A suspect in connection with the deaths of three women and six children was arrested in Mexico near the U.S. border. Authorities also said two hostages have been rescued.
According to the Agency for Criminal Investigation, authorities arrested the suspect in Agua Prieta, Mexico, which lies directly across the border from Douglas, Arizona. Two vehicles were also secured, including a stolen white 2019 Dodge Ram and a bullet-proof SUV.
The agency added that the suspect had guns and ammunition, including assault rifles.
“A person was arrested in possession of two .223 long guns, a .308 long gun, ten .223 caliber magazines, a .308 full magazine and a 50-gauge Barrett long rifle,” the agency said. “We are investigating the possibility that the person who was arrested had participated in these terrible events.”
Authorities said they found the two hostages tied up and gagged inside one of the vehicles. Their identities are not yet known. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Monday’s deaths may have happened at the hands of Mexican drug cartel members.
The victims were part of a faith group who lived in Sonora, an established faith-based city in Mexico, around 70 miles from Douglas, Arizona. The attack happened while they were driving to a wedding in LeBaron, Mexico.
Reports indicate that one of the victims pulled over with a flat tire, and when family members in another vehicle stopped to help, they were all attacked.
According to police, the suspects ambushed the group and opened fire close to Rancho La Mora, which lies on the border of Sonora and Chihuahua. When bullets hit the SUV and convoy the group had been traveling in, the vehicles burst into flames.
The victims were dual Mexican and U.S. citizens. They were trying to travel back to the U.S. when the attack happened.
The victims have been identified as mother Rhonita Maria LeBaron (pictured with her family) and her children, which included infant twins, an 8-year-old, and a 10-year-old.
Around eight miles away, more victims were shot. Some died while some survived. The deceased victims include:
- Dawna Ray Langford, 43
- Christina Marie Langford, 31
- Trevor Langford, 11
- Noah Langford, 3
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that one child was shot down while trying to run away. An infant, identified as 7-month-old Faith Marie Johnson, survived the incident, along with 8-month-old Brixon Oliver Langford, who was shot in the chest.
Other survivors include 14-year-old Kylie Evelyn Langford, who was shot in the foot, and 13-year-old Devin Blake Langford, who reportedly walked around 14 miles to get help.
Mckenzie Rayne Langford, 9, also survived the incident after a bullet grazed his arm. Cody Greyson Langford, 8, was reportedly shot in the jaw and leg. He’s in critical condition, according to family members.
Additional survivors include Xander Boe Langford, 4, who was shot in the back, and Jake Ryder Langford, 6, who was uninjured.
A relative of Devin Langford said that little boy made sure his six siblings were hidden in bushes before he walked by foot for help. t.
“After witnessing his mother and brothers being shot dead, Devin hid his six other siblings in the bushes and covered them with branches to keep them safe while he went for help. When he took too long to return, his 9-year-old sister left the remaining five to try again.”
Claudia Pavlovich Arellano, the governor of the state of Sonora, vowed to help catch the “monsters” responsible for the attack.
It’s unclear whether the killings were intentional or a case of mistaken identity. The family members were Mormons, but part of a polygamous spin-off of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The suspect’s name has not yet been released. Check back for further updates.
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[Feature Photo: Rhonita Maria LeBaron and family/Facebook]