One of 4 babies found dead at Manitoba-US border: RCMP
Manitoba RCMP say four people, including a baby, were found dead Wednesday at the Canada-US border.
“What I’m about to share will be hard for a lot of people to hear,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said at a news conference Thursday.
“This is an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy.”
The bodies of a man, a woman, a teenager and a baby were found, she said. They are believed to have died of exposure to the freezing weather while trying to cross the border from Canada to the United States.
Just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, members of the RCMP’s Integrated Border Enforcement Team were alerted that United States Customs and Border Protection officers had apprehended a group that had entered the United States. States from Canada, near the town of Emerson.
US officials said one of the adults had items meant for a baby, but no babies were with the group.
A search was immediately launched on both sides of the border, MacLatchy said.
The bodies were found around 1:30 p.m. on the Canadian side of the border, about 10 kilometers east of Emerson and 9 to 12 meters from the border.
“I can assure you that the search for possible survivors or additional victims continued throughout the evening. [Wednesday] and our officers continued to patrol the area today,” MacLatchy said.
To date, no other victims have been located.
Work is underway to identify the names, ages and nationalities of those who died and an autopsy is scheduled to confirm the causes of death, MacLatchy said, calling them victims.
“This is on purpose. We are very concerned that this attempted crossing may have been facilitated in some way and that these individuals, including an infant, were left to fend for themselves in the midst of a blizzard as the weather hovered around -35 [with the wind chill],” she said.
“These victims had to deal not only with the cold, but also with endless fields, large snowdrifts and total darkness.”
RCMP don’t yet know how the people got to Emerson, but investigators will look into all aspects of their deaths, MacLatchy said.
Its officers work closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“I also have a message for anyone considering crossing the border into Manitoba, whether it’s south or north: don’t do it,” MacLatchy said.
“Don’t listen to anyone who tells you they can get you there safely. They can’t. Even with proper clothing, it’s not a possible trip.
“I understand that for some there may be a great need to travel to another country, but this is not the right way.”