By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Hundreds marched through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday in support of the family of a 15-year-old Indigenous girl whose body was wrapped in a blanket and dumped in a river.
The three-block-long march began in front of the courthouse and wound its way to the spot at the Red River where Tina Fontaine’s body was found in August 2014.
Supporters carried signs reading No Justice No Peace, Justice for All and Love for Tina.
On Thursday, a jury found Tina’s accused killer, Raymond Cormier, not guilty of second-degree murder.
Thelma Favel, Tina’s great-aunt who raised her, thanked the marchers and said she felt as if Tina were with her.
Aboriginal leaders speaking at the march reiterated their position that social services and the justice system are failing Indigenous young people.
There were also calls for Cormier to face other charges related to his relationship with Tina.
Cormier admitted on undercover police tapes that he had sex with the teen. The Crown had argued that a possible motive for the killing was that Cormier found out she was only 15.
Tina’s body, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks, was pulled from the river eight days after she was reported missing. Cormier was charged more than a year later.
Tina was being sexually exploited after coming to Winnipeg from her home on the Sagkeeng First Nation, 120 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
The jury heard how her relatively stable upbringing spiralled out of control when her father was murdered. Her mother came back into her life and Tina had gone to visit her in Winnipeg, where the girl descended into life on the streets.
She and her boyfriend met the much-older Cormier in the summer of 2014. The jury heard Cormier gave the couple a place to stay, gave Tina drugs and had sex with her.
Fontaine was in the care of social services and was staying at a Winnipeg hotel hotel when she disappeared.