The bodies of three American friends were found in an Airbnb they rented in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead after apparent carbon monoxide poisoning, Mexico City prosecutors said.
Hampton University graduate Jordan Marshall, 28 was vacationing with friends Kandace Florence, 28, and Courtez Hall, 33, at a rental in a residential complex in the La Rosita neighborhood when they were found dead on Oct. 30, according to the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico City, which investigated the deaths.
WAVY reported that on Oct. 30, Florence told her boyfriend over the phone that she was not feeling well and was beginning to feel sick. The call dropped and he was unable to get Florence back on the line so he called the Airbnb host to do a welfare check. When the authorities arrived they found Florence, Marshall, and Hall dead.
According to ABC News, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office confirmed that investigators discovered a failure in the apartment’s gas boiler, which released a gas smell as well as carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas.
The three are remembered by their loving families.
Marshall received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Hampton University in 2015 and his Master’s Degree in Secondary Social Studies in 2020. He was a 12th-grade English teacher at Rosenwald Collegiate High School in New Orleans and loved to travel, said his mother, Jennifer Marshall.
“In his short 28 years, we can draw comfort from the fact he did travel and he did live a very, very full life,” she told NBC News.
Marshall’s sister, Jasmine Marshall, told DailyMail.com that he was very passionate about teaching and loved his students.
“You don’t see a lot of black male teachers. So that’s one thing that I am just so happy he thought mostly black boys and girls,” she said. “Just being that representation for them I think was just wonderful. He was a great mentor for them. Someone they could look up to. Just very passionate about making a difference in their lives and that’s what we’re mostly proud of.”
Marshall’s funeral is set for Friday, his family says.
Jordan formed a friendship with Hall after moving to New Orleans and knew Florence since they were in high school together in Virginia Beach. Jennifer Marshall said Jordan and Florence were best friends.
Florence’s mother, Freida Florence, told WAVY her daughter started a candle business called Glo Through It in 2020. Each candle features an affirmation, affirmations that are now helping the family get through this terrible tragedy.
“She said don’t go through it, glow through it,” her mother Freida says. “We are just glowing through her candles through it, just knowing that our healing is coming.”
“She was a dreamer, ‘dreamer’ meaning she wanted to make a difference in the lives of other people,” Freida said of her daughter.
The family plans to hold a candlelight vigil on what would have been her 29th birthday Thursday, Nov. 10.
The Make(HER) Collective — a group of local women makers and business owners from the Hampton Roads area — is now seeking donations via GoFundMe to establish The Kandace Florence Memorial Scholarship and help Florence’s family with funeral expenses.
“We can’t imagine our community without her, and we know the world had big things in store for her,” the group said. “But not because she was given it — because she worked tirelessly for it. While still prioritizing self-love, rest, fun, and family.”
According to DailyMail.com, Hall was a Georgia native and taught seventh-grade history at KIPP Morial School. He had been teaching for just one year and had taken a liking to his new profession after previously working for Aetna and Target.
“Not only did the staff love him, all the students loved him as well. And he was just a great person all around. He loved teaching,” Hall’s sister, Tamieeka Hall, told DailyMail.com.
His mother Ceola Hall, described her son as a “joyous child” to WDSU. “He loved me, he loved his family. He loved to make everyone laugh” she said.
The families have been in touch with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico but are still searching for answers.
“The Mexican police were not very forthcoming with information,” Jennifer Marshall said according to WTKR. “Also, the language barrier was incredibly difficult as well.”
According to WAVY, Jennifer Marshall says they spent hours in a Mexico City police station waiting for a translator to show up. The U.S. embassy was also closed when they arrived and they were unable to get into the Airbnb to get Jordan’s things.
Airbnb told Marshall’s mom that their belongings had been passed on to the authorities while the incident is under investigation.
Florence’s oldest brother, Chad, and her sister-in-law, Amy Green, said they had a similar experience. “We thought that going to the embassy first would aid us in that regard, but they didn’t have translators that could accompany us to the various places like the forensics office or police station,” Green said.
“We should’ve never had to go through that type of leg work to realize that our baby passed away in a foreign country,” said Kelvin Florence, Kandace’s father. “Nobody even took the effort to notify us — a letter, a phone call, nothing.
Airbnb said it has suspended the listing and canceled coming reservations as it investigates.
“This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones as they face this heavy loss,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News. “Our priority now is to provide support to those affected while the authorities investigate what happened and we are available to cooperate with the investigation in any way we can.”
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico said it was “closely monitoring” the investigation into the deaths of three U.S. citizens in the country.
“We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” it said in a statement earlier this week. “Out of respect for the privacy of the families, we have nothing further to add at this time.”