Toronto: Canadian authorities have confirmed the identities of a family of four Indians, including a baby, whose bodies were found frozen in Manitoba near the Canada-US border on January 19, the High Commission of India here has said.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the High Commission of India said that Canadian officials have identified the four bodies as that of Jagdish Baldevbhai Patel (male), 39, Vaishaliben Jagdishkumar Patel (female), 37, Vihangi Jagdishkumar Patel (female) 11, and Dharmik Jagdishkumar Patel (male), 3.
“Further to the report of the tragic death of four people, including an infant, whose bodies were recovered near the Canada-US border in Manitoba on 19 January 2022, Canadian authorities have confirmed the identities of the four deceased. All four were Indian nationals. The next of kin of the deceased have been informed,” the High Commission said in a statement.
Officials from the High Commission of India are also in touch with the next of kin of the deceased and are providing all the consular support.
On January 19, the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said that the bodies of four people — two adults, a teen, and an infant — were found on the Canadian side of the US/Canada border near the Emerson locality in south-central Manitoba.
The family, who hails from Gujarat, died from exposure to extreme cold weather.
The Gujarat Criminal Investigation Department is probing whether the four members of a family from the state had taken the help of local agents, according to media reports.
The High Commission of India, in its statement, further said that Canadian authorities have also, after medical examination, informed that based on the circumstances, the death of all the persons has been determined to be consistent with exposure to the outdoor elements.
“The High Commission of India in Ottawa and our Consulate in Toronto continue to work closely with Canadian authorities on all aspects of the investigation into this incident. A special team, led by a senior consular officer from the Consulate General of India in Toronto, is camping in Manitoba to assist ongoing investigations by Canadian agencies and to render any consular services for the victims,” the statement said.
The High Commission said that the tragedy of the four-member family has brought into focus the need to ensure migration and mobility are made safe and legal and that such tragedies do not recur.
“A number of ideas remain under discussion between India and Canada. For instance, to prevent and suppress irregular migration, smuggling of migrants, and trafficking in human beings and to facilitate sustainable and circular mobility, India has proposed a comprehensive Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement (MMPA) to Canada, which remains under the consideration of the Canadian government,” the statement said.