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Mormons mourn their massacred kin in Mexico: 'Our lives will never be the same'

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

In total, three mothers and six children were killed by assailants that Miller and her family believe were members of a Chihuahua-based drug cartel. The group has been feuding with another cartel that controls La Mora and other parts of Sonora state.

Mexican officials say assailants waged two separate attacks against the three-vehicle caravan.

The first was against LeBaron and her four children, at around 9 a.m. The second occurred about two hours later and about 10 miles up the road and targeted the other two vehicles.

It's not clear why or when the vehicles separated.

Eight children survived the second attack. Five were airlifted to Arizona to receive medical treatment, and the other three were brought to Miller's house. She stripped them of their bloody clothes and massaged them until they finally fell asleep.

"They cried for hours and hours until they couldn't cry anymore," she said.


Her son Howard arrived in La Mora on Monday, bearing gifts for his three surviving children who were not with their mom in the car that day. The toys have helped distract the kids, but they know what is going on.

Since his life as a family man exploded in a hail of gunfire, Howard Miller hasn't talked much, except to play with the kids. "I love you, baby," he tells his daughter Emma, 5, cradling her on his lap. "Come here, big boy," he says to Tristan, 7. In the den where he cuddles them hangs a sign that says, "Families are forever."

"The cartels had always respected the family," Miller says. "But they've become more ruthless."

Mexicans have long known that. Homicides have been at record levels for years here, but most killings go unnoticed by the international media.


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