Questions are swirling after the tragic death of four family members from Iowa who were reportedly found decomposing in their vacation rental in Tulum, Mexico this week. But both authorities and grieving relatives say they believe foul play was not a factor.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Amy Marie Sharp, 38; her husband Kevin Wayne Sharp, 41; and their two children, 12-year old Sterling Wayne and Adrianna Marie, 7, were found dead Thursday night at a rented condo in Tulum, where the family had arrived for a vacation the week before.
Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico both told reporters that foul play was not suspected in the deaths, and an Iowa-based reporter citing a Mexican news outlet said on Twitter that the bodies were found in an advanced state of decomposition.
On Friday, CrimeOnline spoke to Ashli Peterson, Amy Sharp’s cousin, who posted a Facebook alert about the missing family that gained national attention earlier this week, with over 100,000 shares.
Peterson was the first to report, via her Facebook page, that the Sharp family had been found deceased, and said in that post that foul play was not suspected. News reports quickly followed, also noting that foul play was likely not a factor.
The case has continued to gain attention on social media, with some questioning the circumstances of the tragedy. Medical examiners in Mexico are working to determine the precise cause of death, and Peterson said that U.S. authorities are present at the site of the medical examination.
“At this time, as a family, we definitely feel that there was no foul play,” Peterson told CrimeOnline.
Asked specifically about the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning, Peterson said she had no information at this time to indicate carbon monoxide as a factor in the deaths. The family is waiting for further information from authorities, and based on Peterson’s account, have not come to any conclusions of their own.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Amy Sharp’s sister Renee Hoyt told a local news outlet that she became concerned about her sister and her brother-in-law when they stopped responding to text messages shortly after they contacted relatives to say they had arrived safely in Mexico. She was also worried about their lack of social media activity.
“There’s been no Facebook posts and that’s not like them,” Hoyt told the Creston News Advertiser.
“They’re always posting pictures when they’re on vacation.”
But although the lack of communication was unusual, Peterson said, the family wasn’t immediately alarmed when the Sharp family did not return on Wednesday as planned.
“It wasn’t unlike them to say hey, let’s stay another night,” Peterson said.
“We didn’t start putting two and two together until … now,” she said.
Peterson said that friends and family had been in contact with the condominium complex where the Sharps were staying in last two days. She couldn’t be sure if it was a staffer at the rental performing a requested wellness check or Mexican authorities who eventually found the Sharps, after the family filed a missing persons report at the Creston police precinct.
“There was so much contact going on between friends and family,” she said, adding that the vacation condo did not have the same type of services, like regular cleaners, that can be found at a hotel.
Another source told CrimeOnline that the Sharps rented the condo through VRBO, a directed owner-to-renter property rental site,
“There were third parties trying to contact the place” once the social media post went viral, Peterson said.
CrimeOnline repeatedly attempted to contact the property where the Sharps are believed to have been staying, and reached a busy signal each time.
[Feature image: The Sharp Family/Facebook]