The family of Sativa Transue, a 26-year-old American woman from Spokane, Washington who was found dead in her Cancun hotel room while on vacation with her boyfriend, said she looked like she had been “beaten to a bloody pulp” when Mexican authorities discovered her body on Saturday.
“I received a call from the Mexican consulate letting me know my daughter has passed away and that she’s been found dead,” Jayme Bolieu, Sativa’s mother, told The Daily Beast in an interview. “How could my beautiful healthy daughter be gone? In another country? It took my breath away. A part of me died. She was my baby. I had her at 16. We grew up together. She was my life, my reason for living, my best friend.”
Sativa’s mother and sister are still trying to make sense of what happened that Friday night and Saturday morning. They told The Daily Beast that Sativa had been texting them throughout the trip: “She was enjoying the sunshine and her trip was going okay, but not the best, because they [Sativa and her boyfriend] were fighting,” Mykayla, her 21-year-old sister, told The Daily Beast. On Saturday morning, Jayme had woken up to frantic texts from her daughter’s friends saying they were worried about Sativa after exchanging messages with her the night before.
“Apparently, [Sativa’s boyfriend] was threatening to jump off a four-story balcony,” on Friday, Jayme told The Daily Beast. “Sativa was injured and had to have stitches.”
In a statement to The Daily Beast, a State Department official said: “We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen, Sativa Transue, in Mexico. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. The safety and welfare of U.S. citizens overseas is the highest priority of the Department of State. We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death and are providing the family all appropriate consular assistance.”
Local media reports allege that Sativa’s partner has been arrested in connection with the incident, but multiple efforts by The Daily Beast to reach Mexican authorities for comment on the status of the investigation were unsuccessful, and for that reason, The Daily Beast is not releasing the name of the alleged suspect at this time. The boyfriend’s mother and other family members did not respond to efforts to reach them by phone by the time of publication.
On Monday, a Twitter account linked to Cancun law enforcement released a blurred-out mugshot of the alleged suspect wearing what appears to be a hotel bathrobe, saying he had been arrested for the crime of femicide. Responding to news of the arrest, the State Department official told The Daily Beast in an email that “We are aware of reports of an arrest, and are monitoring the investigation closely. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment at this time.”
Jayme told The Daily Beast that her aunt had gone to Mexico as the family’s advocate, saying she couldn’t bear to go through the process herself. It was there where Mexican authorities shared a photo of Sativa’s body with her aunt. “My aunt is down there now and has seen the pictures and said she looked like she was beaten to death,” Jayme said.
According to Jayme and Mykayla, Sativa’s relationship with her boyfriend was troubled. “He was very emotionally abusive. He checked her phone, and we couldn’t text her because it went to her computer and he would check that,” Jayme said.
Public records show that the alleged suspect has been previously arrested for assault in the fourth degree back in 2012. “He would drink so much that she [Sativa] called it like a different personality. She would call it [his] ‘Beast,’” Mykayla told The Daily Beast.
For now, Sativa’s family is still reeling from the shock of the news that rocked their lives over the weekend.
“She was the best person in my entire life. She was kind, generous, outgoing, bubbly. She never met a person who could say a bad word about her,” Mykayla told The Daily Beast. “I don’t know who I am without her… I just feel so lost.”
If you or anyone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please reach out to The Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).