Excerpts from victim-impact statements read in court on April 30, 2010, at the conviction and sentencing of Terri-Lynne McClintic for the murder of Victoria Stafford.
Rodney Stafford, Victoria’s father
Hello everyone, I am Rodney Stafford, a father to two beautiful children, one who is no longer here with us. On April 8, 2009, I myself, my son Daryn, my ex-wife Tara, our family and friends, and much to our surprise, a nation, all became victims to a heinous crime, when one of our children was stolen in broad daylight.
With the loss of Victoria, thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people felt a tremendous loss worldwide. Victoria was a very beautiful eight-year-old child, and an innocent little girl who put a smile on every face she met.
It plays in my mind over and over again. Just what could have Victoria done so wrong in her eight years that she deserved to lose her little innocent life? Nothing at all! Victoria was only ever guilty of being a little girl.
This is an unspeakable crime happening far too often, to too many of our children.
Hey, Victoria, are you ready to go to prom?
Victoria, you ready to graduate?
Daddy is so proud of you. Are you ready to walk down the aisle, Victoria?
Hey, Victoria, you want to go to Nana’s? Your cousins’? Your friends’?
How about: Go to the movies? Go camping?
How abut take a deep breath? Or another step or two?
Did you hug your brother today?
Just a brief summary of questions that I, nor anyone else, will never be able to ask Victoria again, or for the first time.
The loss of Victoria has left an emptiness inside everyone that no parent should ever have to feel. And because of this I have dedicated the last year of my life to bettering myself, and helping stand up for the truly innocent – the ones whose voices do not get heard. Not just for Victoria, but for all the children that have lost their innocence. This has got to stop.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to say goodbye to a child you created, one that you always swore to protect? Only then to find that while you are out bettering yourself for the future, someone steals your baby?
Families are out there all over the world still searching for their babies, and may God be with you all in your search.
I have to thank everyone for their support in trying to find Victoria. Fifteen and a half weeks of searching for any clue of where Victoria could be. The vigils, balloon launches, the memorial, and Victoria’s funeral, were all heartfelt and made possible by total strangers all searching for the same thing – answers, justice, but most of all, my little girl.
How was Christmas? Easter? Halloween? Victoria’s Birthday? Daryn’s birthday? Not the same, none of them were, nor will ever be again. No holidays were even close to the way they used to be. One of our pride was gone, our family destroyed, because one of our own was stolen from us. Not to mention stolen from us in broad daylight. Now in order to spend these holidays or events with Victoria, we get to go stare at a burial spot for Victoria’s remains. Her little body buried beneath the ground, never to be seen again.
The hardest part of my last year has been watching my 12-year-old son try to continue through life. Best friends torn apart. Daryn has suffered daily for the last year, you can see it. He tries well to hide it, but you can see the emptiness. He misses his sister and feels guilty every day because he never walked her home. It kills me inside to see him cry, and for me to know that the one thing he wants now in life, that could make him happy, and put that smile back on his face, I can never give to him. I can never bring Victoria home to see Daryn, or to see anyone for that matter.
[Now speaking directly to Terri-Lynne McClintic]