World: Loved ones arrive for funerals of 9 members of American family slain in Mexico - - PressFrom - US
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World Loved ones arrive for funerals of 9 members of American family slain in Mexico

22:35  07 november  2019
22:35  07 november  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

At least five dead, including infants, following attack in Mexico

  At least five dead, including infants, following attack in Mexico At least five dead, including infants, following attack in MexicoMexican media reported that the victims belonged to the LeBaron family, associated with a break-away Mormon community that settled in northern Mexico decades ago, and that the dead as well as additional missing family members may all be U.S. citizens.

Dozens of mourners have arrived in a remote area of northern Mexico ahead of the funerals for nine American family members who were killed in an ambush earlier this week.

Convoys of vehicles carrying relatives and friends, some traveling from the United States, have been rolling into the town of Bavispe in the Mexican border state of Sonora since Monday's attack. Mexican soldiers, who are now keeping watch over the area, were seen escorting visitors' cars ahead of the funeral services, which are expected to begin Thursday.

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The slain family members were U.S. citizens but lived in Bavispe in a small Mormon community called "La Mora," which lies in a desert valley surrounded by the mountains of northeastern Sonora, near the state limits with Chihuahua. A relative, Leah Staddon, who was born and raised in the same close-knit community but now resides in Arizona, said her family has lived in Mexico for decades and they are all dual citizens.

On Monday morning, the family members left their homes in the mountain hamlet to drive to a wedding in Chihuahua state, according to Staddon.

(MORE: Horrific details emerge in killing of 9 US citizens, including 6 children, in ambush in Mexico)

They were traveling in a caravan of three vehicles between Sonora and Chihuahua states when they were ambushed by an armed group that day. Three women and six children, some as young as 8 months, were gunned down, according to Mexico's security minister, Alfonso Durazo.

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  Mexico Mormon attack: Family and authorities piece together what happened to mothers and children in massacre All that was left for family members to sift through when they arrived at the scene of a massacre in Mexico on Monday were ash, bones and a car -- ablaze and riddled with bullet holes. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Just that morning, they had seen the three women and their 14 children off to visit family, traveling together for safety. Now, loved ones and investigators are piecing together what happened in the remote mountains where the women and six of their children were killed.

Eight other children survived the massacre, though many were injured.

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  Baby Faith found in bullet-ridden SUV reunited with dad after Mexico family massacre Christina Johnson, Faith’s mother, saved her daughter’s life by stashing her car seat at the bottom of the vehicle during the attack.Seven-month-old Faith was found buckled into her car seat hidden in a floorspace of one of the three SUVs that was gunned down in a mountainous area near the Sonora-Chihuahua border. Her mother, 33-year-old Christina Langford Johnson, was killed during Monday’s attack.


Approximately 200 shell casings of .223- and 77 mm-caliber guns were found at the scenes, Cordova said.

The region where the attack took place -- less than 100 miles from the Arizona border -- is of territorial dispute by several criminal groups, and Mexican authorities have said it's possible the family's vehicles were mistaken for those of a rival group.

(MORE: Authorities suspect criminal group La Linea in massacre of American family in Mexico)

The woman whose wedding the family was heading to, Kendra Miller, told ABC News that she and her husband have received criticism from "sick people" who claim they were in part responsible for the massacre.

"This is breaking us and we have no culpability whatsoever in any of what happened in that attack," said Kendra Miller, who is Rhonita Miller's sister-in-law.

Kendra Miller said understands that the naysayers are angry and are "sick of seeing these things happen," but said it still "hurts to hear those things."

"It hurts being here with my family and going through all of this," she said.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Mexican Army Gen. Homero Mendoza said a criminal group called "La Linea" is believed to be responsible for the attack. La Linea has strong control in Chihuahua state and has been battling with elements from another criminal group called "Los Salazar," which is aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel.

