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Family member attends Tina Fontaine's funeral at Fort Alexander Roman Catholic Parish in Powerview-Pine Fall, August 23, 2014. Two officers encountered the aboriginal teenager at a traffic stop on Aug. 8, just days after she had been reported missing from foster care and about a week before she was found dead in the city’s Red River. In a statement Tuesday evening, the police service said it was advised in December that no charges would be laid against the officers.Lyle Stafford/The Globe and Mail

A police officer who had contact with Tina Fontaine the last day she was seen alive has been suspended without pay as the Winnipeg Police Service considers disciplinary action, citing the "serious nature of this matter."

Two officers encountered the aboriginal teenager at a traffic stop on Aug. 8, just days after she had been reported missing from foster care and about a week before she was found dead in the city's Red River. The police launched a professional-standards investigation last fall and forwarded the matter to the Crown for consideration of charges under the Criminal Code or the Child and Family Services Act.

In a statement Tuesday evening, the police service said it was advised in December that no charges would be laid against the officers, who were removed from active duty in October and placed on administrative leave. The police have, however, launched disciplinary proceedings against both officers.

"Given the serious nature of this matter, one of the officers has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the discipline process, while the other remains on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the discipline process," the statement said.

Tina's high-profile killing reignited calls for a national inquiry into Canada's murdered and missing native women and prompted fresh scrutiny of the child-welfare system. Police, paramedics and a child-welfare worker all had contact with Tina the last day she was seen alive.

The Crown's decision not to charge the officers marks the latest source of frustration in a string of disappointments for the family, which is anxiously waiting for answers in the unsolved homicide.

"Why would they let her go? I don't understand that," Tina's cousin, Cheyenne Fontaine, told The Globe and Mail. "If they would have done their job right, kept her and took her to [Child and Family Services] or wherever she was supposed to go, I think she still would've been alive."

Ms. Fontaine said she takes no comfort in the officer's suspension or the possibility of internal discipline under police regulations.

In September, Winnipeg police Superintendent Danny Smyth said it was unclear whether the officers knew at the time they were dealing with Tina, who was reported missing July 31 and again Aug. 9, or whether they took her briefly into custody. He said he expects officers who encounter a missing person to take that individual into their care.

But the woman who raised Tina said the officers did know that the girl, who had a history of running away and was placed in provincial care about a month before her death, was reported missing.

"My baby might still be alive today if they just did their job," said Tina's great-aunt Thelma Favel. "They did run her name through the system because I was told that by the chief investigator that they did run her name through, but they just let her go even though she was intoxicated. They should have just fired them on the spot."

The police said Tuesday that no further details about the disciplinary proceedings would be provided because the investigation is under way.

The statement also said the homicide unit has been "actively investigating" Tina's killing. "Numerous people have been interviewed, and a number of forensic tests have been conducted," the service said.

In an interview earlier this month, Ms. Favel said the lead investigator recently told her that evidence had been sent to Austria because "that's where they have a top forensic team." The police declined to comment about forensic testing.

With a report from The Canadian Press