Soldiers stand guard as Mexican farm town buries 3 of 9 slain Americans

Men carry the remains of Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, who were killed by drug cartel gunmen, before their burial at the cemetery in La Mora, Sonora state, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Three women and six of their children, all members of the extended LeBaron family, died when they were gunned down in an attack while traveling along Mexico's Chihuahua and Sonora state border on Monday. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Clad in shirt sleeves, suits or modest dresses, about 500 mourners embraced in grief under white tents erected in La Mora, a hamlet of about 300 people who consider themselves Mormon but are not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some wept, and some sang hymns.

Members of the extended community — many of whom, like the victims, are dual U.S-Mexican citizens — had built the coffins themselves and used shovels to dig the shared grave in La Mora’s small cemetery. Farmers and teenage boys carried the coffins.

People attend the funeral of Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, who were killed in an ambush earlier this week, in La Mora, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. As Mexican soldiers stood guard, the three were laid to rest in a single grave at the first funeral for the victims of a drug cartel ambush that left nine American women and children dead. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

 

Mourners filed past to view the bodies and pay their final respects to Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2.

They were laid to rest together, just as they died together Monday when attackers fired a hail of bullets at their SUV on a dirt road leading to another settlement, Colonia LeBaron. Six children and three women in all were killed in the attack on the convoy of three SUVs.

In a raw, tearful service, relatives recounted valiant efforts to try to rescue their loved ones after the ambush, and how some of the children walked miles out of the mountains to the town, situated about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of the Arizona border.

There was no talk of revenge in the deeply religious community, only justice.

“God will take care of the wicked,” Jay Ray, Dawna’s father, said in a eulogy.

Men carry the remains of Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, who were killed by drug cartel gunmen, before they are buried at a family cemetery in La Mora, Sonora state, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Three women and six of their children, all members of the extended LeBaron family, died when they were gunned down in an attack while traveling along Mexico’s Chihuahua and Sonora state border on Monday. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

 

David Langford called his wife a hero for telling her children to duck as their vehicle came under fire.

“I find it hard to forgive,” he said. “I usually am a very forgiving guy, but this kind of atrocity has no place in a civilized community.”

“My children were brutally, brutally murdered,” he said, “and my beloved wife.”

Of the survivors, he said, son Cody had had a plate installed in his jaw, which was being wired shut for six weeks, and the rest were “actually doing really well.”

Dawna’s younger sister Amber Ray, 34, eulogized her as a devoted mother to her 13 children and homemaker who loved a good laugh and baked the best birthday cakes around.

“There isn’t anything in life that a cup of coffee couldn’t make better,” Amber said Dawna was fond of saying.

The three coffins, two of them child-size, were placed into the beds of pickup trucks, and family members rode with them to the grave, hundreds of mourners following on foot.

Later in the day, a memorial was held for Rhonita Miller and four of her children, all of whom also were murdered on the road between La Mora and Chihuahua state.

In a grassy backyard before hundreds of attendees, she was eulogized as an “innocent spirit, beautiful heart” and a woman whose laugh “could light up a room.”

Son Howard Jr. loved basketball and recently was delighted to make his first three-pointer; daughter Kristal was “the apple of her daddy’s eye;” twins Titus and Tiana, born March 13, were remembered as “two perfect angels in the first precious moments of their lives.”

Their bodies were to be taken later across the road where they died for burial in Colonia Le Baron. The two communities, whose residents are related, drew together in a show of grief.

Mexican soldiers stand guard as Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, are laid to rest at a family cemetery in La Mora, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The three were laid to rest in a single grave Thursday, the first funeral for the victims of a drug cartel ambush that left nine American women and children dead. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

 

Patrols of Mexican army troops passed by regularly on the hamlet’s only paved road.

Dozens of high-riding pickups and SUVS, many with U.S. license plates from as far away as North Dakota, arrived in La Mora for the funeral, traveling over the dirt road where the attack occurred.

Gunmen from the Juarez drug cartel had apparently set up the ambush as part of a turf war with the Sinaloa cartel, and the U.S. families drove into it.

Mexican officials said the attackers may have mistaken the group’s large SUVs for those of a rival gang.

But Julian LeBaron, whose brother Benjamin, an anti-crime activist, was killed by cartel gunmen in 2009, disputed that.

Mexican soldiers stand guard as Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, are laid to rest at a family cemetery in La Mora, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The three were laid to rest in a single grave Thursday, the first funeral for the victims of a drug cartel ambush that left nine American women and children dead. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

 

“They had to have known that it was women and children,” he said. He said the eight children who survived reported that one mother got out of her SUV and raised her hands and was gunned down anyway.

To many, the bloodshed seemed to demonstrate once more that the government has lost control over vast areas of Mexico to drug traffickers.

And it called into question President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s “hugs, not bullets” security strategy of trying to solve underlying social problems instead of battling drug cartels with military force.

It was also the latest shocking act of cartel violence to suggest that the old rules against killing foreigners, women or children are collapsing.

“Now this place is going to become a ghost town,” said Steven Langford, a former La Mora mayor whose sister Christina Langford was among the women killed. “A lot of people are going to leave.”

___

Associated Press Writer Maria Verza contributed to this report from Mexico City.

https://apnews.com/3087a9c62bf34ad29fd822d35d72f33f

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Posted in: Crime & Criminals, Deaths, Drugs/Drug Trafficking, Gangs, Homicide, International Policing, Juveniles, Murder/Attempted Murder, Shootings, Victims of Crime

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

19 − 6 =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.