On the first day of the trial for the man accused of killing 15-year-old Tina Fontaine a Winnipeg courtroom heard a 911 recording made by the teen two days before she went missing.
In the call Fontaine is heard saying, “hey, um, I’d like to report a blue truck that was stolen earlier.”
She went on to say a guy named “Sebastian” had stolen the vehicle.
911 call audio with voice of Tina Fontaine
Raymond Cormier, 55, is charged with second-degree murder in connection to her death. He was arrested in December 2015, more than a year after her body was pulled from the Red River.
Crown attorney James Ross told the jury of 12 “Sebastian” was allegedly an alias for Cormier and what Fontaine had known him as.
Cormier has pleaded not guilty.
Fontaine’s great-aunt and primary caregiver Thelma Favel was the first witness to testify. She confirmed it was Fontaine’s voice on the recording before breaking into tears. Other family and friends were wiping tears away as the recording played.
The court heard Fontaine was last seen leaving a Winnipeg motel on Aug. 8, 2014. She had told her social worker she was meeting an older man by the name of “Sebastian.” Her body was found wrapped in a duvet on Aug. 17, 2014.
The last time Favel saw her great-niece was on June 30, 2014. She had sent Fontaine to Winnipeg to spend time with estranged mother and siblings. Fontaine was supposed to spend the week and return home to their community of Sagkeeng First Nation located 120 km north of Winnipeg. When Favel didn’t hear from Fontaine or her mother she called around but was unsuccessful in reaching her.
She described Fontaine as a ‘sparkling’ girl. She told the courtroom Fontaine was, “such a happy girl. Always trying to make spirits lift.”
Fontaine began to struggle when her father Eugene Fontaine was murdered in October 2011. Favel says she “didn’t know how to function without a father.”
The Crown told the jury Fontaine was a young girl surviving on the streets of Winnipeg.
“She was possessed with all uncertainty and experiences of a 15-year-old,” said Ross.
Ross told the court the Crown intends to prove Cormier had sexual intercourse with Fontaine, and that was why Cormier killed her.
He said prior to her disappearance Fontaine and Cormier got into an argument. Fontaine threatened to report Cormier to police for sleeping with a minor.
Ross also said Cormier was worried Fontaine would report him to police for possessing a stolen vehicle.
Fifty people are expected to testify over the next five weeks.