The murder trial of Michael Rafferty was shown grim photos Friday of the crime scene, including the garbage bags containing eight-year-old Tori Stafford’s body.
Jurors reviewed still and video images from an isolated farm road north of Guelph, Ont., where Det. Staff-Sgt. Jim Smyth found the girl’s body on July 19, 2009, more than three months after she disappeared.
Smyth was scouting the area after police traced a call from Rafferty’s cellphone that had been made from the area the day Tori disappeared.
Smyth pulled into the rough farm road based on a description provided by Terri-Lynne McClintic, Rafferty’s former girlfriend who has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Tori’s death and was sentenced to life in prison in April 2010.
Smyth said he found a rock pile at the end of the road and smelled the odour of decomposition.
He moved one rock and spotted a garbage bag covered with rocks.
Smyth said he touched the bag.
"I believed we had finally found Victoria Stafford", Smyth said.
He described his reaction to the discovery.
"It took a moment to sink in," said Smyth, his voice briefly choked with emotion.
The garbage bags were covered with about a dozen rocks, some weighing as much as 40 kilograms.
Smyth called in the forensics and identification teams.
Tori’s remains were removed at noon the next day and taken to the Chief Coroner’s Office in Toronto.
The remains were identified through dental records and the cause of death was determined to be "blunt force trauma to the head."
Justice Thomas Heeney told jurors they would be taken to the crime scene during the trial.