US mum ‘saves baby’ as 9 members of Mormon family killed by Mexico ‘drug cartel’

An American mother "saved" her baby daughter as at least nine members of a Mormon family were slaughtered in northern Mexico, say relatives.

Christina Johnson, 31, and at least eight relatives – including six children – died when they were shot by drug cartel members, it is claimed.

The victims – members of the LeBaron family, a break-away Mormon community that settled in northern Mexico – were on their way to a wedding and travelling in three SUVs.

Ms Johnson was found dead in her car, but her daughter Faith, aged about seven months, was found alive after being "thrown on the floor" in the back of the Chevrolet Suburban, according to family.

Three mums and six children, including twin babies, died as gunmen opened fire and one of the vehicles exploded.

Faith was rescued after spending hours inside the car with her mum's body.

Initially, the mum and daughter were reported missing after their car was hijacked and it was feared both were dead.

But Faith was found alive when the vehicle was discovered abandoned.

Relative Keisha Johnson posted a photo on Facebook of Ms Johnson cradling Faith, writing: "This sweet baby girl was found alive! Her momma saved her life! She is an angel!"

Another relative, Alissa Jones, wrote: "CHRISTINA’S BABY FAITH WAS FOUND ALIVE!!! The rescuers made it to the vehicle.

"She was found thrown on the floor. She seems to not have any immediate life threatening injuries."

Nefi LeBaron, a family member, added: "Her baby miraculously found alive in on the floor of her suburban (people carrier)."

And a relative named Jasmin Soulsby wrote: "Christina Langford was killed, but her baby girl Faith, who they thought was dead, was miraculously found alive on the floor of her suburban.

"She has been there all day alone."

Family members said three mothers and six children were killed when gunmen attacked the convoy near the small village of Bavispe, about 70 miles south of the US border.

Five of the victims were named locally as mum Rhonita Maria LeBaron, 33, her six-month-old twin babies, Titus and Tiana, and two of her other children – Krystal, eight, and Howard, 10.

Dawna Langford, 43, and two of her children were also killed, according to family members.

The massacre happened as the three mothers and 14 children travelled in a convoy from Bavispe, in the state of Sonora, to the Mormon community of LaBaron, in the neighbouring state of Chihuahua.

The LeBarons are an offshoot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Heavily-armed soldiers and national police officers responded to the incident to secure the area and hunt for the gunmen.

The governments of Chihuahua and Sonora states, both of which border the United States, said an investigation had been launched.

US Ambassador Christopher Landau, who had traveled to Sonora earlier in the day on a prearranged visit, said he was following the situation "very closely".

He wrote on Twitter : "The security of our nationals is our top priority."

Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich, who welcomes the ambassador to the state, called the killers "cowards" and vowed that they would be caught and punished.

She tweeted: "I don't know what kind of monsters dare to hurt women and children."

Members of the family have been murdered in the past.

In 2009, Julian LeBaron's brother, Benjamin, a dual US-Mexico citizen and anti-crime activist, was murdered in Chihuahua after condemning criminals who had kidnapped a relative for ransom.

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