Slain U.S. citizens were part of Mormon offshoot with sordid history

To escape persecution in the U.S., Alma Dayer LeBaron brought his wives and children across the border to Mexico in 1924 and founded the LeBaron colony in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It was there in 2009 that drug cartels took another member of the family, anti-crime activist Benjamin LeBaron, for ransom, and murdered him.

Anna LeBaron, Alma Dayer LeBaron’s granddaughter, told NBC News that she did not personally know the nine victims who were killed this week, but she said other family members confirmed they were LeBaron relatives, and said the whole family was “heartbroken…”

The family has had a sordid history, Bowman said. Its founder’s sons fell victim to infighting. One, Ervil LeBaron, formed his own church that took on a cult following, said Anna LeBaron, who was one of Ervil’s 51 children with 13 wives. She was born at the LeBaron colony and escaped her father’s cult when she was 13; she detailed her experience in a 2017 book, “The Polygamist’s Daughter.”

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