Tina Fontaine – The Murder of a Teenaged First Nations Girl in Canada by Crime and Crime Again

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On August 17th, 2014, the body of a fifteen-year-old Indigenous girl, Tina Fontaine, was recovered from the Red River in Winnipeg.

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She had been missing for eight days. On the day she was last seen alive, Tina encountered multiple people, including law enforcement officers, doctors, and her assigned worker from Child and Family Services, who could have put an end to the vicious cycle of trauma pervading Tina’s life… but they didn’t. Tina could have been saved that day, but the system failed her. The system failed her before she ever even walked this earth. One man was arrested in connection with Tina’s death, but today, no one has been charged with the murder of this young girl.

The death of Tina Fontaine, and the failures of the system that was supposed to protect her and children like her, sparked an outpouring of grief, anger, and calls to action across Canada. The public demanded that the Canadian government launch an inquiry into the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

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Music: “Poisoned Rose” by Aakash Gandhi on YouTube’s Audio Library

Sources:

• https://manitobaadvocate.ca/wp-content/uploads/MACY-Special-Report-March-2019-Tina-Fontaine-FINAL1.pdf
• https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/tina-fontaine-report-parents-1.5054126
• https://www.cbc.ca/missingandmurdered/mmiw/profiles/tina-michelle-fontaine
• https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/a-little-girl-lost-how-the-canadian-child-welfare-and-justice-systems-failed-tina-fontaine-7b74104e4584
• https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1456190019804
• https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/tina-fontaine-last-day-timeline-1.4529490
• https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/tina-fontaine
• https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/family-reacts-to-arrest-of-man-accused-of-killing-tina-fontaine/
• https://globalnews.ca/news/3993129/trial-begins-for-tina-fontaines-accused-killer/
• https://globalnews.ca/news/4014453/raymond-cormier-interrogation-video-seen-by-jury-in-winnipeg-courtroom/
• https://globalnews.ca/news/4014453/raymond-cormier-interrogation-video-seen-by-jury-in-winnipeg-courtroom/
• https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/
• Raymond Cormier 2014 interrogation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3syU8roimI

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Transcript

(0s):
Welcome to true crime by Indy drop-in each week we feature an episode from the best independent creators hit subscribe for more great, true crime content. If you would like to help indie drop-in support indie creators, you can buy us a coffee. Just go to buy me a coffee.com forward slash indie drop-in or click the link in the show notes below today’s episode is from crime and crime. Again, don’t forget to check out the show notes for links to subscribe and follow us on social media. Enjoy the show Crime and crime again, discusses true crime content that may be graphic or disturbing listener discretion is advised This episode includes discussion of topics that may be triggering such as domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and assault of minors, alcohol and drug addiction, self harm, and the murder of a child to better understand what I mean.

(1m 18s):
When I say that the entire system failed Tina Fontaine, before she ever even walked this earth, we need to take a look back at how that same system failed her mother Tina’s mother Valentina duck grew up on the blood vein first nation, about four hours north of Winnipeg, Valentina circumstances were brought to the attention of child and family services. When she was around six years old, her mother battled with addiction and had a history of being involved in abusive and violent relationships on numerous occasions, Valentino was removed from her mother’s home, and then later returned to her at 10 years old. However, she was permanently removed from her mother’s custody in 1994 at just 12 years old, Valentina had developed a habit of running away from her foster homes, and she had also fallen into a struggle with substance abuse.

(2m 10s):
It was also at this time in her life that she met 23 year old Eugene Fontaine, a man from sagging first nation who had also been battling addiction from a young age. Eugene’s father was a residential school survivor. And as is the case with generational trauma like this, his experiences led him and ultimately his son down paths of addiction and violence. Eugene left his home on sagging first nation, I just 12 years old and moved to Winnipeg where his battle with substance abuse began in a report by Daphne Penrose, Manitoba advocate for children and youth, which details the life and death of Tina Fontaine and explores the failures of the systems that were supposed to protect Tina and children like her.

(2m 53s):
It stated that CFS had documented the relationship between Valentina and Eugene and Valentino’s guardians were aware the relationship was sexual. Now this report that I just referenced is where much of this information for this episode comes from the report itself is rightfully heavily criticized by many indigenous people as it truthfully fails to adequately address the problems at hand here. However, it was a useful tool in my research because there is an incredible amount of detail about Tina’s life and the lives of her parents. Again, Valentina was 12. Eugene was 23, nothing was done by CFS to end the relationship or protect Valentina.

