information on Tori’s whereabouts. The story entailed a clandestine meeting in a hotel that she was somehow chauffeured by limo to without tipping off the press surrounding her house. It was like a page torn out of a modern day action flick- except this was real life. These things just don’t happen. Maybe Tara offered this up as a means of pulling the heat of the public eye off of her, but it only served to exacerbate things. Her credibility was called into question, and it renewed gossip and rumours that she must somehow be involved.

On May 8th, Tara’s family took a further hit when it was revealed by Tara herself that police have searched the homes of Tara’s half-brother and his mother in Calgary. She also advised the media her home computers had been seized by police. While none of it was proof of anything, many of us in Woodstock, me included, were starting to think, where there is smoke, there is usually fire. And there was plenty of smoke to go around. Not only were they looking at Tara, but now members of her family. What would draw police to Calgary? Something must have got their attention.

To further incite the masses, the beginning of May brought details of Tara’s drug use and drug connections. The rumours of her usage were now fact and Tara herself admitted to the suspected habit. This shifted suspicion slightly, causing people to theorize that Tori was taken to enforce or settle an unpaid drug debt. While Tara was no longer considered “hands on” involved, she was still tied to the notion as the instigator of events – so guilt by association.

Tori and her brother; often inseparable.

So there we were, already in the middle of May and the only thing we had was a whole lot of accusation and innuendo flying around. Tori had been missing for 37 days and the only thing to report was maybe it was the Mom. There was no hard evidence and not a single trace of Tori. No single piece of hard evidence had surfaced. A grainy video was as close as we got and that, in reality, showed nothing more than someone talking to Tori. Hardly damning evidence.

Frustration levels grew in the city and I was now beginning to believe that Tori was dead. As a mother I didn’t want to lose hope but I am also a realist. Child disappears, no physical evidence,  let’s face it, she was either dead or taken for the purposes of human trafficking. Either way Tori would never be seen again. I felt so guilty for thinking it, so much so that when asked of my opinion I often glazed over it. Hard for an opinionated person like me. But the city was so sensitive to the case I was afraid to offend anyone.

The police were also a sensitive topic with support falling on both sides of the fence. With no hard evidence, what did they have to offer? Did they know more than were saying? Was there as little development in this case as we the public were lead to believe? We were soon to find out….

 Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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It was a name we all now knew and a face we would recognize in an instant – but we didn’t know where she was and we were all afraid.

Part 3:

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.


By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTCOK, Ontario May 1, 2012    The first degree murder trial of Michael Rafferty, had been moved to London, Ontario.  Terri-Lynne McClintic had already pleaded guilty to the murder of Tori Stafford.   The prosecution has made their case against Rafferty – his defence counsel has said Rafferty will not testify and that they will call just the one witness.  The trial will move to its closing phase by the end of the week. But back in 2009 we were at the beginning of the story of this horrendous crime and it is important to understand what the community was going through.

The pictures of a cute 8 year old child now missing had captivated the community. It was to get worse.

On the first full day she was missing her name was Victoria Stafford and the Woodstock girl’s face was emblazoned on flyers and all over television.  The media broadcast the typical missing person description: 5’4” tall, 62 lbs. with blue eyes and short blonde hair. Last seen wearing a green shirt, denim skirt , black and white shoes and a black Hannah Montana jacket with white fur-lined hood;  possibly carrying a pink and purple Bratz bag. And that was all we knew of the missing child.

Over the next couple of days Victoria became “Tori”- the affectionate short-form of her name that her family and school mates called her. The police and media gave us the cute tender little insights to Tori in an attempt to humanize her, presumably to entice her abductors into releasing her. We learned Tori was just like other girls her age. She was a precocious, inquisitive child whose favourite colour was purple.  Tori liked puppies and butterflies. She was caring and had a tight relationship with her eleven year old brother Dylan.

The appeal did not work on Tori’s abductors but it certainly did on Woodstock. In a few days the community had adopted Tori as their own, many giving freely of their time, volunteering in the search for the lost little girl. She was the topic of daily conversations; ‘Have you heard the updates from the police? Who do you think took her?  Do you think we will find her?’ Everyone had a theory or a tid-bit to tell. All of us hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.

A Mother with a serious drug problem, separated from the Father of her children struggled to keep some semblance of sanity in her life faced a community that for a time suspected her.

I did not personally know Tori Stafford, or her parents, Tara McDonald or Rodney Stafford. I knew people who knew them, or knew of them.  The theories, viewpoints and gossip that spun, sometimes out of control, throughout Woodstock during her disappearance, are that of the community.  We were all lost, terrified, devastated.

