Four people, including a baby, found frozen to death near the Canada-US border
Steph Deschamps / January 21, 2022
The bodies of four people, including a baby, were found Wednesday a few meters from the Canada-U.S. border, in the center, on a road used by migrants, announced Thursday the Canadian police. Our preliminary findings lead us to believe that they all died of hypothermia, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in a statement.
The bodies of three victims, two adults and a baby, were found Wednesday about 12 metres from the Canada-U.S. border, 10 kilometers east of Emerson (Manitoba, center). The body of what appears to be a teenager was then found, police said. Earlier in the morning, U.S. border agents apprehended a group of people who had just crossed the border.
One of the group members was carrying baby items, but no babies were in the group. He claimed he was carrying the backpack for a family of four Indian nationals who were walking with the group previously but had become separated from it overnight, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
Searches were immediately launched on both sides of the border. After four hours of searching in very difficult conditions, the first bodies were discovered. The lifeless bodies were provisionally identified as those of the family of four who had been separated from the group, the statement continued.
The U.S. Department of Justice also announced that it arrested a 47-year-old American man during a traffic stop. The Florida man was driving a van with two undocumented Indian nationals on board near where the group of migrants was stopped and was charged with human trafficking. At a press conference, Manitoba Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said it was likely that the deceased were left alone in the middle of a blizzard when it was about -35, taking into account the wind.
She said the victims found themselves in the middle of the night facing huge fields covered with a heavy layer of snow, which was insurmountable on foot.
Police had to use snowmobiles and other all-terrain vehicles to search the area. In recent years, the small town of Emerson has become one of the routes used by migrants between the two North American countries. Jane MacLatchy notes that crossing attempts have been less frequent in the past year, when the border was closed due to the Covid pandemic. Central and eastern Canada are facing a polar cold snap with temperatures below -30°C compounded by wind.