The LeBaron Massacre and the LeBaron Connection to Nxivm and Keith Raniere

Frank Report was first to break the news Monday: Three women and six children were killed in an attack on members of the Colonia LeBaron Community [clan] as they traveled in Mexico.

In this post, we will explore the Lebaron clan’s connection to Nxivm and possible motives for the killings.

The women and children were attacked early Monday afternoon as they traveled in three SUVs through the mountains between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua.

Two of the women were traveling to see relatives in Chihuahua, and one was driving to the U.S. to pick up her husband from the Phoenix airport. The vehicles were found in two separate areas, about 10 miles apart.

They were apparently ambushed by a group of armed men. More than 200 bullet casings were recovered from the crime scenes along the road.

Mexican officials say they’re investigating whether the LeBaron family members were targeted or victims of mistaken identity. Several members of the LeBaron community have been outspoken against drug violence and extortion in the region.

The FBI has launched an investigation into the matter because those killed had US citizenship.

Aside from the dead, five children were injured in the attack and were transported to U.S. hospitals.

Members of the cult-like LeBaron clan have lived in northern Mexico, south of Arizona, for decades after splitting from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the Church’s crackdown on polygamy. The Utah Mormon church does not consider them members, although members of the LeBaron clan are usually referred to as Mormons.

The dead are:

Rhonita Maria Miller, 30
Howard Jacob Miller Jr., 12
Krystal Bellaine Miller, 10
Titus Alvin Miller and Tiana Gricel Miller, both 8 months (twins)

These were shot and then burned in their vehicles. Only ashes and bones remained.

The other four victims are:

Dawna Ray Langford

Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29

Dawna Ray Langford, 40.

Her children:

Trevor Harvey Langford, 11, and Rogan Jay Langford, 2.

Seven-month-old Faith Marie Johnson was uninjured and found in her car seat that her mother placed on the floor of the car.

***

Were the Women and Children Targeted?

Former LeBaron Clan Leader, the late Ervil LeBaron.

The LeBaron clan is no stranger to violence. The cult has a long history of polygamy, pedophilia and an estimated 40 murders.
The late, Ervil LeBaron, the clan’s former leader, had at least 13 wives and over 50 children.  Ervil reportedly utilized his wives and daughters to murder defectors and dissidents. After his conviction, he ordered murders from his Utah jail cell and the murders were carried out after Ervil LeBaron died.
Inline image
Jacqueline LeBaron,
Jacqueline LeBaron gave money to her sister, Cynthia LeBaron, to murder cult defectors in 1988. Cynthia LeBaron [not the Nxivm member with the same name, but a relative] confessed to the murders of three adults and an 8-year-old girl.
Of the seven killers involved in the LeBaron clan’s “4 O’Clock Murders,” five were found guilty of murder. Cynthia LeBaron testified against her siblings and was granted immunity. The final suspect, Jacqueline LeBaron, was captured by the FBI in May 2010.

The 4 O’Clock Murders resulted in four former LeBaron clan members, including a child, being shot to death at the same time at three separate locations in Texas.

Ervil LeBaron and his followers eliminated rivals following the doctrine of “blood atonement”, which directs that apostates should be killed, which was promulgated by Mormon leader, Brigham Young and is now disavowed by the Utah Mormon Church

As Frank Report commenter Actaeon pointed out, “The Monday killings are horrific. It may be that this was simply a case of mistaken identity or unfortunates getting caught in the crossfire of rival drug gangs. But it deserves to be mentioned that the LeBaron clan has a long and bloody history in Mexico. They had also challenged the drug gangs and were lobbying to be allowed to create their own ‘security force.’ They had clashed with local farmers over water rights.

“Make no mistake, this is a cult. A polygamous Mormon cult with a long history of extreme violence and abuse. This is the kind of cult that puts pasty oversexed Keith Raniere in the shade. It’s a cult whose members have committed some 40 murders. It’s a story that should be far better known.”

Nxivm Connection

Several members of the LeBaron Clan have been Nxivm members.

