WINNIPEG – Winnipeg Police announced in a press release on Friday afternoon that 53-year-old Raymond Joseph Cormier, formerly of New Brunswick, has been charged with second degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine.
Fontaine, who was 15 years old at the time of her death, was found last August in Winnipeg’s Red River, her body wrapped in a plastic bag.
“The murder of a child – and let’s not forget she was a child – has shocked and outraged our community, and I think that outrage has resonated across the nation”, said deputy chief Danny Smyth at the press release.
Investigators said that Cormier was known to Fontaine, as he frequented a house also used by Fontaine.
“It is believed that Tina and Cormier had several encounters, and that he murdered her on their last encounter,” deputy chief Danny Smyth stated.
In a post to their Twitter page, the Winnipeg Police stated that “Cormier has many convictions from across Canada, ranging from simple breaches to serious violent offences.”
Justice officials authorized the murder charges based on evidence gathered through forensic examinations, witness interviews, & covert ops.
Media response to Fontaine’s death spread quickly across the country last summer, which led to some public criticism of Winnipeg’s Child and Family Services, as Fontaine was under their care at the time of her disappearance.
It also led to a renewed public outcry for a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, which just this week was officially launched by the Liberal government.
In the final days before she went missing, Fontaine was found passed out in an alleyway in downtown Winnipeg. She was taken by paramedics to a nearby hospital before social workers picked her up and checked her into a Best Western Charterhouse hotel. She ran away again, and was last seen by a friend on August 9 2014, walking away with a man who approached Fontaine and offered money in exchange for a sex act. Her body was recovered from the Red River on August 17, 2014.
At the press release, Sergeant John O’ Donovan commented on Fontaine’s last remaining days, saying the death of her father was a huge blow to her, and she was “looking for something she couldn’t find.”
“She was an extremely lonely person”, O’Donovan stated.
As for Cormier, Winnipeg police say that he is remanded in custody in Vancouver until arrangements can be made for him to be transported back to Winnipeg.