Family speaks out for first time after woman dies at Mexican resort
âYou’ve been protecting your child from so many things since birth, and then you know, something happens in an instant,â mom Ginny McGowan said.
Ginny and her husband John McGowan are in desperate need of information on how their daughter, Abbey Conner, 20, ended up floating face down in a swimming pool, breaking her collarbone and slipping into a coma just two hours after the start of their vacation at five. star resort.
Mom and stepdad John were booked into the Iberostar Paraiso Resort in Playa del Carmen, and they were alarmed when Abbey and her 23-year-old son Austin didn’t show up for dinner.
âProbably the most excited person was Abbey,â Ginny said. “We just sat on chairs by the pool, and we were like, let’s go up and get ready for dinner. You have to meet us in the lobby at 7:30 am.”
Austin and Abbey stayed by the pool.
âWe swam around a bit and decided to celebrate with a drink,â Austin said. “So we go up to the bar, and another group that was already there started talkingâ¦ we didn’t know them. The bartender pours a line of shots, and I take one, and everyone does. And the last I remember is like we were right now setting here talking, and the lights went out, and I woke up in the ambulance.
The family say a guest found Abbey and Austin floating face down in the waist-deep pool, and soon they were on their way to the hospital. But Ginny and John had no idea.
âIt was close to 8, and I’m starting to worry,â Ginny said. “I said, I just have to, I need to call their room because I can’t contact them any other way to find out where they are. And she said is your husband here with you. he’s sitting right there. And then she went to get the GM and quickly brought me over to John, explained to me that there had been an accident. “
Abbey was brain dead, while Austin had a concussion and a golf ball-sized lump on his head. Abbey was airlifted to a hospital in Florida, where she later died.
âShe was on the right track, a right track for her,â Ginny said. “And she was happy.”
Authorities said their blood alcohol level was 0.25, three times the legal limit in their home state of Wisconsin. Austin says he can’t remember how many hits he had.
âI thought about it, and I mean it’s a possibility (we drank too much),â he said. “But how, if we’re in a group of people, exactly two people at the same time pass out in the pool and no one sees it?”
The family wonder if the tainted alcohol – a toxic mix of cheap ingredients – could be in part to blame. Other families have since come forward, remembering how they suddenly passed out after a few drinks while visiting resorts in Mexico.
Mexican authorities say they have seized 1.4 million gallons of tainted alcohol from Mexican businesses – including resorts, clubs, bars, warehouses and manufacturers – over the past seven years.
The Iberostar resort denies serving tainted alcohol, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “we only purchase sealed bottles that meet all standards required by designated regulatory authorities … We are deeply saddened by this incident and reiterate our deepest condolences to the family. “
The family has hired a lawyer and are considering suing the complex.
“I hope she hasn’t suffered at all, and I hope she’s at peace,” Ginny said. “We miss you.”
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