As the days of searching dragged on, new information about Tori’s home life started to tell us a lot more about this little girl. Mainly about her home life and the type of relationship she had with her parents and brother. This little girl, that most people in the city did not know before her abduction, was now becoming someone whose home life and the intimate details of her family’s situation was being talked about by everyone.  There was no shortage of sympathy or worry for her.

The first thing that came to light was that Tori was not staying with either parent at the time she was abducted. She and brother Daryn had been living with their maternal grandmother, Linda Winters. It had yet to be fully explained why this was the case, though one might surmise it has something to do with Tara’s issues.

Tara McDonald, Tori’s mother, was living with her boyfriend James Goris and had actually just moved to a new place a week before Tori’s abduction. Many in the community have theorized that Tara’s addiction to the painkiller Oxycontin is the reason for her childrens alternate living arrangements.

Tara had been known in the community for her drug use; it was hardly a secret. Whether Tara had moved the kids in with her mother because she knew she was not able to look after them while battling her drug addiction or if the drug addiction left no room for the children in her immediate world was heavily debated in the community.  There was more than enough “judgement” going around to satisfy everyone.

Whatever the reason, it was clear there was some kind of disconnect between Tara and her children before Tori disappeared.

Tori's Father, absent from much of his daughters life, struggled in his own way with the suspicion within the community.

Rodney Stafford, Tori’s and Daryn’s father was less familiar to the community.  According to Tara, Rodney was an absentee father, frequently missing set visits with the children. The rumours throughout the community seem to echo a similar sentiment, however Rodney was not talking- neither confirming nor denying the rumours.

And finally there was Daryn, Tori’s older brother. The media and talk in the city has never disputed the fact that Tori and her brother were close and loved each other very much. They squabbled from time to time as all siblings do, but they always made up. Daryn always walked his sister home from school, save that fateful day.

The community now knew that Tori was a normal kid, just like yours, just like mine.  We knew too that her parents were working through their issues and that Tori and her brother were not living with either parent but with their maternal grandparent.

We were now into day five and there is nothing for the public to begin to come to terms with.  Where was she, who was feeding her, was she alive?  She had just disappeared and no one seemed to be able to do anything.  The police were not giving the public the kind of information they needed.

Tori and her brother Daryn were close to inseparable. He used to walk her to school and pick her up after class. On that fateful day in 2009 - he didn't pick her up.

Sometimes it`s easier when we can point to something to explain this type of tragedy, maybe the child had run away or is high on drugs and hiding. But Tori did nothing, nothing but be a normal 8 year old.  Woodstock would have to deal with its grief and wait sometime for closure to come to the city.

Meanwhile the suspicions were mounting and the spotlight kept coming back to the parents – but no one could figure out who the woman in the white puffy jacket is and what role this played in the abduction.

It was going to get even more confusing.

Part 3 of a multi-part series.

Click on the link for part 2

Click on this link for part 1


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Woodstock slept without knowing where the missing eight year old was. We hoped against hope she would be found by morning

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.


By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTOCK, Ontario   April 26, 2012    Day two.  Woodstock slept while the Oxford Community Police Services (OCPS) worked on a lead. In typical TV detective style, they retraced Tori’s steps attempting to pin-point the spot from which she was taken. Figuring out the approximate direction and timing of Tori’s movements, police began looking for a witness.

All the community had was a grainy picture of a woman in a white puffy coat with a little girl walking along beside her.

After questioning several people who had been in the area that day, police came across video footage  captured from a security camera located at College Avenue Secondary School, a local high school a mere 200 yards away from Tori’s own school, Oliver Stephens. Examination of the grainy video showed Tori walking home from school at 3:32pm,  – she was not alone. Walking with Tori was a young woman, approximately 5’1”- 5’2” tall, weighing 120-125lbs with straight long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. The woman was wearing a puffy white jacket and dark pants.

Tori did not appear in distress, nor did it appear she was being forced into going with this woman. OCPS didn’t know what they were looking at. Was this a friend? Was this someone who merely fell in step with an child and had a one-time conversation? Or was this Tori’s abductor? Rodney Stafford and Tara McDonald, Tori’s parents were brought in to view the hazy footage.  Both of them left the station declaring they did not recognize the woman. In the hopes of getting the woman in the video to come forward police took to calling her a “person of interest” rather than a suspect.

