Michigan police find body of OHLer Terry Trafford 0
Terry Trafford. (Ontario Hockey League)
The body of missing OHL forward Terry Trafford was discovered in a truck in Michigan where the Toronto native played for the Saginaw Spirit.
Team officials confirmed that the 20-year-old was discovered by Michigan State Police Tuesday afternoon. He was last seen March 3.
An officer driving through a Walmart parking lot at approximately 3:35 p.m. in Saginaw Township saw a vehicle matching the description of Trafford’s and found him dead inside. A cause of death was not immediately available.
“Our deepest condolences are with Terry’s family and his friends both in Ontario and Michigan,” says a team statement released late Tuesday night. “Terry played on our team and was a member of the Spirit family for the last four years and he will be missed.”
Team officials said they had reached out to Trafford’s family, Roy and Bev Trafford who live in Toronto, to provide support.
“In addition, we met with team players and staff this evening, along with our team chaplain,” the statement says.
“On behalf of the Spirit, we would like to thank the police who were looking for Terry, the media for providing updates and all who provided information. The coming days will be difficult and we will endeavor to keep the community and media apprised of arrangements and other details.”
Trafford was last seen at his team’s home arena, the Dow Event Centre. He was driving a green 1995 GMC Sierra pickup truck with Michigan plates.
Michigan State Police and Toronto Police began investigating his disappearance over the weekend as friends and teammates took to social media to bring attention to his disappearance.
Trafford’s girlfriend, Skye Cieszlak, told the Toronto Sun’s Jenny Yuen on Sunday that he suffered from depression for many years and had threatened to kill himself during a phone conversation with her on March 1.
On Tuesday, Cieszlak voiced her anguish around 4:30 p.m. on Twitter: “I catch myself screaming at you and crying for you at the same time.”
OHL Commissioner David Branch issued a statement Tuesday offering condolences to Trafford’s family and friends.
“This is a tragic situation for all involved,” he said. “We will work closely with the Saginaw Spirit to provide any support required to the players and staff during this very difficult time. In addition, all of our teams will be offering support to their players.”
Trafford had been sent home to Toronto more than a week ago, Spirit president Craig Goslin told MLive.com Tuesday. Goslin did not what infraction prompted the move, but added that Trafford was still “on the roster” and the 20-year-old could have returned to the Spirit.
“That would have been up to Terry,” Goslin said. “He’d have to change his behavior and make some adjustments.”
Goslin also confirmed that Trafford was living with him and his wife, Karolyn, in the hopes of getting his life in order.
“The reason that he was in with us was that he needed some mentoring,” Goslin said. “We made sure we mentored the young man. He’s a good kid that seems to make some bad decisions at times.”
Trafford played four seasons with the Spirit, scoring 29 goals and making 49 assists in 221 games.
— With files from QMI Agency