Jeanenne Fontaine, a Winnipeg woman charged with human trafficking, says she got into the sex trade to support a drug addiction, but insists she never forced anyone else into prostitution.
The 27-year-old woman said she had kicked a drug habit for four years, but the death of her cousin Tina Fontaine last summer caused her to relapse.
"After Tina, it kinda messed me up, like I just wanted to forget the loss," Fontaine said. "It hurt my heart so much, I just got lost."
The body of the 15-year-old was pulled from the Red River on Aug. 17, 2014. At the time, Winnipeg Police said the teen had been placed in a bag before being dumped in the water. No charges have been laid in her death.
On June 2nd, Jeanenne Fontaine and three men — twins Clinton and Eric Wirffel, and their friend, Jesse Thomas — were charged with human trafficking.
There is a publication ban on the details of the allegations, and Fontaine's lawyer advised her not to talk to the media, but she said she wants to set the record straight.
"I've never made anybody work for me at all," she said. "I did it for me, for myself, for my habits, nobody else."
Fontaine said she barely knows the Wirffel twins or Thomas, and that she met the three men through her drug suppliers at her apartment on Furby Street. Now all four are facing a charge of trafficking of a person under age 18.
Fontaine moved into the building on May 1, 2014. Her mother, Lana Fontaine, and aunt, Robyn Fontaine, also rented suites in the same apartment complex.
In the weeks before her death, Tina visited her relatives at the complex. The teen arrived on Aug. 1 to spend the long weekend with relatives she hadn't seen in years.
"She came to my house, she met my son, that's all that happened," Fontaine said, adding she only spent an hour with Tina, and that her cousin mostly hung out with her aunts in another suite.
"I had my kids. I was four years sober. I was doing really really good for myself," she said.
But she said all that changed when she heard Tina had been killed and her body dumped in the river.
"I wish I could take it, I wish I just didn't give up on myself. I gave up and it's just hurting a lot of people I care about," Fontaine said.
Her sister, Jessica Fontaine, said her sibling is a good person who just lost her way.
"At first it had me thinking too, but then I really do believe my sister, and I do believe my mom would not let anything like that happen in her house," Jessica said.
Jessica blames part of her sister's downfall on the apartment complex she lives in.
"I noticed that after my sister moved in there is when she started doing drugs and that," she said.
Jeanenne now refers to the complex as "The Trap."
"You go there, it's like you just meet all these really messed up people," Jeanenne said. "It's like one stupid thing after another. It's not a good place to live."
Jeanenne said she had been trying to kick a methamphetamine addiction and sober up just days before she was charged with human trafficking.
"My kids are being hurt by this, my life is getting hurt by this. Like what am I supposed to do now. I don't even know," she said through tears.
She is now out on bail and said she will fight the charge against her.