WINNIPEG – The discovery of an aboriginal teenage girl’s body in the Red River is being treated as a homicide, police say.
Tina Fontaine, 15, was pulled from the water at the Alexander Docks Sunday. The teen had been reported missing Aug. 9; officers said she had been in the care of Child and Family Services.
Fontaine’s body was found wrapped in a bag, police said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Tina had only been in Winnipeg for a month, but was rebelling and had run away, Winnipeg police Sgt. John O’Donovan said.
Described as five-foot-three and weighing only about 100 pounds, she was last seen in the city’s downtown Aug. 8. She was wearing a white skirt, blue jacket and pink-and-white runners.
“At 15, I’m sure she didn’t realize the danger that she was putting herself in,” O’Donovan told a news conference. “She’s a child. This is a child that’s been murdered. Society would be horrified if we found a litter of kittens or pups in the river in this condition. This is a child.
“Society should be horrified.”
No one has been arrested in the killing, and police appealed to the public for help retracing Fontaine’s steps or any other information regarding her death. Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).
Last week, Manitoba unveiled a monument to almost 1,200 missing and murdered aboriginal women. The two-metre-high granite statue stands near the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in downtown Winnipeg.
In May, the RCMP issued a detailed statistical breakdown of 1,181 cases since 1980. The report said aboriginal women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, yet account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women.
A second body found in the Red River Sunday belonged to a man who was seen in the water Friday. Police say that case is not related, and foul play is not suspected.
— With files from Chinta Puxley of the Canadian Press