The family digs mass graves for the victims

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Days after a brutal massacre of cartels left nine people – three moms and their six children – dead and grieving relatives started burying the victims.

Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and his sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, two, were the first three to be buried, the first of three funerals extended for two days.

The images showed hundreds of mourners following the three handmade pine coffins in the cemetery of La Mora, in northern Mexico, where the nine victims lived in a remote Mormon community south of the American border.

Ms. Langford and two of her children were murdered in their SUV, but some of her other children managed to escape from the shooting and hide in the bushes.

One of Mrs. Langford's sons, a 13-year-old boy named Devin, later walked 22 kilometers to La Mora to ask for help.

His older sister had been hit in the foot and her younger brother had been taken to the hospital in Arizona after being shot in the jaw.

"After witnessing the death of his mother and brothers, Devin hid his six brothers and sisters in the bushes and covered them with branches to keep them safe while he sought help," said relative Kendra Miller.

"When he took too long to return, his nine-year-old sister left the remaining five to try again."

Before the first funeral was held, the photos showed the tragic preparation that their surviving relatives were forced to take, digging mass graves in the desert to adapt all the coffins to their small cemetery in La Mora.

Members of the enlarged community – many of whom, like the victims, are double citizens of the United States and Mexico – had built their coffins and used shovels to dig the mass grave in the small cemetery of La Mora. Farmers and boys carried coffins.

In a crude and tearful service, relatives told of valiant efforts to try to save their loved ones after the ambush.

There was no talk of revenge in the profoundly religious community, only justice.

"God will take care of the wicked," said Jay Ray, Dawna's father, in a praise according to AP.

David Langford called his wife a hero for telling his children to bend over when their vehicle was hit.

"I find it hard to forgive," he said. "I'm usually a very forgiving guy, but this kind of atrocity has no place in a civilized community."

"My children were brutally, brutally murdered," he said, "and my beloved wife."

Of the survivors, he said, his son Cody had a plate installed in his jaw, which was closed for six weeks, and the rest "was really going very well."

Her daughter, who was hit in the foot, was taken to the funeral.

RELATED: The boy walks 22 km to ask for help after witnessing the family murder

Dawna's younger sister, Amber Ray, 34, praised her as a devoted mother of her 13 children and a housewife who loved a good laugh and made the best birthday cakes.

The three coffins, two of them child-friendly, were placed in vehicles and family members rode with them to the grave, hundreds of mourners who followed on foot.

Later in the day, a memorial was held for Rhonita Miller and four of her sons, also killed on the road between La Mora and the state of Chihuahua.

Their car was about 18 km behind the other two SUVs after being forced to change a flat tire.

The hail of bullets Mrs. Miller's car was hit by the gas tank, leaving it a charred piece of metal when relatives arrived.

Inside, they found the remains of Mrs. Miller, 30, and her four children: Howie, 12, Krystal, 10, and twins, eight and eight months old Titus and Tiana.

reported: The images show the horrible consequence of the massacre of the LeBaron family in northern Mexico

In a grassy courtyard in front of hundreds of participants, Mrs. Miller was praised as an "innocent spirit, a beautiful heart" and a woman whose laughter "could light up a room".

Son Howard Jr. loved basketball and was happy to do his first triple recently; daughter Krystal was "the apple of her father's eye"; the twins Tito and Tiana, born on March 13, were remembered as "two perfect angels in the first precious moments of their lives".

Their bodies were to be brought later from the other side of the street where they died for burial at Colonia Le Baron.

The two communities, whose residents are related, came together in a show of pain.

Troops of the Mexican army regularly passed by on the village's only paved road.

RELATED: Violent history of the Mormon separatist sect with Mexican drug cartels

Apparently, some gunmen from the Juarez drug cartel had set up the ambush as part of a grass-rooted war with the Sinaloa cartel, and the three mothers had guided it.

Mexican officials said the attackers may have traded the group's big SUVs for a rival gang.

But Julian LeBaron, whose brother Benjamin, an anti-crime activist, was killed by gunmen in the cartel in 2009, disputed this.

"They had to know they were women and children," he said.

He said the eight surviving children reported that a mother came out of the SUV, raised her hands and was killed anyway.

Christina Langford Johnson was found a few meters from her van after trying to leave the driver's seat and waved her arms to show that it was not a threat.

She had been shot dead, but her seven-month-old daughter, Faith Marie Johnson, was discovered unharmed in her seat.

Kendra Miller, a relative, wrote that the child's seat "seemed to have been grounded by her mother to try to protect her. … He gave his life to try to save the rest ".

With AP

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