What was meant to be a Mexican vacation with family and friends took a nightmarish turn for Ottawa’s Lexie York.
On her first night at the Grand Bahia Principe resort in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico; York was attacked and beaten to the point she required reconstructive surgery at a hospital in Cancun, her brother, Mathew York, told CBC from Cancun.
Lexie, 29, arrived at the resort on Nov. 10 and was supposed to meet her mother the next day, he told CBC News.
“My mom was coming, so she was alone for one night and only one night.”
According to Mathew, his sister was having dinner at the resort’s restaurant when she met two couples who were also staying there.
Later, when she was in her room, one of the men came and knocked on her door. He claimed his wife had heard a scream and wanted to know if Lexie was OK, her brother said.
When she said everything was fine, the man pushed his way into the room and began to strangle her and hit her in the face, Mathew said.
Lexie was knocked unconscious, but was able to feel her way out of her room to seek help once she regained consciousness and then received help from another guest, he said.
“She couldn’t see because her eyes were swollen shut.”
She was taken to a hospital in Playa del Carmen before being transferred to a hospital in Cancun.
“She had nine hours of plastic surgery. She has nerve damage in her face. The swelling is kind of going down now, but at the time it was quite bad,” said Mathew.
His sister is trying to be positive, he said, but she’s clearly shaken up and doesn’t want to be alone. Her mother arrived in Cancun the next day and Mathew joined her last Tuesday.
Not well enough to return home
Mathew said the incident was reported to police in Cancun, but the family is relying on Canadian consular services to get any followup information.
CBC reached out to police in Tulum as well as the resort, but did not receive a reply by publishing time.
Lexie hasn’t yet been able to return home due to her injuries and her brother said there’s no clear timeline on when she will be able to travel.
“Every time she lifts her head up she gets dizzy,” Mathew said.
A Global Affairs Canada spokesperson said consular services are being provided to Lexie and her family, and Canadian officials are in contact with authorities in Mexico.
“Our thoughts are with the Canadian who sustained injuries in Mexico,” the spokesperson said in an email.
Bahia Principe emailed a statement to CBC calling the incident “upsetting,” adding that security of guests is a top priority for the hotel.
“As soon as the hotel was informed of the incident, staff immediately activated our internal security protocol, including providing urgent medical assistance and alerting the local authorities. We wish Ms. York a speedy recovery and hope that the authorities get to the bottom of this incident as soon as possible.”
With files from Joseph Tunney