EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – An independent Mormon community in Chihuahua, Mexico, mourned the loss of nine of its members on the one-year anniversary of their murders.
The memorial ceremony took place Wednesday in the town of Galeana, even as the Mexican government announced the arrest of yet another member of La Linea drug cartel allegedly linked to the Nov. 4, 2019 massacre of the nine American citizens, most of them children.
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office only identified the suspect as Alfredo L. and said he was taken into custody on charges of organized criminal activity, homicide and attempted homicide.
He is the 12th person arrested in connection to the killings of three women and six children. The victims were driving in broad daylight on a road near the Chihuahua-Sonora border when their vehicles were attacked by gunmen.
The Mexican government said members of La Linea, who are fighting a cell of the Sinaloa cartel for control of drug smuggling routes to the United States in northeastern Sonora, mistook the Americans’ vehicles for those of the rival gang.
The dead included adults Rhonita Miller, 30; Dawna Langford, 43; and Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29. The children were Howard Miller, 12; Trevor Langford, 11; Krystal Miller, 10; Rogan Langford, 2; and 8-month-old twins Titus and Tiana Miller.
At Wednesday’s ceremony, members of the LeBaron, Miller and Langford families said they have come to terms with the loss of their loved ones but continue to feel unsafe and are yet to see justice done.
“This past year I have realized that being innocent does not protect you, that driving in the day time does not protect you, that being a mom traveling with your children does not protect you,” a man who identified himself as the brother of Rhonita Miller told El Heraldo newspaper.
Adrian LeBaron, father of Rhonita, told reporters the Mexican government hasn’t gotten to the bottom of the massacre.
“We already let go of the dead. What we want now is justice. It’s been a year, and no one has been tried or convicted yet,” he said, adding he wants to make sure Mexican authorities capture the actual gunmen and don’t resort to finding scapegoats.
The most prominent suspect arrested so far is Felix Alejandro Villegas, the former police chief of the town of Janos. He was arrested on organized crime charges on Christmas Eve in Juarez and flown to a prison in Mexico City.
(Luis Torres contributed to this report from Galeana, Mexico)