Angry kin of nine American citizens massacred in a suspected gangland ambush in northern Mexico urged the government to accept US help to destroy drug cartels that one grieving relative described as being "as bad or worse than ISIS".
But Julian LeBaron, whose brother Benjamin, an anti-crime activist, was killed by cartel gunmen in 2009, disputed that.
Those who left made a quick decision to leave behind their property, Langford-Staddon said.
Funerals of the three mothers and six children began to be held in Mexico on Thursday after the government said they were caught in the crossfire of a territorial feud between the Juarez Cartel and its rival the Sinaloa Cartel on Monday.
All nine had dual US-Mexican citizenship.
Adrian LeBaron, 58, the father of Rhonita Miller LeBaron, who was shot dead along with four of her children, said his son-in-law Howard Miller was heading to North Dakota with his surviving children to be with his parents and to work in the state, as he had done in the past.
"We are applying a plan to transform (Mexico), despite all the obstacles", said Lopez Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist who took office in December 2018.
It took him six hours to walk the approximately 14 miles through mountainous terrain before he arrived back at the family's home around 5:30 p.m. and alerted his uncles, who armed themselves and tried to retrieve the injured children.
Her mother Christina Langford Johnson, who died in the tragedy, has been credited with saving her daughter's life after stashing her vehicle seat on the floor of her SUV as gunfire rang out. He told the newspaper that some of the eight children who survived the massacre said that one of the mothers left her truck with her hands up in the air when she was shot and killed.
On the defensive, Mexico has countered by urging the USA government to help stop the flow of arms south of the border. They are not sure where they will settle down in the long term.
The governments of Chihuahua and Sonora said in a statement Friday that an "important number" of security agents had been deployed to the state border region that the road traverses since the "lamentable" attack, resulting in arrests and seizures of weapons, drugs and stolen vehicles.
"I went down there to get my mother and get my family out, my brothers and sisters and lots of kids", Mike Hafen said Sunday in telephone interview from his sister's home in Phoenix.
"The country is suffering very much from violence", said William Stubbs, a pecan and alfalfa farmer who serves on a community security committee in the American-dominated hamlet of Colonia LeBaron.
She said Mexico needed to overcome pride, and accept outside help from a neighbouring country or worldwide coalition, like the United Nations, to stamp out the cartels.
"They had to have known that it was women and children", he said.
Initial investigations by Mexican authorities suggest the attack was a case of mistaken identity by a drugs cartel, but the victims' families dispute this.
Although it's not yet clear what might have provoked last week's massacre in which three SUVs traveling in a convoy between Sonora and Chihauhua states were attacked by a hail of bullets and engulfed in flames, the prosperous Mormon farmers and ranchers in the rugged, mountainous region have always been vocal opponents of drug traffickers, and have resisted attempts by the criminal groups to extort them in the past. "The toughest part for me was saying goodbye ... saying goodbye to two innocent lives that were cut short and a vibrant wife that lived a life to its fullest that had many friends and and was loved by all by everybody".
There was a time when the violence of Mexico's 2006-2012 drug war shocked Americans, but barely touched them.
But Mexico's president said: "The worst thing you can have is war".
"I know that what they died for is going to help this country to have more freedom", said Jennifer Langford, a relative of Christina. "How many bullet holes were fired into that vehicle ... at that horrific scene and how many children were involved".