Utah man helps mom, family flee Mexico after deadly attack

Members of the Lebaron family look at the burned car where part of the nine murdered members of the family were killed and burned during an ambush in Bavispe Sonora mountains Mexico

After watching gunmen shoot dead his mother and two brothers, 13-year-old Devin Langford hid six surviving siblings in nearby bushes and walked for miles in a rugged expanse of northern Mexico to get help.

Christina Langford, 29, was put to rest inside a simple wooden coffin built by the Mormons themselves.

The two U.S. functionaries offered to collaborate on the case within the framework of the Mexican constitution and Sonora state's public prosecutor, Claudia Contreras, was asked to sign a collaboration agreement with the USA so that the neighboring country's authorities could join the investigation. He then walked for six hours back to La Mora, relative Kendra Lee Miller wrote on Facebook.

"You can't imagine that there are people who can do a awful thing like that". The lives of its current residents are deeply entwined with the ranch life of La Mora, which provides work in a region with few opportunities.

What had been a peaceful existence in a fertile valley ringed by rugged mountains and desert scrub about 70 miles (112 kilometers) from the border with Arizona became increasingly risky in recent years as the cartels exerted their power and battled each other in Sonora state, a drug smuggling hotbed.

Mexican officials said the attackers may have mistaken the group's large SUVs for those of a rival gang, but community members dispute that and say they have proof the attackers knew they were targeting women and children.

"The country is suffering very much from violence", said William Stubbs, a pecan and alfalfa farmer who serves on a community security committee in the American-dominated hamlet of Colonia LeBaron.

"That is so beyond understanding, we are living like we are in Afghanistan, 100 miles in the USA boundary", stated LeBaron. All of the victims were dual U.S.

"They must wipe these awful guys from Mexico like the coalition which goes to Syria and those areas".

LeBaron, who also lives in Mexico, is the cousin Rhonita Maria Miller, one of the women killed in the ambush, along with four of her children.

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"We pray, Father, that good will come out of this bad incident, that the way may be opened up for this country to find justice for those that don't have a voice", said Rhonita's father-in-law, Kenny Miller, speaking at the graveside where children lay flowers as a soft rain fell.

"They were heading towards Phoenix, towards Tucson", said Daniel LeBaron.

"Until there's answers, she's not bringing her kids", Darger, of Salt Lake City, said after traveling to La Mora for the funerals.

David Langford called his wife a hero for telling her children to duck as their vehicle came under fire.

Langford said he and others come and go frequently between La Mora and the US, working north of the border to build lives and families in a place he described as a "paradise" for children to grow up.

Benjamin LeBaron, founder of a crime-fighting group called SOS Chihuahua, was assassinated in 2009 after he led protests over the kidnapping of his teenage brother, who was released after the family refused to pay a ransom. He told the newspaper that some of the eight children who survived the massacre said that one of the mothers left her truck with her hands up in the air when she was shot and killed.

Adrian LeBaron, whose daughter and grandchildren died in the attack, reflected the views of several other relatives who said they had little faith in Mexico's judicial system and federal government, but still hopes the country will rise to the challenge.

"It's a shame for innocent children to die", Valenzuela said.

Former anti-drug prosecutor Samuel Gonzalez said that "sooner or later, the government is going to have to adjust its strategy".

Long one of Mexico's most peaceful corners, the main town in the area, Bavispe, only registered three murders in the past three decades, Mexican news outlet Animal Politico said, citing government data.

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