Mystery surrounds death of American doctor in Puerto Vallarta

William Thomas O’Byrne III, 54, died Wednesday at UAB Hospital where he had been on life support after he was flown back to the United States from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. O’Byrne was an anesthesiologist who specialized in critical care.

Dr. O’Byrne was vacationing in the Pacific Coast resort town with friends when they say he was separated from the group. Conflicting reports say friends found Dr. O’Byrne in a ditch, while other reports say friends found him in a coma at a local hospital.

UAB officials provided only this statement: “At the request of the family, we have been asked not to release any information.”

Reports of being assaulted emerged by friends traveling with the doctor, however the only official reports of injury is a strike to the head that resulted in the doctor’s death. It’s unclear if the strike to the head was caused by an assault or a fall, and if other signs of injury or a struggle were found on the doctor’s body.

Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico are unable to confirm reports that the doctor was assaulted. The doctor was rushed out of the country with his friends before he was stabilized and an investigation could be conducted.

Puerto Vallarta authorities say no assault report was made but confirmed the doctor received treatment at Regional Hospital and was removed by family.

A spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City released this statement: “We are aware of reports regarding a U.S. citizen injured in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Out of respect for the family, we decline further comment at this time.”


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