13-year-old survivor in Mexico attack hid siblings in bushes and walked 14 miles for help

Last Updated Nov 5, 2019 7:14 PM EST

Tucson, Arizona — Stories of survival are emerging after a brutal attack in Mexico left nine people dead. Three American women and six children were killed after the extended family was attacked by gunmen believed to be with one of Mexico's cartels. 

Eight children survived, five with bullet wounds. The survivors are being treated in a Tucson hospital.

After his mother and two brothers were shot to death, 13-year-old Devin Langford was able to hide six other siblings in nearby bushes, covering them with branches. He then walked 14 miles for help. His 9-year-old sister, McKenzie, was grazed in the arm. She walked for four hours in the dark before finally finding rescuers.

The survivors were airlifted to Arizona. Cody, 8, was shot in the jaw and leg. Kylie, 14, was shot in the foot. Xander, 4, was shot in the back. Brixton, 9 months old, was shot in the chest.

The tiniest miracle was 7-month old Faith Langford. Her mother, 29-year-old Christina Langford Johnson, hid her in the backseat and was found 11 hours after the massacre. Her mother exited the vehicle with her hands up to confront the gunmen to stop shooting. Witnesses said she was killed in cold blood.

The victims were all members of a breakaway group of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that had settled in the mountains of Sonora, Mexico, decades ago. A member of the group was killed by the cartel 10 years ago.

A source told CBS News one theory is that the group was intentionally targeted. Supporting that scenario, the ambush was not short and was spread out for miles. 

Another scenario, other investigators said, is that the family was caught in the middle of a battle between two rival drug gangs. The Mexican government has spoken about this scenario.

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Maria Ronita Miller and four of her children, including her 8-month-old twins, were killed in the attack. Family photo

Family members say the bodies of 30-year-old Maria Rhonita Miller, her 8-month-old twins Titus and Tiana, 12-year-old son Howard Jr. and 10-year-old Krystal were found inside a burned-out SUV. The vehicle had broken down with a flat tire before it was riddled with bullets, causing the car to explode.

Just 10 miles down the road, two other vehicles that were following the Miller's vehicle was hit. Dawna Langford, 43, along with her 2-year-old and 11-year-old children were killed.

For relatives, spread across several states, there is nothing but shock and heartbreak.

"The way they were killed and burned and massacred is just ... God, how? Unspeakable," said family member Lafe Langford.

Mexico has dealt with a string of violent incidents in the last month. Fourteen Mexican police officers were killed after they were ambushed by drug gangs. Days later, security forces were forced to release notorious drug kingpin El Chapo's son, after heavily armed gunmen terrorized a Mexican city with heavy weapons.

Mark Strassmann and Andy Triay contributed to this report.

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