Samantha LeBaron

Samantha LeBaron is reportedly still a member of Nxivm and a DOS slave. It is unclear whether Cynthia LeBaron remains with the Nxivm cult. Both women formerly lived in Clifton Park.

LeBaron Girls Came to Clifton Park to Be Taught by Raniere

In 2016, when Nxvm leader Keith Alan Raniere was actively seeking a virgin to anoint as his future “successor” and assigned several of his slaves to seek them, DOS First Line Slave Master Rosa Laura Junco invited 11 girls from Chihuahua to come to Albany to take part in a special Pilot Project for teen girls that had created by Raniere.

At least four of the girls’ last names were LeBaron and it is believed all of them came from the LeBaron clan.

Reportedly, the LeBaron clan had been persuaded to send the girls to Clifton Park NY, because Nxivm offered them a special Pilot Project for free.  The curriculum – in the form of special modules – was written especially for teen girls and would lead to female empowerment, they were told. While in New York, the girls were to be offered opportunities to do rewarding work to earn money.

If the Pilot Project worked out well, Raniere said he hoped to introduce it into high schools across America.

Rosa Laura Junco invited girls from Chihuahua to come to her house and learn from Keith Raniere.

When the girls arrived, they were housed in the homes of Nxivm members  –  including those of Rosa Laura Junco and Dr. Brandon Porter.

The girls ranged in ages from 13 – 17. Junco’s teenage daughter also attended classes held in Junco’s home.

Rosa Laura Junco’s mansion in Clifton Park where 11 teenage girls were taught Keith Raniere’s lessons for teenage girls.

 

DOS slave Sahajo Haertel taught the LeBaron girls. Haertel was formerly a member of the Osho sex cult before joining Raniere and becoming his sex slave.

The teens were quickly disappointed. They had been told they were going to be taught a high school curriculum equivalent. Instead, they were only taught classes in English and NXIVM modules, especially some related to gender.

As for meaningful work, the girls were assigned to work for Delegates, India Oxenberg’s company that was set up to run errands and clean houses for Nxivm members. The girls cleaned houses, preformed childcare, and prepared food including baking deserts for Nxivm Intensives for extremely low wages.

Raniere personally came from time to time to try to mentor the girls – and apparently, one or more incidents occurred that was inappropriate and possibly sexual in nature.

It is known the girls fled back home to Chihuahua. According to one source, there may have been a threat of a police report and Raniere and others in Nxivm seemed to have been deeply worried for several days just prior to the girls’ sudden departure.

One eyewitness said she saw Raniere sitting with some of the girls and was shocked when she saw him kiss them on the lips in greeting. He was sitting near them, holding hands and touching them on their bodies in a playful manner.

“The girls had been told he was a great teacher, and not to be disrespected. But from the look on their faces, they were shocked at his behavior.” the witness said.

It is not known if Dr. Porter utilized the girls as subjects for his human fright experiments. Porter later lost his medical license for the experiments which featured showing female subjects snuff films and gang rapes to test their reactions while hooked up to a monitoring device.

One side product of the events was that Rosa Laura Junco offered her daughter to Raniere as his virgin successor. Evidently, however, the teen girl rejected the idea and fled from her mother’s home to live with her father. She fled about the same time as the girls from Chihuahua.

These girls were not the first to flee Raniere. As far back as 1990, a 13-year-old girl, Rhiannon, fled from Raniere after he raped her some 60 times.  Raniere was supposed to teach her algebra and Latin.

Similarly, the LeBaron girls were supposed to get a unique and special education from Raniere.

The family of the girls would only tell Frank Report that Raniere is “sicko” and they should have never left the girls alone with him.

Some of the girls were reportedly encouraged to go on low-calorie diets similar to DOS [500-800 calories per day]. When they rebelled, they were made to feel guilty, a source told Frank Report.

“The girls were completely grossed out by Keith”‘ said the source. “They felt Keith was a ‘lech’ and creepy. They felt he had sexual intentions. They told their parents. Whether he did more, I don’t know. Keith knows what the laws are regarding the age of consent.”

The age of consent in New York State is 17.  The age of consent in Mexico is 12.

 

Keith Raniere was seeking virgins for “successors”.

