Deadly attack on Mormons on US-Mexico border

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Zoe Sottile and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:37 p.m. ET, November 5, 2019
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8:42 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Her family members were killed in the attack: "It just seems like a bad dream"

Leah Staddon told CNN affiliate KTVK that her relatives were among the victims of the attack.

“I think a lot of us are just speechless. It’s just horrific,” Staddon said. “My sister could actually see the smoke from her house and they heard the gunshots… just can’t believe that this has actually happened to our family. It just seems like a bad dream.”
8:31 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Mormon Church calls attack "terrible and tragic," but says victims were not church members

From CNN's Daniel Burke

People walk past a reflection pool and the historic Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah.
People walk past a reflection pool and the historic Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. George Frey/Getty Images

The Mormons killed near the US-Mexico border appear to be members of a fundamentalist sect that is separate from the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

CNN reached out to LDS-Church spokesperson. Here's what he said:

“This does sound like a terrible and tragic thing. Unfortunately, I don’t have any information, as from what I can tell, these were members of a polygamist sect, and not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
8:29 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Mexico's president: "Innocent children have lost their lives"

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Mexico's Security Minister confirmed nine people were killed Monday in an attack on a Mormon family traveling in Mexico. 

Speaking in a daily news conference alongside Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo confirmed three women and six children were killed in the attack. A family member confirmed the deaths to CNN earlier today.

Durazo said the attack could have been a case of mistaken identity of "conflicting groups in the area."

President Obrador offered his condolences to the family, calling it a "terrible tragedy," adding, "innocent children have lost their lives."

8:18 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Video of the scene shows a burnt-out vehicle

Footage captured at the scene of the brutal attack shows the remains of the vehicle transporting a Mormon family living near the US-Mexico as a burnt shell.

A relative said nine family members were killed in the attack.

Here's what the scene looks like:

A screengrab taken from video of the scene posted on social media. 
A screengrab taken from video of the scene posted on social media. 

8:11 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

How the US State Department is responding to attack reports

 

The State Department has responded to early reports of several family members being killed in Mexico. 

Nine family members with dual citizenships — to the US and Mexico — were killed in northern Mexico on Monday, Alex LeBaron, a family member of the Mormon community told CNN from Mexico today.

Here's the statement from a State Department spokesperson: 

"We are aware of these reports. The safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad is among the Department of State’s top priorities. When a U.S. citizen is missing or passes away overseas, we engage with local officials at multiple levels and provide all appropriate consular assistance."

8:09 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Women and children were "burnt alive," relative says

From CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore in London, and Maija Ehlinger and Raja Razek in Atlanta

Nine family members with dual US-Mexico citizenships died in a violent attack in northern Mexico on Monday, Alex LeBaron, a family member told CNN from Mexico today.

Speaking to CNN via Twitter, LeBaron said that those “burnt alive” included three women, four small children and two infants.

“Women and children were massacred, burned alive. Mothers were screaming for the fire to stop," he said.

Another seven children were injured in the incident and flown from Mexico to Douglas, Arizona where they were then to be transported to Tucson hospitals, LeBaron added.

8:03 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Deadly attack on Mormon family at US-Mexico border

From CNN’s Natalie Gallon in Mexico, Gerardo Lemos, Maija Ehlinger and Valeria Longhi in Atlanta.

Members of a Mormon community were attacked while traveling near the US-Mexico border, authorities said today.

A relative of the victims said nine people were killed.

The group — made up mostly of women and children — were traveling through the region of Sierra Madre Occidental, the Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua Cesar Peniche Espejel said in a statement released today.

The attack took place in the region of in the region of Sierra Madre Occidental.

Espejel said in the statement that due to the remote location of the attack, it has “not been possible to specify an official figure of the total number of victims.” He has confirmed that officials from Chihuahua have been sent to the area to assist. 

Early this morning, Christopher Landau, US Ambassador to Mexico, sent a tweet from his verified account stating, “The security of our nationals is our main priority. I am following closely the situation in the mountains between Sonora and Chihuahua.”