Six bodies found in marsh near New York-Quebec border
Police in Quebec discovered six bodies in a marshy area near the province’s border with New York state, police said.
One of the bodies is reportedly that of a child less than three-years-old, according to Global News Canada. The individuals are believed to have been a pair of families.
The marsh is a part of the St Lawrence River, authorities said.
Law enforcement officers are still trying to determine who the individuals were.
“The first body was located around 5:00 P.M. in a marsh area in Tsi Snaihne, Akwesasne, Quebec,” police said in a statement posted to social media. “There is no threat to the public at this time.”
Akwesasne Mohawk deputy police chief Lee-Ann O’Brien said the families were likely migrants and that “are all believed to have been attempting illegal entry into the U.S.”
Major Trevor Reid, a Joint Rescue Coordination Centre spokespan, told CTV News that a Canadian Armed Forces helicopter found an overturned boat not far from where the bodies were found.
That boat reportedly belongs to Casey Oakes, a man from nearby Akwesasne who was reported missing on Thursday. It is unclear if Mr Oaks was connected to the bodies found near his boat in the marsh.
Investigators are still determining a cause of death
The Saint Regis Mohawk and Akwesasne reported last month that there had been an uptick in illegal border crossings through their land and their waterways. The agency said that some crossings resulted in the hospitalisation of migrants, and that in others smugglers were caught trying to move humans along the shorelines of their territory.
The deaths come only a week after Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an agreement that would close an immigration loophole allowing thousands of asylum seekers to pour between the US and Canada using a small road that connects the US and Canada.
The Safe Third Country agreement — which allowed the US or Canada to deport asylum seekers to a safe, different country without letting them apply for asylum — only applied at official border crossings.Roxham Road in Champlain, New York, is not considered an “official” crossing point into Canada. Though it is monitored by the Royal Canadian Mountain Police, the crossing was not covered under the Safe Third Country agreement. Asylum seekers using that crossing could not be denied the right to request asylum in Canada.