After the brutal murder of nine women and children in Northern Mexico, relatives of the deceased have been pushed past their breaking point. A large caravan of the northern Mormon communities in La Mora and Colonia LeBaron began heading north of the border to Arizona on Saturday, nearly a week after the ambush attack.
The two clans were pushed closer together after the cartel killings as family members were faced with the choice of leaving their property in Mexico or standing their ground.
“Nine people fell that day, women and children, and they not only killed 9 people…they killed a community that will never be the same and there’s nothing we can do about that,” said Ryan Langford, a relative of the murder victims.
The drug war in Mexico has escalated in recent years with data showing that since 2007 more than 250,000 people have died from the violence and tens of thousands more have been reported missing.
The death toll reached nearly 30,000 in 2018 alone. With danger on the rise, the relatives of the victims decided now is the time to return to the states.
“We’ve all ran to the border for a safe haven, 18 vehicles so far, and over 100 men, women, and children,” said Langford. “Took everything we could fit in our vehicles, just so we could get across the border because we definitely don’t feel safe there anymore.”
Although the question still stands, if this was a coordinated attack or just a case of mistaken identify, the Mexican government suggested that the cartel may have believed the SUV’s were a rival gang.
However, relatives of the victims rejected the mistaken identity theory by pointing out that personal belongings found near the car show they made sure everyone was dead before leaving.
“We still haven’t determined if it’s a turf war or a political war, either one, we really don’t know,” said Langford.” We’ve been through so much, we haven’t worried about that…it’s more about getting our community and our family out.”
Roughly 100 relatives who have left for the U.S. so far have safely arrived in Arizona and are looking for a temporary residence until new homes can be found.