Bill Conner, the father of the girl who drowned at Iberostar Hotel in Mexico after being served tainted alcohol, recalls hearing her donated heart beat in a young man’s chest

Bill Conner, the father of Abbey Conner, the Wisconsin college student who drowned while on a family vacation in 2017 at Iberostar’s Paraiso del Mar Hotel in Cancun, Mexico, recently explained to Forbes his experience when meeting Loumonth Jack, the young man to whom she donated her heart. Three years back, Bill Conner caused quite a stir when he rode his bike 2,600 miles from Wisconsin to Florida, via Louisiana. The 60-year-old was on a mission to raise awareness for the importance of organ donations. In November 2018, the Estate of Abbey Conner filed a wrongful death case against Iberostar, claiming that her death resulted from the hotel serving both Abbey and her brother tainted alcohol.

On January 7, 2017, Abbey, her brother Austin, their mom, and stepfather arrived at Hotel Iberostar Paraiso del Mar for a long-awaited vacation. After unpacking, Abbey and Austin changed into their swimsuits and headed for the hotel’s pool to go swimming.  While there they made use of the swim-up bar. Thereafter, an Iberostar employee was alerted by a hotel guest that two people were drowning in the pool.  Once he reached the pool area, he saw a young woman, Abbey, floating face down, and a young man, Austin, kicking and splashing in the shallow area of the pool. Although Austin recovered from the incident, Abbey died on January 12, 2017.

In the months following Abbey’s tragic death, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that over 100 other travelers described having “blacked out from small or moderate amounts of alcohol and were robbed, raped, or otherwise injured while visiting all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.” Although Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism disputed the reports of tainted alcohol at Mexican resorts, such as Iberostar’s Paraiso del Mar Hotel, Mexican authorities in Cancun and neighboring Playa del Carmen subsequently cracked down on bars and alcohol vendors and in the process reportedly confiscated thousands of gallons of tainted alcohol.

The family’s lead counsel, Miami attorney Gary Davidson of Diaz Reus, explained that “this suit is about a family vacation that ended on its first day in a tragedy.  The very idea that two young adults go to Iberostar’s swimming pool while on a family vacation and one ends up dead after drinking alcohol at a swim-up bar and the other one completely loses self-control after drinking at this same bar—and at the same time–is frightening”.

Media contact: Gary Davidson at 305-375-9220