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CLEBURNE Margaret Schneider finally got to hug her grandchildren Tuesday night.

Ten-year-old Mike and his sister Angie survived a deadly robbery aboard a bus in Veracruz, Mexico on December 22, but their hearts will bear the scars for the rest of their lives.

They watched a man with a rifle kill their mother and two sisters. Mike escaped because a cousin hid him in the back of the bus.

His teeth were chattering and everything, and they were begging him to be quiet. 'They'll shoot you, too,' his uncle, David Ramsey, told News 8. Mike was too sick to talk to reporters, and his family had to take him to a hospital Tuesday night after he returned home.

Relatives said Angie was covered in her mother's blood after the attack.

Her brother told relatives that robbers stormed the bus and slapped the women until they handed over money and jewelry.

When Mary Hartsell tried to protect Angie, the robber returned with a rifle and shot Mary... then opened fire on her daughters Karla and Cristina when they cried out for help.

The family had warned Mary not to make the trip. The U.S. State Department has issued warnings about travelers in that region of Mexico because of ongoing violence.

She had been there a number of times without being attacked, and I guess she felt like she could make it one more time, said Bob Schneider, Mary Hartsell's father-in-law.

It was supposed to be a family trip to see relatives in Veracruz. Karla posted some final photos of the bus trip on her Facebook page and joked about the long journey and the stories she wanted to share.

Angie has special needs, and she may never understand what happened. So 10-year-old Mike is the only one who can share the story.

It is not one he wants to remember.

When his mom got shot and his sisters, he tried to go up there, but his cousin stopped him, Schneider told News 8. I think that saved his life. If he had gone up there, he would have been shot, too.

Schneider said Ramsey and his wife will take care of Angie and Mike while their father is away.

Mary Hartsell, Karla, and Cristina were buried at a family plot in Veracruz.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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