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Training for Murder

October 14, 2012 permalink

Reporter Jennifer Tryon profiles Terri-Lynne McClintic, the killer of Tori Stafford. The report shows her adoption into an abusive family, omitting mention of Terri-Lynne's periods in foster care. Pat Niagara captured the video to YouTube and local copy (mp4).



Blog: Jennifer Tryon on the Victoria Stafford story

I’m a mother and the last thing I want to hear about is the pleasure two horrific human beings took in abducting, raping and murdering an innocent 8-year-old child. Just typing that sentence makes me shudder. I try to prevent my mind from consciously putting myself in Tara McDonald’s shoes, she’s the mother of 8-year-old Tori Stafford, for I fear I’d never recover.

But my job put me in the place where I had to hear what happened. As a reporter for Global National, I was assigned to be in the London, Ontario courtroom where I listened to testimony describing the gruesome details. And if you picked up a newspaper or watched television news you’ve no doubt heard the details too. I know for some people it was all too much. Many had stopped watching and reading. It hit too close to home.

I saw Tori’s parents in court. Her father Rodney Stafford was always so vocal with the media, her mother far less so. It made me wonder, why doesn’t she speak up? I also wondered, could I speak to the hoards of media waiting outside with cameras and microphones if I were her and barely hanging on?

As a journalist I believe in speaking up, but in this case I don’t think I could have. The fact that she showed up day after day to listen to what happened to her daughter I think takes the kind of courage I hope I never have to discover in myself.

It’s been 3 years since Tori’s death, 5 months since Michael Rafferty’s verdict and I’ve wondered how that other mother is doing? Is she still broken? Is she able to get out of bed? Is there a light at the end of this tunnel? What I really want to know is, is Tara McDonald okay?

She agreed to meet me and participate in an exclusive interview for Global News’ current affairs program 16x9. She bravely sat down for first time since it all ended, to be interviewed about how it had affected her, Tori’s brother Darren and the entire family. While everything she said had impact, what got to me most wasn’t the gruesome details she described, or how she was considered suspect number one, or that there was no amber alert and that it took over 100 days to find Tori’s body. What she said that struck me most was the hurdle she’s faced on the streets. She described how people stared at her while she got groceries, “like, is that Tori Stafford’s mother? What she’s doing out of the house?” And how people would point at her and whisper. She says she even lost her job “because customers found it too difficult to see her in the store.”

Just like I did, it seems people put themselves into her shoes, so much so they couldn’t even face her. Are people so focused on how this crime would affect them that they’ve lost their ability to empathize? Are we so discomforted that this could happen to us that we’ve lost our ability to see that it did happen to someone else? Is the thought of how we would suffer preventing us from helping another through their suffering? She wasn’t to blame for the murder of her daughter, so why is she being punished? But her life moving forward without her daughter is sure to be punishing.

Tara McDonald was candid and honest, she’s not perfect, but she’s taking ownership of her life. She’s trying to move forward. I wonder how many of us could say the same if we really were in her shoes?

Source: Global News