Harrowing tales of survival emerged after an apparent ambush in the Mexican border state of Sonora has left nine Americans dead, six of them children.
Relatives of the victims told NBC News that a motorcade consisting of several families was attacked Monday, with three cars getting shot at and another set on fire.
Miraculously, eight children, ranging in age from seven months old to early teens, survived the ordeal. Some were left with serious injuries, family member Kendra Lee Miller said.
After the attack, with no surviving adults and the oldest sibling shot in the foot, 13-year-old Devin Langford, whose mother, Dawna, and two other siblings were killed in the attack, had to walk about 14 miles to La Mora, where the family lived, to look for help.
Before setting off, Miller said Devin had to hide his wounded siblings in the bushes, covering them with branches.
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His sister, Mckenzie Langford, 9, was grazed in the arm with a bullet, but she also went to look for help after Devin did not come back, Miller said. Mckenzie got lost and walked for hours in the dark before she was found by search parties.
Five of the surviving children sustained gunshot injuries, including 9-month-old Brixon Langford, who was shot in the chest, and 4-year-old Xander Langford, who was shot in the back. All five have now been transferred to the United States for treatment.
Miller said the family was told that if the bullet had gone a quarter of an inch deeper into Brixon’s chest, he would have been killed.
The family is also worried about 8-year-old Cody Langford, who was shot in the jaw.
“His jaw is actually broken. He has fragments in his face,” Miller said. “He is actually in a more serious condition than they thought.”
Miller said Devin and his 6-year-old brother Jake, who both escaped without injuries, are now back home with their family in La Mora.
“[They] are pretty calm,” Miller said. “Last night, Devin was in shock, a little bit confused and just exhausted after a horrible, long day. Under the circumstances, I think they are being champs.”
A 7-month-old girl, Faith Johnson, is also among the survivors.
Her mother, Christina Langford Johnson, 29, was killed in the attack.
Miller said the baby was found in her car seat, uninjured.
She is now back in La Mora with her grandmother.