(CNN) — Their ancestors fled from the US to Mexico to escape persecution. Now, members of a Mormon community wracked by violence say they’re forced to uproot and head back to the US.
“We’re not going to live at the mercy of these cartels,” said Lafe Langford, who lost nine relatives last week in a grisly ambush attack in northern Mexico.
So a convoy of 18 vehicles full of family members have left La Mora, a community of fundamentalist Mormons that is not part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“All of our hearts are hurting, not just with who we lost, but because what’s been a paradise for the Langfords for 50 years has suddenly become a place where most don’t feel safe,” family member Kendra Lee Miller said.
“Whether it will be (safe) or not, it’ll never be the same again.”
Those who left will seek refuge in the US, Langford said. He said they will stay with family members in Utah, Arizona, North Dakota, Louisiana and other states.
Of the roughly 45 homes in La Mora, less than a dozen remain occupied, Langford said.
He said many of those who have left claim they will never come back.
“If we don’t see a way we can live here, we’re done,” he said.