Jehovah’s Witness family murdered in Mexico over debt
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A family of eight Jehovah's Witnesses in Mexico has been stabbed to death

A family of eight Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico has been stabbed to death

A family of eight Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico was brutally murdered last Sunday morning according to reports.

Police arrested two suspects on Tuesday (identified as Jesus Mendoza Hernandez, 21, and Edgar Lujan Guevara, 31) after investigators found traces of blood on their clothing. Further suspects are being sought.

Concerned fellow Witnesses called at the home in the northern Mexico border city of Ciudad Juarez on Sunday after the family failed to show up at the meeting as normal. They found that all eight had been bound with packing tape and stabbed to death.

The Chihuahua prosecutor’s office has confirmed that the victims included two girls, ages 4 and 6; a 7-year-old boy; three women, ages 25, 30 and 60; and two men, ages 30 and 40. A three-month-old girl found in the house was the sole survivor. The family was killed with a knife from their kitchen, and there were no signs of forced entry.

Early reports suggested the murders were connected with an unpaid gambling debt, but it is thought to have been more specifically connected to a stud fee for a dog. The head of the family, Maximo Romero Sanchez, worked as a mechanic – fixing and selling used cars. But it seems he fell into trouble with a criminal gang who called a month previously trying to collect the $115 owed for the dog. At the time he told them he didn’t have the money and the group left.

When the gang returned last Sunday, Sanchez was once again asked for the money. After he failed to produce it, the family members were bound, gagged and stabbed to death. After the brutal murder, it is claimed the gang fled the property with 2,500 pesos ($192), taken from the pockets and purses of their victims.

The funeral for four of the family members took place on Wednesday night at the local Kingdom Hall, with 150 in attendance.

“They, the family, were honorable people, dedicated to the church and to God. They would come to the church’s meetings every Thursday and Sunday. This is something I can’t explain. We are in shock,” elder Ismael Toribio told the media.

Another elder, Daniel Sierra, who gave the funeral talk, told his congregation: “Why (did this happen), you ask? Because Satan is the ruler of this land.”

Ciudad Juarez, which lies across the border from El Paso in Texas, has a reputation as a violent city. 10,000 people have been killed there since 2006.

Reaction from one Jehovah’s Witness

It is hoped that the friends and relatives of those who were so brutally killed will receive the support they need in the wake of this evil act. No person or family deserves to be murdered like this any reason, let alone over an unpaid debt.

Yesterday I had a brief exchange with a professed Jehovah’s Witness on Facebook who was commenting on the killing. I can only hope that he was not speaking for the majority of Witnesses when he coldly remarked: “If this brother got himself into a sticky situation he got what was coming to him. Whereas the poor kids probably had no clue.”

As I pointed out to this so-called ‘brother’ – no amount of gambling or getting into debt can account for someone getting stabbed to death. Sadly, I fear the mentality of punishment and retribution so recurrent in Watchtower ideology will cause many Witnesses to draw similar heartless conclusions over what happened. This poor man will be seen by some, but hopefully not all, as paying a price for his supposed ‘greed’.

Rather than reasoning that “time and unforeseen occurrence” befall us all (Eccl. 9:11), it is all too likely that some Witnesses will conclude that this attack represents further evidence that we are living in the last days of Satan’s system, and that dire consequences await any who stray from Watchtower’s teachings.

I for one won’t succumb to such thinking. This wicked crime only demonstrates that anyone can fall victim to evil people, no matter what religion they belong to. It also shows only too tragically that regularly attending meetings is no magic charm against calamity, as the 2013 Yearbook attempted to imply.

 

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47 Responses to Jehovah’s Witness family murdered in Mexico over debt

  1. Tony says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong…but if the death is caused by some major negligence or “wrongdoing” or risk-taking venture i.e. illegal street racing or skydiving or heart attack while having sex outside of marriage, then the victim’s funeral cannot take place in the Kingdom Hall…right? It would probably bring reproach on Jehovah’s name. (Posthumous DF’n)

    • Cedars says:

      Hi Tony. As far as I’m aware there would be no issue with the funeral taking place in the Kingdom Hall. Gambling was not the cause of death. He died because some psychopaths murdered him in cold blood using unpaid debts as an excuse. Not everyone who gambles can or should expect to meet the same fate. Everyone makes mistakes, and nobody should be made to pay for it in the way this poor man did. I can only hope the elders will see it that way.

