Tuesday, March 4, 2014

American spring breaker murdered in Cancún

Alleged overcharging leads to homicide

*Updated Mar. 15*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
A 23 year old American citizen on spring break has been murdered here, Mexican news services are reporting at this hour.

The man left a bar known as the 11:11 Saturday evening. His body was found early Sunday morning on a remote road. Investigators say he was strangled.

The manager and six employees of the establishment, described as a gay bar by the Sipse.com news service, are in police custody. Authorities have not said whether they are suspects or potential witnesses.

A deputy prosecutor said there may have been an altercation in the bar, leading to the man's murder.

A local newspaper, Por Esto, originally identified the victim as Clark Clayton. But on Wednesday Sipse said his name was Craig Taylor, and that he was 22. Mexican news services frequently misreport foreign names in early editions.

Taylor's body allegedly was identified by his brother and another man who had accompanied him to Cancún. The group was said to be registered at a Westin hotel in the city's sprawling hotel zone.

Por Esto reported there was a quarrel over payment of the men's bill when they visited the 11:11 on Saturday evening. The victim's brother fled during a heated argument which escalated into a fight. He later later sought help from U.S. consular officials, reporting that Taylor was missing. The man said that waiters in the establishment had greatly overcharged the group for what they had ordered. Taylor may have been strangled to death by 11:11 security personnel during the ensuing fight. Employees allegedly stole his wallet.

Craig Taylor, in a Facebook image

But other reports indicate Taylor left the 11:11 alive about 3:00 a.m. Sunday. He was purportedly seen in another establishment soon after, a bar called Sexy's. The six 11:11 employees remain in custody under investigation for murder, however, despite their protests that the last time they saw Taylor he was unharmed.

In a Mar. 5 story Por Esto reported that the 11:11 has been a headache for city authorities in recent years. The paper claims clients have been robbed by bar employees, and gay prostitution has been openly promoted. Sexy's, located nearby, is another gay bar with a history of problems, according to Por Esto.

Taylor was born in the Virgin Islands but lived in Kissimmee, Florida, according to Sipse's Mar. 5 story and an Associated Press report. He and his companions arrived in Cancún on Feb. 28. His body has been released to family members by Quintana Roo authorities.

This is the second homicide of a U.S. national in Quintana Roo state since Jan. 1. Playa del Carmen police accused of killing American citizen. Last week U.S. security consultant Stratfor warned spring breakers about security issues in Mexican resorts, including Cancún. But the American Consul in Mérida, Suzanne McGuire, dismissed Stratfor's alert in an interview with Sispse.com, saying it had not come from the U.S. State Dept. and therefore should not be regarded as an official warning.

Mar. 6 - Four of the six suspects in Craig Taylor's murder posted bail ($750 USD) on minor charges and have been released, while the other two remain in custody. None have been charged with murder, only with hindering the official investigation. Prosecutors will focus on one issue: did Taylor die inside the 11:11, or somewhere else in the early morning hours of Sunday, Mar. 2? Although his body was found many miles from the Cancún hotel zone, forensic experts say he was dumped there. With no witnesses willing to talk and scant physical evidence, this may prove to be a difficult case to solve, especially since there are conflicting accounts of whether Taylor left the 11:11 under his own power.

Mar. 8 - Cancún officials have closed Sexy's for administrative violations, particularly for remaining open hours beyond its mandated closing time. The 11:11 also remains closed as a crime scene. Meanwhile, investigators are sin pistas - "without clues" - in Craig Taylor's murder case. But they apparently are giving some credence to the claim that he left the 11:11 alive, and might have been robbed or assaulted on the street after doing so. Police are collecting security videos from a number of establishments in the vicinity, hoping they will be able to find something useful. In a sad footnote, Taylor's body remains in the city. His family is attempting to raise sufficient funds to repatriate him.

Mar. 9 - Police may have changed their initial impression of this case, a source reports today, and now appear to believe that Taylor really did make it out of the 11:11 alive. But what happened to him afterwards is anybody's guess. If he wasn't the victim of a random street assault, the one remaining possibility is that he met his killer in another establishment, leading to an encounter of an unknown nature.

Mar. 15 - Craig Taylor's name did not appear in the Cancún press this past week. His murder already appears to be in the cold case files. Meanwhile, another American was killed early yesterday morning at the Moon Palace hotel, following a fist fight with a Mexican guest. The local press once again has published a bungled partial name of the victim. When his real identity is released by authorities, MGR will publish it.

Mar. 28, 2013 - Two Canadians, two Mexicans and a bar tab of $9,415
May 17, 2013 - Cancún bars push deadly drinks, alleges Q.R. newspaper
June 13, 2013 - Bad booze from Belize, say Quintana Roo health officials
Oct. 27, 2012 - Cancún police department infiltrated by narcotics traffickers and organized crime

© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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