A murder charge has been laid against a man 53 years in the death of the Manitoba teenager Tina Fontaine, whose plight has revived demands for a national survey of Aboriginal women and girls murdered and missing.
The body of Tina Fontaine, aged 15, was found, wrapped in a bag, in August 2014 in the Red River. The girl had run away from his foster home in Winnipeg.
Raymond Joseph Cormier was charged with unpremeditated murder. He was arrested in Vancouver earlier this week and he was to be transferred possibly in Winnipeg for his appearance.
The police said that Mr. Cormier is originally from New Brunswick, but he lives in Winnipeg in recent years. According to Deputy Director of the Winnipeg Police, Danny Smyth, the accused dragged a heavy criminal past, across the country, especially for violent crimes.
Deputy Chief Smyth said Friday that Tina Fontaine was very vulnerable during his escape and that then abused her. Police investigators learned that the girl had attended a residence east of the city also attended Raymond Cormier. Police believe that the victim also knew Mr. Cormier.
The young Tina had grown especially with his great-aunt Thelma Favel in the community of Sagkeeng Anishinaabe First Nation, northeast of Winnipeg. It was not the first time she was running away, and Mrs Favel had requested the assistance of social services to care for the girl. About a month before her death, she had traveled to Winnipeg to visit his biological mother.
More than a week after reporting her disappearance, a vehicle in which she was was stopped by two policemen but the teenager was not detained. The investigation could not determine if the officers had recognized the runaway at the time of that transaction or if they knew she was missing. Mrs Favel supports so.
She also reported that, according to social workers, hours after the police had arrested the vehicle, Tina had been found unconscious, completely intoxicated, in an alley downtown. Paramedics have taken to hospital, where she was kept a few hours, the time to be sober again. Social workers would then came for her but she ran away again. She was found dead just over a week later.
The whole affair was revived calls for a national commission of inquiry on the thousand murdered Aboriginal women and girls or extirpated, a request that the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has always rejected. The new Liberal government in Ottawa announced this week that it would accede to this request.
“The killing of this child – because it was a child, do not forget – has caused consternation and indignation throughout our community. And that outrage, I think, has reverberated throughout the country, “said the deputy director Smyth.