Published: Sat, November 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Hundreds of mourners gather in northern Mexico to grieve slain Americans

Hundreds of mourners gather in northern Mexico to grieve slain Americans

In the northern Mexico community of fundamentalist Mormons, where large families are the norm, it was children - including some less than a year old - who faced the brunt of the carnage.

For 11 hours, the relatives had no idea about what had happened to their loved ones.

The motive in the killings still isn't known, though Mexican authorities have suggested the victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time as competing cartels fought over turf and may have mistaken the SUVs the women and children were in for rivals who travel in similar vehicles.

Different survivors embody Devin Blake Langford, 13, who walked 14 miles to get assist after witnessing his mom Dawna Langford, 43, and two of his brothers get gunned down.

The victims were all members of a Mormon community that has lived in the area for decades, relatives said. There were about a dozen holes in the windshield of Dawna Langford's vehicle, and the interior was covered in blood and strewn with foam puzzle pieces used by her children. All three mothers lost their lives in the slaughter.

A 7-month-old baby was found alive and miraculously unharmed after her family was ambushed and attacked on their way to a wedding in Mexico. "Innocent women, innocent children", said Kenneth Miller, whose daughter-in-law Rhonita was killed with her children Howard Jr, 12; Krystal, 10; and twins Titus and Tiana, eight months. "Everyone please pray", said Miller.

Their bodies lay in simple wooden coffins constructed by family members.

Miller and her children, whose bodies were reduced to ash and bones when the vehicle they were in was shot at and then went up in flames, are due to remembered in a ceremony in an another village, Colonia LeBaron, on Friday.

"They didn't want anything to do with the cartels, with the violence", Mason said.

One resident of La Mora, Lafe Langford, said he had been staying more in Louisiana because, at this time, he did not feel comfortable taking his seven children to live in Mexico permanently.

"When they started shooting, she ducked down and put the baby behind the seat", Kenny LeBaron, a cousin, told the Washington Post.

Five children who were eventually hospitalized in Tucson are expected to survive, said Willie Jessop, whose son is married to Dawna Langford's daughter.

A 7-month-old baby was found in a nearby auto - 29-year-old Christina Langford Johnson had left her in a auto seat the backseat of a vehicle before confronting the gunmen as they attacked her family. She was in her auto seat, which looked to have been hurriedly placed on the floor of the vehicle by her mother for protection, ' relative Kendra Miller wrote on Facebook.

"We got some calls, warning us not to be gossips, saying that they wouldn't bother us". -Mexican dual citizenship on Monday, in an attack that spread outrage in both countries and increased USA pressure on Mexico to rein in drug cartels.

The victims were shot on a dirt road, with bullets sprayed through vehicles carrying 14 children.

Colonia LeBaron has been largely peaceful since the 2009 killing of one of its members who was an anti-crime activist prompted Mexican authorities to establish a security base. "Dear God pray for us all".

Fighting back tears before the first funeral for the victims, Miller said the family hoped its plight would draw attention to the thousands of victims in Mexico whose cases go unsolved as violence reaches record levels.

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