‘They’re gone and dead… we need everyone to come get the kids’: Harrowing messages reveal family’s desperation after learning of the Mormon massacre – as relatives share video of a baby recovering in hospital after being shot in the chest
- WhatsApp messages exchanged between the LeBaron family have emerged detailing their agony after learning some of the relatives had been killed
- Relatives also shared video and photos of nine-month-old Brixton Langford on Thursday recovering in a U.S. hospital after being shot in the chest
- He was injured alongside four of his siblings when a drug cartel ambushed their family in Mexico’s Sonora state, killing three women and six children
- Photos were also shared of his sisters, Kylie, 14, and Mckenzie, 9, smiling from their hospital bed
- Their brothers are also recovering after eight-year-old Cody was shot in the jaw and four-year-old Xander was shot in the back
- The LeBaron family children were airlifted to the hospital on Monday
- Funerals for the nine slain victims were being held on Thursday and Friday
Harrowing WhatsApp messages have emerged detailing the LeBaron family’s agony after learning some of their relatives had been massacred and their desperation as they realized some children had actually survived the grisly attack.
The message exchange between members of the LeBaron family emerged on Thursday as relatives shared a video of a baby recovering in hospital with his siblings after being shot in the Mexican drug cartel ambush.
Three women and six children were shot dead, while five children were seriously injured, when they were attacked by the cartel in Mexico’s Sonora state on Monday.
The injured children remain in an Arizona hospital after they were airlifted there following the attack.
Relatives shared video and photos on Thursday of nine-month-old baby Brixton Langford in hospital after he was left with an open flesh wound when he was shot in the chest.
Photos were also shared of 14-year-old Kylie Langford, who was shot in the foot, and nine-year-old Mckenzie Rayne Langford, who was shot in the arm, as they smiled alongside each other in a hospital bed.
Eight-year-old Cody Greyson Langford was shot in the jaw and four-year-old Xander was shot in the back. The stage of their recovery was not immediately known.
Relatives shared video and photos of baby Brixton Langford on Thursday in the U.S. hospital where he and four other children who were shot in the attack are being treated
Brixton had to undergo surgery after being shot in the chest during the massacre on Monday. He is pictured above in hospital with a male relative
All five children who were shot belonged to Dawna Langford who was gunned down alongside her two sons, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 3.
Also killed was Christina Marie Langford Johnson and Rhonita Miller and her four children – six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana, her 10-year-old daughter Krystal and 12-year-old son Howard.
The series of WhatsApp voice messages, which were obtained by USA Today, have shed light on the terror the LeBaron felt in the hours after their relatives were gunned down.
The messages also reveal the family’s desperation as they tried to determine what had actually happened to their loved ones and the frantic search for the surviving children.
The exchange started at about 11.30am after the three mothers left their La Mora religious community with their children in three separate SUVs.
It is a decades-old settlement in Sonora state founded as part of an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Rhonita and her children were driving to Phoenix to pick up her husband, while Christina and Dawna were traveling to Chihuahua to visit family.
One of the first messages reports that Rhonita’s vehicle was found ‘full of holes and smoking’.
Photos were also shared of 14-year-old Kylie Langford, who was shot in the foot, and nine-year-old Mckenzie Rayne Langford, who was shot in the arm, as they smiled alongside each other in a hospital bed with a male relative
Nine-year-old Mckenzie Rayne Langford was shot in the arm. Mckenzie was the girl who was listed as missing for a while after she set off looking for help after the attack. She walked for hours in the dark before she was found several hours after the other children were rescued
Rhonita Miller and four of her children – her six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana, her 10-year-old daughter Krystal and 12-year-old son Howard – were all killed. Another two mothers, Dawna Langford and Christina Langford Johnson, as well as Dawna’s sons, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 3, were also all killed
‘There’s not a sign of one person and we have no clue where Dawna and Christina are. We don’t know if Christina went on by herself, whether she waited there. We have no idea or where anybody is at this moment,’ the message read.
Devin Langford, 13, was one of the few uninjured young people and quickly took charge, eventually walking about back to La Mora for help. He had covered his siblings with branches to hide them before going for help
Another message soon after said: ‘It’s on fire on the mountain with bullets all through it. We don’t know anything. People are hiding in the bushes. Pray mightily for my family. We have no idea what’s going on’.
‘Nita, the four kids, they’re gone and dead,’ a message from one woman said. ‘They’ve been burnt to death in the vehicle.’
