Four, including a baby and a teen, found frozen to death on Canada-Minnesota border

·2-min read
Manitoba RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy holds a news conference in Winnipeg (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Manitoba RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy holds a news conference in Winnipeg (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Four people, including an infant, have been found dead after being exposed to the cold near Minnesota’s border with Canada, a man has been charged with human smuggling in relation to the incident.

Border patrol agents pulled over a Florida man, Steve Shand, 47, in a large van, on Wednesday near the border. According to a report by CBS Minnesota, there were allegedly two undocumented Indian nationals in his vehicle.

On the way to the border patrol station officials came across another group who said they were expecting a pick-up but had been walking for 11 hours. They had items for an infant but did not have a baby with them. They revealed they had been separated from another group.

The border patrol agents notified the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who searched in difficult conditions using all-terrain vehicles to get around because it was “virtually impassable”. They found a family – a man, woman, baby and teen – dead moments 10 metres from the border in the Canadian province of Manitoba. The group had faced a blizzard with wind chills of minus -35°F (-37°C)

“It is an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said in a statement.

“We are very concerned that this attempted crossing may have been facilitated in some way and that these individuals, including an infant, were left on their own in the middle of a blizzard,” said Ms MacLatchy.

“These victims faced not only the cold weather but also endless fields, large snowdrifts and complete darkness.”

Other people in the group were found alive but injured, including a person who was airlifted to a hospital in St Paul, Minnesota, plus a man who was treated at North Dakota hospital before being released into Border Patrol custody.

Mr Shand will appear in court on human trafficking charges on 24 January.

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