Town buries 3 ambush victims
Nov. 08, 2019
500 mourners attend from Mexico hamlet of about 300
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) less
With Mexican soldiers standing guard, a mother and two sons were carried to the grave in hand-hewn pine coffins Thursday at the first funeral for the victims of a drug cartel ambush that left nine American women and children dead.
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, some sang hymns.
Members of the extended community had built the coffins themselves, and used shovels to dig a single, large grave for the three in the rocky soil of La Mora's small cemetery.
The coffins were placed on low tables, and mourners filed past to view the bodies and pay their last respects to Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2.
They were to be 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 were killed in the attack on the convoy of three SUVs.
There was no talk of revenge in this highly religious community, only a deep thirst for justice.
"The eyes of the world are upon what happened here, and there are saints all over this world whose hearts have been touched," Jay Ray, Dawna's father, said in a eulogy.
Patrols of Mexican army troops passed by regularly on the hamlet's only paved road, providing security that was lacking the day of the killings.
The other victims are expected to be buried in Colonia LeBaron later.
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.