  2. Babs Mason says:

    Thank you John for this information on why this heinous crime happened. It amazes me that the elders allowed the services to happen in the KH as the person who had a gambling problem should of been dis-fellowshipped. Going to use this information as a post in yahoo to show the double standard this religious cult has. Really good job on this article and love seeing your real picture on your blog. Namaste

    • Cedars says:

      Thanks Babs, but to be honest I don’t see this as a case of double standards. It simply shows that Jehovah’s Witnesses are ordinary people who become desperate and make mistakes, and are not immune from falling victim to heinous crimes by wicked people. As I said to Tony, an indiscretion such as gambling is no excuse for getting murdered in cold blood.

  3. makethetruthyourown says:

    For those who may feel he reaped what was sown by his own actions, there would have been no reason for the congregation to make the tragedy any worse by prohibiting the service at the hall. What about the others who were innocent? I have been inactive for over 15 years and yet, I am disturbed when such a targedy strikes.

  4. This has got to be one of the sadest things I have read. A whole family pays with their lives because the father made a very wrong decision getting involved with the wrong type of people. I can’t imagine the terror the children felt as one by one they were all slain.
    I’m certain the rest of the family will care for the baby as they mourn the death of their loved ones.

  5. John Baptist says:

    A very very sad outcome for a whole family to succumb too. My heart goes out to the relatives and friends of this family who experienced such a horrific end to their lives. No doubt we live in perilous times and anybody could be a victim of these type of crimes directly or indirectly.
    Yes there are people who no matter what religion they are could be practicing a double life that brings clear shock to those close by in association with that one.
    obviously the father engaged in activity that was illegal and thus rubbed shoulders with the wrong people not realizing the dire circumstances that could occur.
    And of course the whole family unjustly paid a price for his involvement in such activity.
    Criminals have no boundary’s or conscience when it comes to other people. That’s why they do what they do in the first place.
    What gets me a little annoyed is the fact that the Elder said “Another elder, Daniel Sierra, who gave the funeral talk, told his congregation: “Why (did this happen), you ask? Because Satan is the ruler of this land.”
    So while being partly true, this man was consciously putting himself into a situation that was not good. It was not Satan who forced this man into making that decision in the first place to get involved with the wrong people.
    A lot of time especially among the witness community they are quick to blame everything else and not themselves when bad circumstances happen to them. They are very slow to accept responsibility for their own actions and resort to Ad Hominem type tactics in order to skate the real issue of them personally doing something wrong or believing in one of their flawed Doctrines.
    In any event it just goes to show how people are not always what they project themselves to be.
    Just yesterday i had a conversation with a friend whose friend went hunting with some JW’s and while his friend is a Baptist he remarked how pleasant it was to be around them but that they sure could drink(Alcoholic beverages) to a excess while out there in the woods. The what if’s of dangers could be endless while out there hunting in that state of mind. So my question was, were these people really practicing what they preached?
    I do agree with you Cedars as to Eccl. 9:11 but you also know the bible says at 1 Cor 15:33 ” Bad associations spoils useful habits” And by this man doing so he paid the ultimate unjustly price of life for him and his family.
    While we may not know all of the facts pertaining to this Man’s life and what he was or was not thinking, in the end a very terrible terrible tragedy took place that will shape the life of that one remaining child.
    It is my hope this child will be able to grow up with some sort of balance amid such a tragedy.
    Again my heart goes out to this family and i’m sure our Creator of life is surely looking down on this lone survivor.
    Again thank you for sharing your thought’s Cedar.

  6. chris says:

    Hey Cedars,
    I saw this the night it came out as my brother in law knew these people.
    My wife and I both think that there is ALOT more to the story than what is being stated.
    I think she was bale to get on the familys facbook and saw that they lived very well for where they were at.
    Alot the amount of money they were killed for was next to nothing as he had the means to pay it back. I think the man was leading a double life and it caught up to him some how. Just becuase the there is a knight in shining armor does not mean his heart is made of gold.
    Either way what ever you believe this is horrible…..
    Thanks for the great article!

  7. Susan says:

    Thanks for another well written article! I wonder if gambling is viewed differently in Mexico by the Witnesses the same way bribery is. The Witnesses actively partook in bribing officials to get missionaries into Mexico and many other countries, and other reasons as well. At any rate, this tragedy was because there are horrible people out there, as there have been since the beginning of time, the Dark Ages, etc. I do not see it as reason to believe we’re in the last days.

  8. JBob says:

    The headline is misleading. Initially, reports attributed deaths to gambling debts with dog fighting ring, but given the family’s background, the authorities drilled down to the cause being a debt owed for stud dog fee. The owner/mechanic and used car businesses may have needed a companion or set of junkyard dogs. The covering statement of an evil world covers it all for most JW’s and most Christians. However, it remains a sad affair that some thugs could not negotiate for payment of debt.

