SALT LAKE CITY - In response to the tragedy Monday in Mexico that took the lives of many members of the LeBaron family, Eric Hawkins, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared this statement with media:
"We are heartbroken to hear of the tragedy that has touched these families in Mexico. Though it is our understanding that they are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our love, prayers and sympathies are with them as they mourn and remember their loved ones," he said.
According to the Deseret News, three women and six children were reportedly killed by Mexican drug cartels. The newspaper reported that Mexican Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo believed that the gunmen mistook the travelers for a rival gang.
The travelers, that included 8-month-old twins, were gunned down on Monday during the ambush near La Mora, a community settled by early Latter-day Saints.
Five children escaped the slaughter and are being treated in Arizona hospitals.
"In addition to the nine who were killed, family members said six other children were wounded — including a 9-year-old girl who was shot in the arm and found hours later — and two who escaped unharmed, including a 7-month-old girl who was found still in her car seat in one of the vehicles that was riddled with bullet holes," said the paper.
CNN also reported that 13-year-old survivor, Devin Blake Langord, walked six hours to get help for his siblings. The boy hid six of his siblings in bushes before setting off for help.
The travelers had both Mexican and United States citizen and frequently traveled to Utah.