A family member who died in sub-zero temperatures was identified on the US-Canada border

Police used snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to navigate deep snow

Police used snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to navigate deep snow

Canadian officials believe that the deaths of four Indians found some distance from the Canadian-US border are related to human smuggling programs.

Jagdish Patel (39 years old), Vaishailben Patel (37 years old), and their children Vihangi (11 years old) and Dharkmik (3 years old) died from exposure due to the extreme cold near Manitoba, Canada.

The night when the Patel family tried to walk to the United States, the temperature dropped to -35 ° C (-31F).

The family was found on January 19 in a field north of the border.

Their identities were announced by the High Commissioner of India in Canada and later confirmed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

At a press conference Thursday, RCMP director Robhill said the Patel family first arrived in Canada on January 12 by plane from Toronto. From there, they headed west to Manitoba and traveled to the border town of Emerson around January 18. Their bodies were found the next night.

No vehicle was found near Emerson’s Canadian-US border. This suggests that someone drove the Patel family to the drop-off point before starting their journey on foot.

“This takes a long time for families unfamiliar with Canada to travel around the country,” Hill said. It is believed that someone may have facilitated a family trip.

The RCMP did not comment on whether the Patels incident was related to a group of seven other Indian citizens discovered by the Border Guard on the night of January 19. Florida-based 47-year-old Steve Shand was charged with human smuggling after authorities found him driving a van of 15 people along the border. Mr. Shand had two Indians as passengers in his car, and his boots had a case of food and water.

The death of the Patel family has shaken the Indian community in Manitoba.

“There is a common sense of guilt as if something went wrong,” Ramandeep Grewar, president of the Manitoba Indian Association, told the BBC.

The question remains as to why the Patel family walked out in the dark in the harsh winter weather of Canada.

Grewar said he had heard rumors that his family had walked for 11 hours. “You won’t be exposed to that cold for a few minutes, not to mention hours,” he said.

Such a question consumed the Indian community in Winnipeg, said Hemant Shah, a former Indian putt who organized a virtual prayer for the Patel family this week.

“There are a lot of Patel families and a lot of Indo-Canadians here,” he said. “Everyone talks and makes their own theory.”

Dangerous border crossings are typical of the southern borders of the United States, but this type of travel is less common from the north.

“I’ve never seen this in Canada,” Shah said. “This is unheard of.”

RCMP, in collaboration with the United States and India, has launched an “extensive” study of how Patels has progressed to Canada. It is currently unknown whether Patels had a family in Canada or the United States.

A special team led by senior Indian consulate staff was dispatched to Manitoba to support the investigation by Canadian authorities. The Consulate General of India in Toronto keeps in touch with relatives and provides assistance.

“We are investigating the Patel case along with a larger human smuggling operation,” a US Department of Homeland Security official said last week. [Steve] Shand is suspected of playing a role. “

According to court documents, there were three other recent cases of trafficking in December and January at the same location where Mr. Shand was arrested.

Grewal of the Indian Association said he hopes that other families considering a similar journey will now reconsider.

“If there are other people trying to cross on the same boat, don’t go and listen to those who say they can help.”