    But, the twist that the Wt would put on this–and again, hard core JW’s, like the one you referenced, Cedars–will refer to the “bad association” rule, but in this case, it appears to be a business deal gone bad not a drug deal or a gambling deal. This sort of carnage happens in major cities and rural areas of USA, as well, where a gang or cartel settles a vendetta, whether blood or money, by annihilating an entire family line.

    • Cedars says:

      That’s an excellent observation JBob. I will amend the title of the article accordingly. The last thing I want to do is risk contributing to the dragging of this poor man’s name through the mud after he has died. Thanks.

  9. Cheri Romero says:

    Why was the funeral only done for 4 of the 8 people?

  10. dudley says:

    I like the balance you provide in your comments as ‘Cedars.’ I have 1 question about this report: Why is ‘gambling debt’ repeatedly cited when somewhere in your report of this tragedy the reason given was a dog’s “stud fee.” Wouldn’t that be a business, not gambling, matter…???

    • Cedars says:

      Hi Dudley, yes it’s been brought to my attention that the gambling aspect of this story is perhaps ambiguous and/or exaggerated, so I have changed the title of the article and some of the paragraphs to reflect this out of respect for the deceased.

      As to the relationship between a dog stud fee and gambling, I am no expert on this. However, the International Business Times in its article dated two days ago said the following, and I reported accordingly:

      “The motive behind the brutal killing is debt for dog fight gambling, according to authorities, although the exact amount of the debt is still unknown.”

      Here is the link… http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/523822/20131120/jehovah-witness-arrested-gambling-ciudad-juarez-mexico.htm

  11. dudley says:

    Just deleted misunderstood entry on web site line. Sorry to befuddle the system!

  12. The problem is that you hate people like me who can tell you off point blank where u are wrong. You think that now you are wise when not yet. You need help because you are not a big thinker like us. Don’t hate me am just beyond your level. The truth is not easy to grasp as you thought. Like Adam and Eve of the bible so you have deserved your self. The truth is not in your. Bye bye !

  13. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Who are judged according to ‘Shepherd the flock of God textbook? Jehovah’s witnesses. All sort of evils are found in the book suggesting that they are common among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    I am in court now, my wife (a Jehovah’s Witness) behind the curtains conspiring with my landlord to ruin my reputation after I left the “ORGANIZATION”!

    Who are “wolves in sheep clothing”?

    (Matthew 10:16) . . .“Look! I am sending YOU forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves. . .

    Being cautious as serpents and innocent as doves I think is the most demanding exercise Jehovah’s Witnesses are required by the GB to do. In most cases they lose balance and do not be surprised if at the resurrection you do not see the man among resurrected ones. 
    For more on being “cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.” read w08 2/15 p. 10 par. 18 Walk in Jehovah’s Ways; http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=w08+2%2F15+p.+10+par.+18)!!

  14. Sue says:

    I guess google translate did not work well on this occasion?

  15. Sue says:

    That was a comment for Christopher kayebeta as I have no idea what he was talking about.

  16. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Christopher kayebeta, whom are you referring to when you say “you are not a big thinker like us”!! Who are “US”, ChristopherS kayebetaS? and you are naming Adam and Eve here, I think you are wiser than they were. You would have eaten a basket of fruit… and die for good for a good reason.
    “you are not a big thinker like us”, I hope you do not count among you!!!!!

    • Cedars says:

      Thanks for that link Lucy, I will include it at the foot of the article. I’ve changed the article to lessen the links to gambling, which was mentioned in at least two other reports. This Daily Mail article doesn’t contradict the gambling connection – it just doesn’t mention it. If someone can prove categorically that the dog stud fee had nothing whatsoever to do with gambling, I will of course make sure my article reflects this.

  17. Caribbean Man says:

    I really hate to say this – and please understand that it is not my intention to condone in any way what those thugs did – but the God of the bible is recorded as doing similar.

    According to the bible, Achan and all his family were killed for his sin of theft. Also, whole villages of men, women, innocent children and babies were devoted to the sword during the Israelite conquest of Palestine.

    Again, my point is not to condone the action of these thugs but to get people to think of the fact that the God of the bible is recorded as commanding similar atrocious conduct.

    Why do people excuse and even defend, conduct they readily see as atrocious when committed by humans, if such atrocious conduct is sanctioned by God?

    I think this double-standard indicates that, rather than being the source of morality, religion actually poisons morality as it can get otherwise decent people to condone, excuse and even engage in conduct that they would otherwise consider indefensible.

    My heart goes out to that family and I hope they find and prosecute all the criminals responsible.

