A memorial was unveiled in Bavispe, Sonora, Thursday to the nine members of the LeBaron family who were attacked and killed by cartel gunmen.
The monument is just a few meters away from where they were killed on November 4 last year.
“This memorial will be a permanent tribute to the victims,” President López Obrador said during an unveiling ceremony.
“This monument is not just to honor the memory of our loved ones and all these innocent lives lost,” said Amber Ray, a member of the clan whose older sister Dawna Ray Langford was killed in the assault, “but to honor how they lived.”
The victims, part of a large clan of American Mormons with dual Mexican citizenship, lived in the small community of La Mora, Sonora, near where the ceremony was held.
Three members of the extended family were traveling with their three children in a convoy of three cars when they were attacked. Armed men intercepted opened fire with heavy weaponry even after one of the women exited her vehicle to explain that they were women and children, according to the surviving children’s accounts.
Of the 17 people in the cars, the three mothers and six of the children were killed, including twin 8-month-olds.
Family member Adrian LeBaron said in February that the family still doesn’t know why they were attacked but believe that it was carried out by members of the La Línea cartel, a wing of the Juárez Cartel tasked with carrying out killings.
On November 23, federal authorities arrested Roberto “El Mudo” González Montes, believed to be a regional leader of La Línea, as the alleged mastermind of the attack.
The monument unveiled yesterday bears the images of the family members who were killed, and a representation of the tree of life, a symbol important to the Mormon religion. Atop the memorial is the angel Moroni, also an important figure to Mormons.
“The pain of this tragic moment is not reflected here,” said Marlon Balderrama, the monument’s sculptor, who attended the ceremony.
The plaques at the bottom of the monument, which lists the victims’ names, also made clear that one of the family’s goals in erecting the memorial was to call attention to the issue of cartel violence in Mexico.
“This monument is dedicated to the innocent souls who have been victims of cartel violence and to those who were killed in the massacre of November 4, 2019,” the plaque says. “May your spilled blood cry out to God for justice. May the innocence of each soul silence be remembered. May the anguish of the children that witnessed the killing of their mother and siblings be remembered.”