In 2014, 15-year-old Tina Fontaine’s 72-pound body was pulled from Winnipeg’s Red River, wrapped in a blanket belonging to Raymond Cormier, 56. On Thursday, Cormier was found not guilty of murder, despite being linked to Fontaine by various witnesses, despite Fontaine’s own 911 call reporting him for vehicle theft, and despite the fact that he bragged about having sex with her and was the subject of an undercover sting operation after her death. The verdict immediately promulgated the hashtag #justicefortinafontaine, and her image, the face of endemic unpunished violence against and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls. Demonstrations and vigils were held Friday evening throughout Canada in her honor.
Fontaine’s own father was beaten to death in 2011, which Tina’s aunt Robyn Fontaine has attributed in an interview with CBC to her struggles with homelessness and drug use, which led to her acquaintance with Raymond Cormier. Encounters with the police and Child and Family Services failed to save her. Days before her death, Tina was hospitalized after she was found collapsed in a parking lot, but she was released hours later.