01/24/2012 02:28 EST | Updated 03/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Mexico resort beating victim emerges from coma

A Canadian woman who was badly beaten in a Mexican luxury resort hotel over the weekend has been taken out of a medically induced coma but can't talk because her jaw is wired shut, her family says.

Sheila Nabb, 37, was found with extensive facial injuries in the elevator of a five-star resort in Mazatlan, where she was staying with her husband, Andrew Nabb.

In a statement Tuesday, Nabb's siblings Paul Giles and Kathy Carmichael said she was breathing on her own through a tracheotomy without the assistance of a ventilator.

They said Nabb, who is being treated at a Mexican hospital's intensive care unit, recognized her husband and father-in-law, was responsive to questions and was able to understand and follow directions.

"She has a long road of recovery ahead of her, but we all know that Sheila will pull through this with the support of everyone she has ever met — and many that have never met her," her siblings said.

Mexican federal police told CBC News on the weekend that a woman was found lying in an elevator early Saturday in the Hotel Riu Emerald Bay in Mazatlan. The police officer would not provide his own name, nor reveal details about the victim's age or identity.

In a statement Monday, the government of Sinaloa state said it has launched a full investigation through the state attorney general's office, and is collaborating with Canadian authorities "in keeping them informed of all advances in the investigation."

According to her uncle, Robert Prosser, who lives in Kingston, N.S., her family has been told that it could be three to four weeks before they can move her to a hospital in Canada.

Nabb 'like the sunshine in the office'

Meanwhile, Nabb's work colleagues in Calgary told CBC News that she had decided to take the trip as a last-minute getaway.

Nabb, who grew up in Nova Scotia, has been the office manager for Calgary's Active Back to Health clinic for more than three years, said Robert Cumming, a doctor at the clinic.

Cumming said Nabb knew every patient by name and would greet them as they came in.

"She was like the sunshine in the office," he said. "She brought joy to every person's day. Patients would come in … crabby and not feeling well, and she would invariably brighten their day."

Cumming said the couple did have travel insurance, despite the short trip to Mexico being a last-minute idea. The office has set up the trust fund to help offset any other expenses, he said.

The Hotel Riu Emerald Bay in the Mexican resort town of Mazatlan has several five-star ratings on travel websites, and is a popular travel destination for both Canadian and American tourists.

The attack is the latest in a series of violent incidents involving Canadian visitors to Mexico in recent weeks.

Two Canadian men were shot dead in separate incidents earlier this month, while the body of a Mexican-born University of British Columbia student who disappeared in December was also found stabbed and strangled with her hands tied behind her back near a Mexican beach.