This Friday will make a grim anniversary. It will have been four years since the body of 15-year-old, Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg.
Her mother, Tina Duck continues to search for closure. “I just want to heal. I wish I could see my baby again. She would’ve been 19.”
The man charged with second degree murder in the death of Fontaine was found not guilty in February. Duck was shaken by the verdict. “I was mad, I was upset.” The not guilty verdict sent shockwaves across the Indigenous community, still reeling from the not-guilty verdict in the Gerald Stanley trial when he was acquitted in the shooting death of Colten Boushie. Winnipeg Police also expressed their disappointment at the time of the acquittal. In an email on Thursday, Winnipeg police said “the Fontaine investigation is classified as open, however, we are not seeking any further suspect(s).”
Duck says she will not stop her search for those responsible for her daughter’s death. “I want to find out who did this. Someone can’t just bag a 15-year-old, suffocate her and not do anything. Somebody has to know something. I wish they would speak out so I could stop hurting.”
Fontaine’s legacy includes the Drag the Red initiative, the re-emergence of the Bear Clan Patrol, changes to Manitoba’s child welfare system and an increased push for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. An inquiry should have already been underway before her daughter’s death. “But it takes one little 15-year-old to open everybody’s eyes. And I ask why?’
Duck wants Fontaine to be remembered as a loving, caring and outgoing child. And, she wants answers.
“I want justice for my daughter. I want somebody to find who did this or who’s talking about it. Somebody out there must know something. Whoever put my daughter in the river has to come out and say something sooner or later.”