Police officers canvassed the West End of Winnipeg Wednesday, knocking on doors and engaging neighbourhood residents in hopes to find out more about the death of Tina Fontaine, the 15-year-old girl whose body was recovered from the Red River in a bag Sunday.
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Eight teams of Winnipeg police officers visited homes in the Ellice Avenue, Furby Street and Langside Street area Wednesday – a neighbourhood Fontaine used to frequent.
Steve Solomon, a West End resident, said he's glad police are making the effort to come to his door to ask about Fontaine.
“They're putting feet to what needs to be done,” said Solomon.
Constable Jason Michalyshen said there have been strong tips coming in on Fontaine.
"I think this, this entire incident has shaken Winnipeg to its core," said Michalyshen. “We may be in uniform doing jobs, but we have young daughters, grandchildren, young people in our lives, too. This strikes a chord for everyone.”
Michalyshen and investigators are now trying to put the pieces together.
"Our goal is to gather as much fact, as much information as we can with respect to Tina and who she may have been with, and when she was last seen and so forth,” said Michalyshen. “Investigators, again, are working really hard."
Michalyshen said the police will be keeping some of the crucial information they’ve come across lately to themselves for now.
"We have received some great information, you know, approximately five to 10 calls per day we're receiving. Some of that information might be irrelevant, but it's all good," he said.
Police will release more information when they feel they it won't jeopardize their investigation.
Province launches internal investigation
Fontaine was in the care of child and family services when she was killed.
Manitoba's Minister of Family Services Kerri Irvin-Ross said the province must do more to keep kids within the child welfare system safe.
"We have a lot of work to do – enough is enough,” she said. “We need to make sure that we're working with all partners and we are making a difference at all different levels.”
Irvin-Ross, who was present for Faron Hall and Fontaine’s vigil Tuesday, said the province has launched an internal investigation into how Fontaine slipped through the cracks and was on the street.
On Tuesday, Manitoba’s Grand Chief Derek Nepinak slammed the province’s child and family services.
“They don’t function, and they fail,” said Nepinak.
Fontaine’s death has raised questions about another high-profile death in care.
In January, a public inquiry into her death made 62 recommended changes to the CFS system in Manitoba.
So far, 31 of those recommendations are in place and another 31 are in the planning stage.
“The implementation team has been meeting with many individuals and stakeholders in the system, service providers, families, community leaders [to] provide us with important direction we need,” said Irvin-Ross.
A preliminary report on the process is expected on Sept. 30.