Details surrounding the horrific attack on American women and children in Mexico by drug cartel forces are emerging — details that paint a picture of a cold, cruel ambush and the fight to survive by the children who managed to flee the onslaught.
Two families caught in the attack lived in Williston, according to a relative of the victims who made a Facebook post Monday evening.
The following narrative is pieced together from news media reports and information shared on the GoFundMe page set up for the families affected by the tragedy.
This is not an authoritative or official narrative — it is based only on information that is available at this time. Additional information or revised information may come out as the situation becomes clearer.
On the morning of November 4th, three women with 14 children between them drove away in three SUVs from LaMora, a small family community in the mountains of northeastern Sonora.
Two of the women were heading out to see other family members in Chihuahua. The other was heading out to pick up her husband at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona.
The first vehicle was driven by Rhonita Maria Miller. She had four of her seven children with her in the car: 12-year-old Howard, Jr., 10-year-old Krystal, and Titus and Tiana, 8-month-old twins.
The second vehicle was driven by Christina Langford Johnson, and with her was 7-month-old Faith.
The third vehicle was driven by Dawna Langford, and she was carrying her nine children: 11-year-old Trevor, 2-year-old Rogan, 14-year-old Kylie, 13-year-old Devin, 9-year-old Mckenzie, 8-year-old Cody, 6-year-old Jake, 4-year-old Xander, and 9-month-old Brixon.
She was heading for the Phoenix airport to pick up her husband David.
Around 11:30 a.m., local time, at some point in the journey, the three vehicles were fired upon by what are believed to be members of a Mexican drug cartel, possibly mistaking the vehicles for those of a rival cartel.
And the attack was withering. Rhonita’s vehicle took the brunt of the ambush — her vehicle was riddled with bullet holes and, apparently, exploded when one or more of the bullets hit the vehicle’s gas tank.
No one in the vehicle survived.
About 10 miles ahead were the SUVs driven by Christina and Dawna, being shot at from in front of them down the road.
Christina’s baby, Faith, was in a car seat in the vehicle and it appears Christina put the child seat down on the floor of the car, likely in an effort to protect Faith from the gunfire.
Christina then apparently jumped out of the car waving her arms, trying to alert the shooters to the fact it was women and children they were firing on, not rival cartel members.
Her efforts were in vain — she was cut down by the shooters.
In the third vehicle, Dawna and two of her sons, Trevor and Rogan, were killed in the hail of bullets.
Meanwhile, 13-year-old Devin got his other six siblings out of the car and they hid in bushes along the side of the road. Five of the seven children had gunshot wounds — Devin, however, was unhurt. At some point, he covered the six in branches and told them he was going to try and find some help.
When he didn’t return in a short period of time, 9-year-old Mckenzie left the remaining five children to also try and find help.
Devin had walked back to LaMora, arriving around 5:30 p.m., and told relatives there about the ambush.
Devin’s uncles armed themselves and left to try and find the hidden children, knowing many of them were injured. At around 7:30, p.m., they found the children — and baby Faith, in the car seat, uninjured.
Mckenzie was still missing.
When she left, she walked about 10 miles but got lost and was wandering around in the dark looking for help.
She was found by search parties made up of soldiers who had arrived earlier and residents of LaMora and surrounding towns around 9:30 p.m. She had been grazed in the arm by a bullet during the attack but was otherwise in good shape.
Dawna’s five children who were injured were picked up by a waiting ambulance and treated at the local hospital. Later, they, along with their father, David, were ultimately transported to Phoenix where the children were being treated.
Devin, his brother Jake, and Christina’s baby Faith, all uninjured, are currently in the care of their aunts and grandmothers in LaMora.
When authorities were able to investigate the ambush scene, they found over 200 shell casings, mostly from assault rifles, littering the road near the vehicles.