Relatives And Friends Mourn Mormons Killed In Mexico Attack

Nov 8, 2019
Originally published on November 8, 2019 9:10 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The nine people killed in ambushes in Mexico earlier this week have now been buried. Under high security, family and friends laid to rest their loved ones in the northern Mexican desert. Kendal Blust of member station KJZZ reports from La Mora, Mexico.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing in Spanish).

KENDAL BLUST, BYLINE: Family and friends came from as far away as North Dakota to sing and mourn at the home of one of the victims, then lay to rest the six children and three women in cemeteries here and in the neighboring state of Chihuahua. Amelia Sedgwick was preparing to bury her loved one.

AMELIA SEDGWICK: My daughter - my daughter, Christina.

BLUST: Sedgwick has lived in La Mora tucked in an idyllic river valley between soaring Sierra Madre peaks for almost four decades, part of a community that identifies as Mormon although the Utah-based church doesn't recognize these descendants of the 19th-century settlers as members. She said life before the massacre was simple and described her home as a paradise.

SEDGWICK: Normal - gardening, school, taking care of things, lots of family, Christmas, everybody home. Life has been beautiful.

BLUST: But the tragedy has changed all of that. She says it's scary now.

SEDGWICK: A lot of people are going to move out. We believe the war between the mafia, the cartels, is actually going to get worse at this point. A lot of them don't want to be in the middle of it.

BLUST: Some of her family wants her to come to the United States.

SEDGWICK: I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I haven't decided.

ADRIAN LEBARON: There's no place I could go with good conscience.

BLUST: That's Adrian LeBaron. Like Sedgwick, he lost his daughter, along with four of her children, his grandkids. He was the first to the scene of the burnt-out Chevy Tahoe with their five bodies inside.

LEBARON: (Speaking Spanish).

BLUST: He said speaking about his loss during the funeral for his loved ones was difficult, but he was doing it to help his family and because he's not going to leave.

LEBARON: That's my message. Let's not surrender to the - to that evilness.

BLUST: He says staying is a way to honor and remember his daughter's memory. But somehow, the community needs to be made safe again.

LEBARON: This is the point. If the government does not give us protection, then we might have to protect ourselves.

BLUST: But that, he says, is their very last resort. For NPR News, I'm Kendal Blust in Sonora, Mexico. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.