Body of foreign national found on U.S. side of Canadian border near Lynden

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 6, 2014 

LYNDEN - A man trying to cross the U.S.-Canadian border west of Lynden drowned in a deep, muddy ditch on American soil, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

His body remained there for about two weeks obscured by overgrowth until Thursday afternoon, June 5, when Canadian border officers found the man dead in about six feet of water, a few yards south of Zero Avenue - a road on the Canadian side that parallels the boundary line - and a half-mile west of the Lynden-Aldergrove border crossing on Guide Meridian.

Authorities don't suspect foul play. They believe the man slipped while trying to cross the border. He was discovered on the U.S. side, along the northern edge of a cornfield. But it's not clear if he'd been headed north or south.

Much of the recovery effort was done from the Canadian side because, from the south, only rugged farming roads come close to where the man was found. A swiftwater dive team navigated through the swampy terrain to reach and carry out the body.

The man had paperwork that could help to identity him but no government-issued ID, said Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks. He's not believed to be a citizen of the United States or Canada.

His name and nationality haven't been released. It could take until next week for the county medical examiner's office to confirm his identity, Parks said.

Rural Whatcom County has long been used by illegal border crossers and smugglers to try to cross into the United States and Canada. It didn't surprise the undersheriff that the man had tried to hop the border so close to a legal crossing in Lynden.

"It's not unusual," Parks said.

MAP: BODY FOUND ON U.S.-CANADIAN BORDER


View Body found on U.S.-Canadian border in a larger map

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher Blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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