Nearly one year after Winnipeg police recovered the body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine from the Red River, her family says they are no closer to getting answers about her death.
“It doesn’t matter how long it’s been,” said Thelma Favel, Fontaine’s great-aunt. “It’s still just like yesterday to us.”
When police discovered the girl on Aug. 17, 2014, her body was wrapped in a bag.
Two days later, thousands of Winnipeggers from all walks of life came together to show their anger and sympathy.
“It was the biggest march and vigil I’ve ever seen,” said Bernadette Smith, who marched from Alexander Docks to The Forks that night and still remembers the tears streaming down her face.
“She’s left a legacy that people can’t ignore,” said Smith. “That this is a real issue and that this is continuing to happen and that these women are real.”
With the discovery of Fontaine’s body in mind, Smith began to organize a group of people that would eventually become the group known as “Drag the Red.”
In the year since, they’ve continued to search the river for clues into other disappearances.
“I hope they find more closure for more families,” said Favel about the group. “It will help. It helps to bring them home anyway.”
Favel says homicide investigators gave her frequent updates on the case in the first few months but she has heard very little from them recently, causing her to lose hope Fontaine’s killer will ever be brought to justice.
“With Tina’s case, I think it’s just going to be dormant,” said Favel. “It’s going to be like the rest of the cases. It’s just going to be put on the shelf and it’s going to be cold.”
Police still have not revealed Fontaine’s cause of death to the family.