The details spilled over the radio as I was getting ready for work. Twelve hours after Tori’s disappearance there was finally a real lead. But a woman- that I did not expect! When I learned of Tori’s disappearance I had subconsciously assumed she had been taken by a man. Did this woman take Tori? Why would a woman take an 8 year old little girl? And most importantly, who was this woman?


Police posters went up throughout the city. Volunteers took part in searches.

On April 10th, two days after Tori went missing, OCPS began conducting ground searches in the city with the aid of volunteers from the community. They searched through backyards and park areas, any spot a child could possibly be hiding. Volunteers were sent door to door asking to check backyards, dog runs, garages- no stone was left unturned. K-9 units, helicopters, trained Search & Rescue were all brought in. I still have vivid memories of the helicopters hovering low over the city.

On day two of the search, Woodstock Mayor Michael Harding announced that police departments from other communities had offered to help look for Tori. By now though, things were taking a more ominous tone. The searches so far had yielded no new information on Tori’s whereabouts and people were really starting to worry. Fears that we might not find Tori alive or at all began to creep into people’s thoughts. Parents began to actively wonder if a predator was on the loose and children found themselves facing tighter restrictions on their whereabouts.

With the assistance of the other communities, leads began to pour in. No matter how small, each one was diligently followed up. But even with all this effort and thousands of kilometres searched there was still no sign of Tori, or any clues to where she was or what had happened to her.

With no answers forthcoming, people in Woodstock began building and grasping at theories to explain away what had happened to Tori. And it didn’t take long for the rumour to surface that the woman in the video was possibly Tori’s own mother Tara McDonald. A really good look at that video footage clearly showed that the woman in the video was shorter and thinner than Tara but that did little to quash the rumours.

Woodstock was obsessed with anything about Tori and what could have happened to her.   Whispering about both parents became the emerging trend amongst Woodstonians, and came to a head when Rodney and Tara were subjected to polygraph tests April 12,  4 days after Tori’s disappearance.   When police declined to comment on the results of the polygraph, citizens’ tongues really began to wag and the rumour mill was out of control.

Later that evening, 1000 residents of Woodstock gathered in the IGA parking lot located in the centre of town, along with Tori’s family and held a candlelight vigil. The family thanked the citizens of Woodstock for their support and help in trying to find Tori.

It was now Day 5.  She was only eight years old and my home town was terrified.

Part 2 of a multi-part series.

Click on the link for part 1




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They are persistent and once they get their hooks into you – it`s like trying to get a fish hook out of your finger: messy and painful.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 27, 2012  One of the things about crooks and thieves is that when they come across a good idea that pulls in all kinds of suckers, they use it over and over and over.  They will quit only when people stop responding to the scam.

With cyber-crime there is little risk – the people doing much of this cyber identity theft are on the other side of the world and while international level police forces are getting better at pursuing and catching them – it is going to be a long time before we see any arrests.  One defence is software we can use to filter them out – but the best defence is checking everything that comes to your screen.

My wife goes over the tape the supermarket cashier gives her – it would never occur to me to look at the take; it`s all bar coded isn’t it – so where could anything go wrong.  Well bar codes aren’t perfect.

The face you think you see - the email address you think you see - may not be coming from the people you think it is coming from. Watch carefully every time.

Earlier this week we alerted you to a scam we came across  – turns out that this good idea has been taken up by others and now Amazon and Twitter are being exploited.

We got the following related to our Twitter account:

Our system detected unusual activity associated with your account.
Your account may be temporarily suspended for violations of the Twitter Rules.
We suspend accounts for investigation if we suspect an account has been hacked or compromised.

You need to confirm your email address to regain access to your account.
Once you regain access, you will be able to request a new password for your Twitter account.

You can find information on following automations and permitted following behaviors on the help page:

The email address this message came from was

Twitter <

Take a careful look at that address – notice they have spelled Twitter as twitler – and that my friends is not the same.

Also the use of English is awkward and that is always a tell tale sign.

We have a Twitter account – we don`t use it very much – so undue activity was the first clue,  but had we been using the Twitter account heavily we just may have responded.  With the cyber crooks out there ready to do anything they can to steal your identity, you do need to be vigilant.

The same day we got a notice about our Amazon account.  We have in the past bought items from Amazon but recently we have supported the local bookstore – A Different Drummer – so we know the Amazon notice was a fake as well.  Here is what we got from them:

We received a request to reset the password associated with this e-mail address. Please follow the instructions below.

Click the link below to complete or cancel request using our secure server:

If clicking the link doesn’t seem to work, you can copy and paste the link into your browser’s address window, or retype it there. will never e-mail you and ask you to disclose or verify your password, credit card, or banking account number. Thanks for visiting!