 

Another Nxivm Connection

The LeBaron clan also figured in a movie that former Nxivm member Mark Vicente directed for Nxivm. It was supposed to be about approaches to nonviolence in Mexico. Vicente later repudiated the film as Nxivm propaganda.

The film included an interview with Julian LeBaron, who is a cousin of one of the women killed Monday and a current leader of the LeBaron clan.  LeBaron’s brother was kidnapped by a local drug cartel in 2009, and the family refused to pay a ransom. He was released.

Yet Another Connection to LeBaron

In an infamous 2009 video, Raniere said he had people killed for his beliefs.

 

When this video came up during the proceedings in the bankruptcy case of former Nxivm member Susan Dones, Nxivm lawyer Robert Crockett said Raniere was referring to the death of Benjamin LeBaron, 32, and his brother-in-law Luis Carlos Stubbs, 29, who had been killed by a group of assailants.

According to Crockett, Raniere said he advised the LeBaron family not to pay a ransom and stand up to the drug cartels. The result was the two men were killed in retaliation. Crockett said this is what Raniere meant when he said in the April 2009 video that “I’ve had people killed for my beliefs and for theirs.”

The problem with this argument is that LeBaron and Stubbs were alive when Raniere spoke of having people killed. The video was made on April 23, 2009. LeBaron and Stubbs did not die until  July 7, 2009.

 

 

About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most decorated investigative journalists. His writing and investigations have helped expose major criminal organizations and scandals.

Frank’s work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Rolling Stone, and more.

He is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.

31 Comments

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  • Frank, We had “killer mormons” here in Ohio! We put their “leader” to DEATH for his crimes ….. worked pretty good !
    Jeffrey Don Lundgren was an American self-proclaimed prophet and mass murderer, who on April 17, 1989, killed five people in Kirtland, Ohio. Wikipedia
    Born: May 3, 1950, Independence, MO
    Died: October 24, 2006, Lucasville, OH (Ohio State Prison)

  • Seriously? Man, I have been spared from such tripe. Friggin unbelievable from start to finish…..the entire creepy thing.

  • “The age of consent in New York State is 17. The age of consent in Mexico is 12.”

    This is false, the age of consent in Mexico, whole Mexico, not just a state, is 18.

  • The most revealing things I’ve found are any direct quotes from members of the LeBaron family. This is a big group, about three thousand, and not at all “unknown” where they have been living, since the 1950’s – that is, this particular LeBaron group, and they have more than one settlement.

    Their settlements really contain different branches of “philosophy” and lifestyles, within the whole. Their unity is not as unified as is presented. Some LeBarons are not into polygamy, some are. Some are anti-drug, and frankly, some are dealers who work for or “with” cartels. Most of their more current divisions stem from power-move murders within their own family cult itself when two brothers in charge broke from each other, and one killed the other eventually (like carrying out a very planned hit.) It has only gotten crazier over the years but they try to appear unified to outsiders, regardless of what goes on amongst them.

    The blonde woman who was incinerated along with four of her children has three children who were not with her. Only 30, she already had seven children. Rhonita was born with the surname LeBaron. She was the one of the 3 mothers killed who was the most involved in community activism. One of her most known fights had been ongoing, about water rights. Rhonita was not quietly off on a ranch living invisibly. She was a lively outgoing community presence.

    Rhonita’s was rhe first vehicle to be shot into, by a group of armed men, igniting the gas tank. Another woman killed, the woman with the darkest hair, was said to have died when she got out of her vehicle, waving her arms and begging the shooters to stop attacking. It was one of her sons who hid his wounded siblings and made the walk alone, for help. But also Mormon men working outdoors saw fire in the distance and then more fire and were on their way to investigate.

    However, the info is still a little inexact. There has got to be deep shock, deep sorrow.

    There are tougher members of the LeBaron group , who appear to live a grittier, more hoodlum kind of lifestyle, going back at least 3 to 4 generations, and there are more insular members of this cult, who live mostly farming and keeping a lot to themselves.

