Some disputes led the group to divide somewhere on the side of Santa Fe. The Oatman’s and other pioneers chose to take a road further south that would lead them to Tucson, Arizona. In the meantime, Roys Oatman had become the leader of the group. A new subject of discord led the Oatman family to continue their journey alone from Maricopa Wells, although they were warned of the hostility of some Amerindians living on this territory.
It was mid-February 1851 when the Oatman family stopped on the south shore of the Gila River. A group of about twenty Native Americans - probably Yavapai - approached them to ask for food. Roy Oatman gave them bread but refused to give them more. They were then attacked and Roy, Mary Ann and four of the children were killed.