An attack by a drug cartel near Sonora, Mexico claimed the lives of three American women and six of their children. Mexican authorities have not been able to identify the cartel which perpetrated the attack on the defenceless women and children. However, Mexican officials seem to believe that the attack was a case of mistaken identity or the family was caught in a cross-fire. On the contrary, relatives of the victims believe that the attack was planned to injure the anti-crime Mormon clan.
All the victims of the attack are a part of the La Mora community in Sonora. Alma Dayer LeBaron founded the settlement in 1924. The LeBaron family has a lucrative and well-armed settlement in Sonora.
After the attack, Devin Blake Langford, the 13-year-old son of Dawna Ray Langford, reportedly hid his siblings from the attackers. Langford saw his two brothers and his mother shot by the cartel members.
According to The Standard, Langford hid his surviving siblings on the side of the road. The intelligent teenager used bushes and leaves to cover them. In search of help, Langford headed back to the La Mora settlement which was 14 miles (23kms) away. Relatives rushed to the site to find five children hidden by the roadside.
Langford's nine-year-old sister, McKenzie, was later found by soldiers and family members as she had also gone in search of help.
The New York Post pointed out that Mexico's security minister, Alfonso Durazo, during a press conference said that the attack could have been due to mistaken identity. Drug cartel members use SUVs like the ones that the women were driving. Durazo seems to believe that the cartel shot the women thinking they were a rival cartel.
Even though there are multiple rival cartels fighting for dominance in the region, the family does not believe the mistaken identity claim.
In 2009, 16-year-old Erick LeBaron was kidnapped. However, the LeBaron family refused to pay the ransom and rallied against the cartel. Erick was returned unharmed giving the country hope that the cartel can be defeated. However, to prove a point, local cartel boss Jose "El Rikin" Escajeda abducted and murdered two LeBaron family members.
The history of clashes between the Mormons and the cartel could be a reason behind the attacks. One of the Lebaron family members who reached the site after the attack claimed to have seen 50-60 armed men on the roads close to the attack sites.
Investigators found more than 200 assault rifle shell casings from the scene.