TerriLynn knew the family and it didn't take long to follow the surveillance cameras straight to her front door. She admitted to her crimes readily, taking responsibility for the abduction and nothing else.
Slowly, as time in jail took a toll on her, her mind made the inevitable conclusion that "this was all real". It was really happening. Despite being raised as almost feral, spending her entire life fighting tooth and nail for survival, she slowly began to realize that life didn't have to be that way. It's hella confusing that she first witnessed happiness in life only after receiving a life sentence. Where was Canada Child Services when young TerriLynn was learning her survival skills? The life skills she had to learn for survival are vastly different than the rest of us. Why doesn't that matter? Why dont we ever take responsibility, as a societal whole for the part we play in making girls like TerriLynn?
My next book is about Terrilynn McClintic, the devastating, heinous murder of tiny 8 year old Tori Stafford and the part TerriLynn played in it. I contacted TerriLynn in the hopes that she would collaborate with me on some of the dates and places and things only she would know. She refused. She said she had a guard look up this blog and had decided I only used the blog to make money and she wanted no part of being anyone's "moneymaker". She felt it would cause the victims family pain.
I was devastated but... the show must go on. I am under contract so I have to produce something.I wrote TerriLynn back and let her know that there are several books being written about her and I reminded her I was the only one who'd asked her side and that I make 0 money off this blog. If, by some one-in-a-million chance someone clicks that donate button on the left the money goes to help inmates buy their meds, books and supplies. No money for Kelly :( , but it does save me some money because I then have some help paying for those things. I also do not glamorize the crime, despite what some commenters suggest. Showing the crime from the criminals side and showcasing their pasts does not mean I condone their crimes.
Despite my disappointment, I began to search out reporters who covered the case in an attempt at finding first-hand accounts and legal documents. I've been researching and writing about her life since last December.
|Ruby Tuesday's in Tullahoma, TN loves writers :)|
The bartenders know me and they let me spread my crap out all over. I love watching them try to quickly scan the pages in front of me in search of a gory detail. I always go early to avoid the lunch rush and not take up their precious settings with my reams of research and crime scene photos. (Yes, I drink wine at 11 a.m.. Don't judge me, creative people are eccentric :))
It never fails that questions would pop into my head that only she could answer. I considered writing Michael Rafferty to get some sort of answers. I looked up and found little Tori's mom but have yet to get to the point of contacting her with questions.
Then it happened.
|TerriLynn McClinctic Letters|
I got a letter from her yesterday. I was happier than a gopher in soft dirt. For those who aren't aware of the feeling that people like me get (no, I'm not the only one) when we get a letter from an inmate we are really interested in- it's like opening the mailbox and finding $500 and a $100 Red Lobster gift certificate on half price cocktail night.
I held it and wondered a million things. There was no return address, the only way I knew it was her was because she is my only Canadian inmate and the postage was Canadian. Once I stopped smiling my brains out and running through the house telling everyone, I sat on my bed and felt it. It was thick. Very thick, to thick to be a "fuck you, bitch" letter which I had been halfheartedly expecting, if anything at all. I opened it.
I was thoroughly surprised to find she had filled out the questionnaire and consent agreement I have everyone sign. Also inside the envelope was a three page letter that was very grateful and humble. She stated she'd like to start a correspondence with me and that we had a lot in common.
She told me this odd little story that was really about her hideous childhood, though she barely mentioned it. She said she'd had to be hard-hearted in her youth to protect herself from rape and robbery and other things too vile for a little girl to endure. In the beginning it was just little TerriLynn trying to survive but by the end she was just a shell of what used to be a person, a little girl. Her first long stint in a juvenile facility was 1 1/2 years and she told me she used every opportunity she could to her advantage, no matter who got hurt. She said a matronly guard stopped her one day and said;
She said she thinks of that encounter everyday because that is exactly what happened. She told me a few other short life tales about her emotions for Michael and the Manson-like vice he held her in. When we talked about the book, she told me that she had tried to kill herself so many times and could never accomplish it. She had never experienced anything that made her want to stick around and thought maybe she'd have better chances in the afterlife. Time after time she attempted suicide, she always pulled through in some unbelievable manner. She said she's always wondered why God wouldn't take her. Why she had to stay when so many good, worthy and productive people died everyday."Terri, you can't keep living like this, one day it will all fall down and all these unfamiliar emotions will come in and the wrong person will be around."
Now, she says, she understands. Everything she has lived through, survived, experienced, and witnessed is a lesson waiting for some other young girl, because there are thousands. TerriLynn feels if she can get her story out there, there is a chance it could save the life of another little girl raising herself on the streets of Quebec and sparkling new lives like Tori's.
So now the real writing begins. All the prose I've penned, garnered from police reports and court documents, will be joined by a first person account of life on the hard streets of Ontario when no one cares for you. We'll learn how a teen girl musters the ability to perform hideous acts and how innocent lives that can be decimated when a child is left to raise herself.