Florida man charged with abandoning four people, including a baby, who froze to death at the Canadian border
A Florida man was accused of human trafficking on Thursday, after a family of four Indian citizens, including a baby and a teenager, were found frozen dead in Canada just meters from the US border, officials said.
Border Patrol agents arrested Steve Shand, 47, when he was driving a 15-passenger van with two undocumented Indian nationals inside, just south of the Canadian border with North Dakota on Wednesday, according to the US attorney's office in Minnesota.
Police later encountered five other Indians on foot heading towards where Shand was arrested.
One of them was holding a backpack with baby items belonging to the family of four who became separated from the group while crossing into the United States, the office said.
US authorities notified the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who discovered the family - a man, a woman, an infant and a teenager - dead just steps from the border in the province of Manitoba, officials said.
"This is an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy," RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said.
“These victims faced not only the cold weather. but also endless fields, big blizzards and total darkness,” he said.
During their trip, the group faced a wind chill of minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Authorities assumed the victims died from exposure to the cold.
The five Indian nationals told authorities they had been walking in brutal conditions for around 11 hours and were waiting for someone to pick them up. Shand is expected to appear in court on January 24.
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