At least five members from the same family died after a group of unknown gunmen opened fire, killing all of them, on Monday November 4th, a government source told Reuters. The incident happened in the Mexican border state of Sonora.
According to the source, the deceased belonged to the LeBaron family, originally from the US, who fled the strict Mormon culture to form a breakaway Mormon community which settled in Mexico several decades ago.
The victims, who hold dual US-Mexico citizenships, were allegedly caught in crossfire of two cartels in the Mexican border state of Sonora, AFP reported.
“It is with heavy hearts and unspeakable sadness we inform you that the 2 missing Mothers… along with many of their precious innocent children have been slaughtered and gone to their Rest,” a relative, Lafe Langford Jr, wrote on Monday on Facebook.
According to the BBC, a large group of three mothers and 14 children set off in a convoy of cars from Bavispe in Sonora state and were heading to La Mora in the neighbouring state of Chihuahua. They were ambushed by gunmen in Bavispe. A burnt-out bullet-proof SUV was later found by the side of the road with the remains of the victims. Some reports say more dead were found in another location, but some of the missing are believed to have survived.
Locally, it is believed it might well have been a case of mistaken identity.
The police have launched an investigation into the main cause behind the murders and to identify the right motives, especially as several members from the same family were targeted.
The US embassy’s Press Office did not give any details after several requests by media outlets to release an official statement.
The murder rate is on the rise in Mexico, especially among members of Cartels attempting to impose control over territories where illegal drug smuggling takes place. Most narcotics head toward the United States as it remains a desirable marketplace.