Criminal investigators in Mexico say they've arrested a suspect in connection with the brutal slayings of three women and six children in the Mexican border state of Sonora.
According to a Facebook post from the Agency for Criminal Investigation in the Mexican state of Sonora, officers tracked the suspect to the town of Agua Prieta, located near the border of Arizona, where they discovered two hostages bound and gagged inside a white pickup truck. Additionally, officials say the suspect was found to be in possession of four assault rifles and ammunition as well as several large vehicles, one of which had been bullet-proofed.
"A person was arrested in possession of two .223 long guns, a .308 long gun, ten .223 caliber magazines, a .308 full magazine and a 50-gauge Barrett long rifle," the agency's statement said. "We are investigating the possibility that the person who was arrested had participated in these terrible events."
Officials believe the family, who was traveling in a caravan of SUVs, were mistaken for a rival gang by the cartel members, who are embroiled in a vicious turf war. The family, who hold dual citizenship, were attacked on Monday, with three of the cars getting shot at, and another being set on fire.
The victims were members of La Mora, a Mormon settlement in the Mexican state of Sonora that located about 70 miles south of Douglas, Azrizona. Leah Staddon, a relative of the victims, posted on Facebook that her nephew's wife and her four children were among the victims. Staddon said her brother discovered the bullet-ridden vehicle that was still smoldering, and shot video of the charred bodies inside as evidence.
Kendra Lee Miller, a family member who posted about the incident on Facebook wrote that one of the teenagers worked to hide his six siblings in the bushes and keep them safe while he walked back 14 miles to LaMora for help. McKenzie Langford, 9, also went to look for help after Devin left and did not come back. She got lost and was eventually found by soldiers in the area.
"These acts in which women and children lost their lives makes it clear that we need a collaboration and a union of forces," the statement from the agency said. "Criminality should be analyzed and combated, not only in local protest, but also regional, national and transnational."