Surveillance video may give clues to Mexico beating
Published Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:05PM EST
Surveillance video may have captured the brutal beating of a Calgary woman in a Mexico hotel, according to the local state governor.
Sinaloa Gov. Mario Lopez Valdez made the remarks Tuesday, the same day he visited Sheila Nabb in hospital.
Meanwhile, Nabb was brought out of a medically-induced coma on Tuesday and began to show encouraging signs of recovery, according to a statement from the family.
She recognized her husband Andrew and her father-in-law, was responsive to questions and was able to understand and follow directions, said the statement from her brother Paul Giles.
"This is excellent news as it would appear that there is not any brain damage," the statement said.
"She was also breathing on her own (through a tracheotomy) without the assistance of a ventilator. She was able to indicate that she felt some pain, but her jaw is wired shut so she was unable to communicate verbally."
The statement said Nabb is scheduled to undergo facial reconstructive surgery either on Wednesday or Thursday, pending the outcome of CT scans scheduled for Tuesday.
"She has a long road of recovery ahead of her, but we all know that Sheila will pull through this with the support of everyone she has ever met -- and many that have never met her."
In the statement, Nabb's brother said his sister's husband Andrew has been like a "pillar" by her side throughout the ordeal.
"It just goes to show exactly how much he truly loves her," the statement said.
Nabb, a 37-year-old office manager in Calgary, and her husband were vacationing at a five-star resort in Mazatlan, when Nabb was found beaten and bloodied in a hotel elevator late last week.
Her uncle, Robert Prosser, said she left her room late at night and was found early Friday morning. Her husband didn't realize she was gone until he woke up at 6 a.m and went looking for her.
"As far as we know, she left the room on her own, got in the elevator, and that's where it happened," Prosser told CTV Atlantic.
Nabb is just the latest in a string of recent Canadian victims of violence in Mexico:
- Salid Abdulacis Sabas, a 35-year-old Canadian citizen was found last week, gunned down in an area of Mexico known for drug violence
- Last month, the body of Ximena Osequeda, a 39-year-old Vancouver resident and UBC student, was found on a beach in Huatulco, south of Acapulco. She had been stabbed to death, burned and buried in the sand alongside her Mexican boyfriend
- Fifty-seven-year-old Robin Wood of Salt Spring Island, B.C., was killed when he attempted to fend off two home invaders in the city of Melaque
Analyzing the circumstances of the recent attacks, Mexico City-based security consultant Walter McKay says Nabb's beating stands out.
"This is very unusual," McKay told CTV's Canada AM Tuesday, noting that none of the other incidents have occurred in a luxury resort setting.
But no matter where they're headed in Mexico, McKay suggests travellers do some research and understand the level of crime in the region they're visiting first.
"If there's a high cluster of murders in the area, there's going to be a high cluster of robberies and other events as well," he said in an interview via Skype.
On that score, McKay says, "Mazatlan is on the iffy side and Acapulco, definitely, you don't want to go down there right now."
Other areas considered violent and generally unsafe for tourists include Veracruz, Huatulco, Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Chihuahua and Jalisco.
Travellers can head to many areas including Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Puerta Vallarta, Mexico City and Los Cabos without worry, McKay says, but would be wise to take security precautions.
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Don't change money at the airport
- Only use ATMs at banks or busy malls
- Leave the jewelry and designer accessories at home
- Never hail taxis on the street
"One thing that Mexico is known for is what they call express kidnappings," McKay explained.
"The taxi driver will work in cahoots with a gang to kidnap a person to an ATM for a couple of hours, force them to withdraw money and then release them."
Approximately 1.6 million Canadians visited Mexico in 2010. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 112 Canadians were killed in Mexico in accidents, murders or suicides over the past five years.
With files from Kieron Lang and Andy Johnson