Things That Matter

After Decades In Mexico, The Fundamentalist Family Attacked By Cartel Members Are Fleeing To The US

On Nov. 4, a family driving in three cars from Chihuahua, Mexico were en route to Arizona to pick up a relative at the airport. They never made it to their destination after the group was gunned down in a massive shoutout. The attack occurred in a secluded stretch of mountainous roads in a state that is known to be inhabited by rival gangs, which authorities are linking to the cartels. The assault resulted in the murder of nine people, including three adults and six children. Now the FBI has launched an investigation into the attack, but that doesn’t mean the families still living there feel safe. 

A week after shooters attacked an American family in Chihuahua, Mexico, extended members of that family are now leaving and returning back to the U.S.

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The family, descendants of Ervil Morrell LeBaron and a leader of a polygamous Mormon fundamentalist group, have resided in that area of Mexico for decades. He died in 1981. According to CNN, 3,000 members are living in Mexico. While they are not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, they did issue a statement after the brutal killings. 

“We are heartbroken to hear of the tragedy that has touched these families in Mexico. Though it is our understanding that they are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our love, prayers, and sympathies are with them as they mourn and remember their loved ones.”

About 100 members of this Mormon family that have lived in Mexico for decades left will be relocating to Tucson and Phoenix.

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The move comes just a day after members of the family buried the nine that were killed. According to the Guardian, the caravan included 18 cars and 100 people

In an interview with the Associated Press, Leah Langford-Staddon said her mom and others living in Mexico packed up all they could and will be living with relatives in various places in the U.S. 

Bryce Langford, who lived in Mexico for many years and now resides in North Dakota, also told the AP that his relatives had acquired so many things from their years as residents of Mexico. 

The assets that they’ve acquired down there are tremendous,” he told the AP. “And to have to up and leave from one day to the next and leave all that behind, there’s definitely a lot of sad people here.”

This is also not the first time the family has been under attack by violence in the country.

Credit: @cnn / Twitter

According to CNN, Eric LeBaron was kidnapped by the cartel in 2009 though he was returned to his family unharmed. Then, two months later, his older brother Benjamin and his brother-in-law Luis Widmar were brutally killed. It’s reported that the LeBaron family were vocal anti-violence activists. 

To make matters worse, there is no police authority in the area where the LeBaron family lived and were killed. 

“We still don’t have all the officers needed,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in the aftermath of the attack, according to CNN. “There are municipalities where we don’t have police… Everything related to public safety was completely abandoned. We’re working on that.”

No one has yet to be arrested or named as suspects in the attack, and now the FBI is investigating the crime. 

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“The FBI will be providing assistance at the invitation of the Mexican government with the investigation into the recent attack against American citizens,” the FBI said in a statement, according to CNN. “The FBI remains committed to working alongside our international partners to help bring justice to the perpetrators of this heinous act of violence.”

One of the survivors of that Nov. 4 ambush was a 13-year-old boy named Devin Langford. He was in the car with his mother, who was shot and killed and fled by foot for 14 miles to find help.  He told ABC that the last words his mother said to him were, “get down right now.”

He said that for the 14 miles he walked to look for help, he was wondering “if there was anybody else out there trying to shoot me or following me,” and he also thought about his family that he witnessed being killed. 

READ: Mexican Authorities Think The Mormon Family Was Murdered Because A Drug Lord Thought They Were A Rival Gang

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