MEXICO CITY - Family members of the victims say they have direct ties to North Dakota
Photo Courtesy:Tiffany Langford
A tragedy the family is describing as a massacre.
Family members say many of the victims have ties to Williston.
Three families, nine women and children dead and eight survivors.
"We found out that Nita and her four kids were dead inside that vehicle that exploded from all those gunshots. There were still two missing vehicles I mean essentially it was three women and their children," said Johny Langford, family member of victims.
Families are in shock to find out their loved ones were murdered.
"We wake up this morning and hope it was all a nightmare," said family member Tiffany Langford.
All three families with ties to North Dakota. Rhonita Miller and four of her children killed lived in North Dakota for several years. Her husband currently works in Williston.
"I was able to be with Rhonita's family when it first happened and see how amazing, strong and faithful they are of course. They're all just heart broken and can't believe that this is actually real. That something like this could happen to our family that could be so tragic," said Tiffany Langford.
Christina Langford Johnson also died from the shootout. Her 7-month-old survived. Family members say they found the baby in her car seat on the floor uninjured. Christina was headed to meet her husband Tyler.
Johny Langford said: "Tyler went down there to pick her up. He left about a week ago. He was up here working and he was over in the town where she was going to meet him. And then they were going to drive back up here."
Dawna Langford and two of her children were also killed. Her oldest sons live in North Dakota.
Dozens mourning the nine lost and wondering why this happened to their loved ones.
Johny said, "I just go down there for vacation when I can to visit. Lately it seems like we go down for tragedies."
Johny says he doesn't believe it was a direct hit on his family. He says the area has become a hot zone.
The government says nearly 30 U.S. citizens have been killed in Mexico between the beginning of the year and June.
The state department doesn't have numbers from the last five months.
Monday, nine more were added to the list.
The family of those killed say all the victims were living back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico
"They're brave kids. I think it goes to show the character of their families the way these kids handled this and were brought up well. They're smart," said Johny Langford.
Thirteen-year-old Devin is one of the survivors. His family says he wasn't injured and walked more than a dozen miles to La Mora to get help. He hid his bleeding but living siblings in the bushes and covered them with branches
"We do know that his mom tried to plea for mercy and to say we have children in the vehicle and they were still shot. So, whatever the case whether they were mafia or not... according to him...they were trying to make a statement of some sort to our Sinoran mafia," said Tiffany Langford.
"They were just gunned down like animals. I hope that we can have justice. I know the cartels powerful. A lot of people are afraid to speak out. But yeah it's a crime against humanity. It's a crime against families all over the world," said Johny Langford.
President Trump tweeted Tuesday morning saying if Mexico needs or requests help cleaning out these monsters the U.S. stand ready willing and able.
President Trump also said it's time for Mexico with, the help of the U.S., to wage war on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador thanked President Trump for the support and appreciated the offered help. He said it's Mexico's responsibility to deal with this incident.