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At the time of her disappearance, Tina Fontaine was a ward of a child and family services agency and now Manitoba’s Children’s Advocate says they’re in the very early stages of an investigation into her case.
“We’re still in the process of determining how large the review is going to be,” said spokesperson Ainsley Krone. “Our role is really to look at the quality and the type of service that was provided to the child.”
Krone couldn’t discuss specific details or provide a timeline for their investigation but says when the review is completed, her office could provide recommendations to the province and agencies involved.
The discovery of 15-year-old First Nation girl’s body in a Winnipeg river has sparked sadness and anger.
Winnipeg police still haven’t said how Tina Fontaine died but they are asking the public to contact them with any details that may help the investigation. Her remains were reportedly found in a bag in the Red River.
Police said her body was found while searching for another missing man Faron Hall. Police divers located her body then.
It’s a case that has shocked even police.
“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,” Winnipeg police Sgt. John O’Donovan told reporters at a press conference. “Society should be horrified.”
Fontaine was from the Sagkeeng First Nation, an Ojibway community 121 km north of Winnipeg. Police say she had only been in the city for a month before she disappeared on August 9.
“She’s definitely been exploited and taken advantage of,” said O’Donovan.
A monument to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls was only unveiled days ago in Winnipeg. On Facebook, provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson expressed his outrage that Fontaine’s body was found not far from that same monument.
“Last week we unveiled a monument and plaque to honor missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls,” wrote Robinson. “Little did we know a young girl would be found on the Red River, determined to have been murdered only 7 days later.”
Robinson says it’s time the federal government calls a national inquiry.
In May, the RCMP released a report that found nearly 1,200 Indigenous women had been murdered or went missing in the past three decades across Canada.