Sounds pretty legitimate.  But take a careful look at the way amazon is spelled in the domain name part of the email address they used.

See the double m.

I don’t think that is Amazon trying to tell me something.  I think those guys are crooks trying to get information from me.

What do you think?



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It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone. It had happened in Woodstock and we were stunned.

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTOCK, ON   April 27, 2012  It started as just another day on that fateful April 8, 2009. It was so much like every other day I don’t even remember how it began. It was a Wednesday, so I would have dropped my then 8year old off at school and then headed into the office. My day would have passed along , predictably and without incident- or at least I assume so. Even if something exciting had happened that day, it was long forgotten; overshadowed by the events that transpired that night.

All we had was a picture of a cute kid who we knew nothing about other than that she was missing. It just got worse and worse.

To this day, I can’t remember how I learned of the disappearance of Tori Stafford. I know a good friend had sent me an email about the missing girl, but I can’t remember if it was before or after the news bite I heard on the radio during my drive home that night. Either way, it instantly had my attention.  I was born and raised in Woodstock and have strong ties to the community through family and friends.   No matter where you go, you always know where home is.

Now I know what you are thinking. Children are taken every day, why the anxiety over this particular child? You have to understand that this kind of thing doesn’t happen in Woodstock.  And when it does, the entire city will be talking about it; they move into a collective state of shock and then the fear begins to take over.

I called a few friends that night. Coming from a small city I knew there was a very good chance that someone close to me knew the family of the little girl. It only took a couple of calls to learn the disturbing details. A little girl, about my daughter’s age, disappeared while walking home from school that day.  She went missing earlier in the day and there was a delay in reporting it to police, although no one could explain why. And the police weren’t saying much at all.

This is when the questions began about the Amber Alert. It was a recurring theme throughout the various conversations that night. Why hadn’t the Oxford Community Police Services (OCPS) issued one? They had a missing child on their hands and it only seemed prudent to get this information out as far and as fast as they could. What was holding them back? Was there something they weren’t telling us? With no communication from police on what was happening, we, the community were left in the dark.

At the end of the day Tori was still very fresh on my mind. I tried to be positive, but let’s face it; no one takes kids off the street to feed them ice cream and tuck them into a warm bed. The grim reality is that children are snatched for sinister reasons and that pervading fear would not leave my head that night. I didn’t want to think negatively but my heart was heavy with the knowledge of what had happened to other children who were taken. The sad part is, at this point, I was actually hoping one of her parents had taken her. I thought it gave her the best chance for survival.

Before heading to bed that night I looked in on my daughter.  As I watched her sleep from the bedroom doorway, my mind flashed back to when she was 6 years old and she disappeared one morning before school.  I’ll spare you all the details but to give you an idea, the police were called and the neighbours started looking for her.  She was found safe and sound 25 minutes later.

It was hands down, the most horrible experience of my entire life. And she had only been missing for 25 horrible minutes! At this point Tori had been gone almost 10 hours. I could suddenly feel the same overwhelming tightness in my chest that I had felt for my daughter when I didn`t know where she was.  I couldn’t imagine how her parents were coping. I had the solace of knowing my daughter was safe. They had no such reassurance.

That is the point where Tori and my daughter became tied together in my mind. The two of them shared so much in common: they were the same age, from the same city and had at one point lived within walking distance of each other. These two would have easily been fast friends.

Part 1 of a multi-part series.


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Thieves think they have their Modus Operandi down cold – they target ATM machines in out of the way locations. Do you know these guys?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 25, 2012   On a Saturday evening last April 14th at 9:15 p.m. two suspects broke into the Harvester Medical Centre, located at 3155 Harvester Road, Burlington.  The suspects are believed to have entered through the west doors of the building.   Once inside the suspects broke open an ATM and stole the cash contents.

The suspects are believed to be responsible for at least three other Burlington commercial entries dating back to November, 2011. ATMs are always targeted.

Suspect #1 – male, white, 6’2” 225 – 240 lbs.

Suspect #2 – male, white, 5’8, 180 lbs. Carrying a black backpack.

Both suspects were dressed entirely in black clothing, with gloves and balaclavas.  Police are appealing to the public for information on any suspicious vehicles or persons observed near the site of the incident on the date and time mentioned.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825-4747 2315, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).

