SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A mother and her two children were laid to rest in Mexico Thursday. The family of three was among the nine gunned down near the U.S.-Mexican border.
Following the somber day, the families tell ABC4 News they are taking a long pause.
“We are in intense shock and fear,” said one cousin we spoke with and agreed to conceal the identity of because family members are so scared of more violence to come.
The cousin goes on to tell us, “The town is just extremely sober and heartbroken it is just a tragedy for the whole family.”
Thursday, our viewers saw one of the first glimpses of the location where Rhonita Miller and her four children were gunned down. The charred remains show where their car lit on fire.
“The town is just extremely sober and heartbroken it is just a tragedy for the whole family.”
In 2018, Mexico saw 33,000 homicides. 2019 is expected to break that record according to our partners at CNN.
Where the massacre occurred is considered to be one of the most dangerous areas in Mexico.
One of the family members Julian LeBaron said, “Yeah we see the armed people all the time and they kind of leave us alone.”
The families do not know what changed but believe they were a target.
One question on the minds of the community is, ‘Do we stay or do we go?’
“La Mora right now essentially has been compromised, and so people would want to stay just to guard the land,” said the cousin.
Mexican soldiers are locking down the area. Snipers are in the hills and checkpoints are placed leading into the city. Mexican soldiers wear masks to conceal their own identities in the location.
“If they secure it again and it is safe and some of the families would definitely want to stay because we have all of our crops and pecan season coming up that needs to be harvested,” the cousin added. “If we don’t get our crops you know harvested and sold we can’t survive.”
The cousin tells us everyone is on pause and will need to make the big decision on what to do next.
“They might just camp out in Le Baron for a couple of months until things calm down,” she says. “They might go to work with their families in North Dakota.”
The families work in the construction trade and may move for the available jobs.
The cousin went on to say, “It is just really hard to abandon the place you grew up and worked so hard and invested so much money and turning it into a safe place for your family.”
Family members tell ABC4 News they will lay to rest Christina Lanford along with Rhonita Miller and her four children, including a set of infant twins as early as Friday.