WINNIPEG – Shortly before she disappeared and nine days before her body was found in Winnipeg’s Red River wrapped in a duvet cover, Tina Fontaine was captured by a security camera walking into a parkade.
Time-lapse images of the 15-year-old girl, whose death renewed calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, were shown Tuesday at the second-degree murder trial of the man accused of killing her, 55-year-old Raymond Cormier.
Tina sat down and fell asleep between two cars behind a University of Winnipeg building named after Helen Betty Osborne – a Cree woman kidnapped and killed in The Pas, Man., in 1971 whose murder was unsolved for 16 years.
“She said that she was lost. She wasn’t sure where she was,” Audrey Kohinski, a security worker who attended to Tina, testified Tuesday.
Tina had “mosquito bites or cigarette burns on her legs” which looked “awful,” Kohinski added.
An ambulance was called and Tina was taken to hospital. The security footage shows the petite girl walking ahead of first responders toward the ambulance.
It was shortly after 10 a.m. on Aug. 8, 2014, and Tina – a girl widely described as happy who became sexually exploited after leaving her home northeast of Winnipeg to visit her mother in the city – had already been through much that day.
The trial heard from two police officers who stopped a truck in an area known for prostitution five hours earlier. The driver, Richard Mohammed, was arrested for driving with a suspended licence.
Tina was in his passenger seat, the officers testified. They ran her name through the police database and appear to have missed a flag that she had been reported missing from Manitoba Child and Family Services.
She told them she was staying at a nearby hotel, used by Child and Family Services to house kids in care, and they let her walk away.
Constables Brock Jansen and Craig Houle were later suspended for their actions and eventually left the city police force.
Mohammed told court he had gotten in a fight with his girlfriend, and picked up Tina and asked her if she wanted to party.
“I wasn’t sure how old she was,” he testified.
The trial, which is now in its second week, also heard for the first time Tuesday from people who saw Tina and Cormier together.
Tina’s boyfriend, Cody Mason who was 18 at the time, testified that the pair first met Cormier earlier that summer and told him they didn’t have a place to stay.
“He took (us) to a house with a basement and in the morning he came back and opened the door,” Mason said.
Cormier went by the name Sebastian, Mason said, and on later encounters, would supply Tina with the prescription drug Gabapentin. Mason said he and Tina would also take marijuana, cocaine and alcohol _ obtained from other people _ in the weeks they spent together that summer.
Under cross-examination, Mason was asked whether Cormier was ever mean to Tina.
“Was he nice to Tina?” defence lawyer Andrew Synyshyn asked.
“Yeah,” Mason replied.
“Did he ever say or do anything bad to Tina?” Synyshyn asked.
“No,” Mason answered.