Vancouver woman hospitalized in Mexico after being assaulted by stranger
What was supposed to be a week of relaxation in Mexico has turned into a nightmare for a Vancouver woman.
Jamie Coutts, 27, and her friend Genevieve Thomas, flew to Playa Del Carmen last week to get away from the cold winter weather in B.C.
On Sunday night, the pair, along with two other women they met on the trip, were walking back to their hotel after spending the evening in town. That’s when Coutts said a stranger who had previously approached the women at a bar, continued accosting them.
“We pretty much told him to beat it, and he didn’t like that response,” said Coutts.
She says the man charged towards them, punching her and Thomas in their faces and leaving them unconscious.
“I (regained consciousness) in a taxi with a Mexican woman holding me, covered in blood, with her saying she’s taking me to the hospital,” Coutts said.
Coutts suffered a broken nose and tooth, and required multiple stitches for a laceration around her eye. Genevieve required stitches for a gash on the back of her head that she suffered after being punched to the ground.
Coutts said the suspect was arrested that night, and police in Playa Del Carmen told her he is a Canadian man.
CTV News reached out to Global Affairs Canada, but the agency would not provide details on the incident, only saying they are aware of a Canadian being detained in Mexico, and are in the process of gathering more information from Mexican officials.
The attack is the second troubling encounter Coutts has had with a stranger this year. In March, she recorded a stranger following her on foot through downtown Vancouver for 40 minutes. The man, eventually identified as Vancouver resident Mohammed Majidpour, received a court order to stay away from her.
Saturn Rose, a close friend of Coutts, said dangerous encounters with unknown men are a harsh reality for many women.
“It could have easily been me,” she said. “It’s so devastating. (Jamie) goes to Mexico to have fun with friends and ends up with a broken nose and her eye swollen shut. She’s trapped in Mexico now.”
Coutts was supposed to return to Vancouver on Dec. 8, but doctors won’t let her fly for at least another week.
“(Doctors) want to make sure no blood clots happen while I’m flying,” Coutts said.
Medical officials in Mexico told Coutts her nose will require reconstructive surgery. Because Coutts doesn’t have travel insurance, Rose has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with the expenses.
“If people want to support the GoFundMe, you don’t even have to donate, you can just share it,” said Rose. “Sharing is so important because it reaches people and gets the news out there that this isn’t OK, and we need to support the women in our community.”
As Coutts waits until she’s medically clear to fly back to Vancouver, she’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for at least another week to stay at a hotel in the resort town. On top of that added expense, Coutts and Thomas are both concerned that their injuries will keep them from being able to go back to work right away.
“Neither of us have the means to be here for longer, or to come home and not be able to work and pay our rent,” said Coutts.
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