Authorities announced that the heavily armed suspect they arrested on Wednesday is not connected to the case
The person arrested in connection with the ambush murders of 9 U.S. citizens has turned out to not be related to the killings, Mexican authorities say.
On Wednesday, the Agency for Criminal Investigation announced that the suspect — whose name, age, and sex were not released — was found in the town of Agua Prieta, right across the border from Douglas, Arizona.
According to the statement, the suspect was holding two bound and gagged hostages inside a vehicle. Investigators also found four assault rifles and a bulletproof SUV, authorities say.
“A person was arrested in possession of two .223 long guns, a .308 long gun, ten .223 caliber magazines, a .308 full magazine and a 50-gauge Barrett long rifle,” the agency’s statement said in Spanish. “We are investigating the possibility that the person who was arrested had participated in these terrible events.”
But as it turns out, authorities now believe that the arrested person was not connected to the murders, NBC News reports.
The victims lived in a Mormon community in northern Mexico, about 100 miles south of the Arizona border. They all left the community at the same time, driving in three separate SUVs. Some of the victims were traveling back to the United States, while others were heading to a neighboring town to attend a wedding.
While the convoy of SUVs was driving on a remote road, they were ambushed and sprayed with gunfire. According to CBS News, the gunmen shot so many bullets that at least one of the SUVs exploded.
A family member, Kendra Lee Miller, tells NBC News that 8-month old twins were killed in the attack. Eight children survived, Miller says. Some of the survivors are seriously wounded, including a 9-month-old who was shot in the chest and a 4-year-old shot in the back.
The victims include Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29; Dawna Langford, 43; Trevor Langford, 11; and Rogan Langford, 2. Also killed were Rhonita Miller, 30; Howard Miller, 12; Krystal Miller, 10; and the 8-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana Miller.
Relatives of the family told multiple news outlets that they believe the attack was a case of mistaken identity by drug cartel gunmen, but authorities have not publicly released the motive. The FBI has joined Mexican officials in investigating the brutal killings.
“Everyone is in so much shock,” said relative Willie Jessop, according to NBC News. “It’s just unbelievable, and there’s just no way to comprehend it.”
As of Tuesday evening, a GoFundMe set up for the family had raised nearly $57,000.
Both Mexican and U.S. government officials have vowed to find the people responsible for the murders. There are currently no named suspects, but authorities say they continue to investigate the case.