Tori Stafford, a fourteen-year-old Ontario girl, was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered after getting off a school bus at a stop in Woodstock, Ont., on October 8, 2009. Her body was later found in a ravine near London, Canada.
Police have announced that they have arrested Toronto physician Deepak Kalra. He has been charged with first-degree murder, forcible confinement, abduction and sexual assault in connection with the case.
The case received national attention after a photo of a young black girl was found in Ms. Stafford’s backpack. Before the arrest, Ms. Stafford’s father, Rodney Stafford, had spoken out for racial justice, calling out comments from community leaders who suggested Ms. Stafford was abducted by a “white male” rather than a “black male.” Mr. Stafford also claimed that authorities were “slow on the response” in terms of investigating possible race-related motives in the case.
Scott Oates, Woodstock Police chief, said the arrest was part of a plan developed over the past two years. He added that a “significant” amount of community members and police were involved in planning the arrest.
He emphasized that race did not play a part in the investigation. “There was no intentional effort to target African Canadians,” he said. “The decision to arrest Dr. Kalra was based on the evidence, and there was never any consideration given to the racialized nature of the victim.”