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Cleburne Mom & Daughters Killed In Mexico Bus Robbery

By Austin York, NewsRadio 1080 KRLD & Andrea Lucia, CBS 11 News
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CLEBURNE (CBSDFW.COM) – Funeral arrangements are being made for a Cleburne mother and 2 teenage sisters gunned down in Mexico.

Maria Hartsell was on a bus heading to visit her mother in Veracruz last Thursday when gunmen stormed a bus in a robbery spree, killing 7 people on board.

Days before leaving, her 13-year-old daughter Cristina wrote her father telling him not to worry for her.  “I know we will make it there and back safely and alive,” she wrote.

The overnight trip on Mexico’s highways proved more dangerous than she imagined.  “It’s tragic what happened. It was just a tragedy, totally unnecessary,” said Margaret Schneider, the teen’s grandmother.

KRLD’s Austin York Reports:

Christina, her mother Maria, and her half-sister Karla Sanchez Hartsell were among the 7 killed.

“I’m not (Karla’s) biological grandma… but I loved her like my own. She always came up and gave me a hug and said, I love you grandmother,” said Schneider  “I just don’t understand why they would kill those girls. I just don’t understand.”

Two other siblings survived the attack, 15-year-old Angie Hartsell, who suffers from down syndrome – and 10-year-old Micheal Hartsell.   “His mother getting shot, his sisters getting shot, he witnessed it all,” said Schneider.

She says, her daughter-in-law, Maria, was anxious to see her own ailing mother and ignored warnings not to travel to her native country.  “All the family advised her not to go, but she still went,” she said.

An elder at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Cleburne says services will be held at their church.  The elder says all three were very active members. The two sisters attended Cleburne schools and Maria worked in one of the district elementary school cafeterias.

The two surviving children have been picked up by their grandfather, and will be back in Cleburne Tuesday.

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