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Cancun resort manager says body of Texas firefighter was discovered wedged in window by a gardener

The Texas firefighter who died at a Cancun resort while celebrating his wedding anniversary last week was found by a gardener who discovered the top half of the 35-year-old’s body protruding from a tiny window of a locked employee bathroom, DailyMail.com can reveal. 

Investigators 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.    

DailyMail.com has obtained exclusive photos of the scene of the apparent accident, including the two-square-foot window that remains cordoned off by yellow tape as police continue to investigate the mysterious 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. 

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

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

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 apparent freak accident 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

Sunset Royal Beach general manager David Barcenas said the apparent freak accident 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

Elijah Snow, a father of two, became trapped as he tried to enter the window of a bathroom of a Cancun resort that was not the one where he was staying with his wife, investigators said

Snow, an eight-year veteran of the Arlington Fire Department, had been celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary with his wife

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

‘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. 

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

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 

This is the outdoor theater of the Sunset Royal resort where guests had gathered for a live show the night of Snow's death

This is the outdoor theater of the Sunset Royal resort where guests had gathered for a live show the night of Snow’s death

A gardener who was arriving for work discovered Snow's head, arms, and upper torso sticking out the window and alerted security just after 7am, DailyMail.com has learned

A gardener who was arriving for work discovered Snow’s head, arms, and upper torso sticking out the window and alerted security just after 7am, DailyMail.com has learned 

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. 

Snow was staying at the Royalton Suites, his body was found next door at the Sunset Royal Beach

Snow was staying at the Royalton Suites, his body was found next door at the Sunset Royal Beach

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)

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)

The Royalton - which opened in 2019 - is a beachfront resort featuring a rooftop cabana, with packages including unlimited dining, drinks and room service

The Royalton – which opened in 2019 – is a beachfront resort featuring a rooftop cabana, with packages including unlimited dining, drinks and room service

Elijah Snow and his wife Jamie were on vacation for their 10-year wedding anniversary

After the couple had been to a resort bar for drink, Elijah went back out to a bar. Jamie began a search for him at around 4am and was told he had been found dead by 8:30 that morning

Elijah Snow and his wife Jamie were on vacation for their 10-year wedding anniversary

Toronto-based Blue Diamond Resorts, which operates the Royalton chain of resorts, released a statement to travel partners in the wake of Snow's death, but refused to comment any further

Toronto-based Blue Diamond Resorts, which operates the Royalton chain of resorts, released a statement to travel partners in the wake of Snow’s death, but refused to comment any further

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

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

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

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

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.’


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