Police in Mexico were holding a 59-year-old U.S. man in the death of his American girlfriend in the Caribbean resort city of Playa del Carmen, authorities said Sunday.
The victim was identified by family members and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City as Tamra Turpin, 36, from Union, Mo., 50 miles southwest of St. Louis.
The prosecutors’ office in Quintana Roo state said the woman was found dead Wednesday in a condo the couple had rented, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. A forensic examination found that she died of asphyxia by strangulation.
Under Mexican legal procedure, the prosecutor’s office did not identify the man. It said only that he faces a criminal homicide investigation in the death of the woman, with whom he was in a relationship.
Authorities said the man was arrested at the Cancun airport before boarding a flight to Atlanta.
Turpin’s sister Jodi Mills and cousin Julie Burr told the Post-Dispatch that Turpin had gone to Cancun on vacation with her boyfriend, a local attorney. She had known the man for about a year, they said. The two had taken other vacations together.
Turpin was disabled due to an auto wreck in her teen years, which kept her from working, the women said. “She was a wonderful, sweet girl,” said Mills.
Family members said the boyfriend 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 that she died at the hotel Wednesday morning.
Contributing: Associated Press
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