On April 8th, eight-year-old Victoria Stafford went missing on her way home from school. She usually walked with her older brother, but that day he walked another child home. At approximately 6:06 pm, Victoria's mother called police in Woodstock, Ontario and told them her daughter had not arrived home from school and couldn't be found. No Amber Alert was issued and Victoria was classed as a missing person. The police apparently said that there was no evidence she had been abducted, even though video from a local high school showed her walking with a young woman in a white coat who couldn't be identified by the family.
A ground search was organized and people came out in droves to look for the young girl. No sign of her was found. On April 13th, the ground search was called off. The police stated that an abduction signifies force and that Victoria seemed to be going with the woman willingly. At this time, police had received approximately 300 tips, but nothing came of them.
Today, Victoria's mother pleaded with the abductor to release her daughter. "If you have my child, please just bring her home," said Tara McDonald. "You cannot imagine how we are feeling and we are missing her so much that it hurts. Look into your soul and find the compassion to please just let her go and let her come home."
The search for Victoria has now been taken over by the Ontario Provincial Police. This past weekend, they intensified the search for the missing girl. On Sunday police divers used sonar equipment and a boat to look for the missing girl while 35 other police officers combed swamps and bush not far from the girl's home.
Police now have over 1,000 tips and are still concentrating on the Woodstock, Ontario area. But Const. Laurie-Anne Maitland said they want more help, especially tips that could identify the woman that Tori is seen walking with in a surveillance video. "We're confident somebody has information and we're hoping that despite how small it may seem to them — or how insignificant — that they're going to come forward and share it, even if they think we already have it," said Maitland.
Anyone with information can call police at (519) 537-2323 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS or any detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.