At least eight US citizens with ties to Utah — including two mothers and five children — were reportedly shot dead by drug cartels in northern Mexico on Monday.
The victims, who hold dual US-Mexico citizenships, were allegedly caught in crossfire of two cartels in the Mexican border state of Sonora — near where they worship with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
“It is with heavy hearts and unspeakable sadness we inform you that the 2 missing Mothers… along with many of their precious INNOCENT children have been slaughtered and gone to their Rest,” a relative, Lafe Langford Jr., wrote Monday on Facebook.
The shooting victims included Maria Rhonita Miller, her four children, along with two other women and one of their daughters, the Tribune said.
Family members said that 12 more people were missing.
The remains of Miller and her children were found inside the family’s burned out, bullet-ridden Chevy Suburban.
“We need this to be shared and the whole world to witness the atrocious inhumane and barbaric acts that were committed against us today,” Langford Jr. wrote along with a video of the vehicle.
Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and Christina Marie Langford, 31, also perished in the violence, the Tribune said.
It’s unclear where they were found.
Langford Jr. added that 12 other people inside two separate vehicles were kidnapped by one of the cartels.
“All we care about is finding our missing,” he told The Tribune. “That’s all we care about right now.”
One of the missing women called a relative, who heard a woman screaming and other loud male voices, said Langford Jr.
The families lived in La Mora, about 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona.
Authorities in Sonora state and the U.S. Embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.