    The family members who have spoken, and I have found 3, two men and one woman, all say that they are well-known presences in their area and have been, for several generations. They are certain that Rhonita was targeted, that there was no mistaken identity or accidental crossfire situation at all.

    I have noticed from photos that Rhonita was more contemporary and “flashy” with her style than many or her contemporaries – long red-laquered fingernails, somewhat sexier casual clothing style and jewelry. I see an extrovert, a young woman who stands out and was not hesitant to intereract. There is deep pain and bitterness about how many have been killed or otherwise harassed, going back many, many years.

    But the underbelly is their own, some of it murderous, infighting amongst familial offshoots. Some have embraced a criminal kind of way of life. Some have not. A few will discuss these divisions openly and some definitely do not want to talk about it.

    I do think, very much, that massacre began and was motivated by vengeance directed at Maria Rhonita. We do know that there has been at least one arrest of a suspected drug cartel leader, related to this slaughter.

  • There are news reports that Mexican officials claim to have arrested a suspect – but aren’t releasing any further information that might shed light on what actually happened.

    It’s also been reported that a woman driving one of the vehicles, possibly the lead one, was perhaps the most prominent anti-crime activist in the family – and also involved in the water disputes.

    There’s this piece that provides some good background on the LeBaron family, and their run-ins with cartels:

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/mexican-drug-cartels-vs-a-mormon-sect-behind-the-horrific-massacre-of-lebaron-american-moms-and-children

    This longer piece includes the first actual explanation I’ve seen of the water disputes – which apparently involve accusations that the LeBarons have been illegally drilling hundreds of wells on their properties – presumably impacting the availability of water for others (such activity can cause others’ wells to run dry, or even impact surface water if placed close to rivers):

    https://www.theyucatantimes.com/2019/11/the-lebaron-family-in-mexico-a-history-of-conflict/

      • I was going to write that I would question anything coming from Mexican authorities – and when I went to check for any new developments in the story before posting, the one thing I did find was a reference yesterday to them saying that the suspect apprehended was not actually connected to the attack.

  • Why did the NXIVM defendants all plead guilty so quickly after the child molestation charges were brought?
    Allison Mack, Claire Bronfman, and Kathy Russell all decided to cut their losses and plead guilty to lesser crimes in a matter of weeks.
    These women literally soiled their pants to plead guilty to lesser charges.

    It’s one thing to be charged with trafficking adults.
    Trafficking children is a whole new ball game.
    These NXIVM women all have guilty knowledge of Raniere’s pedophilia.
    Perhaps these women facilitated Raniere’s pedophilia.

    Simply transporting children across state lines for immoral purposes is a violation of the Mann Act.
    Each girl transported is a separate crime.
    Eleven girls transported, eleven crimes.

    Will the NDNY pick up the ball and investigate these crimes?

    • Shadowstate,

      “They literally soiled their panties to plead guilty to lesser charges”, Shadowstate……You do love that expression do you not?

      Did you “hit pay dirt” or “the mother load” in your boxers, while riding the bus to the public library today?

      I am strictly referring to gold mining jargon of course.

      😉

    • Great point. I hope they are charged with those crimes. Almost nobody has said anything about Laura Junco 🙁 So sad. Trafficking young girls 🙁

  • The lawyer may have intentionally or unintentionally got the individuals wrong. There have been lots of Narco Mexican killings over the years. Identifying the wrong invididuals does not automatically mean Raniere has put out hit jobs on others. I think he’s too wimpy to do that.

    • Raniere is too wimpy and too poor to hire Hit Men.

      On the other hand, the Salinas Family is ruthless and known for its ties to drug traffickers and money launderers.
      And the Salinas Family is rich.

      Clare and Sara’s old grandfather, Sam Bronfman, also was not shy in making friends with bloodthirsty gangsters.

  • Laura Junco’s dad is an enemy of the Mexican President. Could he have orchestrated this to create chaos in Mexico to hurt the government of the Mexican President ? The Junco family did appear to have power over this town given that a ton of girls went to Clifton Park.

    What do others think?

    • All manner of conspiracy theories could be imagined, including that this has to do with reptilian alien shape shifters, or false flag operations related to current US politics.

