Baby, 3 Others Freeze To Death While Ilegally Crossing US-Canada Border

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NORTON, VT - MARCH 22: U.S. Border Patrol Agent Andrew Mayer walks onto a frozen lake during a patrol on the lake that is split between Canadian territory to the right and the U.S. March 22, 2006 near Norton, Vermont.

Four Indian nationals, including an infant, froze to death while attempting to cross the border between the United States and Canada earlier this week.

Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Emerson, Manitoba found the family 12 meters (39 feet) from the U.S. border at around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the force said in a statement released a day after the discovery.

Preliminary investigations determined that the victims, identified as an adult male, an adult female, a male believed to be in his mid-teens and an infant, died "due to exposure to the cold weather," said the RCMP.

Hours before the family was found, agents of the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) encountered five undocumented Indian nationals who had crossed from Canada through a road near the North Dakota side of the Minnesota State Highway 75, the agency said in a statement.

Agents found children's clothes, a diaper, toys and some child medication in a backpack possessed by one of the individuals, which he claimed belonged to a family of four other Indian nationals that earlier walked with the group but had become separated, as per the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.

Authorities from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border were prompted to search for the family, which led to the discovery.

The RCMP will conduct a "thorough investigation" and "is working in close collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security" over the incident, the Canadian police force said.

The area where the bodies were found has been patrolled ever since, but no other victims have been located.

The five surviving Indian nationals, who authorities believed were headed to an unstaffed gas plant in St. Vincent, Minnesota, have been apprehended.

They showed "severe signs of hypothermia and frostbite due to exposure to the extreme cold and wind chill" after walking for an estimated 11 hours, said the authorities.

Two members of the group — an adult female and adult male — sustained serious injuries, with the latter being airlifted to a hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota for advanced care, while the latter was treated at an area hospital before being released to USBP custody.

Both the U.S. attorneys and the USBP did not disclose the current conditions of the survivors.

A 47-year-old Florida man, Steve Shand, was also arrested after USBP agents found him transporting two undocumented Indian nationals in a 15-passenger van less than a mile south of the U.S.-Canada border Wednesday.

He was charged with one count of knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien had come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law, having transported, and moved or having attempted to transport and move such aliens.

Shand made his first appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer Thursday. He was ordered to remain in custody pending a preliminary and detention hearing, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. Monday.

It was unclear what happened to the two undocumented migrants Shand transported.


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Representation. Authorities in Canada will conduct an investigation following the discovery of four dead Indian nationals near the U.S.-Canada border Wednesday.
Photo: Pixabay

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