Mexican man arrested in beating of Canadian woman

A Mexican man has been arrested and will likely face an attempted homicide charge in the brutal beating of a Canadian woman at a five-star resort in Mazatlan.

Sheila Nabb recovering in Calgary hospital

Sheila Nabb and her husband Andrew are shown in a family photo. (Canadian Press)

A Mexican man has been arrested and will likely face an attempted homicide charge in the brutal beating of a Canadian woman at a five-star resort in Mazatlan.

Sheila Nabb, 37, was found unconscious last weekend in an elevator at the resort, where she was staying with her husband.

Marco Antonio Higuera Gomez, the attorney general of justice for the state of Sinaloa, confirmed at a news conference Friday that an arrest has been made in the case. The suspect is Jose Ramon Acosta Quintero, from Mazatlan. He was identified through a blood sample, Gomez said.

Quintero has admitted responsibility in the attack, Gomez said, and is likely to be charged with attempted homicide. He must be brought before a judge within 48 hours of being detained. There were no indications the victim had been sexually assaulted, the attorney general said.

Quintero would apparently visit tourist establishments and become friendly with foreigners, Gomez said.

"This person was discovered by investigators," he said. "[The suspect] has the ability to speak English very well, and often stays in the hotels and mingles with the tourists. That is [the theory] we are working on and fortifying."

The suspect is believed to be the same person seen in a hotel surveillance video kicking something in an elevator.

Authorities are trying to find out whether Quintero was involved in other attacks on tourists, Gomez said.

"We’re working on that at the moment because we have some information that suggests there was an act of aggression at an earlier date at the same hotel."

Nabb's family had thought she was too fragile to be moved from the hospital in Mexico where she was being treated. But her uncle, Robert Prosser, said she was flown back to Vancouver on Thursday night. She arrived in Calgary on Friday morning via air ambulance, according to the Calgary Herald.

Prosser said her family is relieved she is back in the country and thanked everyone for their prayers. Nabb, who was raised in Nova Scotia, now resides in Calgary with her husband.

Peter Byl, president of Latitude Aeromedical Works, said the flight from Mexico was 3½ hours.

"She did really well on the flight," said Byl, whose company uses Learjet 35 aircraft to bring Canadian patients home from around the world under contract with insurance providers.

"It's important to be with family and receive top notch medical care."

Surveillance video

On Wednesday, authorities said the surveillance video had become a key part of the investigation.

Gomez said the video showed a man making a kicking motion and then leaving the elevator where Nabb was found.

Investigators were unable to speak with Nabb, who can't talk due to her injuries.

"The victim could not identify the suspect," Gomez told Friday's news conference. "[Thursday] night she was transported with injuries to the chin and jaw bone while under sedation."

Nabb was scheduled to undergo facial reconstruction surgery at the Mazatlan hospital where she was being treated, but the operation was delayed because she contracted pneumonia.

Nabb's husband was questioned by Mexican authorities in connection with the beating, her brother Paul Giles said earlier this week. But he was released when it "became apparent that he was innocent of any form of abuse," Giles said.

With files from The Canadian Press