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4 found dead in blizzard in Canada near US border

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Posted at 5:17 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 17:17:06-05

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) -- The bodies of four people, including an infant and a teen, were found in the Canadian province of Manitoba near the United States border in what the Royal Canadian Mounted Police believe was a failed crossing attempt during a blizzard.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said it's believed they died from exposure.

MacLatchy said U.S. authorities had notified RCMP on Wednesday about a different group of people who had been apprehended after crossing into the U.S. from near the town of Emerson, Manitoba. That group had items for an infant but no baby was with them.

That led authorities to believe others may be missing and the RCMP immediately began a search in Canada. MacLatchy said the search 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 meters (yards) from the border. The search continued and a teen boy was found a short distance away.

A search for possible survivors or additional victims continued Wednesday night and officers were still patrolling the area Thursday, RCMP said.

"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," MacLatchy said. "These victims faced not only the cold weather but also endless fields, large snowdrifts and complete darkness."

MacLatchy said others are often involved in arranging to bring people across the border, which is criminal and extremely dangerous. In the past it has been more common to see crossings north from the U.S. into Canada, she added. Authorities did not provide the nationalities of the victims.

The RCMP 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.