A Canadian woman has been found dead at a Mexican holiday resort where she was celebrating her birthday with her hockey player boyfriend – who has reportedly been arrested in connection with the death.
Kiara Agnew, a 23-year-old bank worker from British Columbia, was found dead at the Grand Sunset Princess Resort in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun last week.
Ms Agnew had been on the celebratory vacation with her boyfriend Ryan Friesen, 26, a hockey player for the Dawson Creek Canucks.
The Secretariat of Public Security in Solidaridad said it has since detained ‘a person of foreign origin for the possible crime of homicide, after a lifeless woman was found with possible marks of violence in a hotel located in the Xcalacoco neighborhood.’ An image of the individual – with a blurred face – accompanied the police statement.
The Canadian government’s Global Affairs department also acknowledged the tragic death and confirmed that Friesen had been taken into police custody in Mexico.
‘Officials are providing consular assistance to the families and are in contact with local authorities,’ Charlotte MacLeod, a spokesperson for Global Affairs said.
She added that ‘no further information could be disclosed due to privacy considerations’.
The state prosecutor’s office in Quintana Roo, the district in which the resort is located, also confirmed that a foreign individual had been arrested in connection with the death of a Canadian woman.
Ms Agnew was days away from her 24th birthday, and had been looking forward to her celebratory vacation with Friesen. It is understood the couple had been together for around 18 months, and had booked the trip to Mexico at around Christmas time.
Friesen plays for the Dawson Creek Canucks, a Junior ‘B’ hockey team.
Ms Agnew’s aunt, Katlyn Levesque, told the Toronto Star: ‘She has been counting down to this trip. It is shocking. We want to know what happened.
‘She was a beautiful, wonderful person inside and out. It’s unfair that she was robbed of her chance to experience life to the fullest.’
Ms Levesque said the family was waiting on autopsy results and did not want to speculate about the ongoing investigation.
However, she said that the family of Friesen had been in touch and were devastated, hurting, and confused.
‘They want to find out what happened as much as everybody else,’ she said.
Ms Agnew worked for Dawson Creek branch of Lake View Credit Union.
The bank said in a Facebook post: ‘All at Lake View Credit Union are mourning the loss of our teammate and friend, Kiara Agnew. This is a devastating tragedy and loss for our community. We send our love and faith to all others who have been impacted.’
‘Kiara loved to travel, she has wanted to travel since she’s been little,’ Ms Levesque told CBA News.
‘She had a heart of gold. She was vibrant, courageous, driven.’
Ms Levesque also said her niece was ‘an animal lover’ and ‘the kind of girl that would stop on the side of the road and need to rescue whatever animal’s there – a bird, a cat, a baby raccoon, it wouldn’t matter’.
The aunt concluded that the death was ‘beyond tragic for every single person involved’.
There have been several cases of female tourists being killed by their companions along the coast, a popular vacation spot for Americans and Canadians.
In the most famous case, former ‘Survivor’ producer Bruce Beresford-Redman was convicted of beating and strangling his wife, 42-year-old Monica Beresford-Redman, in 2010.
Her body was found naked in a sewer cistern at a Cancun-area resort where the family was vacationing. released about two months ago.
He was released from a Mexican prison in 2019 after serving 7 ½ years of a 12-year sentence.
The Playa del Carmen resort has also seen numerous deaths involving Canadian nationals.
In June last year, two Canadians sought by Interpol were found killed by knife wounds at the coastal resort.
Earlier in January 2022, two more Canadians were killed in the area – allegedly due to debts they owed to international drugs and weapons gangs.