(3m 37s):
After she met Eugene, Valentina would often run away from foster homes and stay with him at his home. And she did eventually move in permanently. Again, nothing was done by CFS to stop this C documents also note that there was often violence between Valentina and Eugene. All of this is documented and yet no one who was legally, ethically and morally obligated to protect Valentina from what was an obvious predator stepped up to do. So twelve-year-old Valentina confirmed to her CFS guardians that she was indeed being sexually exploited by not only Eugene, but by other grown men in the unity. They did nothing more than one occasion.

(4m 18s):
Valentina confided in her CFS workers that she often felt suicidal, depressed, and alone. I won’t even refer to these people as guardians anymore. They are anything, but in 1995, Valentina was pregnant with her first child. At the age of 14. Eugene was the father because child and family services had been involved with Valentina from a very young age. And because the issues that first brought her to their attention, continued to persist throughout her life of birth alert was issued when she gave birth to her first baby birth alerts are practices that have been implemented in Canadian child and family services. For decades. These alerts are used to flag an expecting mother whom the system has deemed high risk.

(5m 3s):
This means that a social worker will be present at the child’s birth and the child could very well be taken away before the mother has even been moved from delivery to postpartum. These practices, disproportionately target indigenous mothers. It wasn’t until 2019 that provinces in Canada put an end to birth alerts. More provinces still didn’t follow suit until 2020 Valentina gave birth in 1996, her baby was taken away immediately. This was another trauma that this young girl was forced to endure on top of everything else that she had struggled with from the age of six, another trauma that not one single person stepped up and tried to prevent Valentina became pregnant with her second child in 1998.

(5m 50s):
Eugene was the father of this baby as well. Well, Valentina was 17. She was still a ward of child and family services and was still not being given the protection and resources she needed from people who called themselves guardians. Eugene was 28. The two, I actually tried to make positive changes in their lives during the second pregnancy, the trauma of having her first baby stolen away from her and the fear of history repeating itself, likely played a part in this. They both participated in programs meant to help rehabilitate those struggling with addiction. And they also attended prenatal and parenting classes. It was clear that at this time, Valentina truly wanted better for herself and her baby on January 1st, 1999, Valentina gave birth to her second child.

(6m 40s):
Tina Michelle Fontaine, because the parents had shown many signs of improvement. Valentina was able to leave the hospital with a baby in her arms just a few months later, Valentina turned 18 and aged out of the foster care system. Eugene had started falling back to addiction after both he and Valentina made significant strides toward becoming sober. It’s unclear whether the physical abuse in their relationship had ever lessened or stopped, but it certainly continued. It’s apparent that at this time, Valentina also once more struggled with substance abuse after Tina was born, Valentina made an effort towards starting the process of potentially regaining custody of her firstborn child.

(7m 24s):
But there are no records or documentation that indicate that any significant steps were made in that process. From my research, it appears that Valentina never regained custody of her first child. And it’s unclear how much or how little contact she had with the child in June, 2000 Valentina gave birth to her third child. Tina’s younger sister, Sarah, this time around Valentina and Eugene had not made any efforts to manage their addiction or become sober. In fact, it was almost as if their relationship had actually gotten worse when Tina was a little over a year and a half old and her baby sister was just four months old, they were taken into the custody of child and family services for the first time after Valentina and Eugene had left the infant girls in their grandmother’s care and had failed to return for them.

(8m 13s):
It’s not specified exactly how long the girls were with the grandmother. The grandmother there had to call CFS as she was simply not able to care for them any longer. And presumably could not reach Valentina or Eugene. While in CFS custody, the girls were placed at a hotel common practice for CFS at the time, as there was not, and still is not enough adequate temporary housing for children in need. Four days later, the girls were returned to Valentina in early 2001. The family of four was living with Eugene’s mother. Also during this time, Valentina and Eugene were briefly separated. And through this separation, the girls remained in the home of Eugene’s mother.

(8m 55s):
However, Valentina and Eugene did resume their relationship relatively quickly in June, 2001, when Tina was two and a half years old and her younger sister, just over one year old, a call came in reporting. The two adults were seen leaving a house party, heavily intoxicated with a small child present the Winnipeg police service removed Tina from her parents’ care. At this time, it was later on just after taking Tina to the CFS after hours office that the Winnipeg police service received. Another call that Tina’s mother was now causing a public scene upon visiting Valentina’s home. They discovered Tina’s baby sister in the care of multiple intoxicated adults and removed her from the home as well.

(9m 39s):
For nine days, the young girls lived in a hotel until being placed in a foster home on June 29th, 2001. The girls were not placed back in Valentino’s care after this shortly after this incident, Valentina and Eugene separated this time permanently Eugene ended up completing assessments for as addictions, as well as taking parenting classes while the girls were in a foster home. He visited them several times over the course of a few months after noting Eugene’s improvement, CFS returned Tina and Sarah to their father’s custody. In late November, 2001, Valentina got involved in a new relationship and would go on to have more children from 2002 to 2004.

