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American couple vacationing in Mexico died from inhaling an ‘undetermined substance’: Prosecutors


Left: John Heathco (via Right: Abby Lutz (via GoFundMe).

Two Americans who were found dead in their room at a Mexican resort are believed to have died from inhaling a toxic substance.

Abby Lutz, 28, and John Heathco, 41, were reportedly found unconscious in their room at Hyatt’s Rancho Pescadero at around 9:10 p.m. Tuesday, Los Angeles ABC News affiliate KABC reported. They were not able to be revived.

Area prosecutors say that autopsies suggest the couple died of “intoxication by an undetermined substance,” according to CBS. Local police had initially said gas inhalation was believed to be the cause of death, the CBS story said.

That appears to be what Lutz’s family believes.

“We have been told it was due to improper venting of the resort and could be Carbon monoxide poisoning,” a GoFundMe page says.

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The U.S. State Department said Thursday that it is not aware of any irregularities in the investigation into Lutz and Heathco’s deaths.

“We can confirm the death, unfortunately, of those two U.S. citizens,” department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a press briefing Thursday. “We offer our sincerest condolences to the families for their loss. We are closely monitoring the investigation into the cause of death, and we stand ready to provide any appropriate consular assistance.”

Lutz’s family members told CBS that the couple had spent Sunday night in the hospital believing they had food poisoning and being treated for dehydration. They returned to the hotel on Monday.

“She said, it’s the sickest she’s ever been,” Lutz’s stepsister, Gabby Slate, told CBS News.

Monday was the last time the family had heard from her.

“She texted her dad and said, ‘good night, love you,’ like she always does and that’s the last we heard from her,” Lutz’s stepmother Racquel Chiappini-Lutz told CBS.

The couple reportedly lived in Newport Beach, around 45 miles south of Los Angeles and some 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border crossing into Tijuana, at the northern end of the Baja California peninsula. According to his website and LinkedIn page, Heathco was the founder of a company called LES Labs, which he described as a “health-focused nutritional supplement brand.”

Lutz was from Utah and was reportedly working as a nanny, Los Angeles news station KTLA reported.

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The general manger of the Rancho Pescadero said in a statement to CBS News Los Angeles that there was “no evidence of violence related to this situation” and that the hotel was “not aware of any threat to guests’ safety or wellbeing.”

Representatives from the hotel and the government of Baja California Sur did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.

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