Man who died near Quebec migrant crossing had been trying to enter U.S., police say

MONTREAL — The man whose body was found this week near an unofficial border crossing south of Montreal likely died of hypothermia while trying to enter the United States, Quebec provincial police said Friday.

The body of Fritznel Richard was found Wednesday afternoon in a wooded area in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., near Roxham Road.

While the rural road is a popular crossing point for asylum seekers coming to Canada, the Sûreté du Québec said Friday that Richard, 44, was from Montreal and had headed south toward the United States in late December.

"Mr. Richard tried, according to the investigation, to join a member of his family living in the United States and died during this unfortunate attempt," police said in a statement.

Provincial police spokesman Louis-Philippe Ruel said the 44-year-old likely died of hypothermia, adding there were no marks of violence on the body.

"Police now can state there was no foul play in the death of Mr. Richard," he said in a phone interview Friday.

Ruel would not comment on whether Richard was a Canadian citizen, but he said it appears the man was trying cross the border through a wooded area "and not through the customs that are normally used by Canadian citizens."

Richard had been living in Montreal "for some time," he added.

Ruel said that with foul play ruled out, it will be up to the coroner to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, including why Richard didn't go to an official border crossing.

Provincial police launched a search for Richard on Dec. 27 after he was reported missing by family. That search was cancelled two days later because it was believed he had already crossed the border, police said Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2023.

The Canadian Press