(10m 23s):
Tina and Sarah remained with their father moving back and forth between sacking first nation and Winnipeg. During this time, Eugene struggles with alcohol appeared to resurface sometime in 2004, Eugene was diagnosed with cancer and began undergoing treatment. November, 2004 would finally mark the beginning of a period of stability and safety for Tina and her sister, Thelma fable. Tina’s great aunt on her father’s side, agreed to take the girls into her care. And a private agreement was made between her and Eugene Thelma became known to Tina and her sister as grandma. And they called Thelma’s husband, Joseph grandpa Thelma.

(11m 4s):
And Joseph’s home was a happy loving environment. Maybe not always perfect, but it was the care and stability that Tina and her sisters so desperately needed after having spent their very first years of life thrust into chaos and uncertainty, Eugene still presented a potential issue to this newfound stability in Tina’s life. In December, 2004, Thelma requested that CFS placed Tina and her sister formerly under their care. As she had concerns that Eugene would try to take them back on November 30th, he had come to Thelma’s house incredibly drunk and demanding that she returned the girls to him. Thelma noted that Eugene appeared to have been in some sort of fight and was noticeably injured.

(11m 46s):
She also informed CFS that that day she had to call an ambulance for Eugene as he’d had a seizure of some sort child and family services did agree to place the girls under their care, but allowed them to continue living with Thelma in January, 2005, Thelma requested that Tina be evaluated for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. As she noticed several telling behaviors from Tina, namely that she was quote very hyper and quote child and family services did indeed make the initial referral to have Tina assessed, but there were no further steps taken by any agencies involved to ensure that this assessment was actually done throughout her early school years. Tina was frequently described by her teachers as being rather introverted and soft-spoken comments on her report cards would note that she did well when working on assignments on her own, but was hesitant to speak in class or interact during group assignments overall.

(12m 40s):
However, Tina did fairly well in school and actually seemed to enjoy it after third grade. However, Tina seemed to be less interested in her schoolwork and teachers noted that she had become less attentive. There must’ve been a severe decline in her grades as Tina did not move on to the fourth grade that year. And she instead repeated third grade in 2009 and 2010 after this, Tina showed significant improvement and was not held back again during her school years, Tina was an incredibly smart girl who was described by Thelma as actually quite invested in school in some home videos shared with the CBC. It’s easy to see how happy go lucky and sweet Tina was.

(13m 22s):
She loved spending time with her family and she would often leave heartfelt video messages on her friend’s Facebook pages. She just had so much love to give in 2011. However, Tina suffered a trauma that just might have destroyed her spirit forever. Despite the concerns for her safety during her earliest years of life. And despite the repeated unstable situations that Tina undoubtedly had some knowledge of, as she grew older, she still remained close with her father. She never seemed to Harbor ill will or resentment toward her father. At least not outwardly. Tina was likely aware that her life when she was just a toddler was wrought with chaos and instability though.

(14m 2s):
She may not have been entirely aware of the implications of her father’s relationship with her mother. It’s never been clear whether Tina knew of her parents’ age difference or knew of the accusations made against her father before she was born. Regardless, all Tina knew for sure was that her father was her father and she loved him. Eugene frequently visited Thelma’s home for Sunday dinners and overall he was well involved in Tina and her sister’s lives in October, 2011. When Tina was just 12 years old, her father was involved in a violent altercation that left him with severe head injuries that he ultimately succumbed to Eugene’s death was a tremendously heavy blow for Tina that she never recovered from that she never got the chance to recover from Tina withdrew into herself.

(14m 52s):
And Thelma was aware that she had also started partaking in the use of cannabis up to this point. Delma had never noticed any signs throughout Tina’s adolescence that she had ever experimented with any substances. Tina spoke often of how much she missed her father on the day of Eugene’s funeral. In 2011, Tina received a call from her mother. It was the first time that Tina and her sister had spoken to their mothers since 2004. This began a new routine of weekly phone calls between Tina and her mother. A routine that lasted only for two months, suddenly contact just stopped. Apparently Valentina’s phone had been disconnected.

(15m 34s):
Tina was left abandoned once again, this was another trauma compounded on top of everything else. This 12 year old girl was experiencing another catalyst for Tina’s transformation counseling to help Tina with her grieving process was never fully arranged for her. Tina did well throughout fifth grade. And after the first half of her sixth grade year, she was promoted to seventh grade as she had been improving significantly. And the school felt that she should be learning amongst peers, her own age Tina’s principal noted how incredibly bright she was and that she did have a drive to succeed academically. By the end of 2013, Tina had completed the first half of eighth grade, but there had been a noticeable change in her behavior.

