Mexico Mormon massacre: Victims linked to 1988 'blood atonement' killings where a family was murdered after they tried to escape the Church

In the recent killings in Mexico, gunmen shot down three mothers and their children, who were traveling in three SUVs from Sonora toward Arizona. Some had been shot at a close range, including two 6-month-old twins and one of their vehicles was burned to a crisp.


                            Mexico Mormon massacre: Victims linked to 1988 'blood atonement' killings where a family was murdered after they tried to escape the Church
(Source : Getty Images)

New reports have linked the recent Mormon massacre in Mexico to a triple homicide in Houston from more than 30 years ago. The nine Mormons who were killed on November 4 that included women and children has been tied to the "blood atonement" killing from 1988 where a Texas family who had fled the polygamous The Church of the Lamb of God was butchered in execution-style, according to Click Two Houston. 

Mark Chynoweth and his brother Duane, along with Duane's eight-year-old daughter Jennifer had been killed in Houston on June 27, 1988, for leaving Ervil LeBaron's cult called the Church of Lamb of God. This was a faction from Alma Dayer's Colonia LeBaron. The Church of the Lamb of God was established in 1972.

The Houston murders had occurred simultaneously at 4 pm. Infamously called the '4 O'Clock Murders', seven members of the cult were involved in the killings and five were found guilty of murder.

 "Stolen cars, they were heavy into credit card abuse, forgery, they’d also done a couple of bank robberies," retired Houston police officer Richard Holland, who investigated the murders, told the news outlet. "It’s in the covenant, 'Children who are disciplined and won’t obey are to be killed. People who don’t respect my leadership are to be killed,'” said former federal prosecutor Terry Clark indicating that the cult under Ervil was more like a criminal enterprise.

During the 1970s, a fallout in the LeBaron family set off a war that led to the murders of at least 33 people, mostly family members. The brothers had been on a hit list compiled by Ervil in prison before he died in the Utah State Prison in 1981. He had also written a 400-page book of teachings called The Book of the New Covenants, which had a  commandment that asked to kill disobedient church members, even children.

The family execution shook the Houston law enforcement too and 16 detectives were reportedly assigned to the case. "They were all horrible crimes,” said Holland. “They were the last in a string of many horrible crimes, but the fact that an 8-year-old girl was the last victim, yeah, that stuck.”

One of them, Cynthia LeBaron struck a deal and testified against her siblings for immunity. Another suspect from the killings, Jacqueline LeBaron was caught by the FBI in May 2010. 

In the recent killings gunmen, believed to be from the drug cartel, shot down three mothers and their children, who were traveling in three SUVs from the Mexican state of Sonora toward Arizona. Some had been shot at a close range, including two 6-month-old twins and one of the vehicles was burned to a crisp after a bullet allegedly hit the gas tank and exploded. Several children survived the attack and one of them walked more than 14 miles to the community's base in La Mora. This child was approximately 12-years-old. 

Dawna Langford, 43, and two of her children, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, as well as for Rhonita Miller, 30, and four of her children: Howard, 12, Kyrstal, 10, and 8-month-old twins Titus and Tiana were killed and they were part of the LeBaron family. 

Clark added that Cynthia LeBaron's sister had been killed in Mexico and so Cynthia had feared for her life. “She was part of the group actually involved in the homicides in Houston, along with sister Natasha LeBaron,” said Clark. “What had occurred since then is that they had killed Natasha LeBaron in Mexico, so Cynthia became concerned that, 'My goodness. I might be next on the list. I'm out of here,' and came forward at that time.”

In the November 4 killings, Mexican authorities have said that it may have been a case of mistaken identity but family members have said that it was a targeted attack although they don't know why.

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