They were on vacation in Mexico City. Then all three died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an Airbnb

At first, Victor Day thought his girlfriend on vacation in Mexico City had been drugged.

Kandace Florence, 28, was vomiting and crying when she contacted him via FaceTime from his Airbnb in the Cuajimalpa neighborhood of the Mexican capital in the early morning hours of October 30. The day was at home in Washington DC

He dozed off while they FaceTimed. It was 5 a.m. in DC. When he woke up the next day, he called her and texted her again and again to make sure she had recovered. He never heard back. Florence was found dead the next day from carbon monoxide poisoning along with her friends Jordan Marshall and Courtez Hall, with whom she was traveling.

“Why weren’t the monitors working?” What was the source of the leak? Day said in an interview with The Times. “I’m not sure I could have done more, I just feel like I could have. I feel like I let my girlfriend down.

The State Department and Airbnb confirmed the deaths of the three Americans and a spokesperson for the Mexico City prosecutor’s office on Thursday. The general told The Times they were investigating the Airbnb host for manslaughter.

The deaths come as Mexico City becomes an increasingly popular destination for American tourists and the number of Airbnbs for rent has exploded.

“You don’t prepare for what could go wrong,” said Freida Florence, mother of Kandace Florence.

Florence should have celebrated her 29th birthday on Thursday, but her remains were in Richmond, Virginia, en route to a funeral home in her home country.

“The fact that she was in a foreign country and I couldn’t reach her. It was overwhelming,” Florence said.

Kandace Florence, Marshall and Hall planned their trip to Mexico City to celebrate Día de los Muertos. Marshall posted a photo of himself with Florence on Instagram on Oct. 29 of the two dressed and made up for the holidays.

“He was a free spirit. He loved to have fun,” Marshall’s mother, Jennifer Marshall, said.

Marshall was a New Orleans high school English teacher with a passion for children’s literacy, but he also ran a travel consulting company called Le Flâneur Noir that helped people book personalized trips around the world.

He traveled the world – from Iceland to Morocco, which he visited with Florence. The two grew up together in Virginia Beach. Florence worked in retail, but had started a candle business called Glo Through It. Hall was also an educator in New Orleans.

It was Marshall’s second trip to Mexico City in October.

“He had so much fun in Mexico City the first time around and he wanted to go back,” his mother said.

But the second night at their Airbnb, the unseen disaster struck.

Florence texted Day when the trio returned to the Airbnb saying she felt nauseous and like she had been drugged. When Day said someone might have slipped something in her drink, Florence said they didn’t go anywhere crowded where someone could have done that.

After texting a few times, she FaceTimed him.

“She is clearly going through this. She cries, vomits. It looked like she was just in terrible shape,” he said. “Me, at that time, it is five in the morning. I was asleep.

When Day woke up an hour later, he was still on the FaceTime call, but Florence’s phone camera was pointed at the floor and she didn’t respond to him when he repeatedly called her name.

“I didn’t get an answer and I thought, maybe it’s nothing. Maybe she will throw up everything and sleep and in the morning she will call me and tell me some crazy story,” he said.

But the next morning, she did not respond to his texts or calls. Marshall also did not respond to her Instagram messages.

“I started freaking out,” Day said.

He found the Airbnb link and got in touch with the host, who sent security to do a health check on the group. They were found unresponsive with no vital signs, host Day informed. Later that day, she told him that all three were dead.

The death left Day and the families of the victims reeling and wondering if anything more could have been done to save the victims.

An Airbnb spokeswoman wouldn’t say whether carbon monoxide monitors were required in rentals, but told The Times the company had a “global detector program” that gave away 200,000 free detectors to hosts. of the whole world.

“We encourage all hosts to confirm they have installed a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and homes that claim to have a detector are clearly marked, so this information is visible to guests,” the door said. – Airbnb spokesperson, Elle Wye.

But Day told The Times that Airbnb’s listing showed the house had two carbon monoxide monitors.

“Suite with terrace/panoramic views,” reads a screenshot of the listing shared with The Times. Airbnb suspended the listing and canceled future trips to the apartment, Wye told The Times.

The listing featured a photo of the terrace of a high-rise apartment with stunning views of the city below.

Last month, city officials teamed up with Airbnb in a bid to attract more remote workers from other countries to the Mexican capital. The deal sparked widespread backlash in a metropolis where rising rents and inflation have driven many people to leave.

The Airbnb apartment where the tourists were staying is in Cuajimalpa, a middle-class neighborhood on the western outskirts of the city. It borders the Santa Fe business district, one of the city’s wealthiest enclaves.

Deaths from gas leaks from appliances are common throughout Mexico and have been linked to tourist deaths in the past.

An explosion triggered by a gas leak killed two people and injured 18 in the resort town of Playa del Carmen in March, and in 2018 a family of four from Iowa was killed by gas poisoning in a resort condominium one hour from Cancun.

While Day wishes he had done more to save his girlfriend, he says the blame lies at the feet of Airbnb and the listing host.

“It’s both. They are both responsible. Airbnb already had this. No family should go through this. No one should have to go on vacation worrying about carbon monoxide poisoning, especially if Airbnb guarantees the safety of all of its listings. And the host is responsible too because it is his place. They should maintain these monitors,” he said.

“Some very bright young souls have died…because of complacency.”

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