World: After Mormon Family’s Terror in Mexico, a Message Emerges: No One Is Safe - - PressFrom - US
  •   
  •   
  •   

World After Mormon Family’s Terror in Mexico, a Message Emerges: No One Is Safe

19:00  08 november  2019
19:00  08 november  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

Mexico makes arrests in massacre of American women, children: minister

  Mexico makes arrests in massacre of American women, children: minister Mexico makes arrests in massacre of American women, children: minister"There have been arrests, but it's not up to us to give information," Durazo told reporters in Mexico City.

Members of Christina Langford Johnson’ s family mourned at her mother’ s house in La Mora In Mexico and abroad, it has cut through the collective numbness to the violence and given a new face to the After the murder of two family members in 2009, the Mormon community had learned to coexist with the local cartel members. In general, they figured they were safe — the local cartel knew them.

— The message popped up on the family WhatsApp thread just after noon. “Howie’ s wife and four kids have been killed,” it said. The extended family struck by Monday’ s violence has long roots in the broader community of fundamentalist Mormons who first took up residence in Mexico ’ s northern

LA MORA, Mexico — Andre Miller saw the column of black smoke rising from at least a mile away. Moments later, he said, the boom erupted.

Trump: US ready to help in 'cleaning out' the 'monsters' who killed Americans

  Trump: US ready to help in 'cleaning out' the 'monsters' who killed Americans President Trump said Tuesday the U.S. is willing to aid Mexico in "cleaning out these monsters," after at least 10 members of a prominent Mormon family were killed in an ambush attack near the border between the two countries. © Getty Trump: US ready to help in 'cleaning out' the 'monsters' who killed Americans The dead included three women and seven children, including two infants, according to a report by the Arizona Republic."If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively," Trump tweeted.....

The family messages were exchanged using the mobile service WhatsApp, and later shared with other people; they were obtained by the USA TODAY For Mormon offshoot groups in Mexico , a history of traditions. That sense of activism emerges even as the family ' s Monday messages circulate.

MEXICO CITY — Three women and six children from a prominent local Mormon family were killed on Monday in northern Mexico , family members said, when gunmen believed to be members of organized crime ambushed their vehicles on a desolate road.

He charged up the road to find a sport utility vehicle engulfed in flames — the same one his sister-in-law, Rhonita Miller, had been driving with her four children on Monday morning. He watched in horror, unable to approach. The heat was too intense.

“I couldn’t get any closer than 30 feet,” said Andre, 18. “I couldn’t tell if they were inside the car or not.”

[Is Mexico growing more violent? Our journalists answer reader questions.]

Past the flames, he spotted three armed men racing away. It was 10:20 a.m.

Sign Up For the Morning Briefing Newsletter

It was the first harrowing evidence that something had gone horribly wrong for the Mormon community in La Mora, a tiny hamlet of fruit and nut orchards tucked in a curtain of mountains in northern Mexico.

FBI investigating killing of US women and children in Mexico

  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.

PHOENIX — About 10 hours after the massacre that claimed the lives of his grandchildren, Kenneth Miller drove his ATV through the northern Mexico wilderness in a frantic search for one last missing relative — a 9-year-old girl who had gone in search of help.

At least three women and six children from an American Mormon community in northern Mexico have been killed in an ambush in an area notorious for drug traffickers. Julian LeBaron said his cousin was traveling with her four children to the airport when she was attacked and shot in Rancho de la Mora

For the next 12 hours, the shattered family raced to find their loved ones and piece together a tragedy that has shocked the country and the world at large: the massacre of three mothers and six of their children, including 8-month-old twins, on an isolated road that their families have traveled for decades.

One of the women was on her way to start a new life in North Dakota with her husband. Another planned to meet her spouse to celebrate their anniversary. A third was getting ready to attend a wedding.

But gunmen, staged along the ridgeline, were lying in wait for the passing vehicles.

In two separate ambushes separated by miles of rugged dirt road, they fired hundreds of rounds of ammunition, from hundreds of yards away, sweeping in from the knuckled hills.

Spent shell casings at the first ambush site showed the path of the assassins as they closed in with assault rifles, firing as they descended the scrub-covered hill to the road.

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.

At least nine members of an American family , including six children, were killed in an attack in northern Mexico on Monday, the Mexican military has confirmed. The family was ambushed by an armed group while traveling from the town of Bavispe in Sonora state to Galeana in Chihuahua state between 9:30.

At least nine members of a Mormon family that has in the past spoken up against Mexican drug cartels were killed on Monday when their vehicles were ambushed by gunmen in a violent region of northern Mexico , family members said. The victims included six children and their mothers.

