Tina Fontaine remembered with memorial services and headstone
Donated headstone honours 15-year-old girl and her father, Eugene Fontaine
Manitobans are remembering Tina Fontaine, whose body was recovered from the Red River one year ago, with memorial services in Winnipeg and the Sagkeeng First Nation, as well as a new headstone at the spot where she and her father are buried.
Dozens of people gathered on Monday evening at the Alexander Docks, where Fontaine's body was found in the river on Aug. 17, 2014.
"I still can't believe it and, I don't know, it's so hard … like, no answers," said Angel Fontaine, one of the teen's cousins.
"Not a day goes by without thinking about it. Sometimes I have dreams."
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Meanwhile, the headstone honouring Tina and Eugene Fontaine was revealed during a memorial service at the Roman Catholic cemetery in the Sagkeeng First Nation on Monday afternoon.
Eugene Fontaine was beaten by two men in the First Nation in 2011. Two men pleaded guilty to manslaughter last year in connection with his death.
"We just did it because we could feel their burden, their pain, and they went through a lot, and we just wanted to lend a helping hand," said Nick Knysh, Eternal Grace's funeral director.
Tina's great-aunt, Thelma Favel, said the support she's received from family members, friends and even strangers has been unbelievable.
She had been in and out of the child welfare system in the months prior to her death.
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Favel said she had hoped for closure one year later, but many questions still remain about what happened to Tina.
Winnipeg police have been treating her death as a homicide, but no arrests have been announced to date.
Still an active investigation
On Monday, Const. Rob Carver said investigators have been mum on the case because they've had nothing new to report and are currently not seeking the public's help.
However, Carver said police are still looking for the teen's killer.
"It is still part of the homicide unit's prime focus," he told reporters.
In a statement, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs called for more public support to address the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
"While over the course of the last year the AMC and First Nation leadership have responded to the tragedy of Tina Fontaine and other MMIWG, it is clear that this issue needs wider support from the general citizenry in Manitoba and across the country," AMC acting Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said in a news release.
"Indeed, reconciliation demands a new relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to obtain a healthy future for all our children and families."