Iowa family found dead at Mexican resort died of gas asphyxiation, authorities say

An Iowa family was found dead in their condominium while vacationing in Mexico.
An Iowa family was found dead in their condominium while vacationing in Mexico.
(Dreamstime / TNS)

Autopsies indicate an Iowa couple and their two children died from inhaling toxic gas at a rented condo on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, but there was no sign of foul play or suicide, Mexican authorities said Saturday.

The prosecutors’ office in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo said that “the cause of death was asphyxiation from inhaling toxic gases.” It said the type of gas hadn’t yet been determined, but added that “any violent act or suicide has been discounted.”

Photos released by the office showed investigators in anti-contamination suits and firefighters with air tanks examining gas connections to a stove in the condo in Tulum.

The office said investigators “carried out a physical investigation of the gas connections in the room,” and the civil defense office of Tulum would issue a technical report on the findings.


Iowa authorities identified the family as 41-year-old Kevin Sharp; his wife, 38-year-old Amy Sharp; and their children, 12-year-old Sterling and 7-year-old Adrianna.

The family was reported missing by relatives in their hometown of Creston about a week after the family left for vacation. Creston police contacted the U.S. State Department. The Quintana Roo prosecutors’ office said the family had been dead between 36 and 48 hours by the time they were found during a welfare check of the condo Friday.

Reached Friday, the developer of the condo complex where the deaths occurred declined to comment.

The Creston News Advertiser newspaper in Iowa reported that the family flew to Cancun, Mexico, on March 14. According to her sister, Amy Sharp texted their mother the next day to say they’d reached Tulum, but relatives hadn’t heard from the family since then.


9:30 p.m.: This article was updated to report the family died from inhaling toxic gas.

This article was originally published at 3:05 p.m.