Friday, March 7, 2014

Mexico: Gay US Tourist Strangeled to Death After Accusing Nightclub of Card Theft, Overcharging

According to, Craig Taylor, 22, a resident of Kissimmee, FL, resident, who arrived in Cancún with his brother on February 28, visited a gay club on Saturday night (March 1) with friends. 

Subsequently, and according to Taylor’s unidentified brother, when the bar tab arrived, Craig Taylor complained that they had been overcharged. The young man allegedly also accused his waitress of stealing his credit card.

The end result is that Mr. Taylor was strangled to death by unknown assailants, according to Miami Newsday.

An altercation ensued between Taylor and a number of the club’s employees. Although Taylor’s brother and friends escaped the altercation unscathed, yet Craig Taylor's body was found Sunday morning (March 2) on a dirt road in a residential area north of Cancún called Punta Sam. 

COMMENT: Taylor was strangled to death and robbed. Investigators later arrested five suspects in connection with Taylor’s death: Javier Pérez Solís, Noel Vargas “Lilo” Gómez, Juan Antonio “Tony” Quiroz Ortiz, Walter Berner Barrios Roca and Jesús Adolfo Alvarez Ruiz. Unfortunately, none of the assailants were charged with homicide. 

Family members of a few of the suspects informed police that Craig Taylor had reportedly been spotted alone at a dive called Sexy’s, hours after the argument. 

Taylor’s body has been released to his brother and family is working with the US Embassy in Mexico to have Craig's remains shipped home.

Note: I strongly suggest that all foreign travelers destined abroad subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation insurance, which should also include transportation of a traveler's remains back home in the event of serious injury, illness or death.  

The most recent tourist murder is reminiscent of the case involving Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of civil rights icon Malcolm X. The 28-year-old student died after being brutally beaten last May (2013) in Mexico City. Reportedly, the Shabazz beating was linked to dispute over a $1,200 bar tab for drinks and female companionship.

In another case of a gay tourist, Ronald Bentley Main, 66, a real-estate agent and former president of the Greater Seattle Business Association (LGBT business chamber), died last week after succumbing to wounds he’d received from an attack on February 24 inside his Chapala, México home.

Main’s son, Todd Schwarzenbach, of Bellevue, WA, said that police discovered a semi-conscious Main, 66, suffering multiple stab wounds, on the kitchen floor of his home. Emergency personnel transferred Main to a hospital in Guadalajara, where he died. 

His partner of many years, Martin Orozco Gutierrez, 48, was found stabbed and bludgeoned in a hallway. He died at the scene.

Todd said Mexican law enforcement officials stated that there was no sign of forced entry into the home; they believe the victims may have been acquainted with their attackers.

Local news accounts say investigators discovered two separate sets of footprints at the scene, which did not match shoes worn by either victim, indicating that at least two assailants were involved.

The victims’ wallets, as well as car and house keys were missing. There were signs that a wall safe and two televisions had been remove.

Louise Chernin, executive director of the Greater Seattle Business Association, said Main, chamber president in 1994, was well-liked.

Police discovered a semiconscious Main, 66, suffering multiple stab wounds, on the kitchen floor of his home. Emergency personnel transferred him to a hospital in Guadalajara, where he died.

According to friends and family, Puerto Vallarta was his dream place. It didn’t surprise anyone when he eventually moved there ten years ago. Then, about five years ago, after housesitting for friends in Chapala, he bought a condominium and relocated there. 

The brutal attack suffered by Main and Gutierrez adds to a developing surge of violence in communities that are in close proximity to Mexico’s largest lake. More than 20,000 foreigners, including US citizens, are said to own homes in the area. 

In Puerto Vallarta’s old town, Main was considered somewhat of a patron to the locals. Friends told the Seattle Times that he knew the locals and helped to support many of them financially. He would hand meals to people he met on the street. 

Todd Schwarzenbach said he was contacted by the US Embassy shortly after the attack and spent the last days of his father’s life at his bedside in the hospital, although his father never regained consciousness. 

In November 2006, the Law for Coexistence Partnerships was enacted in the Federal District. Called "gay law" in the mass media, this legal arrangement is not orientated exclusively to the homosexual population. The law, in effect since its publication in the official newspaper of the capital city government on March 16, 2007, gives almost the same rights as a married couple within the limits of the Federal District.

The first Mexican state to legalize  civil unions was Coahuila on January 11, 2007. 

On March 4, 2010, Mexico City's law allowing same-sex marriage took effect, despite an appeal by the Attorney-General of the Republic, making México the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage by non-judicial means. On March 12, 2010, Mexico City held its first same-sex wedding, which will be recognized throughout the Mexican territory.

In spite of these advances, in 2006, the Mexican population was primarily against same-sex marriage. In a survey by Parametría, 61% of those surveyed responded "no" when asked if they supported an amendment to the constitution to legalize gay marriage. 

Only some 17% responded affirmatively and some 14% did not give an opinion. In the same survey, some 41% were against the possibility of giving the same rights enjoyed by a married couple to a registered same-sex couple, only 28% supported acceptance.

For those who identify themselves as being members of the LGBT community in other countries, and particularly when traveling in or residing in México, they should exercise caution and realize that they may be targeted specifically because of their alternative sexual orientation.  

If residing in México, those perceived as being a member of the LGBT community should keep in mind that a well-secured, low-key residence is a prudent way of avoiding trouble and unwanted attention. Such community members should also consider selecting a residence where enhanced security and privacy is paramount.