Murdered Mormon mothers and their children were killed in 2019 by a cartel ‘as revenge for a deal gone wrong’


An author has shared her theory that the nine Mormon mothers and their children who were massacred in 2019 were killed in a revenge attack by the cartel that was designed to send a message to their husbands and fathers after a deal went wrong.

Nine members of the LeBaron and Miller families were shot and burned in La Mora, a town 70 miles south of the US-Mexico border, in November 2019.

Cartel members have been arrested for the murders, but the motive has always been murky; some have suggested the killings were a case of mistaken identity, while others say the families were caught in the crossfire of a turf war between rival gangs.

Now author Sally Denton has shared her theory that the families were in fact in business with the cartel – and their business relationship took a deadly turn.

“I think it’s naive for the public to believe they were just friendly neighbors, saying hello at the sicarios checkpoints.

“I don’t believe you don’t live with some of the most violent people in the world without having housing. I think they were helping with weapons.

I think someone owed someone something. I think there was a very big message, not for wives and children, but for their husbands and fathers.

“It was not a case of mistaken identity; they were targeted. It was a question of money; someone reneged on some sort of deal,’ she told The Daily Beast.

Members of the LeBarón family search the burnt-out car where five of nine members of the Mormon community were killed in an ambush by a cartel gang in Bavispe, Sonora, November 4, 2019

Three mothers and their six young children were killed in November 2019 when their three-car convoy was ambushed in northern Mexico

Three mothers and their six young children were killed in November 2019 when their three-car convoy was ambushed in northern Mexico

Roberto 'El 32' González was among three people arrested Monday in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, by authorities

Roberto ‘El 32’ González was among three people arrested Monday in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, by authorities

José Lara was arrested by security forces in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico on Wednesday on the one-year anniversary of the Nov. 4, 2019, massacre of nine Mormon mothers and children with dual Mexican-American citizenship.

Jesús Parra was arrested in June and is the only one of 13 arrested suspects to have been charged

José Lara (left) was arrested by security forces in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico on Wednesday on the one-year anniversary of the Nov. 4, 2019, massacre of nine Mormon mothers and children with dual US-American citizenship. mexican. Jesús Parra (right) was arrested in June and is the only one of 13 suspects arrested to have been charged

Denton’s new book, The Colony: Faith and Blood in a Promised Land, investigates whether any members of the LeBaron family were in business with the Mexican drug gang.

She claims to have interviewed women who are still part of the LeBaron family and found evidence that “the LeBaron patriarchs believed they were deliberately targeted by the cartel.”

The book also delves into the history of the LeBaron family, religious community, and its infamous founder Ervil LeBaron, otherwise known as the “Mormon Manson” because he so famously ordered the murder of religious enemies in “blood atonement”.

Three cartel members were arrested for the November 2020 Mormon murders but their motive was never explained.

Then President Donald Trump denounced the killings as an act of terrorism at the time.

The LeBarons’ tense but peaceful interactions with Sinaloa soured in the years leading up to the ambush. The LeBaron patriarchs believed they were deliberately targeted by the cartel.

“Others suspected that local farmers carried out the attacks in response to the LeBarons’ seizure of water rights to their huge pecan orchards,” reads promotional material for Denton’s book.

Colonia LeBaron was established in northern Mexico in 1944, after many polygamous Mormons fled Mexico and settled in Utah.

New book by author and investigative journalist Sally Denton proposes the theory that women and children were slaughtered because of a deal gone wrong between their husbands and the cartel

New book by author and investigative journalist Sally Denton proposes the theory that women and children were slaughtered because of a deal gone wrong between their husbands and the cartel

New book by author and investigative journalist Sally Denton proposes the theory that women and children were slaughtered because of a deal gone wrong between their husbands and the cartel

As recently as 2010, two members of Chihuahua’s Mormon community, including one from the LeBaron family, were killed in apparent revenge after security forces tracked drug gang members.

Mormons had suffered large-scale abductions before this. Their big houses and lifestyle had made them look wealthy in the eyes of drug gangs, Vice reported in 2012.

And in 2016, former resident Ruth Wariner detailed life within the community, describing 41 siblings, constant beatings, a home without electricity and modern plumbing.

Founded as an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after the Church abandoned the practice of polygamy in the late 1800s, some polygamous Mormons moved to Mexico to establish new settlements.

The LeBaron family was founded by Alma Dayer LeBaron. He founded the community with his family in 1924 after being excommunicated from the church.

Alma passed leadership to his son Joel upon his death in 1951. He then incorporated the community as part of the Church of the Firstborn in Salt Lake City.

His younger brother Ervil was his second in charge at the time. The brothers then argued over the direction of the community and Ervil then started another sect in San Diego, California in 1972.

Evril, who had at least 13 wives, had Joel killed in 1972. He was tried and convicted in Mexico for Joel’s murder in 1974.

In prison, he wrote the 400-page commandment to kill disobedient church members who were blacklisted.

Evril died in prison in 1981, but six family members staged “four o’clock” murders, in which an eight-year-old child and three former members were gunned down minutes apart in Texas in 1988.

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