May 30, 2024


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The tragic end of a family frozen trying to reach the United States from Canada | Description | EC stories | The world

A couple, with two young children, bravely faced the harsh Canadian winter in search of the American dream.

The family, from India, is said to have walked 11 hours, frozen to death just below the Canadian-US border that night. The temperature dropped to -35 degrees Celsius.

Bodies of Jagdish Patel, 39; Vaishilben Patel, 37, and his sons Vihangi, 11, and Tarmik, 3, were found January 19 in an open field in Manitoba, Canada.

Their identities were released by the Indian High Commission in Canada and later confirmed by the Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Canadian authorities believe the death of the family is a related one Human trafficking program.

The Patels hail from a village called Dinkucha in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar district, where neighbors who spoke to the BBC said the family apparently traveled to Canada on a visitor’s visa about 10 days ago.

According to an unidentified village council member, some relatives contacted Indian authorities. Five days later Without asking the patels.

“We thought it would help, we were afraid everyone here might be in trouble, so we decided to write to the Foreign Office,” the man told the BBC.

RCMP Superintendent Rob Hill told a news conference that the Patel family first flew to Canada on January 12 for Toronto. From there, they headed west to the province of Manitoba before heading to the border town of Emerson on January 18. Their bodies were found the next night.

No abandoned vehicles were found near the Canada-US border in Emerson, and it is said that someone took the Patel family to a location before embarking on a cattle trip.

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Jagadish Patel and his wife.

Speaking to the BBC, residents of Tinkucha said there was great cultural pressure among villagers to build relationships abroad, as many have a sophisticated understanding of travel requirements for foreign visas.

The RCMP declined to comment on whether Patel’s case was linked to the group of seven other Indian nationals found by border agents on the night of January 19.

Steve Shand, a 47-year-old Florida resident, was charged with human trafficking after authorities discovered he was driving a van with 15 people across the border the same night Patel was found. Shand had two Indian nationals as passengers and boxes of food and water in the trunk.


Ramandeep Grewal, president of the Manitoba Indian Association, told the BBC: “There is a general sense of guilt that something has gone wrong.

There are questions as to why the Patel family set foot in the dark during Canada’s severe winter.

“You won’t be exposed to that amount of cold for a few minutes, let alone hours,” Creval said.

Hemant Shah, an Indian foreigner who organized a virtual prayer for the Patel family this week, said such questions pervade Indian communities in Winnipeg.

“There are a lot of Patel families here, a lot of Indian Canadians,” he said. “Everyone talks about it, coming up with their own principles.”

Although dangerous crossings are common along the southern border of the United States, this type of travel from the north is less common.

Police used snowmobiles and ATVs to navigate the deep snow.
Police used snowmobiles and ATVs to navigate the deep snow.

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

The RCMP has launched a “comprehensive” investigation into how Patel came to Canada in conjunction with the United States and India. It is not yet known whether Patel had a family in Canada or the United States.

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A special team led by a senior Indian embassy official was sent to Manitoba to assist Canadian officials in the investigation. The Indian Consulate in Toronto has contacted relatives and offered their support.

Last week, a US Homeland Security official said he was investigating Patel’s case, as well as “suspected large-scale human trafficking.” [Steve] Shand participated.

According to court documents, three more human trafficking incidents took place in December and January at the same place where Shand was detained.

Mr. of the Indian Association. Graywall said he hopes other families who are thinking about a similar trip can now reconsider.

“If there’s someone else on the same boat, who’s trying to cross … Do not go, do not ask those who say they can help”.


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