Relatives of massacre victims torn over future in Mexico as most flee

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 13, 2020 - Duration: 02:03s

Relatives of massacre victims torn over future in Mexico as most flee

Two months after tragedy struck, beefed-up security has helped calm the residents of a tight-knit community of U.S.-Mexican families of Mormon origin, but only a few families have stayed put.

Lisa Bernhard has more.

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Relatives of massacre victims torn over future in Mexico as most flee

Two months after residents of a tight-knit Mormon community in Mexico were gunned down by suspected drug cartel members, beefed up security has helped calm the fears of those who remain - but for how long.

The gangland ambush on a dusty road in the small town of La Mora in Northern Mexico left three mothers and six children dead, their charred vehicles riddled with bullets.

Today, the roads in and around La Mora are patrolled by hundreds of heavily-armed soldiers and National Guard troops, with helicopters buzzing overhead.

The area is also flooded with FBI and Mexican investigators.

Some locals, shaken by the violence and intense military presence, have nevertheless chosen to remain, despite nearly all of the family members having both U.S. and Mexican citizenship, meaning they can easily travel, or relocate, between both countries.

One of those who is staying is Mateo Langford.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LOCAL MEMBER OF MORMON COMMUNITY, MATEO LANGFORD, SAYING: "This is my place.

I was born here in Mexico, I've spent all my life here.

So I'm not going anywhere else.

I didn't leave when this all happened.

There are many people who stayed here and who have not gone.

It's like everywhere, bad things happen everywhere.

We can't run.

What happens if something bad happens over there - bad things happen in the United States every day." On Sunday Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador visited the site and said a monument will be put up to memorialize the nine who were killed.

Beyond the sympathetic hand extended to the victims' families, Lopez Obrador's one-year-old government has struggled to tame rampant drug violence nationwide, with homicides at a record high and several high-profile security setbacks playing out on his watch.

The large families populating this part of northern Mexico stem from breakaway Mormon communities that began fleeing the United States more than a century ago in search of safe havens for their polygamist beliefs.

The Mexican government has arrested seven suspects to date as part of the investigation into the massacre, but the reasons behind the killings remain shrouded in mystery.

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