Who Are the LeBarons?

Nine members of the LeBaron family were horrifically murdered in Mexico this week. The prominent Mormon family has a dark and complicated history over the generations — this is their story.

Community is upset with the way the security system is working in Mexico

The 9 Americans killed in a horrific attack in northern Mexico were members of the LeBarón family. The Mormon family has lived in Mexico for generations. After the Church of Latter-day Saints ended polygamy in 1890, some families moved to Mexico. They formed fundamentalist Mormon communities in Chihuahua and Sonora. In the mid-1880s and late 1880s, Brigham Young was expanding the colonization in the U.S., as well as into Mexico. And in 1885, 4,500 people went down and established colonies down there. And when the revelation not to practice polygamy continued, then several groups were separated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,”

Alma Dayer LeBarón moved to Mexico in 1924 and established Colonia LeBarón in Chihuahua in the 1940s. The LeBarón family moved out of the original church because they wanted to keep following the law of plural marriage. His son, Ervil LeBarón, formed his own church that believed in blood atonement — The right to kill those who have sinned. Ervil and his cult-like followers murdered at least 25 people across the U.S. and Mexico — including Ervil’s brother, Joel. In 1980, Ervil was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a rival polygamist leader. He died in prison in 1981. The LeBarón family then spread throughout the U.S. and northern Mexico — vast areas of which are known
for cartel activity.

In May 2009, 16-year-old Eric LeBarón was kidnapped and held for a $1 million ransom. He was released despite the family refusing to pay. But a few months later, Benjamin LeBaron
and his brother-in-law Luis Widmar were killed by cartel gunmen. Benjamin LeBaron had spoken out against the traffickers and asked for police protection. Cartel gunmen are suspected of the November 2019 attack that killed 3 women and 6 children and left 8 others injured. The victims were from La Mora, Sonora — a Mormon farming community independent from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has a population less than 1,000 and is about 70 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.