How Gunmen Killed American Family Of Nine In Brutal Mexican Ambush
A deadly massacre in Mexico of three mothers and six children with Utah ties sparked strong reactions nationwide Tuesday, including from President Donald Trump, who said the U.S. is ready to wage war on drug cartels.
YANS gathered that the women and children, including 8-month-old twins, were murdered Monday in ambush attacks about 5 miles outside of La Mora, a decades-old settlement in the state of Sonora founded by early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, about 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona.
Those killed belonged to the Mexican-American LeBaron, Langford, Miller and Johnson families, members of breakaway Mormon communities that settled in northern Mexico’s hills and plains decades ago.
A video posted on social media showed the charred and smoking remains of a vehicle riddled with bullet holes that was apparently carrying some of the victims on a dirt road when the attack occurred.
Narrating how the incident happened, Kendra Miller in a post on facebook said: "Three women and 14 children were traveling in a caravan of three vehicles in the mountains between the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua. Many of the family members were born in Mexico and have dual citizenship.
"Two of the vehicles were headed to Chihuahua to see family members while the third was driven by Rhonita Miller, who was going to Phoenix to pick up her husband at the airport.
"Rhonita Miller was killed and burned, along with her four children, including twin babies. They were ambushed by the Mexican cartels; shot, burned, and murdered in cold blood,” Kendra Miller said.
“It was awful seeing the babies’ little skulls just sitting there on the floor of the car burnt and broken,” Kendra Miller added.
Family members have identified the deceased as Rhonita Maria Miller, 30; Howard Jacob Miller Jr., 12; Krystal Bellaine Miller, 10; and 8-month-old twins Titus Alvin Miller and Tiana Gricel Miller.
The other two cars, which had been about 10 miles down the road, were attacked next. One of the women was shot after jumping out of her SUV “waving her arms to let the attackers know that it was women and children in the vehicles,” according to the Miller post.
At least five additional children were transported to a hospital in Tucson, Arizona, for treatment, according to Mexican Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo.
Durazo said the gunmen may have mistaken the group’s large SUVs for rival gangs, something relatives of the victims have also said in social media posts.
Trump said on Twitter that the United States stands ready to battle the drug cartels with Mexico.
“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing.
"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.
"The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!” the president said in a series of tweets.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declined Trump’s offer on Tuesday, saying during a news conference, “The worst thing you can have is war.”
"We declared war, and it didn’t work,” López Obrador said, referring to the policies of previous administrations. “That is not an option.”
A relative living in Herriman, Taylor Langford, described the victims as members of a “fundamentalist” group that practices polygamy. Langford, who grew up in the Mexico community and now lives in Utah, said his family has had roots in La Mora for generations and traveled the same road countless times without issue.