September 29, 2023
Deaths Of U.S. Couple Prompts Luxury Hotel To Suspend Operations

The death of Two Americans vacationing in Mexico in a Hyatt owned resort prompted the luxury seaside resort to temporarily suspend operations pending an internal investigation to determine the cause of death. According to a Hyatt spokesman “Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of guests and colleagues and the property will not resume normal operations until our investigation is complete.” The Hotel Rancho Pescadero, where the couple died, is owned by Hyatt Hotels and is located in El Pescadero, a small town north of Cabo San Lucas.

John Heathco, 41, and Abby Lutz, 28, were found dead in their hotel room after being hospitalized for suspected food poisoning earlier in their trip, according to Lutz’s family. The cause of death was deemed “intoxication by substance to be determined,” according to the state attorney general’s office. The Associated Press reported the suspected cause of death was gas inhalation. Lutz’s family believes the couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“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 added. “Abby was the most beautiful soul and we will miss her so much.” The couple was found on the evening of June 13, after police were alerted that two guests were unconscious in their hotel room. By that time, the two had been dead for about 10 to 11 hours, according to the Attorney General’s Office, which noted that authorities found no signs of violence on their bodies.

Room rentals at the Hotel Rancho Pescadero range from 675 per night to $1,500 per night for a private villa and pool, according to the hotel’s website. 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 2022 three Americans were found dead at a rented Airbnb in Mexico and the cause of death was suspected gas inhalation. The Mexico City police department said the three were unresponsive Oct. 30 in an upscale area. They had rented the dwelling for a short visit and autopsies 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.

The potential consequences can be devastating when carbon monoxide poisoning or gas poisoning occurs at a hotel or vacation rental. It’s important to remember the property owner and the staff who manage or work at hotels have a duty of care to provide workers and guests with a safe environment. The presence of carbon monoxide places hotel owners, managers, or staff members liable for any harm caused to guests when they fail to take the necessary steps to safeguard from this danger. California law requires property owners or rental property to install carbon monoxide detectors in any rooms containing fuel-burning appliances. In addition, landlords must inspect and maintain these devices frequently to ensure they are working properly. California law allows individuals or entities to be held liable even if the gas leak was unintentional.

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On February 13, 2013 Maricela, a Certified Nursing Assistant presented to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Emergency Room with complaint of neck and back pain. She was diagnosed with a neck strain and was given Ibuprofen and instructed to return if her symptoms did not subside.


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