The boyfriend of a Union woman who died at a Mexican resort last week has been arrested in connection with her death, according to the Associated Press.
Tamra Turpin, 36, died Wednesday at a hotel in Cancun, and family members said that an autopsy found that she had died of asphyxiation.
Mexican authorities identified the man detained by police as John Loveless, 59, according to the Associated Press. Appearing before a judge Friday, he declined to make an official declaration in the case, and it was not clear whether he had a local attorney, the Associated Press said.
The Mexican prosecutors’ office says the woman was found dead Wednesday in a condo the couple had rented. A forensic examination concluded she died of asphyxia by strangulation.
Loveless was arrested at the Cancun airport before boarding a flight to Atlanta.
The U.S. Embassy on Sunday confirmed Turpin’s death. “We are also aware of reports that a U.S. citizen has been arrested in connection with her death,” said an embassy spokesperson in an email.
The embassy referred other questions to Mexican authorities.
Turpin had gone to Cancun on vacation with Loveless, a local attorney, according to her sister Jodi Mills and cousin Julie Burr. She had known the man for about a year, and the two had taken other vacations together, the women said.
Family members said Loveless told them that Turpin had been taken to a hospital with seizures. They said he reported that she was released but “still wasn’t right,” and then that she died at the hotel Wednesday morning.
“We were in shock,” said Burr. “I never expected anything like this.”
Turpin was disabled due to an auto wreck in her teen years, which kept her from working. She didn’t marry and had no children, said Mills.
“She was a wonderful, sweet girl,” said Mills.
The family has set up a Gofundme account in an attempt to raise the $8,000 needed to return Turpin’s body.