Police and paramedics arrived at the hotel on Tuesday evening after receiving a report that the Americans were unconscious in their room. Inside, they found a man and a woman with no vital signs.
The victims were identified as John Heathco, 41, and Abby Lutz, 28, according to a statement from the Baja California Sur Attorney General’s Office, obtained by ABC. It noted that Lutz is from Newport Beach, Calif.
Their cause of death was deemed as “intoxication by substance to be determined,” according to the Attorney General’s statement. The Associated Press reported that the suspected cause of death was gas inhalation.
By the time the two were found by authorities, the man and woman had been dead for 10 to 11 hours and there were no signs of violence on their bodies, the Attorney General’s Office wrote.
The two Americans had been staying at the Hotel Rancho Pescadero, a luxury resort owned by Hyatt in El Pescadero, a small town north of Cabo San Lucas.
Renting a room at the Hotel Rancho Pescadero could run you from US$675 per night to up to US$1,500 per night for a private villa and pool, according to the hotel’s website. Hyatt has not publicly commented on the deaths.
Lutz’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help bring their daughter’s body home “so we can have the funeral she deserves.” So far, it has raised over US$24,000 of its US$30,000 goal.
The family writes that Lutz had been on vacation in Mexico with her boyfriend when they experienced what they thought was a bout of food poisoning. They went to the hospital for treatment and the family were told they were doing better. Later on, the family received a phone call saying the pair had died in their sleep in their hotel room.
“We have been told it was due to improper venting of the resort and could be carbon monoxide poisoning. Abby was supposed to meet up with her dad this week for Father’s Day and all of this is completely unexpected,” the family write. “Abby was the most beautiful soul and we will miss her so much.”
According to his LinkedIn page, Heathco was the founder of LES Labs, which produced nutritional supplements.
There have been several cases of deaths in Mexico due to poisoning by carbon monoxide or other gases. Such gases are often produced by improperly vented or leaky water heaters and stoves.
In Mexico, proper gas line installations and vents are often lacking, and there is no legal requirement to install carbon monoxide monitors. In Canada, rules for installing carbon monoxide monitors vary from province to province.
Last year, three U.S. citizens were found dead at a rented Airbnb in Mexico, apparent victims of gas inhalation.
The Mexico City police department said the three were found unresponsive Oct. 30 in an upscale neighbourhood. They had apparently rented the dwelling for a short visit. Post-mortem examinations suggested the two men and one woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In 2018, a gas leak in a water heater caused the deaths of an American couple and their two children in the resort town of Tulum, south of Playa del Carmen.
An inspection revealed that the water heater at the rented condominium was leaking gas. Prosecutors said the gas leak was perhaps caused by a lack of maintenance or the age of the equipment.
In 2010, the explosion of an improperly installed gas line at a hotel in Playa del Carmen killed five Canadian tourists and two Mexicans.
In that case, prosecutors said the gas line, apparently meant to fuel a pool heating unit, was not properly installed or maintained. They said gas leaking from the line may have been ignited by a spark from an electric switch or plug.
— With files from the Associated Press