The People Who Were Found Dead At The Canada-US Border Have Been Identified As A Family
The youngest was only 3 years old.
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The identities of the four people who were found dead at the Canada-U.S. border have been confirmed to be a family from India between the ages of 3 and 39 years old.
Manitoba RCMP released an update to the case on January 27 that identified the victims and revealed more about the situation that led to their deaths.
On January 19, RCMP officers found four bodies about 12 metres from the Canada-U.S. border near Emerson, Manitoba. They were identified as two adults, a teenager and an infant.
On January 26, autopsies were completed and the identities of the victims were confirmed. They are:
- Jagdishkumar Patel, a 39-year-old male
- Vaishaliben Patel, a 37-year-old female
- Vihangi Patel, an 11-year-old female
- Dharmik Patel, a 3-year-old male
They are all from the same family and are Indian nationals, police said.
Chief Superintendent Rob Hill, the officer in charge of criminal operations for the Manitoba RCMP, apologized for the error of originally identifying one of the victims as a male teen.
In a statement, he said, "the frozen state in which the bodies were found and the clothing worn by the family made the initial identification difficult."
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba has now confirmed that the family's cause of death was due to exposure.
Manitoba RCMP said that on January 12, the Patel family arrived in Toronto and then made their way to Emerson on or around January 18.
Since there was no abandoned vehicle located on the Canadian side of the border, police believe that someone drove the family to the border and then left.
"With what we know so far of their activities in Canada, along with the arrest that occurred in the United States, we believe this to be a case of human smuggling," Manitoba RCMP said.
Steve Shand, a 47-year-old American citizen, has been arrested and charged for smuggling undocumented foreign nationals in relation to this case.
Manitoba RCMP is asking anyone with information to call Manitoba RCMP Major Crime Services at 431-489-8551, call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or leave a secure tip online.