Families hold first funerals for Mormon massacre victims

Cheryl Sanders
November 10, 2019

"She got out of the vehicle, she tried to identify that there were women and children there and she got gunned down", LeBaron said.

The bloodshed took place Monday in a remote, mountainous area in northern Mexico where the Sinaloa cartel has been engaged in a turf war.

Having to move so suddenly feels like something he's seen in the movies, but he never thought would happen to his family, Langford said.

Community members say she jumped from her vehicle and waved her hands to show she was no threat to the attackers and was shot twice in the heart. An offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they are not affiliated with the mainstream church.

Benjamin LeBaron, founder of a crime-fighting group called SOS Chihuahua, was assassinated in 2009 after he led protests over the kidnapping of his 16-year-old brother, who was released after the family refused to pay a ransom.

Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, were killed in the attack after a hail of bullets struck their SUV on a dirt road leading to another settlement, Colonia LeBaron.

Seven-month-old Faith was pictured smiling with Tyler Johnson as he embraced her at their home.

Leah Langford-Staddon told The Associated Press that her mother and another sister, Amy, came to Arizona with as many belongings as they could pack into their vehicles. Christina Langford Johnson was buried Saturday morning. "She gave her life to try and save the rest".

Adrian LeBaron, whose daughter and grandma perished in the assault, reflected the perspectives of other relatives who stated they had small religion in Mexico's judicial system and national authorities, but still expects the nation will rise to the struggle. She was listed as missing for a while.

"They had to have known that it was women and children", he said.

In a sign of their hardworking values, Rancho La Mora residents made the victims' simple coffins themselves, hammering the white wood together and sanding it down as the community mourned the first five: Rhonita Miller, 30, and her children Howard Jr, 12; Krystal, 10; and twins Titus and Tiana, eight months.

He said Mexico and the United States would soon launch a bilateral program "to control arms trafficking from the USA to Mexico". But several are still recovering, including 8-year-old Cody, who according to a relative, will not be able to talk for six weeks following surgery where his jaw had to be wired shut.

Mexico has been hit by a wave of violence since 2006, the year the government controversially declared war on drug cartels.

The victims belonged to 3 households of double U.S. Search parties later found her, the families said.

Many experts blame the "drug wars" for spiraling violence, as fragmented cartels battle each other and the army.

To that end, President Donald Trump should offer other USA resources, including armed US law enforcement personnel and, if necessary, troops.

"President Lopez Obrador said that he thought that Mexico could solve its safety issues without international" intervention", but he's opened the doorway to Federal Bureau of Investigation alliance that supplied the nation's national sovereignty isn't violated.

Erasmo Valenzuela, a 50-year-old Mexican who has worked with the families in La Mora for a decade, said he has heard that two or three families intend to leave.

The suspect was found in Agua Prieta, at the border with Arizona, holding two hostages. "I felt that this was in broad daylight and...no one could have done that not knowing what they were doing".

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