APTN National News
WINNIPEG — With her voice breaking, the aunt of Tina Fontaine, the 15 year-old whose plastic-wrapped body was found in the Red River last month, says she believes her niece would still be alive if Winnipeg police hadn’t let her go shortly before her murder.
Thelma Favel said police informed her Wednesday evening that two officers briefly detained Fontaine on Aug. 8, the last day the teen was reported alive.
“She could still have been alive,” said Favel, in a phone interview from her home on the Sagkeeng First Nation. “If they were doing their job she could still be alive.”
Favel raised Fontaine since childhood.
Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis confirmed in a press conference Thursday morning that a field trainer and a trainee dealt with Fontaine on Aug. 8. while spot-checking a vehicle. A man in the vehicle with Fontaine was detained for driving intoxicated. Despite a missing persons report on Fontaine, the officers let the girl go.
Clunis said the officers are under an internal investigation.
Fontaine then checked in with her care provider before eventually disappearing for good. Fontaine’s body was pulled from the Red River on Aug. 17.
Favel said Wednesday’s phone call was the first time she’d been contacted by police since the murder investigation began into Fontaine’s death.
“It’s the first time I’ve heard from them,” she said.
Favel said Fontaine’s only real link to Winnipeg was her biological mother.
“Tina never went to Winnipeg and the only one she knew was her mom,” said Favel.