Bodies of 6 People Found Near U.S. Border in Canada Are Believed to Be from 'Two Families': Police
"The deceased included five adults and one child under the age of 3, who was a Canadian citizen," police said on Friday
The remains of six individuals have been pulled from the St. Lawrence River, which is located near Canada's border with the United States.
The Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) said the bodies were found Thursday afternoon in a marshy area in Akwesasne, Quebec.
"The six individuals are believed to be from two families, one of Romanian descent, and the other believed to be citizens of India," police said during a press conference on Friday. "The deceased included five adults and one child under the age of 3, who was a Canadian citizen."
"All are believe to have been attempting illegal entry into the United States from Canada," police said Friday.
Police went on to say they believe "one infant from the Romanian family has not been located," and that that the search is ongoing. Lee-Ann O'Brien, deputy chief of Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, said that the missing child has a Canadian passport, per Reuters.
Related:36 Bodies Pulled From Water at Temple in India After Floor Covering Well Collapses During Fire Ritual
The first body was located around 5 p.m. during an air search of the area, police said in a statement released on Thursday.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew noticed the bodies in the water during an air search for a separate incident, Akwesasne police chief Shawn Dulude said, per the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Tests have been ordered to determined causes of death for the individuals, none of whom have been publicly identified, reported the Associated Press.
An investigation is ongoing, and police are continuing to search for additional victims.
Police said that there have been 48 illegal border crossing incidents in the Mohawk territory since January, and that a majority of the migrants are from India or Romania, according to the AP and The Montreal Gazette.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Authorities have also noticed an uptick in human smuggling into the territory this year, per the outlets. However, O'Brien said it's unclear if Thursday's deaths are connected to human smuggling, according to the Gazette.
"This is a heartbreaking situation, particularly given the young child that was among them," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, per the AP. "We need to understand properly what happened, how it happened and do whatever we can to minimize the chances of this ever happening again."
The deaths come just days after President Joe Biden and Trudeau agreed to close an illegal border crossing point between New York state to Quebec, per the outlets.
O'Brien said the Roxham Road closure is not connected to the St. Lawrence River deaths, according to the AP.
Related:9 People Are Dead After 2 U.S. Army Blackhawk Helicopters Crash in Kentucky
The Akwesasne police say there is no threat to the public in connection to Thursday's deaths. They also reminded individuals in the surrounding communities that "illegal immigrants are human beings," the Gazette reported.
"These individuals are still deserving of respect and should not be exploited for monetary gains," the department said, per the outlet.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.