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Police Charge Man in Death of Winnipeg Teen Tina Fontaine

December 11, 2015 3:20 PM | News

Danny Smyth

Deputy Chief Danny Smyth and Homicide Sergeant John O’Donovan, left, enter a press conference to announce the arrest of Raymond Joseph Cormier, 53, a suspect in the murder of Tina Fontaine, in Winnipeg, on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. Cormier was arrested in Vancouver. Homicide victim, 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, was pulled from the Red River August 17, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

Tina Fontaine

Tina Fontaine (WPS / HANDOUT)

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.

Raymond Joseph Cormier

Raymond Joseph Cormier, 53, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine. (WPS / HANDOUT)

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.

Tina Fontaine - Faron Hall

A makeshift memorial for Tina Fontaine at the Alexander Docks in August 2014. (TED GRANT / CHRISD.CA FILE)

“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.”

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.

Tina Fontaine - Faron Hall

AMC Grand Chief Derek Nepinak (right) leads a march in honour of Tina Fontaine and ‘homeless hero’ Faron Hall August 19, 2014. (TED GRANT / CHRISD.CA FILE)

— With files from The Canadian Press