US Border: Indian Family Allegedly Frozen To Death

Canada has issued an extreme cold weather alert due to freezing temperatures. A special weather statement has also been released asking people to stay indoors. In a heartbreaking tragedy, a family of four Indians, including a baby, has died from exposure to extreme cold weather on the Canadian side of the border with the US in an apparent human smuggling operation.

The bodies of four people, two adults, a teen and an infant, were found on the Canadian side of the U.S./Canada border near Emerson on Wednesday and India’s High Commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria confirmed the nationality of the four people who died.

He described the incident as a grave tragedy. “We will work with Canadian authorities to investigate these disturbing events,” Bisaria tweeted. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy shared the discovery with reporters in a news conference on Thursday. “What I am about to share is going to be difficult for many people to hear,” she said, calling it “an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy”.

“At this very early stage of the investigation, it appears that they all died due to exposure to the cold weather,” MacLatchy said. It was reported that the family was on their own in the middle of a blizzard and faced not only the cold weather but endless fields, large snowdrifts and complete darkness.

Canadian police said the conditions where the four bodies were extreme and the temperature was 35 below zero degrees with a wind chill. Police are referring to them as victims, as there are concerns the group’s attempted border crossing was facilitated in some way, and that they were left out in the extreme cold, Global News reported.

Currently, the work is in the process to identify the victims. A group of people had crossed into the U.S. near Emerson, and one of the adults was carrying items intended for a baby, but there was no infant with the group, read the reports.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota issued a release saying 47-year-old Steve Shand of Florida had been arrested and charged with human smuggling in connection with the incident. Shand was driving with two passengers determined to be undocumented foreign nationals from India, according to the release.

The authorities said they had walked across the border and had expected to be picked up by someone. They estimated they had been walking for more than 11 hours, the report added. The RCMP said it is working with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is common to witness people crossing north from the US into Canada and the practice has increased in 2016 following the election of former US President Donald Trump.

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