Tina Fontaine: Streets still unsafe, cousins of slain Winnipeg teen say

"I'm just afraid of being taken," Rose Fontaine admits. She doesn't feel safer a year after her cousin's body was pulled from the Red River.

Sisters worry for their safety, say being approached by strangers is a regular occurance

Rose Fontaine, left, and Kattie Fontaine are sisters and cousins of Tina Fontaine, whose body was pulled from Winnipeg's Red River on Aug. 17, 2014. (Kattie Fontaine)

"I'm just afraid of being taken."

It's a fear that has been mounting for 16-year-old Rose Fontaine. Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the body of her 15-year-old cousin, Tina Fontaine, being pulled from Winnipeg's Red River. She had been sexually assaulted, killed, wrapped in a bag and dumped in the water.

I don't think they got safer, I think they got worse.- Rose Fontaine

Tina's death, which remains unsolved, has caused a rift in her family, which only makes things harder for Rose.

"I don't think [the streets] got safer, I think they got worse," Rose told CBC News. 

Rose's sister, Kattie Fontaine, agrees that it's been one of the most difficult parts of the aftermath. 

"Some family went to drugs, some family just stopped talking to each other. Just seems like everybody is growing apart," Kattie, 18, said.

For the sisters, it has also been difficult to hear new details about Tina's death in the media, never knowing whether what they're reading is true. All of it just fuels the sisters' anger and sadness about their cousin's untimely death. 

"It's getting hard and I always get worried about my little sisters when they go out in the night time," Kattie said. 

"The thing I like that has pretty much changed is they have the Bear Clan walking around the North End. I see them a lot, you can tell it's them with their claws on the back of their shirts. I think it's cool, my dad was even talking about going to volunteer to be one of them," Kattie told CBC News. 

The volunteer safety-patrol group reunited for their first official street patrol last month in Winnipeg's North End.

"[The Bear Clan] can't be everywhere," Kattie said, it's no guarantee of safety. 

Police said on Monday the investigation into Tina's death remains active.

"It has not moved to a cold case status," Sgt. Rob Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service said. "And we don't foresee anything in the future that would suggest that it's going to move there." 

Targeted in broad daylight 

For Rose, she said that she's been approached by strange men looking for sex on multiple occasions in the past year. 

"I went to go see my friend, I was taking a shortcut and a guy was asking me to take me somewhere. I said no and kept backing up slowly. We were talking for like five minutes. I tried to walk away and he tried to grab me by my leather jacket. I ran away and he stopped me again and said, 'I have money.' I said, 'I don't care about your money,'" Rose said. 

That particular occasion took place right after school, Rose said, but she's had similar situations happen to her before school as well. Strange men approach her and ask her to get into their vehicles.

Rose hopes that history doesn't repeat itself for her family. 


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