3rd man charged in India after family found frozen to death near U.S. border in Manitoba

A photo posted to Facebook in 2019 shows three-year-old Dharmik Patel; his sister, Vihangi Patel, 11; and their parents, Jagdish Patel and Vaishali Patel. They were found frozen to death near the U.S. border in Manitoba on Jan. 19, 2022. (Vaishali Patel/Facebook - image credit)
A photo posted to Facebook in 2019 shows three-year-old Dharmik Patel; his sister, Vihangi Patel, 11; and their parents, Jagdish Patel and Vaishali Patel. They were found frozen to death near the U.S. border in Manitoba on Jan. 19, 2022. (Vaishali Patel/Facebook - image credit)

Police in India say a third man is facing charges in the deaths of a family who froze a year ago while trying to walk into the United States from Manitoba.

Dharmik Patel, 3, his sister, Vihangi Patel, 11, and their parents, Vaishali Patel, 37, and Jagdish Patel, 39, were found frozen to death near the international border in southern Manitoba on Jan. 19, 2022.

Dashrath Chaudhary has now been arrested in connection with the case, a deputy commissioner with the Ahmedabad crime branch in the Indian state of Gujarat told CBC News.

Chaudhary is charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, attempting culpable homicide, human trafficking and criminal conspiracy, Deputy Commissioner Chaitanya Mandlik said via text.

The update comes days after two other men were arrested in the case and charged with the same offences.

Mandlik identified those men as Bhavesh Patel and Yogesh Patel.

At the time of those arrests, Mandlik said the men were accused of acting as immigration agents, supplying the Patel family with paperwork and assisting them in getting to the U.S.

He also said at the time that law enforcement officials in India were co-ordinating with the Canadian Embassy on next steps.

On Friday, Manitoba RCMP spokesperson Julie Courchaine said she could not confirm the third arrest made in India.

She would not say on Thursday whether Mounties were made aware of the two earlier arrests by Indian police before they happened.

Courchaine said when RCMP did become aware of them, they contacted their liaison officer stationed in India, who then reached out to Indian police for more information.

"We have been working with our partners all around the world," she said.

"This investigation spans countries and continents, so it is important to work with all partnerships to try and find answers."

Courchaine also said the complex investigation is a priority for Mounties, adding investigators are expected to travel next week — though she declined to say where.

"I can't give all the aspects of the investigation because we don't want to jeopardize that, either. But we are working at it," she said.