(16m 18s):
And in her schoolwork, her report card showed that she hadn’t turned in several assignments and she had also missed nine and a half days of school. Things had become increasingly worse by November, 2013. Tina had been skipping classes frequently though. No one was certain as to where she was going or what she was doing when she did. She had also started running away from home. She was 14 years old at this time. Not much older than her mother Valentina was when she had started doing the same thing on November 4th, 2013, Thelma reported Tina as a missing person. When she had failed to come home. This was only the first of what would be several missing persons reports to come.

(17m 1s):
It was suspected that Tina had gone to her mother’s house in Winnipeg about an hour and a half from where Tina lived with Thelma in Powerview pine falls, the Winnipeg police went to Valentina’s home and they did in fact, find Tina there, Filmo received a call asking that she traveled a Winnipeg to pick Tina up, but she had no access to transportation. The Winnipeg police placed Tina in a youth shelter for the night. Two days later, Joseph traveled to Winnipeg to pick her up and take her back home in January, 2014. Tina’s mother asked that Tina come visit her in Winnipeg and Thelma gave her permission for Tina to do so. This visit apparently went well. There are no records that stayed otherwise on January 30th, 2014, during a disagreement within the family home, Tina became angry and grabbed a pen, which she used to inflict small cuts on her arms.

(17m 55s):
The family reported this incident to RCMP and paramedics were called to take Tina to the hospital where her cuts were treated at this time. Tina was still in eighth grade and her progress in school had taken a rapid decline. There were 64 days of school during the second term of the year. Tina missed 47 of them in April, 2014. Tina was suspended from school after she came to class high, having used cannabis before going to school, Thelma was completely at a loss. She wanted so desperately to help Tina to redirect her off of this path that she was treading, but she had no idea how at the end of April, 2014, Thelma resorted to asking for the help of child and family services, she asked that CFS placed Tina under their care.

(18m 46s):
Thelma was scared for Tina. She was worried that she was no longer able to help or protect her that she couldn’t get through to her. Thelma had also discovered that Tina had been talking to older men online. There aren’t specific details about how she found this out, but we can’t assume that she saw internet history or messages that were cause for concern. Tina had been making arrangements with some of these men to meet them in Winnipeg. Thelma did report at least one of these men to police the very same day that Thelma contacted CFS. Tina disappeared again, but this time Winnipeg police did not find her at her mother’s home. Thankfully by the end of the day, Tina had been found staying with other family members and Selkirk about an hour away from where she lived with Thelma by May, 2014, the sentencing for the two men who killed Tina’s father was approaching.

(19m 39s):
Tina was supposed to have been working on a victim impact statement to be read during sentencing. But according to Thelma, she was having a difficult time with it. She couldn’t seem to articulate her grief and words, and the entire ordeal was bringing her traumas back to the surface. Up to this point, no agencies involved in Tina’s life or in the events after her father’s death had arranged any counseling Fortina in June, 2014, CFS did refer Tina to counseling services. However, these services were only available in Winnipeg and another city that was not within a reasonable traveling distance. Fortina this made the counseling inaccessible for Tina.

(20m 19s):
She north Elma had reliable transportation and CFS made no efforts to provide more accessible resources for Tina. By the end of June, 2014, Tina had asked Thelma if she could arrange another visit to her mother and Winnipeg because the first visit months before had gone so well, Thelma had no objections. So in early July, 2014, Tina made the trip from power view. Pine falls to Winnipeg for her much anticipated visit with her mother. She was only supposed to stay for one week. Thelma had given her $50 and a calling card for the trip. It was the last time that she saw Tina alive in an interview. Thelma said, quote, the girl that walked out of here, kissing me goodbye said, I’ll see you in a week.

(21m 4s):
Ma’am I never heard from her again and quote on July 10th, 2014, Thelma made a call to child and family services. Tina had not returned home as she had agreed to her concerns worsened. When she received a message on Facebook from Tina’s boyfriend, he told Thelma that Valentino was partaking in the use of crack cocaine and that Tina was doing so with her. He also informed Thelma that he believed Tina was being sexually exploited and assaulted by older men. During her visit, Tina had apparently been texting her sister. And at one point she sent her sister a picture of herself with a black eye. Tina told her sister that Valentina had assaulted her.

(21m 44s):
The pictures had since been deleted from her sister’s phone. So the involved agencies couldn’t see them for themselves. There was far less urgency in this situation than there should have been. And the agencies involved claimed that that was because despite Tina’s upbringing for the last several years and Thelma’s home, Valentina was still technically the legal guardian of her daughter. Despite the fact that by this time all of Valentina’s children had been removed from her home. Hello, true crime fans. Before you hit that fast forward button, I don’t want you to miss out on getting 20% off your next order on drink, focus.com by using the discount code. True crime. You’ve heard me talking about focus for the last few weeks. Focus is a sparkling water infused with a boost of natural tea caffeine and the balance of L-theanine Elfie and EAN is the secret hero of green tea.

