Winnipeg police have charged a man in the death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine.
Fontaine, who was 15, was found wrapped in a bag pulled from the Red River on August 17, 2014.
Police have charged Raymond Joseph Cormier, 53, of Winnipeg with second-degree murder. He was arrested Wednesday in the Vancouver area and is originally from New Brunswick.
Fontaine’s death sparked calls for an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, which the federal government has since launched.
At the time of her death, Fontaine was supposed to be living in a hotel under the watchful eye of Child and Family Services, but ran away. She was reported missing on August 9.
Police say Cormier and Fontaine are believed to have known each other as they frequented the same east-side residence in Winnipeg.
“Investigators know that Tina was highly vulnerable and was exploited during her time on the run,” deputy police Chief Danny Smyth said at a news conference in Winnipeg.
“Investigators discovered that Tina frequented a residence on the east side of the city. Investigators also discovered that Raymond Cormier often frequented that same residence.
“It’s believed that Tina and Cormier were acquainted.”
“We hope our efforts in this investigation help Tina’s family discover the truth and find justice.” DC Smyth pic.twitter.com/hsWGrkLQxv
— Winnipeg Police (@wpgpolice) December 11, 2015
Events leading up to the arrest of a man in the death of Tina Fontaine
July 31, 2014: Tina Fontaine, 15, is reported missing in Winnipeg. She was in the care of Manitoba Child and Family Services.
Aug. 8, 2014: Winnipeg police come into contact with Fontaine when she is in a vehicle that two officers pull over, but do not take her into custody.
Aug. 9, 2014: Fontaine reported missing for a second time. Her great-aunt will later say social workers told her that a few hours after police came across Tina, she was found passed out in an alley downtown and taken to hospital. She says social workers picked her up after she sobered up, but she ran away again.
Aug. 17, 2014: Fontaine’s body, wrapped in a bag, is pulled from the Red River.
Aug. 19, 2014: Manitoba Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson calls Fontaine’s death a tragedy and says a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women is the only way many families will get the answers they deserve.
Sept. 30, 2014: Assembly of First Nations calls for an independent probe of how police handled Fontaine’s disappearance.
March 24, 2015: One of the two police officers who had contact with Fontaine is suspended without pay. An internal police investigation into the officers’ actions is subsequently forwarded to Manitoba Justice. No charges are laid.
Dec. 12, 2015: Winnipeg police announce that Raymond Joseph Cormier, 53, is charged with second-degree murder after being arrested in Vancouver.
— With files from The Canadian Press