KANSAS CITY – It was a vacation-turned-nightmare for a Kansas nurse and her husband.
After traveling to an all-inclusive resort for a friend’s birthday, they are now warning others about drinking while on vacation in Mexico. In May, Cindy and Jeff Otte stayed with four other couples at The Royal Playa Del Carmen in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
“When we got to Señor Frogs, I ordered a margarita, and I drank ... like a quarter," said Cindy Otte. "I went to the bathroom, came back, and all of sudden I had like a personality change – I started laughing and laughing and laughing, and then I got really paranoid for a second, then I had this ... tunnel vision, and I grabbed my husband,”
Otte said they had two shots of tequila while toasting their friend about two hours before going to Señor Frogs. She said she collapsed after a few sips of her margarita at Señor Frogs.
“She just dropped, dropped on the ground lifeless,” said Cindy’s husband, Jeff.
Jeff said they got in a taxi, and headed back to the resort.
“She kept getting worse, so I tried pouring water on her thinking she’d come out of it any minute, maybe she’s just sick, then she said 'hospital,'" Jeff told WDAF. “Of course I didn’t know the hospital number, there was no 911, it was a very hopeless situation, I didn’t know what to do.”
They were told it would be $850 for the ambulance to the hospital. When they got there, they were asked to fork over even more money.
“The first thing they wanted was $2,000 up front,” Jeff added.
After hours of unconsciousness, hospital staff diagnosed her with dehydration and recommended she stay the night — for an extra $2,000, to which the Ottes declined.
“It was a really hopeless, helpless feeling trying to get anybody to help us,” said Jeff.
Mexican authorities seized thousands of gallons of bad alcohol in the country just a few months after the Ottes were there. The seizure came after the U.S. State Department issued a warning about tainted alcohol to vacationers in Mexico.
That incident was prompted by the death of 20-year-old Abbey Connor of Milwaukee, whom authorities believe was caused by tainted booze.
Cindy said she thinks she was drugged and targeted because she was wearing expensive jewelry.
“I wore this watch out, and I think this watch did it,” added Cindy, “A little girl did come up to me and put a bracelet on me, so someone thought maybe she tagged me.”
Now the Ottes want others to be aware of the dangers.
“Had I not been able to come up with the money, they wouldn’t have seen her, and if she went into cardiac arrest, she would have died,” Jeff said.
The Ottes say they didn’t drink any alcohol for the remainder of their trip, and didn’t leave the resort. As of August, the U.S. State Department has advisories for travel to Mexico because of recent violent crimes and kidnappings.