EL PASO, Texas — The brutal murders of a Mormon and his pregnant wife

have left local LDS Church members in a state of sadness, shock, disappointment

and concern.

Arthur H. Redelfs, 34, and his wife, Lesley A. Enriquez, 35, both U.S.

citizens, were shot to death in their car near the Santa Fe

International bridge linking Ciudad Juarez with El Paso, Texas,

following a birthday party Saturday afternoon. Enriquez was four months

pregnant.

Fortunately, the couple's one-year-old baby was found unharmed in the

back seat.

__IMAGE1__Redelfs was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

His mother, brother and sister attended the Redd Ward in the El Paso

Mount Franklin stake regularly. Enriquez was not a member. Fellow ward

members Trent and Anne Hatch said the family and congregation are deeply

saddened by the news. Members are doing their best to offer support and

comfort to the family.

"It was awful. The whole ward is having a really hard time," Anne Hatch

said. "People are really upset. They were really nice people,

down-to-earth. They would help anybody."

Mexican authorities put suspicion on a gang of hit men allied with the

Juarez drug cartel based on "information exchanged with U.S. federal

agencies," according to a statement Sunday from the joint mission of

soldiers and federal police overseeing security in Ciudad Juarez.

They hit men also ambushed Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, 37, a

Mexican citizen. He was shot to death in his car, while his two

children, ages 4 and 7, were wounded, according to the state prosecutors

office. The children were hospitalized.

All three victims had ties to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez.

Several U.S. citizens have been killed in Mexico's drug war, most of

them people with family ties to Mexico. It is very rare for American

government employees to be targeted, although attackers hurled grenades

at the U.S. consulate in the northern city of Monterrey in 2008.

The atmosphere of violence in Juarez had been creeping closer to U.S.

offices for some time: on Friday, the consulate put a bar just around

the block from its office off limits to U.S. government personnel "due

to security concerns."

The State Department authorized U.S. government employees at Ciudad

Juarez and five other U.S. consulates in northern Mexico to send family

members out of the area because of concerns about rising drug violence.

The cities are Tijuana, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros.

Civilians have increasingly gotten caught in the middle of drug gang

violence that has made Ciudad Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the

world, with more than 2,500 people killed last year alone.

The three died during a particularly bloody weekend in Mexico, with

nearly 50 people killed in apparent gang violence. Nine people were

killed in a gang shootout early Sunday in the Pacific resort city of

Acapulco, one of Mexico's spring break attractions.

This is the second incident involving a Mormon in the past year. Trent

Hatch said a female church member in a neighboring ward was hijacked and

robbed last year on her way to the LDS temple in Ciudad Juarez.

__IMAGE2__"She got lost and was mugged. They took her car, money and jewelry. We

think she was protected because she lived, but she lost everything,"

Anne Hatch said. "Even when you go over for the right things, you have

to be aware of the situation and be smart."

Trent Hatch has lived in Mexico and moved his family to El Paso 10

years ago so they could be close to the border. They are tired of the

violence and recently discussed moving away. Trent Hatch crosses the

border each day to his sales job in Ciudad Juarez. It worries his wife.

"I am a little immune to it because I lived in Mexico, but there is

always a concern in the back of my mind about being in the wrong place

at the wrong time," he said. "You could be a victim."

Extortion, kidnapping, and violence have been ongoing in the Chihuahua area for the last several years, impacting both the Mexican and American citizens.

"The violence has really changed the dynamic of living here," Anne Hatch said. "When we

moved here...we loved the simplicity of life and going across the border

to get a burrito and enjoy the market. Now it's totally different, a

complete 180. It's just crazy."

Trent Hatch said they and other church members still attend the temple

regularly each month, but the violence has altered lifestyles.

"Members have had to limit their activities, which is a shame and insane

to be honest," Trent said. "Even the temple hours have been adjusted to

the needs of the members."

Despite the violent circumstances and risks, Trent Hatch said members

will continue attending the temple.

"Up to date we have had relatively no problems. Members of the church

are determined to continue going and doing temple work," he said.

The funeral will take place this weekend, Trent Hatch said.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.E-mail: [email protected]