Jul 17, 2017, 7:28 AM ET

Family searching for answers after daughter dies at resort during vacation in Mexico


A Wisconsin family is desperately searching for answers after their 20-year-old daughter died under mysterious circumstances at a five-star resort during a family vacation earlier this year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Abbey Conner, 20, drowned in January while swimming with her brother, Austin Conner, 23, in chest-deep water at the pool in the Iberostar Paraiso Resort.

When Abbey and Austin Conner did not show up for dinner, their mother and stepfather became concerned, and they eventually learned that the siblings had been taken to an emergency room 14 miles away, Bill Conner, their biological father, who was not in Mexico at the time, told ABC News.

The hotel told the family that the two were found unconscious and facedown in the pool, according to Bill Conner. Austin Conner suffered a concussion, and Abbey Conner sustained a broken collarbone and was brain dead before succumbing to her injuries in a Florida hospital days later.

Austin Conner said they had been drinking before their swim, and their blood alcohol level was around 0.25 — three times the legal limit in their home state of Wisconsin.

Mexican officials ruled Abbey Conner's death an accidental drowning, but her family members say local police refuse to investigate further into what caused her death.

"Someone needs to be held responsible for this," Bill Conner said. "It doesn't make any sense. We're lucky we didn't lose both of our kids."

"She was healthy, but for some reason she drowns in a pool. Waist deep ... it's unbelievable," he added.

The U.S. Department of State told ABC News it was "aware of the case" and extended "sincere condolences to family and friends." It said is is working to provide consular assistance but had no further comment, out of respect for the family.

Iberostar Paraiso Resort did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

News - Family searching for answers after daughter dies at resort during vacation in Mexico

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  • DB

    no witnesses? No cameras?

  • G de Vader

    "Someone needs to be held responsible for this"
    How about the home school teacher not informing his students about the danger of getting drunk in a pool?

  • Kimberly Brooks-Knapp

    Did the brother do it

  • anastasiabeaverhousen

    Seems pretty straightforward. Drunk swimming. Brother probably jumped in and landed on her. The family is grieving and looking for something more "meaningful", but stupid accidents happen all the time.

  • mnedes

    Maybe they both jumped in at the same time ?

  • S L Andrew Palms

    We'll probably never know what really happened. Darwin wins again.

  • Return of the Cowpow

    If there are no cameras in the pool area, it is not a five-star resort.

  • Daisy Jane

    There's so much more to this story than what ABC has written. I'd be inclined to believe she was just drunk & drowned too ... until learning her brother almost drowned too at the same time AND she had a broken collarbone AND how shoddy it was handled. Very scary. Look up one of the original reports on another website.

  • E Sverdrup

    This is why I like cameras in public places.

  • Robert Byrnes

    Answers: they got wasted, knocked themselves out, and then drowned. Mystery solved.

  • SpankyHamm

    This happened 6 months ago. Why is this news now?

  • Abby1

    I think someone slipped drugs into their drink. It was possibly someone from that group that bought them the drinks, or it could even be a staff member. It also strange that other guests from that hotel has previously reported blacking out and getting violently ill after a drink.

  • Quantez Williams

    You want answers? I've got three words for ya: Point, two, five.

  • 3 Wise Men

    What am I missing here. At first I thought both of them died. Now it seems only the daughter died. Can't the guy who didn't die tell them what happened. The video said he barely remembers anything. What does he remember?

    There's something odd going on here.

  • Weather3014

    Boy the comments here are sure judgmental of the drinking part of the story. Being drunk around water is definitely dangerous, but there must be some witnesses. Granted you can drown in only a few inches of water, but nobody noticed? And although the concussion could be from diving in the chest deep water, how did the girl get a clavicle fracture? You don't need the cooperation of the Mexican police because the family can get an independent autopsy performed in the US when they repatriate the body and verify the tox and alcohol screening. A drowning is not hard to tell because the water is deep within the lungs and bruises tell the story of an assault. The cause of death will be easy to prove. The problem will be if it is not consistent with accidental drowning because the family will never get the cooperation of the resort or the police.

  • RobertJohns

    DUI? Diving Under the Influence?

  • Mike O

    Mexicans bought her and her brother a shot, and obviously gave her a roofie so they could bang her the dam losers

  • Banned Squirrel

    Pool + drunk = Duh
    Simple enough for even a Kardashian

  • Coolone

    Because you know... The .25BAC had nothing to do with it! Where were the parents? Is tragic, but maybe if the patents were paying attention to their kids 2 things would've happened. 1, they wouldn't have been smashed... 2, the daughter, in all probability would be alive!

    But typical as it is, blame someone else, look for fault in others! Guess they just can't come to terms that it's their fault!

  • Mari Marigold

    How did she end up with a broken collarbone and him with a concussion? Did they both trip and fall into the pool? Were there any witnesses to this event? This is a resort; you mean to tell me no one saw them by the pool? Witnesses would be able to testify to the fact that they were drunk and horsing around. What else would explain how they ended up at the bottom of a pool that was only waist deep? Who were they drinking with?

  • J-dawg

    Sounds like the kids got drunk, one jumped on the other, and that was that.