Several news outlets published unverified and likely inaccurate information about a brutal cartel massacre in northern Mexico which left three women and six children dead. Assertions of the women being raped during the attack are spreading through social media as a result.
Several members of the Lebaron family were traveling through the mountainous region between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua when a group of cartel gunmen attacked them, killing nine women and children, while the rest ran into a brushy area for refuge from gunfire.
The first mention of rape comes from The Daily Mail, where they stated that “relatives fear some of the victims may have been raped.” The Sun took that statement and further spread the unverified claim. Several other prominent news outlets then simplified the “fears of rape” to a straightforward assertion.
Mexican authorities have since released many details from the case, however, no information suggests any rapes occurred. Breitbart Texas consulted with federal law enforcement officials on both sides of the border to specifically ask about any possible rapes. Officials on both sides said there was no evidence to support the reports.
In the numerous interviews given by the Lebaron family since the attack, the issue of rape was never raised.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
This article was updated to reflect additional content.