It’s Still Unclear Whether Mexican Cartels Targeted Mormon Women And Children In Massacre

Authorities say gunmen likely mistook the SUVs carrying the family as those of a rival cartel. But relatives say that’s not possible since gunmen attacked vehicles in separate locations.

By Rhonda FanningNovember 7, 2019 6:59 am

Mexican military members will escort family members to the funerals of the women and children killed in a brutal attack in northern Mexico, Monday. Members of drug cartels killed three women and six children traveling in SUVs. Eight children escaped: some of them were seriously wounded.

Angela Kocherga is an El Paso-based reporter who’s been following the story for the Albuquerque Journal.

The women and children were part of a group that split off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United States generations ago, and established religious communities in northern Mexico.

They were traveling in a remote area over which rival drug cartels have an ongoing dispute. Kocherga says it’s a “lawless” region, and Mexican authorities had originally thought the women were intentionally targeted – something officials now doubt, because some of the children were spared.

Still, relatives contend the attack was intentional because gunmen killed people traveling in separate vehicles, in different locations.

President Donald Trump cited the murders as evidence that the U.S. needs a tougher stance toward drug cartels operating across the southern border. He tweeted on Tuesday, “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth.”

But Kocherga says Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador rejected Trump’s proposition to solve cartel violence together.

“He said, ‘Thanks but no thanks’ – that his country would handle it. He said that previous presidents had tried military action and it had led to more bloodshed,” Kocherga says.


Written by Caroline Covington.