3 Men Arrested in Connection to Killing of Tina Fontaine’s Cousin

Jeanenne Chantel Fontaine died after being shot and being exposed to a fire on March 14. Three people have been arrested in connection to the homicide. Winnipeg Police Service Handout

Global News | May 17, 2017

Three men have been charged in connection to the death of Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, who was found shot in the head in a North End home in March.

Fontaine is the cousin of Tina Fontaine, the teenage girl whose body was found wrapped in a bag in the Red River in August 2014.

On March 14 at 9:45 a.m., police were called to a house fire 400 block of Aberdeen Avenue. Crews found Fontaine in the house and she taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries where she later died.

Fontaine was shot in the head before the fire began, police said.

Investigators also determined the fire was deliberately set.

On May 16, homicide investigators went to the Provincial remand Centre and arrested three men in connection to her death.

Christopher Mathew Brass, 34, has been charged with manslaughter and arson disregard for human life. Malcolm Miles Mitchell, 24, has been charged with second-degree murder and arson disregard for human life. Jason Michael Meilleur, 38, has been charged with manslaughter.

All three are in custody.

Brass was also arrested and charged in connection to another homicide that happened in February.

On Feb. 8, Bryer James Prysiazniuk-Settee, 24, was found shot in the area of Powers Street and Aberdeen Avenue. He was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died.

Brass has been charged with second-degree murder.

[SOURCE]

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‘We Want The Violence to Stop’: Dozens Gather at Vigil for Jeanenne Fontaine

Lana Fontaine sat on a stool outside her largely burned-down home on Saturday evening at a vigil for her daughter, Jeanenne Fontaine, who died on Wednesday after being taken off life-support. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

Fontaine, 29, and Shania Chartrand, 21, were both shot, killed in Winnipeg this week

CBC News Posted: Mar 18, 2017

When Kimberley Kostiuk thinks about the two young Indigenous women who were shot in Winnipeg within 48 hours of each other, she is afraid for her own daughters.

“I have two young daughters that are that age. I worry for them all the time. You just don’t know … what’s going to be next. Two young women shot and killed in one week,” she said.

Shania Chartrand, 21, was shot late last Sunday night on the 200 block of Spence Street.

On Tuesday, Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, was found in her home after she was shot in the back of the head, according to her family, and the house was set on fire. She was rushed to hospital but died on Wednesday morning, after being taken off life-support.

A vigil for Fontaine took place on Saturday at 7 p.m. outside her home on the 400 block of Aberdeen Avenue.

“The whole community is sad. We are all sad. We are very scared,” Kostiuk said.

“We want the violence to stop. It’s enough, we are losing too many of our young women too soon. This shouldn’t be happening.”

Mourners came forward to offer Lana Fontaine condolences throughout the evening. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

Fontaine was the cousin of Tina Fontaine, the 15-year-old girl whose death sparked public outrage and calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Sandy Banman was one of around 50 people who attended the Saturday evening vigil. Banman hadn’t known Fontaine or Chartrand, but came to support the families and community.

“It just seems like something has shifted in the last few years, where the crime [in the North End] seems to be getting extremely … violent,” she said. “It’s just absolutely shocking what’s going on here this week in the city, with Shania’s loss as well as Jen’s loss.”

A member of Winnipeg’s Urban Warrior Alliance, Banman said she’s been to too many vigils in the past. She wants to see change.

Sandy Banman

Sandy Banman, a member of the Urban Warrior Alliance, said she wants to see more accessible detox programs for men, women and families in Winnipeg. (CBC)

“We just keep saying over and over, ‘This has got to stop,’ every vigil I do,” she said. “We do these vigils because the community needs to heal as well as families. This violence has to end. It has to stop.”

Banman said she wanted to see more accessible detox programs for men, women and families.

“We need to be healing families so this kind of crime and violence will end,” she said.

‘They are human beings’

Kostiuk is a member of Drag the Red, an organization that started searching the Red River for bodies after Tina Fontaine was found there.

Kostiuk joined the group in order to heal and to help others after her 16-year-old daughter’s death in 2000.

While Fontaine struggled with drug use and had a criminal record, Kostiuk said she was also a mother and sister.

“You hear a lot of negativity also about these people but people don’t know them,” she said.

“They are human beings. They are women. They are our women. They are mothers. They are sisters. They are grandmas. They don’t deserve this. Nobody does.”