(22m 33s):
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(23m 19s):
After hours workers from child and family services visited Valentino’s home in Winnipeg, hoping to locate Tina upon their arrival. They learned from a neighbor that Valentina had recently been evicted on July 17th, 2014, the Winnipeg police received a call about a young girl screaming for help while an older man dragged her through the street by her arm. It was Tina Winnipeg. Police arrived on the scene and found that both Tina and the 18 year old were quite intoxicated. Tina was taken to a youth detox center where it was discovered that her blood alcohol content was 0.109. She admitted to nurses that she had consumed anywhere from 15 to 20, any beers and had quote chugged, a leader of some other alcohol.

(24m 3s):
On top of that, she informed nurses that she was also high on pills. She went on to say that she used cannabis on a frequent perhaps daily basis. And that was also contributing to her intoxication. Initially, Tina denied having any kind of sexual relationship with the 18 year old man she was found with. She did eventually admit that he was in fact, her boyfriend and they were having a sexual relationship. There was no further investigation into how Tina obtained the alcohol or pills or why she was being physically assaulted by an adult man who should not have been in any kind of relationship with a 15 year old girl, Tina was discharged from the detox center the same day that she was admitted.

(24m 43s):
There had been no arrangements made for where Tina was going to stay or who was going to pick her up after she was discharged as a result, CFS placed Tina in a motel room just as they had done when she was an infant. The next day CFS was informed that Tina had left her motel room and could not be located. She was missing again, agencies that are supposed to protect children, apparently have no actual regard for their wellbeing. They placed Tina in a motel with no further monitoring assessment or questioning when Winnipeg police contacted Valentina. She stated that she didn’t know where Tina was. Thelma didn’t know where she was either. Finally on July 22nd, 2014, four days after she was last seen or heard from Tina contacted her a fast worker with her mother’s cell phone.

(25m 31s):
I told the worker that she was safe and that she had been with her boyfriend, the same boyfriend who was dragging her down the street by her arm. Tina agreed to meet with her CFS worker at their office. And she did so on July 23rd, during this meeting, Tina admitted to the worker that she did in fact partake in crack cocaine with her mother weeks before Tina was always fairly open about her substance use. She never really, you tried to hide it. And she was always honest about what she was using when she was asked that same day. Tina agreed with her CFS worker that she shouldn’t be out alone on the streets of Winnipeg. And she was placed in a youth shelter three days later on July 26th, Tina ran away from the shelter.

(26m 12s):
Staff filed a missing persons report. And this report actually stated that Tina was apparently not high-risk and that she was not a chronic, a way both untrue. This could very likely have affected the urgency afforded to her case. Tina did end up coming back to the shelter on July 27th, left after one hour and then returned again. The next day she stayed at shelter until July 30th. When she ran away again, after this, she would lose her spot, the shelter, the need for beds, that youth shelters like this is so incredibly high, that spots can only be kept for a couple of days before they’re given to Elson need. Another missing person’s report was filed for Tina on July 31st, 2014.

(26m 56s):
Tina returned to the shelter with her 18 year old boyfriend on August 1st to inform them that she would be staying at her uncle’s home shelter, staff contacted CFS and relayed what Tina had told them, despite this Tina’s missing persons report remained active. However, there is no indication that Winnipeg police spent any time or resources searching for Tina between August 1st and August 7th on August 2nd, Tina called her CFS worker to inform them of where she had been staying during this call. Tina mentioned that she wanted to be somewhere quote, where she feels like it’s home and quote effort was made on the part of CFS to determine Tina’s location or arrange for her to be picked up and brought somewhere safe.

(27m 38s):
And now we arrive at the last 24 hours that Tina was confirmed to have been seen alive just after 2:00 AM on August 8th, 2014, Tina walked into a youth shelter with a friend. Tina told the shelter staff that her name was Tessa, and that she had been staying with her mom shelter staff noted that Tina had a swollen lip and scratches on her knee when questioned. Tina told them that she had just tripped over a skateboard Tina’s friend, pulled a staff member aside and explained to them that Tessa’s real name was Tina Fontaine. She went on to say that she saw Tina getting out of a man’s vehicle and then saw her smoking cannabis that had apparently been laced with cocaine.

