Mormons in Mexico bury last victim of ambush

Mexico City (AFP) –


A Mormon community based in northern Mexico buried on Saturday the last of nine members killed in an ambush that is being called a possible case of mistaken identity.

Christina Langford, 29, was put to rest inside a simple wooden coffin built by the Mormons themselves.

Atop it were photos of her with her children and husband, who are still alive.

White flowers on its spelled out the word "mommy."

The other two women and six children killed in the attack were buried Thursday and Friday.

It happened in a hail of bullets Monday on a rural road in violent Sonora state along the US border.

All nine had dual US-Mexican citizenship.

Mexican investigators say the victims could have been mistaken for rivals of a drug trafficking cartel called La Linea.

The attack happened on an isolated dirt road in a region known for turf wars between drug cartels fighting over lucrative trafficking routes to the United States.

But relatives -- who have campaigned against the criminal groups that have taken over the area -- insist the attack was deliberate.

"It was not an attack on us, but there is confusion -- someone is wanting to send a message and they used our family," said Adrian LeBaron, father of one of the murdered women and a leader of this Mormon community.

Eight children managed to escape, six of them wounded. One 13-year-old boy helped the younger ones hide, then walked 22 kilometers (14 miles) home to get help.

The three families involved in the shooting -- the Langfords, Millers and LeBarons -- are part of a large group of US Mormons who emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century, fleeing persecution for their traditions, including polygamy.