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Be very, very careful about this one. Major attempt at identity theft via a Facebook message

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON    April 25, 2012  The email message started out nicely enough. Hello, it said.  And it was from The Facebook Team.  Given that I`m a Facebook user – I read the message.

Here`s what it said:

The Facebook account associated with was recently changed.

If you were not the one who changed this account, please visit our Help Center to cancel the request.

Please note: for your protection, this email has been sent to all the email addresses associated with your Facebook account.


The Facebook Team

Cyber thieves can collect bits and pieces of information about you and create an online identity that says it's you but isn't you - and they can do a lot of damage. Be vigilant.

Hmm, I wondered – I didn’t change my Facebook password.  Then I looked at who the email actually came from.  Pay close attention to the line that follows.

That is who supposedly sent me the message.  Check the spelling  – notice it says

The message didn’t come from Facebook at all – it came from somebody who got their hands on a list of email addresses and sent the same email to millions of people.  Those that responded will have been pulled into a process that begins gathering information on them – and when they get enough they can begin to impersonate you.  Imagine if someone got into your Facebook page and started rummaging around there.

If you get the message – ignore it.  And pass this story along to every friend you have.

These crooks are going to do a lot of damage with this identity theft attempt.


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Thieves rob woman inside Admiral Inn on Billings Court – did security cameras capture the theft?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 23, 2012   A 31-year-old woman in Burlington on business escaped injury after being robbed of her possessions in a Burlington hotel room.

Just after 11:30 pm,  last Sunday, the woman met with an unknown man in a hotel room at the Admiral Inn, 3500 Billings Court, Burlington.

As the man opened the door to leave, two other men barged into the room.  One of the men held the woman down on the bed, while the other two rummaged through the room.

The men stole electronic devices and a quantity of cash. Halton Police Investigate Robbery at Burlington Hotel

SUSPECT #1 – white, 24-25 years, 5’6″, clean shaven, skinny, short spiky hair

SUSPECT #2 – white, 25-30 years, short brown hair (armed with a baseball bat)

SUSPECT #3 – black, 30-32 years, average build, possibly wearing a coat and had scarf around his neck

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825-4747 x2315, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).


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The pickings were really easy so a pair of petty thieves went from car door to car door – opened those that weren’t locked and took.

By Staff

The petty thieves must just love Burlington – all they have to do is walk up and down the streets and look for open car doors – and they are apparently finding dozens of them.

Last Thursday, an off-duty employee of the Halton Regional Police Service observed two young males on bicycles checking car doors in the area of Janina Boulevard and Humphreys Crescent, Burlington at 4 am in the morning.

Uniformed officers were dispatched to the area and located the youths near Brant Street and the QEW.  The officers noticed one of the males was wearing clear plastic gloves and they were brought into custody.

Further investigation revealed that the males had been checking and entering unlocked cars in multiple locations throughout the night.  Small items such as GPS units, an IPOD, cell phones, jewellery, a camera, loose change and miscellaneous items were taken from the vehicles.

At least four victims have been identified residing on Glendor Avenue, Bluefields Drive, Treeland Street and Esther Drive, yet police have recovered other property they are unable to attribute to its proper owner.

If you realized something was missing from your car – try the Halton Regional Police Service at 905-825-4777; they just might have your stuff in one of their property lockers.  And lock the car please..  When the petty thieves realize that Burlingtonians lock their cars they`ll stop looking.  Leaving your car unlocked just encourages them – and they always look for the easy pickings.

Paul Griffith-Willetts, 18 years, from Hamilton is charged with Theft Under $5000, Possession of Stolen Property and Failing to Comply with a  Probation Order.

A 16-year-old youth from Hamilton is also charged with Theft Under $5000 and Possession of Stolen Property.


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Racist graffiti painted on the walls of St. Patrick Elementary School on Kenwood Drive.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  APRIL 19, 2012  Sometime over the weekend of March 6th, someone snuck onto the grounds of St Patrick’s Elementary School located at 200 Kenwood Drive and spray painted racist graffiti on the brick walls.

Despite the immediate removal of the graffiti the school was targeted three weeks in a row.  While the property damage is bad enough, it is the thinking behind the spraying of racists graffiti on a school that is the most troubling.

School targeted with racist graffiti - three weeks in a row

If caught early enough the behaviour can be corrected.  If left to fester in the minds of whoever did this – it can lead to things like the trial going on in Norway where a racist individual committed a horrendous crime.

