Footage has emerged of the moment a seven-month-old girl was found alive in a bullet-ridden car after her mother shielded her from the gunfire that killed nine members of a Mormon family in a drug cartel ambush.
Christina Langford Johnson was among those shot dead when cartel gunmen opened fire on a dirt road in Mexico’s northern state of Sonora on Monday.
She has been credited with saving her daughter Faith’s life after she stashed her car seat on the floor of her Suburban as the gunfire rang out.
Family say Christina then got out of her vehicle and waved her arms to show the gunmen she wasn’t a threat.
She may have moved away from the vehicle to distract their attention because her bullet-ridden body was found about 15 yards away from the SUV.
Footage has emerged of the moment a baby girl was found alive in a bullet-ridden car after her mother Christina Langford Johnson shielded her from the gunfire in Mexico on Monday
Video has since emerged of baby Faith being found unharmed and strapped in her car seat more than eight hours later when family and authorities arrived at the scene.
Faith has since been reunited with her father Tyler Johnson and was pictured smiling as he embraced her at their home.
Christina and two other mothers were driving in separate vehicles with their children from their La Mora religious community, which is a decades-old settlement in Sonora state founded as part of an offshoot of the Mormon church.
Rhonita Miller and four of her children – her six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana, her 10-year-old daughter Krystal and 12-year-old son Howard – were all killed.
Dawna Langford and her two sons, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 3, were also gunned down.
Eight children, some just infants, survived the ambush. Those surviving children not only escaped the drug cartel gunmen who killed their mothers but managed to hide in the brush for hours until help arrived.
The five wounded children were seriously enough injured that Mexican authorities flew them to the border in a military helicopter to receive hospital care in the United States. Sonora state health officials said they were ‘stable’ at the moment of transfer.
Christina Langford Johnson has been credited with saving her daughter Faith’s life after she stashed her car seat on the floor of her Suburban as the gunfire rang out. Faith has since been reunited with her father Tyler Johnson and was pictured smiling as he embraced her at their home
Soldiers assigned to Mexico’s National Guard stand by a bullet-riddled vehicle belonging to one of the mothers gunned down in the cartel ambush that killed nine
Devastated family members of the slain victims visited the scene of the grisly murders late on Tuesday and were pictured sobbing as they saw the burnt out and bullet riddled SUVs
Three other children who were not wounded, including baby Faith, are in the care of family members in La Mora.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, heroic details emerged of the attack including how Christina put her daughter out of harms way.
Dawna’s quick-thinking 13-year-old son Devin was also credited with saving lives after he covered his injured siblings with branches to hide them before walking 13 miles to get help from relatives back at La Mora.
Relatives say he reached the community six hours later.
Family members alerted authorities before arming themselves with guns to go out searching for the injured children. It was during this search that baby Faith was found in the back of the vehicle.
What the children went through in the remote, mountainous area of Sonora state is nearly indescribable.
Kendra Miller, a relative, said in an account of the shootings that Devin was one of the few uninjured young people and quickly took charge, eventually walking about back to La Mora for help.
‘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,’ she said.
At least three American mothers and six children from a Mormon community based in northern Mexico have been massacred in an attack blamed on drug cartel gunmen. Maria Rhonita Miller was killed along with her six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana (left and right), her 10-year-old daughter Krystal (left) and 12-year-old son Howard (center)
Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and two of her children, Trevor, 11, (right with his mom) and Rogan, 3, (left) also died in the attack
‘When he took too long to return, his 9-year-old sister left the remaining five to try again.’
That girl, Mckenzie Rayne Langford, walked for hours in the dark before she was found several hours after the other children were rescued. She was listed as missing for a while.
Altogether, the kids were on their own from about 1pm, when the ambush began, until about 7.30pm, when they were rescued.
The suspect – only identified as a 30-year-old man named Leonardo – was found late Tuesday in the town of Agua Prieta, right at the border with the U.S. state of Arizona, holding two hostages who were gagged and tied inside a vehicle
In recordings of calls between the rescuers, they can be heard debating whether it was better to risk more lives, or wait for an hour or two until Mexican army troops arrived. It was an agonizing decision.
What they saw when they found the children was terrifying.
Dawna’s eight-year-old son Cody Greyson Langford had been shot in the jaw and leg. Her 14-year-old daughter Kylie was shot in the foot and four-year-old Xander was shot in the back.
Brixon, a nine-month-old, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. Her son Jake was found injured in the same spot but it’s not clear what his injuries are.
A suspected drug lord was arrested late Tuesday and is under investigation for the slaughter of the LeBaron family.
The suspect – only identified as a 30-year-old man named Leonardo – was found in the town of Agua Prieta, right at the border with the U.S. state of Arizona, holding two hostages who were gagged and tied inside a vehicle.
Authorities said the suspect, who is part of an El Chapo rival cartel, was also found in the possession of four assault rifles and ammunition, as well as various large vehicles including a bullet-proofed SUV.
The hostages are not believed to be related to the nine LeBaron family victims.
Authorities said the suspect, who is part of an El Chapo rival cartel, was also found in the possession of four assault rifles and ammunition, as well as various large vehicles including a bullet-proofed SUV
Devastated family members of the slain victims visited the scene of the grisly murders late on Tuesday and were pictured sobbing as they saw the burnt out and bullet riddled SUVs.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Wednesday he was open to allowing U.S. law enforcement to help out with the massacre investigation as officials revealed that the weapons used in the attack were smuggled from the U.S.
Officials have said that the cartel gunmen may have mistaken the group’s large SUVs for those of a rival gang amid a vicious turf war.
They also blamed Juarez drug cartel and its armed wing, La Linea, for the attack on the LeBaron family.
La Linea’s gunmen had entered Sinaloa cartel territory and set up an armed outpost on a hilltop and an ambush further up the road.
The Sinaloa cartel was previously headed by Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán. The area where the attack occurred is dominated by a Sinaloa cartel offshoot called the Salazar.
The Juarez cartel apparently wanted to send a message that it controlled the road into Chihuahua. It was this invasion force that the American mothers and their three vehicles drove into.
It was only after the first vehicle belonging to the family was shot up and set alight that 50 or 60 Sinaloa cartel gunmen showed up to see what had happened.
‘It is believed that the La Linea criminal organization acted on a threat from the Salazars to enter Chihuahua,’ General Homero Mendoza said. ‘It decided to send a cell to the Janos and Bavispe city limits… This cell was sent to stop any incursion of the Salazar criminal cell to Chihuahua.’
The military general also said that La Linea and the Salazars were involved in another shootout earlier on Monday that resulted in the death of a man.