Winnipeg police have released the identity of a girl found dead in the Red River Sunday afternoon.
Tina Fontaine, 15, was reported missing on Aug. 9. Her body was found in the Red River near the Alexander Docks at about 1:30 p.m., more than a week after she was reported missing.
Police are treating Fontaine’s death as a homicide.
“It’s obvious this child didn’t put herself in the river in that condition,” said homicide investigator Sgt. John O’Donovan. “She’s definitely been exploited and taken advantage of.”
Fontaine was last seen in downtown Winnipeg on Aug. 8 wearing a white skirt, blue jacket and pink-and-white runners. She stood five-feet-three-inches tall and weighed about 100 pounds.
O'Donovan said the teen was known to spend time near Portage Place.
“She frequented mainly the central area. [She] frequented places like Portage Place and the streets adjacent to that, parallel to that, around Portage Avenue,” he said. “She frequented the central area in general.”
Fontaine, of Sagkeeng First Nation, had only been in Winnipeg for a month before her disappearance.
“She's a petite little thing — just turned 15, barely in the city for a little over a month,” O’Donovan said. “And she’s definitely been exploited and taken advantage of and murdered.”
Fontaine was in the care of a Child and Family Services agency when she went missing, according to police. She had run away from her foster home before, including once in July of this year.
“We know that she was in care and that she was rebelling in that care she was in. She was running away and had a history of that, but obviously she was in danger doing that,” O’Donovan said. “At 15 I’m sure she didn’t realize the danger she was putting herself in.”
Police said she was found wrapped in a bag, in "a condition she couldn’t have put herself in,” O’Donovan said.
“She’s a child. This is a child that has been murdered … Society should be horrified,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking for people to come forward. And that's why we're asking for people to help us and to come forward with anything they know about this child.”
O’Donovan said police can confirm she was alive on the morning of Aug. 9, but “anything further than that we would love to hear from people on.”
'She’s a child. This is a child that has been murdered … Society should be horrified' - Winnipeg police Sgt. John O'Donovan
Anyone with information can contact police at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.
“It's an upsetting case here because we have a child here who is dead, plus we don't know when she died,” O’Donovan said. “We want to get it to the general public for their help.”
Police said Fontaine's body was discovered while police were looking for another — a man who had been seen struggling in the water near the Forks on Friday.
“The circumstances surrounding it are rather unique in that our dive unit was out there looking, you know, for somebody else,” said Const. Eric Hofley. “Unfortunately, the second body was located and recovered.”
Faron Hall's body also recovered
The body of Faron Hall was also retrieved from the river Sunday evening, according to family members.
Police confirmed Monday afternoon a man’s body had been recovered from the Red River near Kildonan Park. They also confirmed it was the same person who had been seen struggling in the river near The Forks on Friday.
On Monday evening, family members identified the man as Faron Hall.
- Search for man feared drowned continues
- Off-duty officer tries to save man in Red River, but unsuccessful
Rescue divers spent the weekend searching the river for the man after the distress call and attempted rescue on Friday.
Police said they are not treating the death as suspicious, and they are not releasing details about how he ended up in the water.