A family of four freezes to death traveling on foot to cross the border into the United States.

Authorities facing blizzard conditions discover four bodies, including a baby and teen, on Wednesday, January 19th near Emerson, Manitoba and just yards away from the United States border.  The Associated Press reports the tragedy began to reveal itself following a traffic stop by the U.S. Border Patrol in North Dakota.

It's very fortunate more did not die from exposure.

A Florida man was arrested and charged with human smuggling after officers discovered two undocumented Indian nationals in the 15 passenger van Steve Shand was driving just south of the Canadian border. In addition to the three individuals, the van was also loaded with bottled water and snack food items.  It seems the van inhabitants were expecting company. About the same time those three were being taken into custody, five other individuals were spotted by law enforcement walking through the snow in near blizzard conditions.  They were also Indian nationals and told authorities they had already been walking toward the border for over 11 hours.

One of these individuals was carrying a backpack containing baby supplies.

They apparently had started their journey much farther north and with another family of four being a part of their group.  In the overnight with near blizzard conditions and wind chills in the mid-30s below zero, the family of four became separated from the others and left to trek ahead on their own. They would die just short of the border.

Officers found a man, woman, and baby in one location with the teen's boy discovered not far away.  All four were dead most likely from exposure.

I can only hope the charges of murder or manslaughter will soon be added to the charge of human smuggling.  Clearly, someone had dropped off these Indian nationals far enough north of the border that it would take them eleven hours, albeit through treacherous conditions, to even reach the border.  I assume the plan was then to meet up with Steve Shand and enjoy some much-needed snacks in his 15 person passenger van.  I think "plan" is a pretty generous word.  Around here, January can easily kill you no matter how well you dress for the weather.

These are wrongful deaths and parties must be held accountable.


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