Mystery Death at Resort Has Family Seeking Answers

Abbey Conner's parents, brother don't think her January death in Mexico was an accident
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2017 11:54 AM CDT
Updated Jul 16, 2017 5:37 PM CDT
Cops in Mexico Say She Drowned. Her Family Isn't So Sure
A pool at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar resort near Playa del Carmen, Mexico.   (Iberostar)

Shortly after arriving at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar resort near Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in January, John and Ginny McGowan left their adult son and daughter at a pool with plans to meet them in the hotel lobby for dinner an hour and a half later. But Abbey Conner, 20, and Austin Conner, 22, didn't show up by 7pm as scheduled, or even by 7:30. As hotel staff later explained, the pair had been found facedown in the pool sometime after 7pm and taken to a hospital, where Abbey was on life support, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The McGowans were shocked and confused, not least because their children had grown up on a lake in Wisconsin and were experienced swimmers. Their confusion only mounted when they learned Austin had a concussion and Abbey had a cracked collarbone.

Six months after Abbey was declared brain-dead and taken off life support, the McGowans still have no idea what happened to their children. A report issued by a law firm the McGowans hired found police interviewed only three staffers who pulled the pair from the pool. Austin's blood alcohol level was 0.26; Abbey's was 0.25. Before waking in an ambulance, Austin says he last remembers the pair doing a shot with a group of young men. He suspects they were drugged, though blood tests didn't detect any opioids or benzodiazepines in their systems. The McGowans—who saw no ambulance despite being in the lobby when the children were reportedly found—say US authorities have failed to help the family gain more clarity. Adding to the mystery: A couple described a similar experience at an Iberostar resort in Mexico in 2015. (More on that here.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.