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  'Beautiful boys': Victims in Mexico ambush remembered at funerals Families gathered in Mexico to remember the three mothers and six children killed in an ambush earlier this week near the Sonora-Chihuahua border.In the first of two funerals, family members and friends of Dawna Langford, 43, and her two children, Trevor Langford, 11, and Rogan Langford, 2, honored their memory during an emotional service in the close-knit community of La Mora. Hundreds of people from the U.S. and Mexico showed up, packing row after row of seats set up in Langford’s front yard.

The latter group has more control in Sonora state, according to Mendoza.

Mendoza said the two groups had been battling on the day of the ambush, and La Linea had sent a criminal cell between the towns of Janos and Bavispe, along the border between the two states, to avoid or limit an incursion by Los Salazar onto their turf in Chihuahua.

But some relatives have taken issue with the notion that the family got caught in the crossfire between the two groups.

Julian LeBaron, a relative who lives in Chihuahua state, said he believes the attack was intentional and that the Mexican government has "manipulated" the facts.

"The federal government came out and said they were caught in the crossfire and there was no crossfire," LeBaron told ABC News in an interview Wednesday. "They intentionally aimed and fired on women and children."

David Langford, whose wife Dawna Ray Langford died in the ambush, said he believes his family was "targeted" by Mexican drug cartel "sicarios" -- or hit men.

"This was a targeted attack and the cartel knew there were women and children in those vehicles," David Langford told ABC News in an interview Wednesday. "The cartel waged violence against our community using our families as pawns. My wife was shot and killed."

David Langford said five of his seven children who survived the attack have been transferred to a hospital in Tuscon, Arizona, for treatment. Two of them were still in critical condition Wednesday night, he said.

American father speaks out for the 1st time since deadly Mexican ambush

  American father speaks out for the 1st time since deadly Mexican ambush An American father who lost his wife and two young sons in an ambush in Mexico last week spoke out for the first time in an exclusive interview with ABC News over the weekend, sharing his heartbreak and the difficult decision he's just made to pull his family out of that country. © ABC News David Langford and Devin Langford speak with ABC News. "So now it's my whole life has turned upside down. Not only have I lost a wife and two children, but I'm having to move the rest of my family with really no place to go at this point," David Langford said in a tearful interview airing on "World News Tonight" Sunday.

“We have been in this community for more than 40 years. Our community has nothing to do with the drugs and violence," he told ABC News. “This is horrific, and I am very concerned that we can’t live there anymore. My family has been destroyed.”

The father broke down in tears when talking about his 13-year-old son, Devin Blake Langford, who was unharmed in the attack and hid his wounded brothers and sisters in the bushes after, covering them with branches, then walked over a dozen miles back home to get help.

"It's a miracle," David Langord said, crying.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State called the attack a "horrific act of violence."

"We are closely monitoring local Mexican authorities’ investigation, and as President Trump and Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo have stated, we offer to support this investigation," the spokesperson said, adding that Trump spoke to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday, and the two leaders agreed that their countries will "cooperate closely to ensure the perpetrators face justice."

"The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad," the spokesperson said. "When a U.S. citizen is missing or passes away overseas, we engage with local officials at multiple levels and provide all appropriate consular assistance."

The FBI said it is in contact with Mexican law enforcement and has "offered assistance and stand ready to assist in the wake of this tragedy."

ABC News' Conor Finnegan, Sabina Ghebremedhin, Julia Jacobo, Anne Laurent, Tom Llamas and Kirit Radia contributed to this report.

FBI investigating killing of US women and children in Mexico .
MEXICO CITY (AP) — FBI agents are in Mexico helping investigate the fatal shootings of nine American women and children in northern Mexico last week. FBI spokeswoman Lauren Hagee said Tuesday that agents are "providing assistance at the invitation of the Mexican Government." "The FBI remains committed to working alongside our international partners to help bring justice to the perpetrators of this heinous act of violence," Hagee said in aFBI spokeswoman Lauren Hagee said Tuesday that agents are "providing assistance at the invitation of the Mexican Government.

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