The authorities said the attack appeared to be a devastating case of mistaken identity, launched by a cartel that mistook the family for a rival gang. If the government’s early version is accurate, the killings stemmed from little more than bad luck — driving in a dangerous area in large S.U.V.s generically similar to those used by organized crime.

For all the years that the drug war has ravaged Mexico, a common refrain has often been used to make sense of the unthinkable toll, repeated by government officials, members of law enforcement and many Mexicans themselves: that the violence mostly claims the lives of criminals, of those involved in the ruthless underworld, of those who walk the wrong path.

But the killings here in Eastern Sonora obliterated that argument in the most brutal way.

Even in a nation as plundered by violence as Mexico, which is suffering its deadliest year in more than two decades, the murder of innocent mothers and children has stripped away any pretense that the mayhem is largely calculated, targeted and therefore contained.

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.

The family ’ s large houses and nice cars attracted the attention of organised criminal syndicates looking to fill their coffers. Helicopter takes injured children to hospital after suspected Mexican drug cartel gunmen murder nine US Mormons in ‘targeted’ hit.

Members of the extended LeBaron family were caught in a brutal attack, Mexican officials say. The victims are part of the LeBaron family , members of which have lived in Mexico for decades since splitting off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints following its move away from polygamy.

In Mexico and abroad, it has cut through the collective numbness to the violence and given a new face to the homicide crisis — in no small part, relatives say, because they are a prominent family made up of many American citizens.

“This case has exploded simply because of who we are,” said Kenneth Miller, Mrs. Miller’s father-in-law.

He nodded toward the main road into the community, where soldiers guarded the entrance. “Why should our family have these soldiers around us for protection when other people have nothing?”

He rattled off a few recent homicide victims in the area, none of them Mormon, and the widows and orphans they left behind. He felt differently about them now.

“The only people that hear their cries is God in heaven,” he said. “I feel it more now, because it hits home.”

Funeral services for some of the victims began on Thursday in La Mora, where the families make up an independent Mormon fundamentalist community that is not affiliated with the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the family were still questioning the government’s narrative of the attack.

Officials and investigators have said that the shooting caused Mrs. Miller’s vehicle to blow up, incinerating her and four of her children with a heat so intense that there was little left but charred bone, the vehicle’s gray husk and hardened pools of chrome melted from the blaze.

US victims in Mexico massacre were tied to family with long history of violence

  US victims in Mexico massacre were tied to family with long history of violence The roadside killings of nine U.S. citizens in northern Mexico has brought renewed attention to the scattered communities of Mormons who settled in the country more than a century ago to escape persecution. The six women and three children whom assailants ambushed Monday as they drove toward Arizona from the town of Bavispe in Sonora state included descendants of a fundamentalist Mormon community that has lived in the country for decades. The Mexican government has not identified suspects in the crime or a motive, though a Mexican official said the killers may have mistaken the family for members of a rival drug cartel.

When family members finally reached the scene, they found a hellish sight. They took pictures. (The LeBaron family sent me these photographs This is not the first time that the LeBaron community, a peaceful and hardworking group that has lived in northeastern Chihuahua for a century, has been the

The victims belonged to the LeBaron family from a breakaway Mormon community that settled in In a text message , he said other injured members of the family were being transported to Phoenix, Arizona Mormons of Germanic origin settled in northern Mexico in the 1920 s from the United States.

But in the hours after the ambush, family members said they found scattered bits of evidence tossed outside of the S.U.V., like Mrs. Miller’s checkbook, suggesting that the gunmen had rummaged through the vehicle first — perhaps in an effort to see who they had killed — before setting it ablaze.

The senseless loss of life poses an existential crisis for Mexico and its president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

In recent weeks, a wave of disasters has forced the issue into the public eye with relentless consistency: the murder of 14 police officers in a single episode; a separate firefight that left 15 dead; an entire city placed under siege in broad daylight by nearly 400 gunmen from the Sinaloa Cartel — the criminal group once led by Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as El Chapo. In that case, the cartel completely overwhelmed the Mexican government’s forces, taking eight of their members hostage and forcing them to let Mr. Guzmán’s son go free.

The president has struggled to assuage the divided nation, with some casting their support behind his impulse not to fight “fire with fire,” and others crying out for a stronger, more coherent response.

The murder rate has reached its highest point since the nation began collecting homicide data, and families across Mexico have largely writhed anonymously under the weight of loss.

Now, the ambushes have cast a glaring international light on the violence, spurring President Trump to vow to help Mexico “wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” while leaving the Mormon community of La Mora in tatters.

