Cancun, MEXICO – The family of a Texas firefighter found dead at a resort in Cancun said crime scene photos indicated that Arlington Firefighter Elijah Snow was beaten and possibly suffocated before he died.
Snow was celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary with his wife, Jamie, at an all-inclusive waterfront resort in Cancun in the early morning hours of July 19 when he disappeared, KTVT reported.
The couple were out late drinking at a lobby bar on the first night of their trip and then Jamie returned to their room and went to bed ahead of her husband.
Jamie’s father, Randy Elledge, told KTVT that his daughter woke up at about 4 a.m. and realized Snow had never returned to their room.
Elledge said Jamie was worried and went to look for him.
He said she searched the resort and the beach but didn’t find Snow, KTVT reported.
Her husband’s body was found at around 8:30 a.m. that morning at another resort nearby the Snows’ hotel.
Police initially told Jamie that her husband had died after falling between the walls of the resort next door to where they were staying, KTVT reported.
Snow’s family hired an attorney to help them deal with local law enforcement and the lawyer obtained crime scene photos.
Elledge said the pictures the attorney got for them showed Snow had been beaten all over most of his body, but not on his head and face, KTVT reported.
But Mexican authorities have disputed that claim and said Snow’s dead body was found in the bathroom window of a neighboring hotel and that no foul play was suspected, NBC News reported.
Officials in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo launched an investigation into the suspicious death at the urging of Snow’s family on Thursday.
State investigators had said Snow died of mechanical asphyxiation after he got trapped while he was crawling into the bathroom window, NBC News reported.
On Friday, Mexican authorities said investigators hadn’t found any signs of violence at the scene and said “it could have been an accident.”
Snow’s father-in-law said the family believes the firefighter was murdered in Cancun, KTVT reported.
Elledge said Americans should be afraid to travel to Cancun on vacation and claimed the Mexican government officials were corrupt.
“You’re supposed to be safe there,” Elledge told KTVT. “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 body was transported back to North Texas on Friday and his funeral has been planned for Tuesday.
— Jason Allen (@CBS11JasonAllen) July 23, 2021
He is survived by his wife and two small children, KTVT reported.
“He was our hero. The best dad and husband imaginable and my absolute best friend,” Jamie wrote on her father’s Facebook page on Wednesday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do.”
Arlington Fire Department officials said Snow was an eight-year veteran of the department, KTVT reported.
“The Arlington Fire Department is devastated by the loss of Apparatus Operator Elijah Snow,” Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in an email Thursday. “The tragedy occurred while he was on vacation in Mexico. He was an outstanding firefighter as well as a dedicated public servant.”
He went to Cancun to celebrate his 10th anniversary with his wife.
But @ArlingtonTxFire Fireman Elijah Snow isn't coming back home alive.
He was found dead at his resort, and authorities aren't giving family clear answers about how he died.
At 10, his battalion chief speaks. pic.twitter.com/RJ9i2ZVFNc
— Matt Howerton (@HowertonNews) July 23, 2021
Snow was a legacy on the fire department, where his father was the first firefighter killed in Arlington in 1985.
His stepfather is also a retired firefighter, KTVT reported.