Update: Official Says Tina Fontaine’s Cause of Death Unclear
The cause of death for Tina Fontaine—a Canadian girl who was murdered in August 2014, making headlines across the country—is unknown, according to a report on Wednesday.
“This was a high-profile case and the lab was aware of that,” said forensic identification unit Const. Susan Roy-Haegeman on Wednesday, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.
The body of Fontaine, 15, was discovered in Canada’s Red River after she had run away from a hotel where she was being housed by the Manitoba Child and Family Services, according to the Globe and Mail. Raymond Cormier has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges stemming from her death. Officials said that Cormier killed her because he had developed an interest in her and discovered that she was underage.
Dr. Dennis Rhee said that forensic examinations found no signs of injury to her body or internal organs, according to the Mail. Meanwhile, he said there was no sign of sexual assault, blunt force trauma, or stab wounds.
The trial for the man accused of killing Tina Fontaine — whose death spurred calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls — begins today. https://t.co/RlvJYqRdXa
— Lenard Monkman (@LenardMonkman1) January 29, 2018
“The cause of death still remains undetermined,” Rhee told the jury trial this week.
He said that Fontaine’s body was wrapped in a duvet and weighed down with rocks, making suicide an unlikely cause of death. “The way the body was presented is highly suspicious,” Rhee said. “I would not be able to rule out a minor assault.”
A toxicologist also ruled out drug toxins or poisons as the cause of death, the CBC reported.
According to the CBC, a DNA expert, Dr. Amarjit Chahal, a mitochondrial DNA expert from Ontario, is expected to testify this week in a trial for Cormier, 55.