NOYES, Minn. -- A west African woman believed to be trying to cross into Canada was found dead in rural northern Minnesota, less than a mile south of the Manitoba border, after apparently succumbing to hypothermia, according to authorities.

The Kittson County Sheriff’s Office said Mavis Otuteye, 57, was found dead Friday near Noyes, or 81 miles north of Grand Forks near where North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba meet.

Kittson County received a tip May 22 about a possibly missing woman who was believed to be in the area, according to a press release.

A preliminary autopsy found Otuteye likely died from hypothermia; the Sheriff’s Office told Forum News Service her body was found in a pool of water in a drainage ditch. Final autopsy is pending.

Overnight temperatures in the area dipped into the low 40s last week.

The Sheriff’s Office believes Otuteye is a native of Ghana. Authorities said she was heading to Canada to reunite with her daughter and that Otuteye had been living in Delaware in recent years.

The number of people attempting to walk across the border into Canada to seek asylum has risen in 2017 in the wake of President Donald Trump taking office.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Patrol has intercepted 2,719 people crossing into Canada on foot this year, according to the Canadian government. Of those, 477 have crossed into Manitoba, many entering from northwest Minnesota and North Dakota. The RCMP intercepted 19 people crossing into Manitoba in January, 142 in February, 170 in March, and 146 in April, according to the Canadian government.

Several people are believed to have come through Grand Forks on their way to the border along Interstate 29. Once in Canada, refugees have three days to file for asylum status.

Greg Janzen, reeve (mayor) of Emerson-Franklin, Manitoba, which is just north of Noyes and Pembina, N.D., said tragic deaths like this are the result of mixed messages being sent by the governments of the U.S. and Canada.

“One said, ‘We’re getting rid of all the illegals,’ and one said, ‘We’ll take them all,’” Janzen said.

As the leader of the town directly across the border on I-29, Janzen said he’s been frustrated with the lack of commitment from Canada’s federal government to take action besides putting additional RCMP units near the border. He believes if Canada is going to let people make refugee claims, they should let them drive directly up to official points of entry.

The Safe Third Country Agreement between the U.S. and Canada requires asylum seekers to make refugee claims in the first country they reach, so people are turned back at the border. Janzen would like to see the agreement amended.

“Now one person lost their life walking in a rainy, cold night getting hypothermia,” Janzen said. “What are we doing here as Canadians in accepting asylum seekers and refugees? We’re putting everyone in danger, local residents, police and asylum seekers.”

This winter, he said Emerson-Franklin residents woke up to groups of desperate, freezing asylum seekers knocking on their doors and asking for help in the middle of the night.

“If we truly want these people to come into our country, let’s do it more organized,” he said. “Because this is only the first time, it won’t be the last if this continues. ...There are going to be more deaths.”

He added many crossing into Canada are seeking out authorities to file formal claims, but others are evading police, and the 477 intercepted by the RCMP only make up a part of the crossers.