Kimberley Kostiuk says the violence needs to stop after two young Indigenous women were shot in Winnipeg within 48 hours of each other. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The vigil was intended to give the community an opportunity to mourn Fontaine and Chartrand and “remember the good that they had in them,” Kostiuk said. But they are becoming too frequent for the Fontaine family, she added.

“That poor family, I can’t imagine what her mother is going through right now,” Kostiuk said, adding the little cousins have lost too many family members.

“They’ve been to so many vigils already. They shouldn’t even have to think of this at a young age.”

[SOURCE]

Tina Fontaine’s Cousin Dies after Being Shot in Head, Home Set on Fire, Family Says

Family of Aberdeen fire victim speaks out

Family pleads for information in death of 29-year-old Jeanenne Fontaine

CBC News Posted: Mar 15, 2017

A Winnipeg woman was shot in the head before her home was set on fire, her family says.

Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, was found in a home on Aberdeen Avenue, between Powers Street and Salter Street, on Tuesday after reports of a fire which is now being investigated by the homicide unit.

Jeanenne Fontaine

Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, was a kind, bubbly mother of three, says aunt Rhonda Flett. (Facebook)

The mother of three was rushed to hospital in unstable condition, but around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday she was taken off life-support, her family says.

They say Jeanenne was shot in the back of the head before the home was set on fire.

Her mother, Lana Fontaine, says Jeanenne’s brother was also at the home and heard the gunshot, but escaped unharmed.

The family is pleading for anyone with information to come forward to help them get answers.

Kind, full of laughter

Rhonda Flett, Jeanenne’s aunt, says her niece was a bright-spirited girl.

“She was a lively, beautiful Native girl … everybody wanted to be around her. She was kind. She liked to laugh. She made us laugh,” Flett said.

“She’s going to very missed. We’re going to miss her a lot. A piece of our family got taken and can’t be replaced.”

Flett says her niece moved into the home on Aberdeen Avenue following the death of Flett’s other niece and Jeanenne’s cousin, Tina Fontaine.

The 15-year-old was killed in August of 2014. Her death became one of the most well-known cases of murdered Indigenous women in the country, at a time many were calling for a national inquiry into unsolved cases.

Jeanenne shared the Aberdeen home with her mother, Lana, who Rhonda says is now homeless.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Lana Fontaine.

“She has nothing. She has no clothes, no furniture, nothing. She has nowhere to go,” Flett said. “All she’s concentrating on right now is her daughter.”

Flett said the family is desperate for answers.

“If anybody had answers out there for us, please come forward,” Flett said. “Our family needs closure. We’ve been through enough with Tina.”

Winnipeg police are asking anyone with information about the fire is asked to call police at 204-786-8477.

aberdeen house fire

Jeanenne Fontaine was found at this home on Aberdeen Avenue on Tuesday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Vigil planned for Saturday

Jeanenne’s death is the second time an Indigenous woman was shot and killed in Winnipeg in the past three days.

On Sunday, Shania Chartrand, 21, was shot and later died of her injuries. The young woman was from Lake Manitoba First Nation and Chief Cornell McLean said her death devastated the community.

RELATED: 

Kim Kostiuk, a volunteer with Drag the Red, said she was shocked and heartbroken at the pair of deaths and the news Jeanenne was related to Tina Fontaine. She’s organizing a vigil for Jeanenne on Saturday at the Aberdeen home.

Kim Kostiuk

Kim Kostiuk says she’s shocked and heartbroken by two deaths of Indigenous women in three days in Winnipeg. (Facebook)

“We want this to be out there. We want this to stop. We need this violence to stop,” Kostiuk said. “…We are human beings just like everybody else. We don’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this.”

Kostiuk said women in her community no longer feel safe and she wants to see change.

“We need more resources, for certain. We need more women’s shelters, definitely. More addictions programs,” she said.

“We need to do more marches to support women. We need to put it out there in the community. We need to do these vigils to let people know that we need to take back what is rightfully ours: the community. We need to stand up and say let’s stop this violence, we’ve had enough.

With files from Courtney Rutherford, Caroline Barghout

[SOURCE]

New Twists In Tina Fontaine Case Create Many Questions, Few Answers

Apartment building at 485 Furby where a girl was held captive. See Mike MCIntyre's piece on human trafficking. June 10, 2015 - (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press)

Apartment building at 485 Furby where a girl was held captive. See Mike MCIntyre’s piece on human trafficking. June 10, 2015 – (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press)

By: Mike McIntyre

Alleged trafficking ring stirs up slaying mystery

She could have been the next Tina Fontaine.

