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Local man says relatives killed in attack in northern Mexico


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Photo of damaged SUV moments after attack | Courtesy photo

IDAHO FALLS – A group of U.S. citizens living in Mexico with ties to eastern Idaho were attacked and killed Monday while en route to the U.S., family members say.

Gregory Leany of Idaho Falls tells those involved in the attack were his cousins. Three women were traveling with their children from La Mora Monday to do some shopping in the U.S. and meet their husbands. The attack occurred near the Sonora-Chihuahua State line, he says.

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“They were ambushed and slaughtered on a federal highway,” a husband of one of the women told Leany. “All were caught in the middle of a mafia ambush. Three women and seven innocent children dead at the hands of an endless war on drugs.”

A link to a Facebook video sent to Monday night shows a man, which Leany identified as his uncle, Kenny Miller, finding a badly damaged SUV moments after the attack took place.

“Nina and four of my grandchildren are burnt and shot-up right on the road out of La Mora,” Miller says in the video.

Immediately following the attack, Leany says those involved scrambled and ran. For a large portion of the day Monday, several members of the group were unaccounted for.

“At this very moment there are two more suburbans with two of our families totaling two wives and 10 children that are missing and/or kidnapped by the cartel…We need help immediately!!,” a woman wrote on Facebook Monday evening.

Three women and seven children were killed, Leany says. Others were injured. Leany did not know the names of those who were killed, but a report from the Associated Press identifies one of the women as Rhonita Maria LeBaron. She apparently died along with her twin 6-month-old babies and two other children age 8 and 10.

“We are a community of US citizens that live and operate between Mexico and the United States we are under attack as we speak by the cartels in Mexico,” the woman wrote. “We have been petitioning the American embassies in Mexico all day long to no avail. We need this to be shared and the whole world to witness the atrocious inhumane and barbaric acts that were committed against us today.”

The reason for the attack is not entirely clear. Leany believes the group crossed paths with dueling drug cartels and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Leany says the site where the attack occurred is just two hours south of Douglas, Arizona. Authorities in the area are investigating. This is a developing story with more details forthcoming. We will post updates when they are available.