(28m 18s):
Tina insisted that she was telling the truth and that her name was Tessa shelter staff called CFS and attempted to explain the situation. But after a CFS worker spoke with Tina over the phone and was convinced that Tina was indeed Tessa, no further action was taken on the part of CFS. Tina and her friend left the shelter. 3:30 AM at 5:15 AM on August 8th, 2014. The Winnipeg police pulled over a truck driven by an older man. His only passenger was a teenage girl. Tina, the man, I think the truck actually had a suspended license. And as a result, he was taken away the custody. Tina, once again told the officers that her name was Tessa before finally being honest and giving them her real name, despite having an active, missing persons report and being a minor found in a vehicle with a strange older man, the officers let Tina go, no offer to take her somewhere safe, no offer to contact a family member.

(29m 17s):
They let this 15 year old girl walk away into the darkness of the early morning alone. More than four hours later at 9:55 AM security cameras captured Tina in a parking structure, several miles away from where she was pulled over in the truck. She was absolutely exhausted. Stumbling, struggling to keep herself upright. The footage captured her lying on the ground and passing out between two cars. Soon after this, a security guard found Tina and was unable to wake the young girl. She noted that Tina was apparently not fully clothed from the waist down immediately. The guard called for an ambulance paramedics arrived and were able to get Tina to wake up.

(30m 0s):
According to them doctors at the health sciences center who examined her just after 11:00 AM. Tina was disoriented and confused, uncertain about she was, she had blisters and burns on her lips. Tina told doctors that she had Ben was an older man and that she had consumed alcohol and used cannabis and pills. Testing revealed that Tina had cannabinoids amphetamines and cocaine metabolite in her system. When questioned about potential sexual activity or assault, Tina denied having had any sexual relations with anyone denied, having been sexually assaulted or exploited and refuse to be examined or tested for sexually transmitted infections. Tina was discharged from the hospital without further inquiry into what had happened to her child and family services worker arrived at the hospital when Tina was discharged and after they left, she took Tanner to McDonald’s during the car ride.

(30m 53s):
Tina mentioned that she really wanted a new bike because an older man named Sebastian had sold her bike to buy drugs. Sebastian was an alias for a man named Raymond Cormier, who was 52 at the time, Tina informed CFS worker that he was a known user of methamphetamine, but she denied having new substances with him. There were no available spots at any youth shelters. So CFS resorted to putting Tina under an emergency placement in a hotel around 5:00 PM that day, Tina arrived at the best Western Charterhouse hotel in downtown Winnipeg with her CFS worker. When they arrived. Tina mentioned wanting to go meet up with some of her friends at a place called Portage play shopping center.

(31m 34s):
This was a known spot for sexual exploitation drug dealing. The CFS worker says, so she tried to convince Tina to stay at the hotel and rest, but Tina insisted that she wanted to go and that she would come back to the hotel before midnight. The CFS worker said that despite her efforts to persuade Tina to remain in the safety of the hotel, there was quote no way to physically prevent her from leaving and quote. The CFS worker left the hotel. Wow. And a care worker who was contracted with CFS was left to supervise team shortly after arriving. Tina left the hotel and did not return on August 9th, 2014. Another missing persons report was filed for Tina and Winnipeg.

(32m 16s):
Police issued a BOLO on August 11th when a peg police received an anonymous tip that a witness had seen Tina around 4:00 AM on August 9th, walking down the street with an older man, another anonymous witness contacted police on August 14th stating that they had seen Tina leaving a house in Winnipeg and that they were fairly certain, she was being sexually. We exploited when Valentina was contacted, questioned about her. Daughter’s whereabouts. She stated that she hadn’t spoken to Tina in at least two weeks on August 15th. Another witness corroborated, previous statements about Tina having been seen with one or more older men on the night of August 9th, the day after she left the hotel, none of Tina’s family members had any idea where she was or where she could be.

(32m 59s):
And efforts to locate Tina at multiple potential addresses were unsuccessful. Tina had been missing for eight days. This was the longest period of time that she had ever been missing on August 17th, 2014. Tina Fontaine’s body was recovered from the red river in Winnipeg. She was wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks. Tina was only 72 pounds at the time of her death to this day. Very few details about her cause of death or toxicology report have been released. The only information that I have found regarding autopsy or toxicology is that there was cannabis detected in her system after her death.

(33m 40s):
Her cause of death remains undetermined on October 1st, 2014, authorities arrested 52 year old Raymond Cormier in connection with Tina’s murder. This was the man Tina had mentioned to her CFS worker before she was dropped off at the hotel in Winnipeg, the man who she said had sold her bike to buy drugs. Cormier had only known Tina through her 18 year old boyfriend and had just met her weeks prior in a 2014 interrogation video. After his initial arrest, Cormier was visibly out of it, probably high leaning to the side with his head against the wall. He answers questions, but never moves to look up. When he speaks his weary gaze is trained on the floor while he struggles to get his words out without slurring.

