College student dies after mysterious incident at pool in Mexico

A Wisconsin family is still searching for answers six months after a 20-year-old woman suffered a mysterious fatal injury in a swimming pool in Mexico.

Abbey Conner, 20, and her older brother Austin were both found face down in the pool at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar resort just hours after arriving, despite the fact that they were strong swimmers.

Austin Conner was hospitalized but recovered. However, Abbey had to be placed on a ventilator and was later taken off life support at a Florida hospital on Jan. 12.

Austin, who is 6-foot-2, told the Journal Sentinel that he and his sister had four or five tequila shots. He said they also did a shot with a group of guys at the bar, and did not know what it contained.

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Their mother and step-father were also on the trip, but were not at the pool at the time.

“I’ve been in college for five years and had my fair share of drinks before,” Austin told the newspaper. “No way in hell I’m putting my face down in a pool and going to sleep.”

Abbey Conner died in January after suffering a tragic accident while on vacation in Mexico.

Abbey Conner died in January after suffering a tragic accident while on vacation in Mexico.


Austin’s blood-alcohol level was .26, while Abbey’s was .25, according to the Journal Sentinel. Anything above .25 can cause loss of motor skills.

“Somebody had to slip them some type of drug,” their father Bill Conner, who was not at the resort, told the newspaper.

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“Knowing that we got played or are victims of some sick person drugging us is almost surreal,” Austin told the Journal Sentinel.

Abbey’s death certificate states “accidental drowning.” Her family told the paper that police have been reluctant to do a thorough investigation.


Abbey Conner, step-dad John McGowan, mother Ginny McGowan, and brother Austin Connor traveled together to Mexico for vacation over the winter.


The family hired a law firm, and received a report this week. It was found that local police in the Playa del Carmen area had spoken to a total of three employees at the hotel.

There were not any statements from hotel guests or bartenders, according to the paper.

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“It’s all too convenient,” lawyer Florentino Ramirez told he Journal Sentinel. “If it was an accident, where was everybody? It just doesn’t make sense. There are too many open ends.”

Bill Conner just completed a 2,000-mile-plus bicycle ride from Wisconsin to Florida to raise money and awareness for organ donation. His daughter’s organs were donated.

Abbey was majoring in public relations at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“I still can’t believe this happened,” her father told the newspaper. “I’m still waiting for my daughter to walk through the door. This couldn’t have happened … in the middle of the bar, two adults, floating in the pool long enough to drown.”


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