The 17-year-old Winnipeg girl who recently escaped an alleged human-trafficking ring is a longtime Child and Family Services ward who has frequently run away from care, the Free Press has learned.

Police have issued at least five alerts for the girl since she turned 13, warning she is “at high risk of being exploited or victimized” after vanishing from different parts of the city.

That’s what justice officials say occurred last month inside an apartment block on Furby Street, where the teen is alleged to have been held captive for 10 days and sexually abused by as many as 50 men.

It’s the type of incident that has exposed the dark underbelly of Winnipeg to the public. But it has also raised several questions, including:

— Is there a direct connection between this case and the Tina Fontaine case? As the Free Press revealed this week, one of the four people charged with human trafficking is Tina’s cousin, Jeanenne Fontaine. And the apartment suite where the teen was victimized is the same place Tina spent some of her final days before being killed last summer. Is that just a bizarre coincidence?

— Have any of the so-called johns who exploited the teen been located? And, if so, did any of them have prior contact with Tina? Are they potential suspects? We know police are reviewing surveillance video, including those inside cabs that frequented the Furby Street block, with hopes of tracking down these men.

— What exactly occurred last August between Tina and her cousin during that visit on Furby? Other family members previously said they believe Tina, also a CFS ward, was being sexually exploited in Winnipeg. If true, who was involved?

— Who was tasked with caring for this human-trafficking victim when she disappeared last month? Given her alarming history of disappearing, what steps had been taken — if any — to try to keep her safe? Was there a breakdown or failure here? We may never know these answers, because CFS refuses to comment on any of its files.

— Why are police releasing no information about this trafficking case? You’d think investigators would want to publicly celebrate the fact they’ve busted such a dangerous ring, especially given the new human-trafficking legislation being used along with the spotlight on missing and murdered women. But there hasn’t been a peep. The Free Press learned about the case through court documents. Police cite their ongoing investigation for their silence. Does their investigation include the Tina Fontaine case, as well?

One thing this case should put to rest is the notion police don’t pour all of their resources into these types of cases.

From what we heard about this investigation in court earlier this week — courtesy of a detailed bail hearing for Tina’s cousin — officers are pulling out all the stops.

Neighbourhood canvasses, forensic analysis of phones and an escort website where the teen’s services were advertised, and the labour-intensive search for all the men who abused the girl are just some of the steps being taken.

This case also shows the continued need for the type of missing-person alerts that seem to be an almost daily occurrence. Five times, this alleged human-trafficking victim was the subject of one. And five times she was safely located within days, before police said any harm could come to her.

There was no sixth alert when she vanished last month only to fall into the grips of accused sex traffickers. Why wasn’t there one? And would it have made a difference, as it had done in the past?

The reasons for these alerts are rooted in tragedy. Years before the Tina Fontaine case was another, eerily similar, one — the Chelsea Houle homicide.

Chelsea was 17 when she vanished in 2009, turning up days later face-down in a ditch. Her killer has never been caught. At the time of her death, Chelsea had been involved in the sex trade, was a frequent runaway and had been grappling with addiction. No public alert was issued for her.

From that day forward, members of the Winnipeg police missing-persons unit vowed to honour Chelsea’s legacy by working to ensure other vulnerable young people don’t meet a tragic fate.

The result was the type of blitz you now see of missing teens. The majority involve several dozen high-risk Winnipeg youths who are being closely monitored by police to ensure they remain safe. Criteria include teens suffering from addiction issues and who are seen at risk of being sexually exploited.

Officers work in conjunction with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and social services agencies.

Each officer in the missing-persons unit is assigned a caseload of between five and 10 youths who have been identified as potential high-risk victims. Most have histories that involve drug and alcohol addiction, gang affiliation, running away or being raised in the child welfare system with little family support.

Most who have been identified as high-risk are female. Officers meet with them in the hope of building a personal relationship. The officers keep close tabs on their targets and take immediate steps when one goes missing.

We don’t know if the alleged victim of human trafficking was on that watch list. It’s just another in a long list of questions that remain to be answered.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2015 A4

Source: https://shar.es/12KGsT