Man acquitted in Tina Fontaine murder found dead, says her aunt

Raymond Cormier, a career criminal and the man police believed killed Tina Fontaine, has reportedly died and “took all the answers with him” said Fontaine’s aunt Thelma Favel.

“No, it doesn’t give me closure,” says Favel, who raised the 15-year-old girl who became the name and face of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls crisis when she was found wrapped in duvet and weighted down in Winnipeg’s Red River in August 2014.

Fontaine had been missing for a month when her body was recovered. A cause of death was never determined but police charged Cormier with second-degree murder, relying on the controversial Mr. Big method of gaining a confession.

The petty thief and life-long drug user and dealer was acquitted in the killing in 2018 and prosecutors opted not to appeal.

Click to play video: 'Tina Fontaine failed by every system designed to help her, says report into her death'

Tina Fontaine failed by every system designed to help her, says report into her death

But Favel tells Global News from her home in Powerview, Man. — roughly 120 kilometres north of Winnipeg — that she believes police had the right man all along.

Story continues below advertisement

“He used to smirk at me in the courtroom and throw his head back with this horrible laugh,” she said.

The email you need for the day’s top news stories from Canada and around the world.

“I have mixed feelings about him passing. I’m glad he’s gone and can’t do this to anyone else but I’ll never have the answer of why he would do such a thing to such a small little girl.”

The story of his death was first reported by APTN News Monday. Favel says Winnipeg Police Service detectives advised her on the weekend that Cormier died in Kenora, Ont. on April 3.

“They didn’t tell me how he died.”

Tuesday afternoon, the Office of the Chief Coroner confirmed that an investigation was underway into Cormier’s death but details regarding the nature of the investigation were being withheld due to privacy laws.

WPS wouldn’t confirm the death to Global News.

The Kenora OPP said it “does not release or confirm details related to any non-criminal deaths.”

Tina Fontaine. File / Global News

Fontaine was described as a sweet girl who did right by her aunt and uncle until her father was murdered.

Story continues below advertisement

“That changed her,” Favel explained.

She also reconnected with her mother on the streets of Winnipeg. Favel had child welfare authorities intervene but the teen would run away from group homes back to her mother. Fontaine was exploited for drugs leading up to her disappearance and murder.

After learning of Cormier’s death, Favel says she went to Fontaine’s grave on the Sagkeeng First Nation.

“I let her know what was happening and cried a lot there because we will never know why this happened to her,” said the still-grieving aunt.

Fontaine’s death triggered national outrage about violence and discrimination against Indigenous women and was the catalyst for the national inquiry, Drag the Red and the revival of the Bear Clan Patrol.

Click to play video: '‘It hurts’: Tina Fontaine’s family still looking to heal, 4 years after her death'

‘It hurts’: Tina Fontaine’s family still looking to heal, 4 years after her death

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.