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Montreal man found dead near border was trying to reach family in U.S.


Quebec provincial police (SQ) say a man found dead near the border was attempting to cross into the U.S. to reach a family member when he died.

The victim has been identified as 44-year-old Fritznel Richard from Montreal.

According to the SQ, hypothermia was likely the cause of a man's death.

Richard's body was first spotted near Roxham Road in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. on Wednesday afternoon by American border agents patrolling the area via helicopter.

Roxham Road is an unofficial border crossing site used frequently by asylum seekers heading into Canada through the U.S.

Richard was first reported missing on Dec. 27. Quebec police searched for him for two days, but stopped "when information was received indicating that Mr. Richard had entered the United States," an SQ press release reads. 

A coroner's inquest will be held to determine the exact circumstances of his death. 

Police say hypothermia is their main hypothesis for now, as there were no marks of violence on his body. 

Many migrants use Roxham Road as an irregular crossing to enter Canada from the United States. In this case, the investigation suggests that Richard was using the crossing to enter the United States.

Quebec Premier François Legault has often urged Ottawa to close Roxham Road, which is not an official crossing.

A few days before leaving the Canadian Parliament for the holiday break, Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, reiterated that Justin Trudeau's government was in talks with the U.S. about a possible modernization of the Safe Third Country Agreement.

This agreement ensures that a potential refugee who arrives at an official Canadian border crossing and has first set foot on U.S. soil is turned away, as he or she must pursue his or her asylum claim in the first "safe haven" he or she arrived in.

With files from The Canadian Press

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