(34m 24s):
He even dozes off a few times during the interrogation quote, she’s just yelling and screaming and I’m yelling and screaming. And she said something and I got pissed off and threw her weed at her feet. And then gone and quote, this was his response. When asked about the last time he saw Tina, he continued quote and I went back to Sarah’s and then I didn’t think anything of it. She was gone bump into her the next time, but that’s not what happened. And quote Cormier was unable to describe a clear, concise timeline of the days after he last saw Tina quote the next day or the day after three days. I can’t remember exactly when or the time there, but she in the paper there, somebody read it in the paper that she was murdered and quote throughout the interrogation.

(35m 12s):
There are points where Cormier becomes angry, shouting at the officers that he had nothing to do with Tina’s death during further questioning Cormier claims that he wanted to have sex with Tina upon meeting her, but insists that it never happened. Cormier wasn’t charged with Tina’s murder that day. He was however, taken into custody on several other outstanding warrants. He remained in jail on these charges until July, 2015 on December 8th, 2015. Over a year after Tina was found authorities, once again, arrested and charged 50 three-year-old Raymond Cormier, AKA Sebastian with her murder Cormier had 92 prior convictions at the time of his arrest all throughout Canada.

(35m 58s):
The initial report stated that he was being charged with second degree murder. One of the officers who initially interviewed Cormier in 2014, confirmed that Cormey his apartment had been bugged. And it was after that, that he was arrested again. Raymond Cormier, his trial began on January 29th, 2018, among those who testified with a former police officers who pulled Tina over with an older man in a truck at 5:00 AM. On the day she was last seen Sergeant Shauna Newfield, who was the supervisor of the Winnipeg police missing persons unit. At the time confirmed that Tina did have an active, missing persons report. At the time she was pulled over by these officers.

(36m 38s):
One of the officers took partial responsibility for their mistakes stating quote. At the time, my recruit was quite new. I could have done a better job of overseeing him and quote, one witness testified that he saw Tina arguing with Cormier because he had sold her bike to buy drugs, corroborating Tina’s statement to her CFS worker. The day it was last seen friends of Cormier, alleged that he did own a dovey cover. Like the one Tina was found in this dovey cover was apparently unique and only sold at Costco. Only a hundred had been purchased in Winnipeg at the time of Tina’s death. It was also discovered that just days before Tina disappeared for the last time she made a call to nine 11 to report a stolen truck in the call.

(37m 23s):
She told the dispatcher that it was stolen by her friend. Sabbat Cormier never took the stand at his own trial, despite the numerous witness testimony and suspicious circumstances. There was no forensic evidence to connect Cormier to Tina’s murder. Sure. After three and a half weeks, Raymond Cormier was acquitted of the second degree murder of Tina Fontaine on February 22nd, 2018 in a 2019 interview with the CBC Raymond Cormier vastly different from that mugshot taken after his arrest. In 2014, he is clean cut with short hair dressed in clean clothes. And most noticeably he is alert and coherent, a polarizing image of the same man charged with the murder of a 15 year old.

(38m 11s):
The interviewer asked plainly quote, did you kill Tina Fontaine and quote, Cormier responded promptly. Quote, Noah did not. I had nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do with the death of Tina funny and quote. He described the first time he ever met Tina. She was walking, walking down the street with her boyfriend when they passed by Cormier. When they told Cormier that they had, he pulled over and they all smoked together. While the three of them talked, Tina and her boyfriend told Cormier that they were homeless. And Cormier said that he helped them find somewhere to stay that night in previous interviews, Cormier couldn’t recall exactly how many times he had met with Tina. He is quoted, having said 5, 6, 7 times, no more than 10 in this interview with the CBC, he says confidently quote, four times I met Tina and quote.

(39m 3s):
He denied having ever hung out with Tina explaining quote. When you use the word that I was hanging out with Tina, that’s wrong and quote, shaking his head. He continued quote. I bumped into Tina and Cody three times. That’s not hanging around with anybody hanging around with somebody is when you go downtown and somebody is hanging around in front of the mall and you start hanging around with them, smoking dope with them and drinking beer with them. That’s hanging around with somebody and quote. Tina had told the CFS worker who dropped her off at the hotel on August 8th, that she was hanging out with an older known meth user and that they would quote unquote, just chill. At one point, Tina visited Cormier at a house where he was staying after her boyfriend left Winnipeg Cormier told the interviewer about that day quote.

(39m 51s):
I answered the door and it was Tina. She saw me, she ran into my arm, started crying. He then discussed the thoughts he was having about Tina at the time trigger warning for pedophilic content here wrote, I thought in my own head, in my own skin, that Cody has gone to the reservation. She comes here. She wants to play. That’s what I assumed and quote, if 52 year old man making that assumption about a 15 year old girl that she wants to have sexual contact with you. You are a pedophile. There should be no assumptions of that nature. She was 15. He then mentioned that quote 16 is a young woman, according to the law and quote, the age of consent in Canada is 16.

