Drag the Red takes search for missing indigenous women ashore

Monday marks the one-year-anniversary of when 15-year-old Tina Fontaine's body was pulled from the Red River.

Members search shorelines 1 year after 15-year-old Tina Fontaine's body pulled from Red River

Monday marks the one-year-anniversary of when 15-year-old Tina Fontaine's body was pulled from the Red River. 2:03

Monday marks the one-year-anniversary of when 15-year-old Tina Fontaine's body was pulled from the Red River.

Her death led to the formation of Drag the Red, a group of volunteers who search the river for clues they hope will help investigators solve cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Kim Kostiuk led members of the group that searched along the banks of the river Sunday afternoon.

Kostiuk's 16-year-old daughter Becky Kostiuk was murdered in 2000 after attending a party.
Volunteers with Drag the Red searched along the banks of the Red River near the Disraeli Bridge in Winnipeg on Sunday. (CBC)

"My heart is broken, it will never mend. I miss her so much," said Kostiuk, adding she struggled with depression and tried to commit suicide 13 times after her daughter's death.

"I didn't care about life anymore, didn't want to live. I wanted to die and I wanted to be with her."

Kostiuk credited her family and friends with helping her pull through what she described as the toughest time of her life.

Kostiuk drew strength from her daughter's death. It motivated her to get involved with Drag the Red and help others with missing loved ones attempt to find closure.

She led a group on a ground search on Sunday to commemorate the day Fontaine's body was pulled out of the Red River last summer.

Volunteers like Tasha Benjamin swept the tall grass and shrubs along shorelines of the river around the Disraeli Bridge during the Sunday search.

She said the circumstances surrounding Fontaine's death broke her heart.

"Ever since the Tina Fontaine incident, ever since she was found, I think as a community we need to come out here. If we don't, who will?" said Benjamin.

Kostiuk said the ground search looks for items like wrist ties and clothing, and anything else that might be associated with a crime scene.

She said she hopes they find items that help advance police investigations, adding she doesn't plan to stop searching anytime soon.

"You can't ... rest until you have something to prove it's them, if they are alive or gone. I do it because this is what I'm meant to do."


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