Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Carbon monoxide poisoning killed 3 US tourists in CDMX rental, officials say

Three United States citizens who were found dead in a Mexico City apartment late last month are believed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning, although one of the victims reportedly told her boyfriend that she felt “drugged” after drinking at a bar the night before she passed away.

Two men and one woman were found Oct. 30 in an apartment they rented through Airbnb in the western borough of Cuajimalpa. Jordan Marshall, Courtez Hall and Kandace Florence traveled to Mexico City to celebrate the Day of the Dead holiday, according to media reports.

The Mexico City Attorney General’s Office said that studies indicated that the three friends died of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning at an apartment in the La Rosita neighborhood, located near the Santa Fe business district.

Police said they found the bodies after security guards reported a strong smell of gas emanating from the apartment where the three Americans were staying. That suggests that carbon monoxide wasn’t the only gas that leaked as CO is odorless.

Leaky gas water heaters and stoves can emit carbon monoxide, which can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion and death if inhaled.

Airbnb told the news agency Bloomberg that the deaths were a “terrible tragedy” and that it was ready to assist authorities with their investigations. Marshall and Florence were in their late 20s while Hall was in his early 30s. The two men were reportedly teachers in New Orleans, while Florence was an entrepreneur in Virginia who had just started a candle business.

According to an El País newspaper report, Florence sent messages to her boyfriend in the early morning of Oct. 30 and told him that she felt “drugged.”

The newspaper spoke with Victor Day, who said that his girlfriend told him at about 3 a.m. on Oct. 30  that she felt extremely tired and had vomited. “She told me she felt drugged before she went back to the apartment,” Day told El País.

He saw on his girlfriend’s Instagram stories that she, Marshall and Hall had been drinking wine on an outdoor terrace in the capital. Criminals in Mexico City are known to slip drugs into people’s drinks in order to facilitate subsequent crimes, including sexual assaults, that they intend to commit. However, there was no indication that the three Americans were victims of any crime while out on the night of Oct. 29, or that the two men felt unwell after leaving the bar.

In messages sent to Day, Florence said she felt like she had taken ecstasy, as the drug MDMA is commonly known. “Where’s Jordan? Are you home or are you still out,” Day inquired. “I just got here. I’m literally in pain and pacing around the apartment. I’m shaking,” Florence responded.

The couple subsequently spoke on a video call and Day said he heard his girlfriend vomiting and retching. “She was visibly suffering,” he told El País.

“I tried to call her again [later], but I didn’t get through. I told myself that maybe it was nothing; that she would throw up whatever they gave her, sleep, we would talk again in the morning, and she would tell me what happened. Unfortunately, that was the last time I spoke to her,” Day said.

El País reported that the victims’ relatives don’t know what bar the three tourists visited on the night of Oct. 29. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City told the newspaper that it was monitoring the case and providing consular assistance to the victims’ families.

Day made it clear that he didn’t agree with the conclusion that the deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. He said the apartment where the three friends stayed was advertised as having carbon monoxide sensors and questioned why they weren’t activated if gas was leaking.

“If gas was the cause, how is it possible that the sensors didn’t go off to alert them? How is it possible that the security guards who found them were not poisoned as well? And how could Kandace tell me that she felt drugged long before she returned home?” Day asked.

With reports from El Universal, AP, Reuters and El País

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