Catch it now before it gets out of hand.  The person behaving like a racist learned this behavior somewhere – he or she didn`t pick it up from a doorknob.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Four Arrested in $16 Million Investment Scam. Remember the Best Way to Help Stop Fraud Is to Report It.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 11, 2012  The Fraud Unit of the Halton Regional Police Service,  with the assistance of the Ontario Securities Commission,  has completed an 18 month investigation into the following companies, North American Carrier Services, Hillcorp International Services, Hillcorp Wealth Management, Suncorp Holdings (no relation to Suncor Energy), Exxon Holdings (no relation to Exxon Mobil) and Petro Properties (no relation to Petro Holdings).

The investigation resulted in the arrest of four individuals in relation to a $16 million investment scam that duped approximately 150 investors who were led to believe the investments they made were poised to generate large profits over a short period of time.  The loss to investors has reached $8 million.

Money doesn't grow on trees and fabulous returns are rare - ask questions and try to stifle the greed.

The investigation into the investment companies revealed that investors were told the companies were investing in offshore oil securities.   Using names very similar to well know multi-nationals, investors were probably thinking they were with a solid organization.

Financial Planners are required to file documents showing that they know their clients and fully understand their clients financial needs and their tolerance for risk.  Investors need to make sure they know who they are dealing with – and if the deal they are offered sounds to good to be true – that’s because it was too good to be true.

The following individuals have been charged:

Paul DiNardo (52 yrs) of Burlington, charged with Fraud Over $5000 (two counts); Money Laundering (two counts); Possession of Proceeds of Crime (two counts).  Presently in custody next court date April 13th 2012

Rita DiNardo (64 yrs) of Milton is charged with Fraud Over $5000; Money Laundering, Possession of Proceeds of Crime. Next court date April 23rd 2012

Danny DeMelo (43 yrs) of Milton is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Money Laundering, Possession of Proceeds of Crime, Next Court date April 23rd 2012

Steven John Hill (52 yrs) of Burlington is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Money Laundering, Possession of Proceeds of Crime.  He is presently in custody next court date April 12th 2012

Anyone with information that would assist in this investigation or other persons who may have been victimized are asked to contact Detective Constable Mallinson, Regional Fraud Unit, 905 825-4747 x8740, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).


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Why would you leave a door unlocked – hope your insurance agent doesn’t read this. Hope police delivered a short lecture as well.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 5, 2012   Halton Regional Police Service were called to investigate a break and enter to a local residence in Burlington.

They learned that sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on April 2nd, unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a home located on Lampman Avenue. The suspect(s) rummaged through the house and stole an undisclosed amount of cash.

The police also learned that the door the thieves went through was “unlocked”.

When thieves find even one home with an unlocked door they convince themselves that there are other homes with doors unlocked – and they prowl around until they fine one.  Lock your doors.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Pilot service is a cross between a paddy wagon and an ambulance – that will get young people home safely.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 4, 2012  You can still see the geek in the guy as he talks about a pilot project that will help get the young rowdies off the street when Burlington`s downtown bars close at around two in the morning.  The service Scott Wallace of Burlington Taxi is developing is about as non-tech as you can get and is best described as something between a paddy wagon and an ambulance.

Scott Wallace, a software developer before he got into the taxi business – and there is a connection between the two – at least there was for Wallace, appeared before a Council committee asking the city to go along with him on a pilot project that would provide a service allowing young people who have had too much to drink to be able to drive, and perhaps not enough cash in their pocket to pay for a cab and not prepared to give the parents a call,

The 15 passenger van will serve as a cross between a paddy wagon and an ambulance and will charge $7 to get the rowdies home - safely.

The service that will run as a pilot from early May to late August will consist of two vans that can hold up to 15 passengers each.  One will make an eastern run while the other handles the western side of the city.  While the details are still being worked out,  the thinking is to have a couple of spots where young people can gather and know, that is where the van will be to drive them home.  The trip home will cost $7.

Something in the order of 300 people pour out onto the streets at 2:00 am – the challenge is to clear the area as quickly as possible which means getting them into vehicles they aren’t driving before they do any serious damage.

Getting those with too much beer in their belly`s off the streets of the downtown core has been a challenge.  Attempts to put this kind of a service in place during a previous administration at city hall didn’t get much past square one.  This Council seems quite prepared to encourage the pilot and listen to the proposal, which has the backing of the Restaurant Association and the Burlington Downtown Business Association.

Wallace is very quick to make the point that “this service is not THE solution to the problem – it is part of the solution, or at least he thinks so and he is prepared to put some time an energy into the idea.

