Image Source : AP (FILE)
Indian family found dead near US-Canada border identified, died due to cold

New York/Toronto: The families of four Indian nationals found dead near the US-Canada border have been identified. Canadian officials said the family had been in the country for some time and someone had taken them to the border. It appears to be a case of human trafficking. Manitoba’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the dead were identified as Jagdish Baldevbhai Patel (39), Vaishaliben Jagdishkumar Patel (37), Vihangi Jagdishkumar Patel (11) and Dharmak Jagdishkumar Patel (3). They were all members of the same family, who were found dead on January 19 near Emerson, Manitoba, about 12 meters from the Canada-US border.

Officials had earlier said that the family consisted of an adult male, an adult female, a juvenile and an infant, but now it has been confirmed that the deceased was a teenager instead of a teenager. Canadian authorities confirmed the identities of the dead and on 26 January the post-mortem of the bodies was completed. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement on Thursday that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba had confirmed that the death was caused by a cold.

The High Commission of India in Ottawa, Canada, in a press release confirmed the identities of the deceased and said that their families have been informed of the incident. The Consulate General of India in Toronto is in touch with the family of the deceased and all commercial level assistance is being provided. “The High Commission extends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” ​​she said in a statement.

The RCMP has also confirmed the arrival of the Patel family to Toronto on January 12, 2022, and from there to Emerson around January 18. “No vehicle has been recovered from the spot, which appears to suggest that someone had brought the family to the border and then left there,” the RCMP said in a statement. From the arrest that has been made, it seems to be a case of human trafficking.

The Indian High Commission in Toronto and the Indian Consulate are working closely with the Canadian authorities on all aspects of the investigation into the incident. Last week, a criminal case was filed against 47-year-old US citizen Steve Shand in the US District Court in the US District of Minnesota. Shand has been charged with human trafficking. Shand is a “suspected smuggler helping undocumented foreign nationals”.

American authorities arrested him on January 19 near the US-Canada border. He was arrested for transporting two Indian nationals who were living illegally in the US. On the same day that Shand was arrested, US Border Patrol officers received a report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that bodies of members of the Patel family had been found frozen on the Canadian side of the International Border. Shand has been released conditionally and without any bond.

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