    • LAC says:

      But Jehovah is NOT killing people for stealing now as he did back when he was with the nation of Israel. I know the circumstances of this case would make it seem that the man deserved what he got but let’s remember we are talking about Mexico a third world country where poverty abounds. Also remember that the GB tells it’s members not to get a higher education (I just heard it again at last Sundays meeting) so add living in an impoverished country coupled with not having a higher education along with rising living prices and you got the perfect storm for catastrophe! Yes he was a mechanic but many mechanics in other lands don’t need licenses and even a degree for that. Many have had that skill passed on from their families. Not everyone can make ends meet in those countries where the poverty rate is so high. Remember too that in these countries criminal elements do take over and reek havoc. This is why the brothers were able to bribe officials for their political cards in Malawi because the criminals do run things in that country. While we don’t know every detail of the case it is sad that it happened.

  18. frank says:

    I think we all have to be circumspect about the reason behind this heinous crime. It is certainly not a factual representation of the family head’s led life. The dead cannot defend themselves and we should not draw conclusion on hearsay. we must just pray for them at this point and any speculation is a pointless exercise. Imagine if it had happened to any of us and this malicious gossip followed our demise,
    we would not be pleased if we can hear from the grave, would we?

  19. JBob says:

    Cedars, after re-reading that IBT report, it does state that the motive behind the killings was gambling debt but it does not attribute it to the slain family members. Another insight can be that the killers were seeking cash to to pay gambling debts. Since the killers were “friendly” acquaintances, it is possible they knew that the family had a cash stash and sought it for their own purposes–robbery.

  20. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    May I add my sympathy for the poor family. It’s a terrible business.

    I agree that the exact cause may not be known, but the point that Cedars was trying to make was that no one deserves this, for any reason.

    With this in mind, cast your minds back to one of the GB stating that God had fixed the weather so a non air conditioned printing press could churn out silver swords.

    I remember as a child hearing stories of miraculous salvation for witnesses. There was one with a couple of sisters who called on a murderer. When asked by the cops why he hadn’t killed them, he said that there was some big guy with them. Does anyone remember that story?

    Caribbean Guy makes a valid point, folks. This kind of execution was all the rage in the good old days of the conquest of the Promised Land. To be fair, everyone was doing it at the time! The point is God said go and commit genocide against the sea people.

    So we have a heinous atrocity, a religion that implies ad nauseum that if you stay in their religion you will be safe, and a God that authorised genocide.

    The one good thing from this tragedy, is that all of us, whether of faith or not, decry this horrendous act. We are united by a morality that condemns these evil acts.

    Remember folks, that the good outnumber the bad. And that the bad can, after justice is served, start on the path to redemption.

    It’s a fundamental part of Christianity, and should form part of any justice system.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  21. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Caribbean Man… it is really sad to hear these atrocities where killed people are Jehovah’s Witnesses witnessing every day atrocities their god has committed before it repents (2 Sam 12:11-12)!!

  22. Mark says:

    Tragic waste of life. Where’s divine intervention when you need it? If only they had paid their debts before dropping their few coins i the Kingdom Hall contribution box. Make sure of the more important things…..
    I hope they rest in peace and the evil perpetrators get their just deserts.

  23. isabella botticelli says:

    John Baptist, I agree with you whole-heartedly, it was a horrible tragedy no matter what the reason. That family lived in one of the most dangerous cities in the world with 1000s of murders and 1000s of others that have mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in the last 10 years, was a sure clue to not become involved in any illegal activity. However, as you mentioned, we don’t know the circumstances of his debt. Whatever the case, may his family rest in peace, and may the love of others help support the surviving child.

    Thanks to you Cedar’s, as always, for presenting this info.

  24. Aman Ofgod says:

    I am not judging but if stud fee wasnt available at the time of mating such an item would have been considered a “want” instead of a “need”. Hence why owe money for a “want” instead of a need?

  25. Kat says:

    Very sad, poor family regardless of what the man did its appalling that it came to such a violent end, innocent children, these criminals hopefully will be locked away for a very long time.

    Here is the latest I have found, sorry if it has been posted previously.

    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/family-eight-jehovah-s-witnesses-murdered-over-dogfighting-debt-ciudad

  26. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    Aman Ofgod,

    Why are you looking for logic in this terrible affair? The poor man was caught up in a situation where logic was in short supply.

    The point is that being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses does not save people from making regrettable decisions.

    No one deserves what happened, and so whether he was after a want or a need is irrelevant.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  27. Shakeem says:

    A very tragic happening. My heart goes out to the family and close friends.

  28. 70wksofyrs says:

    Cedars,
    Great article as always. I find your humility refreshing that you have made amendments in response to your posters.

