Virginia Beach families mourn loved ones found dead in Mexico City Airbnb

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Two Virginia Beach families are hoping for answers after their loved ones were found dead last week at an Airbnb in Mexico City.

The families of Jordan Marshall and Kandace Florence have been in contact with the United States Embassy, ​​working to bring their bodies home and find out exactly what happened to them.

Both Marshall and Florence graduated from Kellam High School in 2011 and have remained friends. They were vacationing in Mexico City, with Marshall’s friend from New Orleans, Courtez Hall. They were there for “Dia de los muertos” or Day of the Dead.

Jordan Marshall and Kandace Florence (Courtesy of their families)

Their families say they both made a big impact in the short time they had.

“It was kind of like being in her presence and remembering how powerful she was,” said Florence’s sister-in-law, Amy Green.

Family members say Florence was a creator and a force to be reckoned with.

“She was a dreamer, a dreamer, which means she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Florence’s mother, Freida Florence.

Kandace Florence started a candle business in 2020, called “Glo through it.” Her candles feature an affirmation to empower those who burn them.

The candles are on sale at “The Painted Tree Boutique” in Virginia Beach. Her family say they were incredibly proud of the business she started. Her brother, Chad, even helped her build her display.

“She said don’t go through it, shine through it,” her mother said. “We just shine through her candles, just knowing our healing is coming.”

Kandace’s boyfriend Florence was on the phone with her on the night of October 30 when she started falling ill. She told him something was wrong. The two eventually got disconnected and he couldn’t get her back online. He then called the Airbnb host to do a wellness check, and authorities found Florence, Marshall, and Hall dead.

“Losing your child is one thing, but being in a whole different country and having to work around language barriers, traveling and trying to get your body home, that was a lot,” Marshall’s mother, Jennifer Marshall, said.

Marshall says they spent hours in a Mexico City police station waiting for an interpreter to show up. The U.S. Embassy was also closed when they arrived, and they couldn’t even enter the Airbnb to collect their belongings, Marshall said.

“His wallet, his laptop, he took all those things with him and we just want them back.”

Florence’s sister-in-law, Amy, and older brother, Chad, say they had a similar experience.

“We thought going to the embassy first would help us in that regard, but they didn’t have translators who could accompany us to the different places like the forensic office or the police station,” he said. Green.

Marshall was a teacher in New Orleans. His mother says he was very passionate and incredibly proud of his work as an educator.

“We are just happy that he had this opportunity in his short time to make an impact.”

Florence and Marshall’s families say they hope no one else ever has to go through this.

“We should never have had to go through this type of leg work to realize that our baby died in a foreign country,” said Kelvin Florence, Kandace’s father. “Nobody even bothered to tell us, a letter, a phone call, nothing.”

“Now it’s just a game of waiting and hoping they’ll reach out to us,” Green said.

“I was afraid they would get lost in the shuffle so I prayed,” Freida Florence said. “I said we needed an intervention so that everyone they meet would have someone in their path who would guide them to Kandace and bring her home.”

They see the challenge as an opportunity, as Kandace says in one of his candlelight affirmations, to fight so that others don’t have to go through what they have gone through.

“The last thing on your mind is that this trip, this vacation is going to end in death, and so we’re really struggling to help the next family, the next circumstance will go more smoothly,” said the Florence’s mother.

Airbnb told Marshall’s mother that their belongings were turned over to authorities while the incident was investigated.

The bodies of Marshall and Florence are expected to be airlifted to the United States in the coming days.

Both were 28 years old. Kandace’s 29th birthday would have been on Thursday, November 10.

Marshall’s funeral is on Friday and the cause of death for all three is still under investigation.

10 On Your Side has contacted the U.S. Embassy for comment on the investigation and will update this story when we hear back. They provided New Orleans-based NBC affiliate WDSU with this statement:

“We can confirm the deaths of three American citizens in Mexico. We are closely following the local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for the families’ privacy, we have nothing further to add at this time.

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