Mexico Mormon attack: Family and authorities piece together what happened to mothers and children in massacre

  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.

More Mormon families from the church' s fundamentalist wing began flocking to Mexico after the church officially banned polygamy in 1890. Most of the families moved back to the USA after the Mexican Revolution erupted in 1910 but began to return after the war, Bluth said.

This week’ s brutal ambush of a family in northern Mexico that left three women and six children dead was yet another shocking attack in a country enduring a year of record-setting violence. The attackers, who are believed to be members of organized crime

“I don’t know if I’ll ever come back here,” said Tyler Johnson, the husband of Christina Langford Johnson, who died in the second ambush, but whose 7-month-old baby, Faith, survived. “Not after everything that’s happened.”

Agony, and Fear of More

Andre raced back home to tell his family what he had seen. At the time, he didn’t know whether Mrs. Miller had made it out of the S.U.V. with her children.

Men gathered to rush to the scene. They stopped near the undulating dirt road that leads over rugged mountains into the state of Chihuahua, fearful of what lay ahead. Andre had told his father about the gunmen, and the chance of another ambush couldn’t be ignored.

Nearby, members of a local cartel they knew, Los Salazar, began to gather as well. After the murder of two family members in 2009, the Mormon community had learned to coexist with the local cartel members. It purchased fuel from them — an arrangement more forced than agreed upon — and the two sides maintained a largely peaceful, if uncomfortable, arrangement.

The local cartel members had heard the explosion as well. And they knew a possible reason for the attack — their rivals from Chihuahua had crossed into their territory to stake a claim.

After waiting for reinforcements, the members of Los Salazar took off down the road, heading toward the site of the ambush. The Mormons followed.

As the local cartel raced up the road to confront its enemies, the family stopped at the S.U.V.’s smoldering frame, where the remains of Mrs. Miller and her children were scarcely recognizable.

Social media began to light up as family members shared the tragic news on WhatsApp and posted videos to Twitter, pleading for help. Along the road through the mountains, cell reception is spotty at best. Within a few hours, the family was in a panic, worried about the other S.U.V.s in Mrs. Miller’s convoy. They had set out from La Mora shortly after 9 a.m. and hadn’t been heard from since.

Teen survivor recalls horrifying details of ambush in Mexico that killed 9

  Teen survivor recalls horrifying details of ambush in Mexico that killed 9 His mother, Dawna Langford, and his brothers, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, were among the nine women and children killed in the gruesome Nov. 4 attack. "They just started hitting [the] car first, like with a bunch, a bunch of bullets. Just start shooting rapidly at us," he said. "The car didn't work. So she was just trying right there, starting the car as much as she could, but I'm pretty sure they shot something so the car wouldn't even start." "Afterward, they got us out of the car, and they just got us on the floor and then they drove off," he added.

The Mexican government is still trying to get to the bottom of the daylight ambush that killed nine members of an extended Mormon family , including children and infants. But as more details have emerged , no one seems to buy that theory anymore. “We were deliberately targeted, used as bait to

Relatives called the United States Embassy, the federal police, offices of two state attorneys general and the Mexican military, leveraging any connections they could to mount a rescue.

By late afternoon, Julian LeBarón and his father formed a search party and took off from the community of LeBarón, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive, hoping to intercept the women from the opposite end of the road.

It is unclear what time the second ambush — on the two vehicles carrying Christina Langford Johnson, Dawna Langford and their children — occurred. The government says it happened around 11 a.m., perhaps an hour or more after Mrs. Miller was ambushed. By that time, the other mothers and children were about 11 miles ahead of her.

The road narrowed as it climbed steeply. To the left, a dense wall of mud rose into the hillside. To the right, a ravine plunged to the floor of a narrow valley before rising into a towering mountain.

The location seemed chosen for its vulnerability. An attack could not easily be defended — or escaped. As the women barreled up the road, their vehicles were easy targets.

From a few hundred yards away, gunmen unleashed a fusillade on the S.U.V. driven by Dawna, who was traveling with her nine children. Bullet holes riddled the windshield and passenger’s side. A young child was shot across the chest, another in the arm. Another boy was shot in the jaw.

Two of her children, Trevor, 11 and Rogan, 3, died in the onslaught.

Christina, traveling alone with her infant daughter, was struck down by gunfire. She fell a few feet behind the vehicle, according to images shared by the family.

Her baby remained inside, covered by a blanket, unharmed.

The account of the events was assembled from a range of sources — visits to the sites of both ambushes, a review of WhatsApp messages and voice memos sent between relatives, and interviews with more than a dozen family members, among them witnesses to the wreckage and, later, the rescue.

