They were Mohammed's relatives; his cousin's family.
As I arrived on the scene, mourners were in the process of moving the shrouded bodies. People pulled back the white burial cloths to prove to us these were innocent civilians.
In one shroud, a boy and girl lay curled up against each other.
The mourners, Mohammed among them, then pulled the last body out of the crushed home, that of 11-year-old Abdullah -- the son of Mohammed's cousin. Abdullah's body was covered in a thin layer of gray dust.
"Look at him, look at him, you would swear he was sleeping," Mohammed said.
The two of us didn't speak beyond that moment, one of those tragedies reporters often come across in war -- bearing witness to others' sorrow and pain.
Last month, I returned to Husayba to find Mohammed.
The Euphrates River glittered in the sunlight on the ride there, past villages and towns once dominated by al Qaeda terrorists.
I hardly recognized Husayba. The market was vibrant, alive, packed with people.
A CNN stringer had already tracked down Mohammed, and he was happy to speak with us, to see me again.
I was both eager and apprehensive: What do you say to a man you watched in the rawest moment of profound grief?
I had thought of him often over the years -- even felt connected to him in a strange way. At the same time, I felt as if I had no right to that connection. I was an observer to tragedy, while this was his life; these were his relatives killed before his eyes.
My fears eased as soon as I saw him again. He flashed the biggest smile and gave me the warmest handshake. I smiled back, told him he looked the same and that I had often wondered about him and his family.
Then he pointed to a young man behind him. "Look, that's my son, who had the baby I was carrying."
Then he continued in a matter-of-fact manner: "He was shot in the stomach by the Americans."
That happened after the fight for Husayba, he told me. His son was driving his truck around a corner when suddenly he came across a U.S. foot patrol that opened fire.
Mohammed then asked how I was doing; he'd heard a rumor I had been kidnapped.
I laughed and reassured him I was fine. His concern for a near-stranger and his hospitality were utterly humbling.
The two of us then walked toward his house, a bizarre neighborhood tour with morbid commentary as he pointed out buildings and streets: "That's the road you came down. ... Al Qaeda took over that house! ... Look, that's where a foreign fighter was killed."
Prior to the U.S. operation, he had tried to confront al Qaeda fighters stationed on his street, imploring them to move for the sake of the children in the area. They told him to shut his mouth or else.
As we walked into his home, he asked if I remembered the moment we met -- when his family huddled in their small veranda while troops went from room to room.
Then he proudly introduced his grandson, the baby he was holding that day, now almost 8.
I asked him what I had been wondering for so long: Why did he speak up about the presence of al Qaeda and ask the Americans to save them?
"We had nothing left to lose," he said. "We wanted security. But we never imagined that we would pay this price, that the Americans wouldn't differentiate between friend or foe -- it was all the same to them."
He remembered the stench of death that day he dug through the rubble, the sickeningly sweet smell of decomposing bodies. But he couldn't articulate his emotions, how he felt when he realized his relatives were among the dead.