Suspects in Winnipeg teen’s attack also charged in second assault

Police have charged two young men with a pair of violent sexual assaults, including one on a teenage girl, and say they will take a closer look at whether the suspects had anything to do with the death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine.

WINNIPEG — Police have charged two young men with a pair of violent sexual assaults, including one on a teenage girl, and say they will take a closer look at whether the suspects had anything to do with the death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine.

The two suspects, who are 20 and 17, face several charges, including attempted murder, in the attack on 16-year-old Grade 11 student Rinelle Harper, who was beaten Friday night and left for dead on a walking trail along the Assiniboine River in downtown Winnipeg.

They also face aggravated sexual assault charges in a second attack that same night on a 23-year-old woman.

Police Supt. Danny Smyth said the two will come under closer scrutiny as police continue to look for Tina’s killer. Her body was wrapped in plastic and dumped in the Red River in August. Her death has renewed calls for a federal inquiry on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

“We don’t have any information right now that would suggest these men were involved with the Tina Fontaine investigation,” Smyth told a news conference Wednesday. “That being said, we really had little, if any, contact with these men before this. We will certainly take a closer look at them now.”

Police say Rinelle was out with friends Friday night when she got separated from her group.

She met two males who struck up a conversation with her, Smyth said. The three of them walked to the Assiniboine River where the girl was attacked and ended up in the frigid water.

“Rinelle managed to crawl out of the river a short distance away upstream and she was attacked a second time … and left unconscious and essentially left for dead on the riverwalk,” Smyth said.

She was found by a passerby the next morning and was taken to hospital in critical condition. She has been upgraded to stable and her family says she is recovering.

Police say the second woman was attacked a short time later.

Again, the attackers struck up a conversation with the woman and then turned on her in an alley near a public pool, Smyth said. She was sexually assaulted, beaten with a weapon and left unconscious. Police were called shortly before dawn.

Justin James Hudson, 20, along with a 17-year-old male who can’t be named, are charged with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon.

Court documents show Hudson pleaded guilty to drug possession last October and was fined $200. He is also facing charges laid in August of possessing stolen property.

Rinelle is originally from the Garden Hill First Nation and has been living in Winnipeg for two years while attending high school.

Victims of sexual assault are not usually identified, but police took the step of releasing her name, with the permission of her parents, to “humanize” her and to ask for anyone with information related to her attack to come forward. The public response was overwhelming, Smyth said.

Police were also able to watch surveillance video from a number of cameras in the area, he said.

“Some of the camera footage was used to piece together the timeline.”

Fontaine had been in the city less than a month and had run away from foster care. Her body, wrapped in plastic, was found in the Red River on Aug. 17, just over a week after she had been reported missing.

Police haven’t said how she died but are treating her death as a homicide. No arrests have been made.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

Olds College logo
Olds College to host free, online agriculture celebration next month

Olds College will host a free live-streamed agriculture event next month. The… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services Logo
AHS upgrading online immunization booking tool

Alberta Health Services’ online booking tool for COVID-19 immunizations will be temporarily… Continue reading

Eric Rajah and Brian Leavitt were awarded with Meritorious Service Medals by the Governor General for co-founding the Lacombe-based charity A Better World. The agency’s goal is to reduce poverty and boost education in Africa and Afghanistan. (Contributed photo)
Co-founders of Lacombe-based charity receive one of Canada’s highest honours

Eric Rajah, Brian Leavitt of A Better World are honoured by the Governor General

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Dallas Stars' Mark Pysyk (13) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Ondrej Palat (18) compete for control of a loose puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) grabs a loose puck as Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot (8) and Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) battle for the rebound during first-period NHL hockey action Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Creighton coach Greg McDermott watches the team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler in Indianapolis. McDermott apologized publicly Tuesday, March 2, for using insensitive language in his postgame locker room talk with players and staff following a loss over the weekend. In a tweet, McDermott said he used a “terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss.” (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

Sean Burke speaks at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 25, 2017. The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

The Toronto Arrows line up ahead of their Major League Rugby game in Toronto on April 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson watches her shot against Team Ontario in the final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., on February 28, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship

Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship

Most Read