Are there risks involved?  There certainly are.  The kids that will use this service may have been Boy Scouts or Girl

World headquarters for the 50 car + Burlington Taxi fleet. Gearing up to provide a service that will get the bar closing crowd home cheaply and safely.

Guides when they were younger but with far more beer in them than makes any sense they become noisy and tend to want to topple mail boxes and pull shrubs from front lawns – usually after trying to water the plants – if you know what I mean.

“For the most part they are decent kids – just out having their version of a good time and they have to be accommodated”, explains Wallace who lives in the downtown core and is often out for a walk late in the evening and is fully aware of how much noise this crowd creates.  He sees it as part of life in a city that has a part of town where there are bars and clubs.

Possible pick up spot for the bar closing crowd - they're open until 3 am Friday and Saturday.

The disruption created by these young people gets heard at Council committee meetings about once a month – the interesting thing is that no one mentions the one obvious and cost effective solution.  Put more police on the street walking a beat in the bar area.  There is nothing that settles a noisy, drunken youth down faster than a big beefy cop within sight.  It would take four officers walking a small area for a couple of hours to settle things.  Many people comment about the lack of adequate police service but that’s about as far as it goes.  Just talk.  Might the city of Burlington not petition the Regional Police Chief for more “feet on the street”?

Will there be bouncers in the vans ? – no says Wallace “but every vehicle has a camera that runs all the time as well as two way sound – so if there is a problem the action gets captured on video and the dispatcher knows instantly and is a button on a phone away from a call to the police.”

Burlington Taxi video footage has been used by Crown Prosecutors in the past – and, as Wallace puts it – some of these kids are not the brightest lights and they don’t realize how much technology we have going for us.

“This service isn’t going to be a money maker for us, says Wallace. “Some of my drivers would rather I didn’t put the vans out on the street – it would leave more of a passenger pool for them”.  Scott thinks the city need a service like this that gets kids out of the core quickly – in this case 15 at a time in each direction – that’s 30 kids that aren’t whooping it up on the streets.

“We are just a part of the solution” says Wallace.  “We need buses out on the street but the people at transit haven’t been able to meet this need” – bus service ends at 11:00 pm in Burlington.  Burlington Taxi feels it can meet part of the need.

Which is what Scott Wallace is really all about.  He talks about community service, social responsibility and adds “this is a great town”.  I’m doing my bit to keep it that way.

Wallace created, developed and then sold a software development company that focused on taxi dispatching and vehicle tracking.  “We’ve got GPS in every vehicle and software that allows us to log every trip and the revenue it produces which enables us to run a tight operation.”  That operation is a fleet of more than fifty cabs, most painted a bright yellow you can’t miss.

The bar crowd special - probably all cash fares but plastic is accepted.

Burlington is a little different than many cities in that it has just corporate taxi operations – there are no independent operators.  Wallace explains that a cab from Hamilton can drop off a fare but they aren’t supposed to pick up within Burlington and they don’t take calls from the city.  This corporate fleet approach gives the city tighter control over the taxi business – rates are approved by the city.

Wallace continues to go to taxi conventions and is in touch with the industry – knows where the new ideas are being tried out and what can and usually cannot work.  “People always want us to put more cabs on the street to meet those rush periods – but that doesn’t make economic sense.  While every car is not out on the road every hour – the objective is to keep every cab out for as long as possible.”

Scott Wallace is one of those people who arrived in Burlington before the age of ten and while he has been away for periods of time growing his career he has always come back and can’t understand why anyone would want to live anywhere else.

Wallace says: “We’ve done the research and we are pretty sure this will work.  We feel it’s certainly worth a pilot project.”   And we will know next week if city council sees it the same way.  Wallace got past the committee stage quite easily.




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Predators are still out there. Caution your children and think about giving them a whistle.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  March 30, 2012  On March 28th at 3:40 p.m. a ten-year-old boy was walking east along Blairholm Ave, approaching Courtland Dr., in Burlington when he saw a truck driving along beside him at his pace.  It was 3:40 in the afternoon on Wednesday.  The boy reported the next day that the driver of the vehicle lowered the passenger window and asked the boy if he wanted a drive home. When the offer was refused the driver then asked where the boy lived. The boy continued walking. The truck followed for another few second, made a U-turn, and was last seen westbound along Blairholm Ave.

The driver in this incident is described as male, white, tanned complexion, 30s, 5’9” – 6’0” tall, large build, medium length hair, and goatee. He was wearing a brown shirt with a gold coloured logo.

The vehicle is described as a black, older model, extended cab, pick-up truck – possibly a Ford F150. The truck had several dents and scratches along the passenger side and was generally in poor condition.