It is unclear whether the gunmen stopped shooting and allowed the children to escape after they shot Christina — having realized the vehicles were not filled with rivals — or whether they simply missed the children.

The gunmen fled soon after, racing off the mountainside, while the children hid in the brush. Led by the eldest son, Devin Langford, 13, they slipped out of the vehicle and dashed into the ravine for cover, hiding beneath the low-hanging trees that clung to its side.

Devin told the six others, including his sister McKenzie, that he was going to walk back to La Mora to tell the adults what happened. The journey is tough by road, with large stones and loose, silty earth, troubling the journey for even four-wheel drive vehicles. By foot and off the road, as Devin traveled, it is staggeringly difficult — at least 15 miles of ravines lined with thorny bramble and loose rock.

The boy walked the entire way, arriving in La Mora sometime after 5 p.m., according to the family. They formed a search crew and raced to the site where the missing children were hidden.

The rescue team from LeBarón eventually arrived at the ambush site shortly after 7 p.m. They found both mothers dead: Dawna in the driver’s seat, slumped over the steering wheel, and Christina by the back of the car, in a T-shirt and jeans.

“She was shot with her hands in the air,” Mr. LeBarón said.

The group from La Mora soon caught up. Devin, having witnessed his mother and two brothers perish in the gunfire, came along as a guide.

When the group arrived, it discovered five of the children alive. But McKenzie Langford, 9, was not there — she had followed her brother to warn the families.

The men searched late into the night, tracking her footprints. She was missing a left shoe, leaving a distinctive pattern that alternated between bare foot and running shoe.

They eventually found her off the road, alive, in the dark. The men cried with relief.

A Broken Home

The family members cleared the bodies, pulling them from the vehicles and taking them back to La Mora for burial. Even after the authorities showed up and scoured the ambush sites days later, relatives still found what investigators had missed: spent bullet casings and McKenzie’s lost shoe, which the officials had run over on the drive to the crime scene.

In a large, hangar-sized woodshop, the family built coffins and hosted a group of soldiers and marines sent there for protection.

Dawna had lived here for 25 years and loved La Mora: The cypress trees that grew on the edge of brick walls, the yellow leaves of pomegranate trees teasing the skyline, the handsome, custom-built homes.

“She was a devoted wife, and devoted mother,” said her brother, Justin Ray. “She was my oldest sister and was like a second mother to me.”

Two of the husbands of the deceased sat on couches in one home, wrapped in blankets, their faces swollen and eyes blank. Their children played on the floor with stuffed animals and toys, as the family ate fried eggs, hash browns and toast.

La Mora had been tarnished for the men. Mrs. Miller’s husband, Howard, wanted to bury his wife hours away in LeBarón. So did Christina’s husband, Tyler, wondering if he could stomach La Mora any longer.

At her family’s home, four generations of women gathered to mourn. The smell of chicken soup and homemade tamales filled the air. Newcomers arrived to attend the funeral, dragging suitcases behind them.

The relatives clung to one another, embracing, holding hands and sitting nearby. One of the girls played piano and the family sang.

The family had just held a goodbye party for Christina in the same home. She had decided to leave La Mora to join Tyler, who lived in North Dakota. Though she loved raising their children in La Mora — in the country, surrounded by high-definition views of uninterrupted landscape — they missed living together.

The next day, she headed out toward LeBarón to start the process of moving. The women discussed the fear of the road, and agreed to ride together in a convoy for safety.

In general, they figured they were safe — the local cartel knew them. Sometimes, its members would even come off the mountain to help them change flat tires. And besides, they needed to go. They had family business to attend to.

Her grandmother, Virginia Sedgwick, who divided time between La Mora and Utah, watched her dash back and forth, brimming with excitement.

Three times, she came and hugged Ms. Sedgwick, she recalled, telling her how much she loved her, and how happy she was to be moving to a beautiful new place, to live with her husband, who worked in the oil industry.

“And she did go to a beautiful place,” she said. “The sorrow I feel is that I won’t see her again for now.”

Teen survivor recalls horrifying details of ambush in Mexico that killed 9 .
His mother, Dawna Langford, and his brothers, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, were among the nine women and children killed in the gruesome Nov. 4 attack. "They just started hitting [the] car first, like with a bunch, a bunch of bullets. Just start shooting rapidly at us," he said. "The car didn't work. So she was just trying right there, starting the car as much as she could, but I'm pretty sure they shot something so the car wouldn't even start." "Afterward, they got us out of the car, and they just got us on the floor and then they drove off," he added.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 0
This is interesting!