(40m 35s):
However, for, to even mention that when you’re being asked, why you were spending time with or having any sort of sexual thoughts about a 15 year you’re old, you are a pedophile. He was blatantly justifying his sexual attraction to an underage girl. Cormier claimed during this interview, that upon meeting Tina, he suggested to her that if she was old enough to be involved in an adult relationship, he was all for it. So he was indulging in those thoughts before he was even certain of her age after he had already admitted that he thought she looked young during the closing statements of the trial. Prosecutors quoted evidence gathered from the wiretap that had been placed in Cormier’s apartment stating that Cormier himself said that he had sex with Tina on more than one occasion.

(41m 19s):
When the interviewer asked quote, did you have sex with Tina Fontaine and quote, Cormier becomes jumpy. He responds quote, I never had sex with Tina. Not once, nothing, nothing. I thought we were going to have a sexual relationship and quote at this point began to stumble over his words, talking more quickly. Cormier insists that the last time he ever saw Tina Fontaine was when she visited him on August, 2014, two days before she was pulled over, found, passed out in a parking structure, taken to the hospital and then dropped off at a downtown hotel, a police office officer who transcribed the recordings, noted some of the things that Cormier may have said, but were difficult to make out things such as quote, you ever been haunted, something it’s right on the shore.

(42m 7s):
So what do I do through her in, I did Tina fucking supposed to be legal and only 15 and quote, when the interviewer read off these quotes, Cormier admits just saying those things, but emphasizes that the key to those statements is all of the words that can’t be heard the longer the interview goes on. The more evasive and jumpy Cormier becomes his sentences become jumbled. He cuts himself off and vigorously shakes his head. When the interviewer asked him about the dovey cover and how it was a huge factor. In the prosecution’s case, he became visibly uncomfortable and almost slightly agitated. Cornea has always denied providing Tina with anything other than cannabis.

(42m 50s):
He denies giving her cocaine or methamphetamine. Keep in mind. Tina visited Cormier on August 6th and she tested positive for amphetamines less than 48 hours later after his acquittal, Raymond Cormier left Manitoba Tina’s case remains open, but authorities have stated that they are not actively pursuing any suspects. Tina’s murder sparked a national inquiry into the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada. Yeah. After Tina was recovered from the red river, the Canadian human rights commission requested an inquiry into this ever-growing problem. In 2016, the Canadian government launched the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

(43m 36s):
Many indigenous communities have rightfully been skeptical about this inquiry concerned that though they may effectively gather statistics. What will they do to actually solve the problem? And frankly, nothing truly has been done. We have all of the numbers. We know that indigenous women face higher rates of violence than non-indigenous women. We know that the actual numbers of missing indigenous women could be completely incorrect because so many indigenous women are miserable ported as being another race or simply not reported missing at all. We know all of this, the government knows all of this, so what are they going to do about it? Tina’s death was the reason behind the creation of drag, the red, an organization that advocates for more thorough investigation of the red river in the search for so many missing indigenous people.

(44m 25s):
The formation of the bear clan also began after the tragedy of Tina’s death bear, clan patrols, Winnipeg, offering help to those in need and offering protection to the vulnerable with a focus on indigenous communities. Tina Fontaine was failed over and over again. The Canadian government and child welfare services failed her before she ever even walked this earth from not interfering. When they knew that a child under their protection was being sexually exploited by older men to placing children in hotel rooms and calling that a resolution, the system that was supposed to help Tina to protect her. And so many indigenous people like her was built upon multiple generations of abuse and exploitation of indigenous people ignoring their plight, pretending to acknowledge any of the problems that the system itself created, and then not doing anything at all to mend the broken system that they have contributed to and benefited from.

(45m 21s):
We have all of the numbers, all of the statistics. Now we want a resolution. We want justice, Enjoy the show. Please consider leaving a rating and a review on our podcast. As it really, really helps out with the visibility of the social media. If you don’t listen on apple podcasts, but you would still like to leave a review, you can Do that on pod chaser by searching crime and crime. Again, I will also link it in the show notes. If you’d like to show monetary support for the show and you can do so on, buy me a coffee, or you can make a one-time donation less than the price of one cup of coffee. I will also leave that link in the show notes.

(46m 2s):
You can follow the podcast on Twitter at crime, again, pod Instagram at crime, again, podcast on Facebook, crime, and crime again, podcast and on tech talk at crime again, podcast. There is also a Facebook discussion group, which I will link in the show notes. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you in the next episode of crime and crime.

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