    It’s reprehensible that WTBTS teach that prayer, meetings, ministry, study, family worship will protect you better than not being part of their CULT.

    Any negative comments about you personally just ignore. Great article and nice humility, but don’t get big headed about being humble. As soon as you know your humble, you stop being humble lol!

    70wks xxx

  29. seaann says:

    It is sad that people do not have all of the facts.
    JW are people and if they are not following what the bible teaches and some will not.
    That is between that person and their personal relationship with Jehovah God. Yes! Satan is the God of the system of things 1John 5:19. Yes time and unforeseen circumstance can happen to anyone.
    That is the beauty of the truth. John 8:32
    Jehovah God (Psalms 83:18)is the supreme judge.
    As far as the comment about officials being bribed so missionaries could get into a country,I know that is a lie.
    If Jehovah wants HIS work done, it will be done. Isaiah 55:11.HIS Will now is the Good News of HIS established Kingdom be preached to the world before the end comes.
    That is being Done in 239 lands Matthew 24:14 and JW are not a sect. They are witnesses of the Most High GOD. His personal names is Jehovah. Isaiah 43:10-12

  30. Gkmasta says:

    This tragedy really is a reminder of how brutal and lawless Mexico is as a country. We need to start focusing national attention on these issues and begin an “empathy movement” to bring assistance to our neighbors to the south. Since neither Jehovah nor Satan are real we should all accept the sobering reality that we’re all responsible for enacting change. I would encourage you to view this TED Talk on the subject: The deadly genius of drug cartels

  31. they will find out says:

    people will be self assuming we know that just as in the days of noah people took no note.ridiculers will come with their ridicule.they will have to know I am Jehovah.my brothers and sisters don’t give these people the time of day its satans system we know that these people will be more upset by our not responding to them pass it on

  32. Mandelay says:

    Doesn’t the Bible say something about place and circumstances? Unfortunately, this family was living in one of the most brutally dangerous and corrupt areas of the globe, a testament to their useless and impotent government that can’t even ensure the safety of a small business owner. When much of the world has experienced a decline in violence, there is no excuse for gangs and criminals acting with wanton impunity of the law. I refuse to give that country my vacation dollars. Mexico needs an ‘Arab Spring’ movement of its own.

  33. Mandelay says:

    I know I sound simplistic and the situation is infinitely more complex than merely poor governance. After all, a violent illegal trade is the national enterprize and we are their largest market. But I believe that in man’s collective imagination, there yet exists the tools for a decisive solution to Mexico’s violence, or maybe that great thinker has not been born yet, but I wish JWs were more active toward helping their fellowman in this way.

  34. tiger says:

    Agreed, what a tragedy

  35. tiger says:

    Cedars, what happended to the Rose story? I read it and could not believe what was said? Was it taken down? Sorry to comment in this thread, but did not know how to do it otherwise.

    Best wishes

  36. Junior Morin says:

    Vengance belongs to Jehovah, he will repay. These criminals unless they genuinely repent will be destroyed along with Satan and the demons but then those of us in the Truch know that. I stay home as much as possible. I don’t put myself in these situations but then again it’s different in Mexico where most of the law enforcement is crooked and the Cartel runs the country. Compared to Mexico, Houston is paradise.

  37. Andrew says:

    One thing that annoys me is all the anti JW’s that come crawling out of the woodwork like a plague to hi-jack any artical that even mentions JW’s and use it as a platform to spread there slanderous lies and to spread false stories they have heard from others instead of commenting on the facts of what has actually happened.
    It is interesting that many people recognise the excellent moral standards of the vast majority of JW’s so that they are constantly looking to point a wagging finger when one imperfect human falls short of the standards that JW’s strive to meet.
    Some of the lies about JW’s would be laughable if they were not so shamefully slanderous. If you want to know the truth about what JW’s believe or do not believe go to http://www.jw.org

    In addition I have just noticed the published guidelines to posting on this forum say “RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY – Do not post comments that are evangelical in nature or may be construed as imposing one person’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) over those of another.” Surely, using this forum to try and discredit a particular religion and its adherents is far from being neutral and contrary to the rules of the forum.

  38. Mandelay says:

    Andrew,

    Few here were looking for an imperfection among JWs from which to launch slanderous lies, as you say. Just about everyone here agreed this was a horrible trajedy that should not have happened to this father and his family. The point, in case you missed it, is time and time again we have seen that God lets anything happen to any of us at any time. There are no angels with us in field service, no special protection in godly homes or at religious meetings, etc.  All we can do in this world Andrew is try to live in safer, more civilized environments and hope for the best.

  39. Mandelay says:

    I apologize for misspelling: I meant ‘tragedy.’

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