An entire family, consisting of a mother, father and their 11 and 3 year old children, was found lifeless and froze to death in the open in an isolated area far from towns on the Canada-US border, more than 12,000 kilometers away from their home in India.
The case of the Indian family who started out as tourists and froze to death at the U.S.-Canadian border
This is the mysterious tragedy that Canadian police officers have encountered in recent weeks when they found the four bodies lying together, frozen, in a field in the province of Manitoba.
The young family, consisting of Vaishaliben Patel, 37, her husband Jagdish, 39, and their sons Vihangi and Dharmik, were found lifeless on January 19 on the outskirts of the town of Emerson, where the temperature had dropped to more than minus 35 degrees Celsius in the hours before.
A freezing cold accompanied by a snowstorm caught the small family outdoors without giving them a chance. Although well-dressed and heavily clothed, the four had most likely never faced temperatures as high as in their hometown in Gujarat, western India, temperatures barely dipping below 10 degrees.
But what were the four victims doing in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the world? This is the question that Canadian investigators have been trying to answer for days, but the main hypothesis seems to be one: the four could be victims of human trafficking.
In fact, both Canadian and U.S. authorities are trying to find out if there is a migration route along the border. To do so, they are still trying to determine how the Patels got to the camps outside Emerson and who might have led them there, where they met a terrible death.
As reconstructed by the BBC, the two adults were considered middle-class workers, educated and even with a second vacation home in addition to the first two-story house. A bourgeois family, therefore, and there is nothing left to foreshadow what happened. They would have left several days ago on a tourist visa for Canada, arriving on a flight to Toronto. From that moment on, however, their tracks have been lost, until the terrible discovery of the bodies more than 2,000 km away.
How they got there in that isolated place remains a mystery. There is no trace of their presence on another flight and the suspicion is that someone took them there by crossing the frozen lakes of Ontario before reaching the flat expanse of the prairies to walk.