Family seeks answers on mysterious death of American student in Mexico hotel

Bowen Xiao
By Bowen Xiao
July 18, 2017US News
Family seeks answers on mysterious death of American student in Mexico hotel
Tourists enjoy the beach on Oct. 19, 2005 at Playa del Carmen. (OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

A family from Wisconsin is still seeking answers for the mysterious death of their daughter, a college student who died earlier this year at a luxury resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Abbey Conner, 20, and her brother, Austin, 23, were found unconscious in a hotel swimming pool at the five-star Iberostar Paraíso Maya resort during a family vacation in January, ABC News reports.

Their mother and stepfather became worried after the two did not show up for dinner, only learning later that they had been taken to a hospital, their biological father, Bill Conner, told ABC News.

The pair were found unconscious, face down in a pool, but it didn’t look like a simple drowning accident, the family says. The pool was only waist deep. Austin suffered a concussion and Abbey sustained a broken collarbone and was later pronounced brain-dead, before dying later in hospital in Florida, ABC News reports.

Austin eventually recovered in the hospital. Abbey had to be placed on a ventilator and was later taken off life support at a Florida hospital on Jan. 12, according to the Daily News.

“Someone needs to be held responsible for this,” Bill Conner told ABC News. “It doesn’t make any sense. We’re lucky we didn’t lose both of our kids.

Austin said they had been drinking before the swim, reaching blood alcohol levels around 0.25, three times the legal limit in their home state of Wisconsin.

Mexican officials said Abbey died from accidental drowning, but her family members want more information, saying that local Mexican police refused to investigate further into what caused their daughter’s death.

“She was healthy, but for some reason, she drowns in a pool. Waist deep … it’s unbelievable,” Bill Connor said.                       

The State Department told ABC it was “aware of the case,” and was working to provide consular assistance, but had no further comment on the investigation.

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