Faith Marie was reunited with her father after surviving a gun ambush by a drug cartel. Picture: Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Sonora - A baby girl was reunited with her father after surviving a gun ambush by a drug cartel that killed nine members of a Mormon family.

Seven-month-old Faith was pictured smiling with Tyler Johnson as he embraced her at their home.

She was found alive in a bullet-ridden car on a dirt road in Mexico’s northern state of Sonora following the brutal gang attack on Monday.

Her mother Christina Langford Johnson, who died in the tragedy, has been credited with saving her daughter’s life after stashing her car seat on the floor of her SUV as gunfire rang out.

Officials say the assailants may have mistaken the group’s vehicles for those of a rival gang.

Relatives say Mrs Langford Johnson, 29, got out of her Chevrolet and waved her arms to show attackers she was not a threat. Her bullet-ridden body was found 15 yards away, suggesting she may have moved away from the car to distract the gunmen.

Faith was found unharmed, still strapped in her seat, more than eight hours later when relatives and officials arrived at the scene.

Mrs Langford Johnson and two other mothers were driving in separate vehicles from their La Mora religious community in Sonora – part of an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many of its members have dual US-Mexican citizenship.

Rhonita Miller and four of her children – eight-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana, ten-year-old daughter Krystal and 12-year-old son Howard – were all killed. Dawna Langford, 43, and her two sons, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, three, were also gunned down.

Eight children survived the ambush. They not only escaped the gunmen who killed their mothers but hid in the brush for hours until help arrived.

Five wounded youths were flown to the border in a military helicopter to receive care in the US. Three other children, including Faith, have been reunited with relatives at La Mora.

Mrs Langford Johnson’s son Devin, 13, was also credited with saving lives after he hid his siblings with branches before walking 13 miles to La Mora.

His family then alerted authorities before arming themselves to look for survivors.

Relatives said Devin reached the community six hours after the attack. One, Kendra Miller, added: "When he took too long to return, his nine-year-old sister left the remaining five [too]."

A suspected drug lord – a 30-year-old man identified only as Leonardo – was arrested on Tuesday over the massacre.

The suspect was found in Agua Prieta, at the border with Arizona, holding two hostages. They were not thought to be related to the nine victims.

Daily Mail