Resilience Refugees

Blizzard claims four lives including infant near US-Canada border

Story at a glance

  • A four bodies were found frozen to death near the U.S./Canada border, near the Canadian province of Manitoba, tentatively assumed to be a family.
  • Winters in Manitoba can be extreme, with average winter temperatures dipping below zero and most recently the area went as low as –31 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A man from Florida was arrested and charged with human smuggling in connection with the deceased individuals.

Four bodies were found dead near the U.S./Canada border, tentatively identified as a family, their bodies found frozen in what appeared to be a failed attempt to cross the border during blizzard conditions. 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced on Thursday that four bodies had been identified, an adult male, adult female, teenaged male and an infant. They were found approximately seven miles from the border with RCMP confirming they all died due to exposure to the cold weather. 

“These individuals, including an infant, were left on their own in the middle of a blizzard … These victims faced not only the cold weather but endless fields, large snowdrifts and complete darkness,” said Jane MacLatchy, RCMP assistant commissioner, according to The Guardian. 

RCMP confirmed work is underway to identify the victims and an autopsy has been scheduled. So far the agency has not identified any other victims in the area. 


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Winters in Manitoba can be extreme, with average winter temperatures dipping below zero and most recently the area went as low as –31 degrees Fahrenheit. Many migrants attempt to bypass actual immigration and customs points and cross the border through prairie fields that become piled high with snow for miles in the winter season. 

Before RCMP made their announcement regarding the four bodies found, the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota also made an announcement regarding a man arrested for human smuggling at the U.S./Canada Border. 

Steve Shand is a 47-year-old from Florida who authorities believe had been transporting individuals that wanted to cross the U.S./Canada border, including the tentative family of four found by RCMP. Shand was also driving with two undocumented Indian nationals.  

Shand appeared before a judge on Thursday and was ordered to remain in custody.  

The trek to the U.S/Canada border is known to be especially dangerous, as one Ghanian asylum seeker traveling from Minnesota to Manitoba died of hypothermia in 2017 and other asylum seekers traveling to Canada have lost fingers caused by frostbite, according to The Washington Post. 


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