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We may never know how Tina Fontaine died.

The man charged with murdering her, Raymond Cormier, was acquitted by a jury last week. Despite some disturbing police recordings of Mr. Cormier speaking about Ms. Fontaine's death, he did not confess to the crime and in fact denied involvement in it.

The rest of the evidence against him was weak enough that the defence simply rested when the Crown was through.

Yet it makes perfect sense that feelings should be running high about the verdict, given the circumstantial evidence connecting Mr. Cormier and Ms. Fontaine, the horrific nature of the case, and the acquittal earlier this month of Colten Boushie's killer, Gerald Stanley, another white man accused of murdering a young Indigenous person.

But no matter one's feelings about the verdict, we should take it as a chance to reflect on Ms. Fontaine's fate. The outrage of this case happened not in the courtroom, but when this girl ended living on the street at the age of 15.

We should remember that even if Mr. Cormier is not guilty of killing Ms. Fontaine, someone else likely is: When her body was pulled from the Red River in 2014, it was wrapped in a duvet cover and weighted down with rocks.

We should remember that while she was in the care, such as it was, of Manitoba's woefully underfunded Child and Family Services, she was given a room at a Best Western hotel without nearly enough supervision or support – then a common experience for Indigenous kids in the CFS system.

We should remember that while she was frequently reported missing during her last summer in Winnipeg, she was not really missing but came into contact with police officers, paramedics, security guards and hospital staff, none of whom were able to help her.

Despite the grim circumstances of Ms. Fontaine's life – her mother suffered from alcoholism and her father was beaten to death in 2011 – we should remember that it didn't have to be this way, and that with proper resources she would not have ended up homeless and vulnerable.

We should remember that justice for Tina will not come from protesting the reasonable, if painful, outcome of a trial, but from making sure the next girl like her gets the care and attention she needs from our society.

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