The family of the Texas firefighter who was found dead in the window of a resort bathroom in Cancun has spoken out, claiming that police initially suspected a homicide in the mysterious case.
Prosecutors now say Elijah Snow, of Arlington, became trapped and died of asphyxiation on July 19 after trying to climb through the bathroom window of a resort located next door to the hotel where he was staying with his wife.
On Thursday, Snow’s step-father David spoke out in an interview with Good Morning America, casting doubt on the official narrative put forward by Mexican officials, saying police told Snow’s wife Jamie initially that they suspected foul play.
‘Jamie noticed when she was getting into the police department she saw a photocopy of his driver’s license in one of the police officer’s hands. And she knew that they had not made any copies of his driver’s license so she knew something bad had happened,’ David said.
‘That is where they told her he had been found and what they told her was, it was homicidal, without suspects,’ he added.
Elijah Snow’s step-father David spoke out in an interview with Good Morning America on Thursday, casting doubt on the official narrative put forward by Mexican officials
Elijah Snow and his wife Jamie were on vacation for their 10-year wedding anniversary, when on the first night of the trip he died under bizarre circumstances
Investigators say the Arlington, Texas father-of-two became trapped and died of asphyxiation after trying to climb through this two-square-foot window of the bathroom the night of July 18
Sunset Royal Beach general manager David Barcenas said the tragedy could have happened any time after 10:30pm that Sunday – which is one hour after the theater performance ended and the time resort bars are required to shut under the Covid curfew
It is unclear what evidence led investigators to later rule out foul play, but prosecutors said that Snow had died of asphyxia when his chest was compressed by the window sill.
Witnesses at the Sunset Royal Beach Club where Snow died told DailyMail.com that he was found with his upper torso sticking out of a small two-foot-square window of an employee bathroom, and his feet inside the building. Prosecutors claimed he had been trying to enter the bathroom from outside.
Snow’s step-father said in the interview that it would be totally out of character for the veteran firefighter to try to break into a building where he didn’t belong, except in an extreme life-or-death situation.
‘It’s just so out of character for him to try and get into a room he shouldn’t be in. He just wouldn’t do that. The only way he would do that is if he was in fear for his life and he knew that was his last resort to try to get through there,’ he said.
Adding to the mystery, Snow’s family have said that unusual bruises were found on his body, and they are calling for a full investigation so they can gain closure.
Snow and his wife were in Cancun celebrating their 10th anniversary when on the very first night of the trip, she went back to the room and left him drinking in the bar. His body was discovered the following morning.
DailyMail.com has obtained exclusive photos of the scene of the tragedy, including the two-foot-square window that remains cordoned off by yellow tape as police continue to investigate the mysterious death.
Texas firefighter Elijah Snow somehow ended up wedged in the window of the Sunset Royal Beach Resort’s employee bathroom – which is located behind the hotel’s theater and not visible to guests
This is the outdoor theater of the Sunset Royal resort where guests had gathered for a live show the night of Snow’s death
David Barcenas, general manager of the Sunset Royal Beach Club where Snow died, said he believes there was no crime and that the 35-year-old’s death was nothing more than a freak accident involving a drunk man who snuck onto the property from a neighboring resort.
But he still can’t explain how the Texan wound up dangling from the window just two feet off the ground, behind an outdoor theater where guests had earlier gathered for a show.
‘That’s the big question – how did he get there?’ Barcenas told DailyMail.com in his first and only interview since last week’s mysterious death.
‘We don’t know how he arrived there. I think he was walking in from the beach. We think he was drunk. I don’t know if he was climbing in, went backwards? We have the same questions everyone has.’
‘I think it was a tragic accident,’ he added. ‘But we can’t see what the police see. Police have all the real information.’
Family members, who gathered for Snow’s funeral on Tuesday in Texas, suspect Snow may have been kidnapped and beaten to death, citing unpublished crime scene photos obtained by a local lawyer showing the body heavily bruised.
But while the case remains open, Mexican authorities insist there are no signs of foul play, stating Snow became trapped as he tried to enter the window of a bathroom and could not place his feet on the ground, giving him no support point to release himself from the window.
The Quintana Roo State Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that Snow died of mechanical asphyxia due to thoracic-abdominal compression.
