POLITICS

Suspect arrested in beating of Canadian tourist at Mexican resort

01/27/2012 10:47 EST | Updated 03/28/2012 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - A Mexican official says a suspect has been arrested in the bloody beating of a Canadian woman who was vacationing with her husband at a posh resort in Mazatlan.

Ivan Pico, an official with Mexico's Secretary of Tourism, says his ministry has not yet been provided any details about the suspect's identity. Pico could not confirm media reports that the suspect is a Mexican national.

Sheila Nabb, 37, was badly beaten last weekend at the five-star Mazatlan hotel where she and her husband were staying. Family members say Andrew Nabb didn't realize his wife had been taken to hospital until he woke up that morning.

Several bones in Nabb's face were broken and she will undergo facial reconstruction surgery. Her jaw has been wired shut and she was in a medically induced coma for a couple of days in Mexico. She also had pneumonia.

Nabb was brought back to Calgary on Friday in a private air ambulance jet and was taken to a hospital in the city she and her husband call home.

"It's a big relief knowing she is back in Canada," Nabb's uncle Robert Prosser said in an interview from his home in Kingston, N.S.

"We know she's safe and we know what the medical situation is like here, so we know she'll be well looked after. Calgary's got an excellent hospital there."

Peter Byl, president of Latitude Aeromedical Works, said the flight from Mexico was 3 1/2 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 from insurance providers.

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

A spokesman for Alberta Health Services couldn't give any details on Nabb's location or condition.

Media reports from Mexico say the state attorney general in Mazatlan had earlier suggested a Canadian tourist with injuries to one of his hands and his chin was the prime suspect in the attack.

A video shows a man about 25 kicking someone in the elevator where Nabb was found.

More than $10,000 has been raised at the clinic she works at to help Nabb offset medical expenses.

"We've really been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends to strangers to you name it," said Jocelyn Tindall, Nabb's co-worker at Active Back to Health Centre.

She said dental and orthodontist services are also being offered to Nabb free of charge.

"Now she's back in Canada, so we're very happy to hear that," said Tindall.

Prosser said despite the relief that his niece is home, he is still trying to understand why anyone would attack her.

"She's very cheerful, friendly. She's just the nicest person you would ever want to meet. I mean everybody that met her liked her ... and she's always been like that."

— With files from Romina Maurino in Toronto