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Police begin 'intensified search' for missing girl in Woodstock

Police re-examining older information and detectives will be canvassing homes

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — The Ontario Provincial Police are launching an intensified search today in Woodstock for missing eight-year-old Victoria (Tori) Stafford.

Under the direction of Det.-Insp. William Renton, police will be scouring all local water ways looking for clues.

Police will also be re-examining older information and tips, and detectives will be canvassing homes and residents in the hope of uncovering some new leads.

Police say the renewed investigation could last seven days or longer and there will be “significant police activity” in the local area.

Later today, a “Walk for Tori” is being organized at the College Avenue Secondary School, where the Grade 3 student was last seen before disappearing last Wednesday.

On Friday, police reclassified Tori’s disappearance from a missing person case to an abduction investigation.

A brief security video showing a woman with long brown hair and a puffy white coat walking with Tori is the only tangible lead police have publicly discussed. No one has come forward to identify the woman, and her face is not clearly visible in the grainy footage.

Tori’s mother remains convinced the woman is a stranger to her daughter and family. However, relatives on the girl’s father’s side pray the abductor is known to the child.

“My belief is if it is someone that knows her, there’s less of a chance that she would be hurt by that person,” said Rebecca Stafford, who explained her family drew that conclusion after watching the footage.

“I do honestly believe her body language is that of Victoria when she is happy, and if I dare say it, excited. I did have a memory flashback when I was watching that video.”

Police say they have “pretty substantial direction” regarding the woman’s identity, but declined to divulge any more details.

 
 
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