‘Heartbreaking tragedy:’ Four people found dead in blizzard in Manitoba near border


Published January 20, 2022 at 3:11 pm

WINNIPEG — The bodies of four people, including an infant and a teen, were found in Manitoba near the United States border in what Mounties believe was a failed crossing attempt during a blizzard.

“It is an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy told a news conference Thursday.

It’s believed they died from exposure, she said.

MacLatchy said U.S. authorities notified RCMP on Wednesday about a different group of people who had been apprehended after crossing into the United States from near the town of Emerson, Man.

That group had items for an infant but no baby was with them. It led authorities to believe a child and others may be missing, RCMP said.  

Mounties immediately began a search. MacLatchy said it covered difficult terrain with deep and drifting snow. Officers used all-terrain vehicles to get around because it was “virtually impassable.”

Officers located three bodies together — a man, a woman and a baby — just 10 metres from the border. The search continued and a teen boy was found a short distance away.

“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 when the weather hovered around -35 C with the wind,” MacLatchy said. 

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

A search for possible survivors or additional victims continued Wednesday night and officers were still patrolling the area Thursday, RCMP said. No one else was found.

Mounties warned that people should not attempt to cross the border outside a checkpoint, in either direction, because it can be deadly.

The RCMP said it is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2022. 

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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