Gujarati family’s death in Canada: Police seek public help
Toronto: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which is investigating the deaths of four members of a Gujarati family who froze to death while trying to enter the US illegally in January, has sought public help about the movement of the victims in Canada.
The bodies of Jagdishkumar Patel (39), his wife Vaishaliben (37), daughter Vihangi (11) and son Dharmik (3), were found by the RCMP near Emerson in Manitoba province on the US-Canada border on January 19.
The family were trying to enter the US on foot during the freezing night with a larger group of people from India.
The police, which have been conducting interviews and following up on tips as part of its investigation, said on Friday that the Gujarati family were victims of a human smuggling network which used secure messaging applications to communicate.
According to investigations, the Patel family landed in Toronto on January 12, 2022, via a flight from Dubai. They were picked up from the airport by a private vehicle. They moved a few times while in Toronto, staying at a private accommodation and hotels and used ride-share apps to travel between these various accommodations.
The family left Toronto shortly before they were found frozen to death on the Canada-US border in Manitoba province on January 19.
Police say they don’t know how the family travelled from Toronto to Manitoba even though they have verified all air, rail and bus modes of transport between these two locations.
Releasing a video of January 12 showing the Patel family at Toronto Pearson International Airport, the police say, “We have a specific gap in the Patel’s timeline between January 15 to when they were so tragically discovered near the border on January 19. We’re confident that people saw and helped the family during this time as they travelled more than 2000 km from Toronto to Emerson.”
“We need these people to come forward and share what they know about the Patel family’s journey within Canada. Even the smallest bit of information could be significant. This should not have happened. Four lives, an entire family, are gone. We need the people who have information to step forward, so we can find out what happened and hold those involved to account.”