Families hold first funerals for Mormon massacre victims

Relatives held the first funerals on Thursday for nine Mormon women and children murdered in northern Mexico, still reeling from pain and anger three days after the massacre, reports BSS/AFP.

Gathered under a large white tent in Rancho La Mora, a hamlet of neatly kept ranch-style houses and immaculately groomed pines, relatives sobbed, clutched each other in grief and struggled to find words for the magnitude of the family’s loss.

“Dawna was a person who was full of life. She loved people,” Karen Woolley, the mother of Dawna Langford, told AFP in a strained voice.

Langford, 43, was buried Thursday morning along with her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, two — the first of several funerals to be held over two days.

Earlier, long convoys of cars carrying the victims’ extended families from other parts of Mexico and the United States wound their way through the rugged mountains to the tiny hamlet, a collection of some 30 houses and five streets now tightly guarded by the Mexican army.

Relatives took turns filing past the children’s coffins, which were  decorated with family photographs, baby booties and signs reading “Angels” and “Daughters of the King.” “You can’t imagine that there are people who can do a horrible thing like that. Innocent women, innocent children,” said Kenneth Miller, whose daughter-in-law Rhonita was killed with her children Howard Jr, 12; Krystal, 10; and twins Titus and Tiana, eight months.

The victims, who had dual US-Mexican citizenship, were killed in a hail of bullets Monday on a rural road between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua, a lawless region known for turf wars between drug cartels fighting over lucrative trafficking routes to the United States.

Eight children managed to escape, six of them wounded. One 13-year-old boy helped the younger ones hide, then walked 22 kilometers (14 miles) home to get help.