Florida mother believes tainted alcohol killed her son at Cancun resort in 2013

Recent cases have mom speaking out for answers

BRADENTON, Fla. - Aug.10 marked four years since Karen Smith got the news that her son drowned in the pool at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort and Spa.

Smith said she asked for a police report, information from the hotel, hospital reports and eyewitness testimony.

“I've gotten no answers,” Smith said. 

The only thing Smith was able to get was an autopsy report in Spanish. The report says her son Brian Manucci, 38, died from asphyxiation from drowning in the resort pool because of excessive alcohol. 

Smith said her son wasn’t there on Spring Break partying he was responsible and wouldn't have been that drunk at 4 in the afternoon.

Smith said recent high profile cases of tourists in Cancun drowning in hotel pools after drinking alcohol have brought her son’s death to the forefront.

According to ABC News, a Wisconsin family plans to file a lawsuit 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, and her brother, Austin Conner, 23, were found floating face down in a pool at the Iberostar Playa Paraiso Resort just two hours into a vacation with their mother, Ginny McGowan, and stepfather, John McGowan.

Conner sustained a broken collarbone and was brain dead before succumbing to her injuries in a Florida hospital days later.

“To this day I don’t think it was an accident,” Austin Conner told ABC News of the events that unfolded.

He said that he and his sister had been drinking before their swim, but he could not recall how many drinks they had.

“There's a little bit of solace now that it's out there in the masses,” Smith said. “We have a message and we are not going to slow down.  We are going to keep trying to get that message out there. I would love to hear from somebody, anybody out there who may have been at the oasis in August of 2013 that may be watching... that may remember.”

Smith said she will continue searching for answers. The autopsy report she received from Mexican authorities is filled with errors. Smith said her son’s name is misspelled. His age is listed at 45, he was 38 when he died, and she said they claim he died from drowning because he was intoxicated. But, they never tested his blood to determine his blood alcohol level. They did test Manucci for cocaine, marijuana, meth, opiates, and HIV. 

Last month, The State Department updated their travel warnings to Mexico to include tainted alcohol.

We contacted Grand Oasis Cancun for comment, we have not heard back.

Print this article Back to Top