Deathscapes

Tina Fontaine 9f - Failed by systems

Deathscapes

Failed by systems

State systems from Child Services to the the police badly failed Tina Fontaine and her family.

The police: At 5am on August 8 and 12 hours before Tina’s disappearance, two police officers failed to identify that Tina was on a missing person’s list despite checking her name through the computer system after stopping a truck in which she was a passenger.  At the trial, the driver, Richard Mohammed, would testify that he had picked Tina up after seeing her on the sidewalk and asking  if she wanted to ‘party’. He claimed not to know how old she was. The police took Mohammed into custody for driving with a suspended licence, and let Tina go, despite the fact that she was evidently under age.


‘It is unfathomable that police officers would not take into their care a teenage girl who is reported missing…It appears to be a systemic failure from top to bottom…This is an example of what’s going on across the country.’ 

Cameron Alexis, Alberta regional chief with the Assembly of First Nations and a retired RCMP


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The hospital: Later, at 10:30am paramedics attended to Tina after a member of the public alerted security of a young girl who appeared to have passed out in a parking lot. The paramedics took her to the Children’s Hospital where  a doctor examined her.  Dr Andrea Wilkie Gilmore later testified that she suspected Tina had been sexually exploited, but after Tina declined a physical examination and did not want to answer questions, she was discharged in the company of a social worker, Kimberly Chute, who gave her lunch and arranged a room for Tina to sleep in that night.

Child Services: During lunch Tina told Chute that she was ‘hanging out’ with a man she knew as Sebastian, a meth user in his 50s, who would get her a bike. Later, Chute checked Tina into the Best Western Charterhouse Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Tina mentioned that she wanted to meet friends at a shopping centre known as a venue for drug sales and child exploitation. Chute advised Tina not to go out again, and left her at the hotel where Ngozi Ikeh, the respite officer, met her. Despite being entrusted into the care of two Child Services officers, Tina was able to leave the hotel that evening. Shortly after she missed her curfew, she was reported missing

Although details of a report into Child Services’ actions in relation to Tina have not been made public, they clearly failed her and her family.

 


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