One year after teenager Tina Fontaine's body was discovered in the Red River, two memorial events were held. One was on the Sagkeeng Reserve where she was raised by a great- aunt from the age of three; another, much smaller, was at the Alexander Docks near where her body was located accidentally by a search party looking for someone else.
The news media was out in force, feeding on the grief.
But none of the "professional journalists" seemed to notice that one important person wasn't at either of these gatherings.
At first glance, maybe it came as no surprise that Valentina Duck wasn't there. She's persona non grata on the reserve, where the responsible side of the family blames her for leading her departed 15-year-old daughter deep into the dark side where the seeds of her death are thought to lie.
But her absence at the Alexander Docks is more troubling. The inner city is her turf. There's more than one connection with the docks, the mother, and the discovery of Tina's body. The senior Tina is no shrinking violet, having been interviewed by reporters on several previous occasions less important than the one-year anniversary of her daughter's confirmed death.
It's hard to call Valentina the black sheep of the family, a family top-heavy with prostitutes, drug addicts and fall-down drunks. But her irresponsibility is being blamed, even by her own son, for dragging Tina down into a world of hard drug use and casual sex-for-money, either of which could have led to her death.
However it's these very situations that casts a sinister shadow over her non-appearance.
Has Tina Fontaine's mother become one of the missing?
The last recorded appearance of Valentina was ten months ago in a sappy Gordon Sinclair column in the Winnipeg Free Press. APTN tried to locate her in advance of the anniversary of the finding of Tina's body without success, sparking the question.
In the biggest irony, among the mourners at Sagkeeng was media hog Nahanni Fontaine, Manitoba's official "adviser" on missing and murdered indigenous women. She spends much of her time hectoring others for failing the native community.
Has Tina's mother indeed disappeared, right under the nose of Nahanni Fontaine, who, in the words of the Winnipeg Free Press, "has devoted years to supporting the relatives of the missing and murdered?"