      How about we stick to the facts – and respect for the dead?

      This seems almost certainly to have to do with the unfortunately brutal realities of Mexican drug gang operations, whether a case of mistaken identity as has been suggested, or retribution against the LeBarons for opposing crime and cartels – however disturbing, or even somehow unsatisfying, such ugly yet banal explanations may be.

      p.s. I just checked news feeds, and there don’t seem to be any meaningful updates on the story.

  • Thanks for delving into the interesting underlying connections – and questions.

    To me, the central interesting question is how elements of a fundamentalist Mormon group ended up involved with Raniere. The only thing that really makes sense to me, is if they had evolved to the point of being more or less part of the segment of secular but meaning-seeking mainstream Mexican culture that NXIVM appealed to; their culty background would likely even have made them particularly susceptible to something new. If they actually were still faithfully Mormon but found some common ground with Raniere’s teachings and practices, enough so to send their girls to Clifton Park, that would really need to be explained.

    I’d hate to see anything that detracts from the fundamental, disturbing tragedy here, but unfortunately it would be easy to cock up all sorts of conspiracy theories about this.

      • I’ve previously referred to NXIVM as the FLDS on the Hudson – there is a definite conceptual similarity. But for actual true believing Mormons to be involved with NXIVM would be extraordinary, as such adherence is usually completely incompatible with any sorts of outside doctrines, authorities or teachers.

        As I noted, if they had ceased to be faithful followers of Mormonism then their polygamist background could explain their attraction to NXIVM and Raniere’s teachings. Something like that is more likely the case, but it would help us to understand to get some good information about what exactly was really going on.

        • I agree it is strange they allowed their children to move to New York state to be away from their parents. Perhaps they became enchanted with Raniere’s brilliance and since Raniere wasn’t in any way religious, they didn’t feel threatened.

          • Typically such groups, and their members, are wary of, if not virtually paranoid about, anything “worldly” – which is why they homeschool, live in insular communities, and so on. They essentially only trust others with the same beliefs, and view the world at large suspiciously, as either godless or evil. That’s why I suspect that this particular bunch must have been becoming more mainstream.

            And your comment points to a key question – how did they even get to know about Raniere to begin with? That in itself suggests they likely had involvement with the elements of Mexican society who were attracted to NXIVM.

            Hopefully we’ll get some clearer answers from someone. I can’t readily find anything that better explains the situation.

          • Living in Mexico because they didn’t want to give up their polygamy beliefs, smack dab in the middle of violent drug Cartels, I don’t consider that anywhere near becoming more mainstream.

          • Scott, it seems to me that those in the communities there probably now have lives, and businesses including family farms, that would make it hard for them to pick up and leave. As much as we might wonder why they stay, I think we can also have sympathy for why their choices are not easy or simple.

            We don’t really know much about the group involved, though they may well no longer be polygamous, and may even be there only because its where their roots are. It could even be their desire to become more mainstream, that got them involved with NXIVM.

            In a search for news updates, I found a piece that explains more of the background – including that the group in question may not be directly related to the most infamous faction:

            Commentary: No, the Mormon polygamists in Mexico are not part of Ervil LeBaron’s church
            “The Mormons who inhabit the area have farmed large pecan and fruit orchards for generations. These farms are both lucrative and well-organized. ”
            https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/11/08/commentary-no-mormon/

          • If I found myself in the middle of a Mexican drug cartel route, I would figure out a way to leave, if nothing else to protect my children.

            If the Mormons joined NXIVM to be more in the mainstream, they must have been FAR out in the desert.

      • Scott,

        Time for more Deep Thoughts with Scott Johnson……..

        “NXIVM and Mormons are a natural fit – both believe women are inferior to men and men should have multiple women as wives/slave”, Scott Johnson.

        Lordy!!!! Lordy!!!! Hoo!!! Hah!!!

        No other adult mind on earth could have come up with that brilliant observation!!!!!

        Do you happen to reside in a village populated by retards?

        The spew that comes out of your mouth is so incredible profound.

        A gerbil’s balls are smarter then you. 😉

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Report is dedicated to Frank's investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth.

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