Jagdish Patel, 39, and his wife Vaishali, 37, were likely hoping for a better life for their two children when they decided to immigrate from India. But their plans were cut short by a massive tragedy.
The family put their faith and their lives in the hands of illegal immigration agents operating in India and North America in hopes of getting to the US.
Forced to walk in freezing temperatures, all four family members were found dead near Emerson, Manitoba, on January 19, 2022.
Now, police in India say that they’ve made arrests in relation to the incident, reports The Times of India.
Police said they’ve arrested two accused illegal immigration agents from Kalol in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad for allegedly charging 11 people from Gujarat (including the Patel family) to illegally cross from Canada into the US.
Two more people from Canada and the US are wanted in relation to the case.
The seven other people from the group that the family was travelling with were picked up by US authorities.
“The city crime branch has registered an offence in a case wherein the accused had forced 11 people to walk in the snow in a bid to get them [to] illegally cross the US-Canada border, causing the death of four members of a family,” said Chaitanya Mandlik, deputy commissioner of police at the Ahmedabad crime branch, during a press conference.
According to Mandlik, the family travelled from Toronto and later to Vancouver.
“The agents then dumped them at Winnipeg in Manitoba province, leaving them to cross over to the US on their own,” he said.
Historical weather data on The Weather Network shows temperatures were as low as -24.8°C on January 19, 2022. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the RCMP confirmed that the family, originally from Gujarat, died from exposure to the elements.
According to Mandlik, the two other people wanted in the case were to receive between INR 60,00,000 ($98,377) to INR 65,00,000 ($106,575) per person.
In an interview, Jagdish’s father, Baldev Patel, said that his son worked various jobs, including teaching, farming, and selling kites, but “nothing worked out.”
“He was going to the US,” he said. “He was happy.”
Daily Hive has reached out to the Consulate General of India and the RCMP for comment.