Manitoba

Tina Fontaine report coming from children's advocate next week

A report on how the provincial government handled Tina Fontaine’s case during her short life will be made public next week.

Report will look at services provided to 15-year-old prior to her death in 2014

Tina Fontaine's body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg on Aug. 17, 2014. It was wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks. (Tina Fontaine/Facebook)

A report on how the provincial government handled Tina Fontaine's case during her short life will be made public next week.

On March 12, Manitoba's Advocate for Children and Youth Daphne Penrose will release her report on the public services provided to the 15-year-old whose body was found, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighted down with rocks, in the Red River in August 2014.

The report will be made public on Tuesday in Powerview-Pine Falls, near where Fontaine lived with her aunt. Its release comes just over a year after the acquittal of Raymord Cormier, who had been charged with murdering her.

Fontaine's death fuelled calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Winnipeg police first arrested Cormier in October 2014, but didn't have enough evidence at the time to charge him in Fontaine's death.

During a lengthy undercover investigation, police built a case against Cormier and charged him with second-degree murder in December 2015. With no physical evidence tying him to Fontaine's murder, the case ultimately relied on circumstantial evidence and hard-to-hear audio recordings, leading a jury to acquit Cormier in February 2018.

The acquittal sparked outrage from community leaders, who said multiple government systems failed the troubled teen over her life, including Child and Family Services, the police and health services.

During Cormier's trial, court heard from a variety of police officers, social workers, and health care professionals who had contact with her, including in the hours before her death.

Fontaine was raised by her aunt for much of her life, but after the teen decided to go to Winnipeg to reconnect with her mother, she became a ward of Child and Family Services. Court heard that Fontaine had been reported missing four times in three weeks before her disappearance on Aug. 8, 2014.

About 12 hours before her disappearance, Winnipeg police officers pulled over a vehicle Fontaine was riding in. The new recruit who ran her name through the system testified he saw old missing persons flags by her name but no active ones, and they let her go. The senior officer with the recruit said he "could have done better" overseeing him.

Fontaine was later picked up by paramedics after she was found asleep on the ground behind a building on Ellice Avenue. A social worker picked Fontaine up from Health Sciences Centre and took her to the Best Western Charterhouse Hotel in downtown Winnipeg, but she would later walk out the door. It was the last time she was reported being seen alive.

now