Give them a whistle - Kids might think it silly - until they are frightened and pull it out and use it

Parents might caution their children, do so carefully, that they should not accept rides from strangers and if they are being followed to slip into a store or a place where there are other people.  Parents might want to give their children one of those Foxcroft whistles – there are inexpensive plastic ones available.  If there is any doubt about their safety just take out the whistle and blow like crazy.

Nothing scares predators like the sound of a whistle.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825-4747 x2385, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).


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Several men don’t seem to know how to appropriately get the attention they want.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON March 27, 2012  On Saturday March 24 at 11:00 a.m., a woman was seated in her parked car getting ready to leave the YMCA lot, 500 Drury Lane, Burlington.  Just prior to the woman leaving, a man pulled up in his car, exited, and started a conversation with the woman. The man seemed to be expressing some romantic interests.  The woman declined the advances and the man got into his car and drove away without issue.

The following morning the woman discovered a note on the windshield of her car, that had been parked in a Burlington residential driveway all night. The note made reference to the encounter that had occurred the day prior. The note contained information that strongly suggested the woman was being stalked (Criminal Harassment) by the same man.

The man who approached the woman in the parking lot is being sought as a person of interest in relation to this investigation.  He is described as male, black, 30-35 years, stocky build. He is thought to be driving an older model dark blue or black VW Passat, Volvo or other similarly styled vehicle.

Earlier in the week police reported they had received a complaint about a male committing an indecent act while standing inside his residence, in front of a window and in public view.

The police arrested Anthony MATTHEWS, 51 of Burlington and charged him with Criminal Harassment, Commit an Indecent Act and Breach of Probation.  Matthew was held in custody for a bail hearing.

Anyone with information that would assist in this investigation is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825-4747 x2315, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 275637(crimes).

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Police closing in on robbers who held up a Burlington youth at knifepoint in Brant Hills community.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 27, 2012  Halton Regional Police investigators have now determined the thieves who robbed a twelve year old girl, who was with a 12 year old girlfriend, of her iPod in the area of Duncaster Drive and Melissa Crescent, Burlington (Brant Hills Park), on March 18th,  fled the area on a motorcycle that had been parked at the Brant Hills Community Centre.  The motorcycle was being driven by suspect #1.

The motorcycle is described as a sport bike, predominantly blue in colour with white in areas.  The motorcycle may have had lightning bolt decals on it.

To be held up ay knife point is terrifying for anyone - for the two twelve years old girls in the Brant Hills community it was life altering.

This is the kind of police investigative work that catches criminals.  The guys who own that bike want to begin worrying.  If you don’t turn yourself in – look for a good criminal lawyer.

The two suspects were described as:

Suspect #1 – Male, black, mid-teens, 6’, thin build very short hair. He was armed with a knife. Clothing description – grey and white patterned cloth jacket and denim pants

Suspect #2 – Male, Latin American, early teens, 5’3”, heavy build, short black hair.  Clothing Description – black hooded sweatshirt, denim pants

Investigators are asking for information about anyone matching the description of the suspects that may own, operate or have access to a motorcycle similar to the one described.  Investigators can be contacted at 905 825-4747 x2343, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).


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Halton police investigators stick with a home invasion case and break it wide open – arrest three.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON March 22, 2012  Last December 4th, at 1:00  am, three masked men broke into a Faversham Avenue home and stormed the bedroom of one of the residents demanding money and drugs. The victim told the suspects he didn’t have any drugs and the suspects left.  Three other residents were in the home at the time.

The suspects were described as:

White, 5’4” – 5’5,” 120 lbs, wearing all black clothing and white running shoes;

White, 6’4,” thin build, dressed in black and Black, 6’3” – 6”4,” 150 – 160 lbs

Following an extensive investigation by members of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau, three individuals have been arrested and charged in relation to the home invasion.

Investigative efforts culminated in a search warrant being executed on a London residence on January 9, 2012, the arrest of Jordaine WILSON-CAMPBELL and the recovery of two pellet guns.

The remaining accused have since been arrested, the last of which occurred March 18th.


Jordaine WILSON-CAMPBELL, 21 years, of London, Facing charges of Robbery, Wear Disguise and Breach of Prohibition Order (weapons)(two counts)

Matthew ROSE, 21 years, of Burlington, Facing charges of Robbery and Wear Disguise

Nicholas ZEMBRZYCKI, 20 years, of Sudbury, Facing charges of Robbery, Wear Disguise


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