MEXICO CITY - At least nine U.S. citizens, including six children, with North Dakota ties were killed Monday in an apparent ambush on a highway in the Mexican border state of Sonora, according to relatives of the victims and NBC News.
A Facebook post by family member Kendra Lee Miller says two of the children killed were 8 months old. The post also says eight children survived the attack but some were seriously wounded, including a 9-month-old who was shot in the chest and a 4-year-old shot in the back.
The victims were identified by Miller as Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29; Dawna Langford, 43; Trevor Langford, 11; and Rogan Langford, 2-and-a-half.
Also killed were Rhonita Miller, 30; Howard Miller, 12; Krystal Miller, 10; and the 8-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana Miller.
Miller said a 13-year-old, Devin Langford, escaped uninjured and then walked for about 14 miles to La Mora, where the family lived, for help after hiding his wounded siblings in bushes and covering them with branches.
Mckenzie Langford, 9, was grazed in the arm with a bullet, but she also went to look for help after Devin did not come back, Miller said. Mckenzie got lost and walked for hours in the dark before she was found by search parties.
Rhonita Miller was on her way to Phoenix,Arizona with her family when they were attacked, while the others were going to Chihuahua to visit relatives, Miller said.
Ronita Miller and her twins Titus and Tiana were killed in the attack.
La Mora is about 75 miles south of the U.S. border. The community is descended from Mormon settlers, and some members are still practicing members of the church.
There was no immediate indication of who was behind the attack.
In a statement, Representative Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., said, “My heart breaks for this family. The loss and horror is unspeakable. Those who perpetrated this evil must be brought to justice. We are working to gather as much information as we can to ensure that that the survivors are being cared for in the best way possible under these circumstances.
Senator John Hoeven, R-N.D., added, “Mikey and I send our deepest condolences to family and friends of the Miller family. The senseless killing of these women and children is despicable. The ruthless violence of the drug cartels in Mexico is abhorrent, which is why our nations should work together to stop the violence at the border.”