By that stage, a 13-year-old boy who had survived had hidden his injured siblings and walked the 13 miles back to La Mora to get help.
The messages continued to circulate as soon as the boy returned and said his siblings were still alive.
‘Dawna and Christina are dead. And Christina’s baby is dead and two more kids,’ the message said.
Another message said: ‘All the adult guys with guns ASAP. There’s five kids sitting on the side of the road. Got shot in the mouth, shot in the foot, shot in the leg. We have the oldest boy of Dawna’s with us right here and he’s going to show us where they are… We got the ambulance. It’s going to meet us here. We need everyone up here now, to come with us to get the kids.’
The nine LeBaron family victims, including three mothers and six children, were gunned down on Monday morning while traveling in three SUVS from the Mormon community where they live in Sonora state
Soldiers assigned to Mexico’s National Guard stand by a bullet-riddled vehicle belonging to one of the mothers gunned down in the cartel ambush that killed nine
This message followed: ‘Devin hid five kids in the bushes, but we don’t have them yet, so pray for children. … These children are hidden.
‘Cody’s hurt really bad. He’s shot in the face, Xander shot in the back and Kylie shot in the foot.’
After family located the hidden children, a harrowing message came through that the two other mothers were dead, along with two more children.
‘We’ve got Dawna, Trevor, Rogan and Christina in the back of our truck and we’re taking them to La Mora,’ the message said.
What the family has since learned is that when the killers struck, the three LeBaron families were spread out along a 12-mile stretch of road near the border of the two states at about 9.40am.
As bullets began to pummel the first car, a white Chevrolet Suburban, Christina Marie Langford Johnson stepped out waving her arms to show that they were not gang members.
Christina was shot dead but her seven-month-old baby, Faith, survived the attack after her mother appeared to have placed her car seat on the floor before she got out.
Gunfire also ripped into a second white Suburban that was carrying Dawna Langford and nine children, about one mile back. Dawna and two of her sons, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 3, were killed.
Footage of the vehicle showed more than a dozen bullet holes in the roof and sides of the vehicle. Inside, blood was smeared across seats and children’s toys.
Dawna’s 13-year-old son Devin was the one who quickly took charge and has been credited with saving the lives of his siblings.
A third car, 11 miles behind, was shot up and burst into flames, killing Rhonita Miller and her four children – her six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana, her 10-year-old daughter Krystal and 12-year-old son Howard.
Dawna’s injured children are pictured above in hospital. Kylie Evelyn, 14, is pictured left in hospital with blood soaked jeans as she is comforted by a relative following thew shocking attack. Brixon Oliver, 10 months, feeds from a bottle (right) in hospital alongside his siblings
Dawna’s injured children are pictured above in hospital. Brothers Xander Boe, 4, and Cody Grayson, 7, suffered gunshot wounds in the attack
A funeral service was held in La Mora for Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 3, on Thursday.
Funerals for Christina Langford Johnson and Rhonita Miller and her four children – six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana, Krystal, 10, and Howard, 12 – are expected to be buried in Colonia LeBaron – another settlement in Chihuahua state – on Friday.
Members of the Mexican National Guard have been providing protection for the LeBaron family in the wake of the tragedy.
Dozens of high-riding pickups and SUVS, many with U.S. license plates from as far away as North Dakota, have been arriving in La Mora over the past few days.
Many had to travel over the same dirt road where the attack occurred.
At least 1,000 visitors bunked down in the community overnight ahead of the funeral, filling floor space in the 30 or so homes or sleeping in tents they brought with them.
‘We came prepared to sleep on the floor, in tents. Whatever is needed to support the families who died in this terrorist act,’ said Alex LeBaron, a former Congressman and cousin of one of the women.
Alex LeBaron, who was with the convoy, told Mexican radio that mourners had come from the U.S. and across Mexico, bringing food and mattresses for the journey.
The LeBaron family, which came to Mexico in the early 20th century, now claims to be made up of more than 5,000 members.
Authorities and relatives say the killings appeared to be the work of the Juarez and the Sinaloa Cartels, who fight for control of lucrative drug routes that run through the sparsely populated mountainous areas into the U.S.
A young boy sobs as he reads a eulogy during the funeral service of Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 3, after they were killed by drug cartel gunmen
Men dig a mass grave for some of the women and children related to the extended LeBaron family who were killed by drug cartel gunmen
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