ALL NEWS

Members of community attacked in Mexico doubt they’ll return

Nov 10, 2019, 4:55 PM
Cole Langford, left, and Hayden Spenct, of the Mormon colony in La Mora, Mexico, hug during a rende...
Cole Langford, left, and Hayden Spenct, of the Mormon colony in La Mora, Mexico, hug during a rendezvous in a gas station in Douglas, Ariz., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Family and friends said goodbye Saturday to the last victim of a cartel ambush that killed nine American women and children from a Mormon community in northern Mexico where cartels have disrupted an otherwise peaceful, rural existence. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
(Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

PHOENIX (AP) — A Utah man who helped get his mother and other family members safely out of northern Mexico after nine people were killed in an apparent ambush said Sunday that most fled to Arizona with whatever they could fit in their cars and trucks and they’ll likely never return.

More than 100 people left their rural community in northern Mexico on Saturday in an 18-vehicle caravan after the attack Monday in which nine women and children were killed by what authorities say were hitmen from drug cartels.

“I went down there to get my mother and get my family out, my brothers and sisters and lots of kids,” Mike Hafen said Sunday in a telephone interview from his sister’s home in Phoenix.

“They’ve been down there for 47 years. They left with the bare minimum, whatever they could fit in the back of my pickup,” Hafen added. “After 47 years of living, they almost had to walk away from everything.”

Hafen said many of his family and friends think they’ll never return to Mexico because of the drug cartels.

“It’s getting worse. There’s nothing but corruption. You don’t know who you can trust,” Hafen said. “Some of my family say they don’t think they will ever be going back.

“It’s pretty hard on everyone and it’s sad. I grew up there. It was an awesome place to live. I love the place. Growing up there, I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” added Hafen, 54, who moved to Utah 15 years ago. “But what the cartels doing what they’re doing, it’s not safe. We have found that out.”

Monday’s deadly attack occurred as the women traveled with their children to visit relatives. Eight children, some mere infants, survived the ambush.

The spread-out community traces its origins to the end of polygamy more than a century ago by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, forcing Mormon families in the U.S. with multiple wives to establish offshoots elsewhere.

The families had lived in two hamlets in Mexico’s Sonora state: La Mora and Colonia LeBaron. Other residents of the hamlets plan to depart in the coming days, leaving the community their families have called home since the 1950s.

Hafen said his family members haven’t decided whether to stay in Arizona or go elsewhere.

“They’re still working on it, trying to figure it out,” he said.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival will make its in-person comeback from July 28 to Aug. 7. Courte...
Devin Oldroyd

The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival is coming back to Salt Lake City

The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival will make its in-person comeback from July 28 to Aug. 7.
1 day ago
Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. Photo credit: Uta...
Devin Oldroyd

Hogle Zoo welcomes new Red Panda in effort to conserve the species

Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. It hopes to breed her with Mow Mow, a red panda currently living there.
1 day ago
Delta Pilots Protest....
Aimee Cobabe

Delta pilots picketing in Salt Lake City and across the country

The Delta pilots said they are trying to put increased pressure on the airline to speed up contract negotiations. Leading in areas such as pay.
1 day ago
Animal Shelter...
Amie Schaeffer

Keeping pets safe during firework season

Salt Lake County Animal Services gives tips to keep pets safe during fireworks to keep them calm and protected.
1 day ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
1 day ago
A Rite Aid logo is displayed on its store...
HALELUYA HADERO, AP Reporter

Amazon, Rite Aid cap purchase of emergency contraceptives

Retailers limiting purchases is standard practice that helps retailers prevent stockpiling and reselling at higher prices.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Members of community attacked in Mexico doubt they’ll return