In December of 2016, Abbey Conner and her older brother, Austin, flew with their mom and stepdad from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, to a five-star resort just north of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, to enjoy a family vacation together.
The family decided the resort was the safest place for them to visit and relax. Unfortunately, the family was only there for a few hours before things went awry.
According to the Daily Mail, upon arriving at the resort, 20-year-old Abbey and 22-year-old Austin went their separate ways to enjoy a few drinks by the pool. Their mom, Ginny, and stepfather, John McGowan, went for a walk on the beach.
A short time later, as USA Today reports, Ginny, John, Abbey, and Austin reconvened at the pool to enjoy some family time together. Around 5:45 p.m., the parents decided to freshen up for dinner and retreated to their room.
Abbey and Austin were expected to meet their parents in the lobby at 7 p.m. to decide where they wanted to eat dinner, but when Abbey and Austin never showed up, Ginny and John began to worry.
It wasn’t until after they asked the front desk to ring their room that they were told both of their children were taken to a hospital 12 miles away. The siblings were allegedly found face down in the resort pool.
According to Austin, the last thing he remembered was taking a shot with a group of men who invited the siblings for a drink.
As the Daily Mail reports, before the last shot, which Austin believed to be Jägerbomb, he remembered taking only four to five tequila shots.
He said he and his sister weren’t looking to get drunk because they had planned to meet their parents for dinner and added that he didn’t feel drunk before blacking out.
The next thing Austin knew, he was waking up in the back of an ambulance.
Austin was able to make a full recovery despite suffering a concussion, but Abbey had to be put in an induced coma. After being flown from Mexico to a Florida hospital, she was confirmed brain-dead.
The Mexican medical clinic reported that Austin had a blood-alcohol level of 0.26 and Abbey 0.25; Austin and the teens’ father, Bill Conner, believe they were drugged. Austin said:
“I’ve been in college for five years and had my fair share of drinks before. No way in hell I’m putting my face down in a pool and going to sleep. Knowing that we got played or are victims of some sick person drugging us is almost surreal.”
According to HealthStatus’s blood alcohol concentration calculator, Abbey’s blood-alcohol level at 130 pounds would have been around 0.17. She would have had to do seven shots in just an hour in order to reach that level.
On January 12, Abbey was taken off life support.
The police report obtained by the family’s lawyers shows that a basic investigation concluded that her death was ruled as an “accidental drowning.”
However, attorney Florentino Ramirez called the report “convenient,” explaining that it doesn’t contain statements from the bartender, hotel guests, the woman who found Austin and Abbey, or key details from the medical clinic:
“It’s all too convenient. If it was an accident, where was everybody? It just doesn’t make sense. There are too many open ends.”
The police report was lacking: There were no statements from witnesses nor was there an extensive medical clinic report. In fact, it doesn’t indicate who actually saw the pair in the water.
The only statements came from three employees, including two security guards and the pool manager, who were 20 to 30 seconds away and didn’t arrive on the scene until after the teens were already in the water. According to USA Today:
[The statements] indicate they arrived on the scene, pulled the kids from the water and performed CPR on Abbey. She was unconscious with a low pulse and spitting up foam from her nose and mouth as they tried to revive her, they all said.
Austin was going under and began moving and spitting up water as they pulled him out, they said.
Abbey “was seen” drunk at 7:03 sitting on the edge of the pool, they said, where the water was less than 4-feet deep.
There are still many questions. Ramirez thinks it’s possible that there was a fight, but Austin doesn’t remember:
“[Austin] gets hit over the head and goes down. That happens in 15 seconds. That’s one possibility.”
The family is fighting for more answers.
Bill told the Daily Mail that he still can’t believe what happened — he’s still waiting for his daughter to walk through the doors, hoping that this real life nightmare was nothing but a bad dream.
Since Abbey was a registered organ donor, all of her unharmed organs have been donated, with some already saving people’s lives.