Snow (pictured left with his wife Jamie and two kids) was found dead in Cancun, Mexico last Monday, hours after celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary with his wife
Snow and his wife were staying at the Royalton Chic Suites Cancun (above) a $392-a-night all-inclusive resort, another guest who was staying there at the time confirmed to DailyMail.com. The Sunset Royal is seen next door (far left)
Investigators and family members are still trying to determine why Snow was at the Sunset Royal Beach resort instead of his own hotel, and how he managed to get stuck into a bathroom window
Authorities have steadfastly refused to name the resort where Snow and his wife Jamie were staying, or the one where he was found dead.
DailyMail.com confirmed the couple was staying at the Royalton Chic Suites Cancun, a $392-a-night all-inclusive resort.
Meanwhile, Barcenas confirmed that Snow ended up at the Sunset Royal Beach Club on the north side of the building, behind the stage in the overnight hours of Sunday going into Monday, July 19.
He said it could have happened any time after 10:30pm, which is one hour after Sunday night’s show ended and the time resort bars are required to shut under the Covid curfew. That’s when the stage bathroom, which contains a shower, would also have been locked for the night, he added.
Barcenas said the hotel has no video footage of the incident because that there are no surveillance cameras out back.
It wasn’t until shortly after 7am that a gardener who was arriving for work, looked over and discovered the head, arms and upper torso sticking out the window, and alerted security.
A friend of the family posted about the Elijah Snow’s death on Facebook. Friends and family suspect foul play, but Mexican authorities insist the death was accidental
‘His arms were out, dangling out,’ Barcenas said.
‘When the gardener talked to us, he said: “We have a body, how did he arrive here?”
‘We called police, then closed around the area,’ he added.
DailyMail.com photos show the window in the rear of the bathroom, which is not visible to guests.
It’s only about two square feet and sits just two feet above the ground, when viewed from the outside.
The night of his death, Snow and his wife Jamie had been drinking together in the bar of the Royalton Chic Suites resort where they were staying.
Jamie eventually decided to go back to their room while he remained behind, but friends say she became concerned when she woke up at 4am and realized he hadn’t returned.
Local officials say his body was found at a different hotel to where he was staying
A firefighter for eight years and the father of two young children, Snow had been staying at the Cancun hotel with his wife to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.
The Royalton beachfront resort opened in Cancun’s ‘Zona Hotelera’ (hotel zone) in 2019, featuring a rooftop cabana, spa, and pool, with packages including unlimited dining, drinks and room service.
A spokesperson for Toronto-based Blue Diamond Resorts, which operates the Royalton chain of resorts, did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com.
The company addressed Snow’s death in a statement to travel partners, but refused to comment any further.
‘We are doing everything we can to support the family during this difficult time and, out of respect for them and their privacy, we will not be commenting further at this time,’ the statement read.
‘Ensuring the safety of our guests is always our top priority at Blue Diamond Resorts, and our properties in Cancun remain safe destinations for travelers.’
Elijah Snow’s father-in-law, Randy Elledge, told local news stations that it appeared Snow had been beaten and possibly suffocated.
The Texas firefighter who died of ‘mechanical asphyxiation’ while on vacation in Cancun was laid to rest at a funeral on Tuesday
Snow’s funeral, which was live streamed on Facebook by the Arlington Fire Department, included touching tributes by a number of his colleagues
‘You’re supposed to be safe there,’ Elledge said. ‘You’re at your resort, all inclusive, and have no intentions of leaving so you’ll be safe. And you’re not safe there.’
Snow’s father Ronny was also an Arlington firefighter who died in the line of duty in 1985, the same year Snow was born. He is survived by his wife Jamie, daughters Aubrey and Hannah.
Snow’s remains were returned from Cancun Friday to North Texas where they were met by an honor guard and water cannon salute at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
A funeral service was held on Tuesday in Arlington and was live streamed on Facebook by the Arlington Fire Department, whose members included touching tributes to their late colleague.
Jackie Parker, retired chief and a close friend to Snow, spoke directly to Snow’s wife Jamie and their two daughters Aubrey and Hannah.
He quoted famed television host Fred Rogers, who said: ‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Parker spoke to Snow’s daughters and said: ‘Your daddy was a helper. Right now, you are surrounded by helpers.’
Another friend of Snow’s spoke at the funeral and said: ‘I’m gonna miss a great neighbor who always helped everyone with anything, even if you didn’t ask, he’d just show up and help.
‘He’d just get right in it with you . . . Elijah’s a hero, an amazing father, a loving husband, perfect neighbor, great friend, drinking buddy, the most selfless person I know and so many other things. You will always be missed and I will honor you forever and support you’re family in any way I can.’