MEXICO — Family members say at least nine people with ties to Utah were murdered near their home in Sonora, Mexico.
A video posted on Facebook shows a burned car with several bullet holes. A man off-camera is heard saying, “This is for the record. Nita and four of my grandchildren were burnt and shot up.”
Three cars were apparently attacked on a dirt road. Each car was driven by a mother, with their children as the passengers.
“One of them had a flat tire, they came back home swapped vehicles,” said a family member of some of the victims who lives in Utah. She asked to not be identified out of fear of retaliation. “When the brother-in-law went to pick up the broken down vehicle, he was changing the tire, he saw smoke coming just from right over the hill.”
Family believes that flat tire put the women and children in danger and in the middle of a battle between drug cartels.
“It was a war between the Chihuahua cartel and the Sonora cartel and these women just happened to be caught in the middle,” said the family member living in Utah.
The three mothers and six children are reported dead. Loved ones back home are now getting updated constantly.
Several of the children managed to escape the attack with gunshot wounds. Late Monday, family reported they were found and brought to safety. One child is still missing.
“To ask for help from the Mexican government is like asking for help from the mafia to fight the mafia,” the family member said. “We need help from the American government. We need help from our people. We are U.S. citizens. Every one of them have U.S. citizenship.”
In a statement to FOX13, the U.S. State Department said it is aware of the reports and added when a U.S. citizen is missing or passes away overseas, officials engage with local officials to provide appropriate consular assistance.