Lawyer representing man who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Mexico in dispute over who’s responsible

The family of a 23-year-old man from Pearland, Texas, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning at an Airbnb in Mexico in April is speaking to the media for the first time on Tuesday during a news conference, according to their Attorney L. Chris Stewart. (Attorney L. Chris Stewart)

PEARLAND, Texas – An attorney representing the family of a Pearland man who allegedly died from carbon monoxide poisoning while vacationing in Mexico is claiming that the tragedy happened while the 22-year-old was lodging at an Airbnb property. The company, however, says they have no record of him renting a property from them.

After graduating from Texas A&M University, Austin Crews traveled by himself to Puebla, Mexico to enjoy a vacation before starting graduate school.

According to L. Chris Stewart, the family’s attorney, the United States Embassy confirmed Crews died of carbon monoxide poisoning after passing out while showering. His body was later returned to the U.S.

Crews’ father said his son was going to do great things, and they do not want his death to be in vain. The family wants Airbnb to take responsibility, saying Crews trusted that the company and listing would provide safe accommodations.

There is just one problem: Airbnb says Crews’ death does not appear to be tied to their company.

“We’ve looked into this and have not identified any connection to Airbnb -- Austin Crews did not have a booking through Airbnb at the time this incident happened,” the company told KPRC 2 in a statement.

Stewart told a different story at a recent press conference.

He said he has been in contact with Airbnb and says the company has mentioned they encourage people to have carbon monoxide detectors at rental properties. Stewart said this is not enough and is asking the company to make having the detectors mandatory. He said carbon monoxide poisonings at Airbnbs have “become almost an epidemic.”

“We also believe it’s at the point where our elected officials, senators, congressmen, (and) the White House, they now need to get involved because too many Americans are dying overseas at Airbnbs from something just so preventable,” he said.

Stewart’s office said it will carry out its own independent investigation into Crews’ death.

Stewart said he is also the attorney for three other Americans who died from carbon monoxide poisoning at a different Airbnb in Mexico in October 2022. He is also representing a widow from Mexico who claims her husband died in a similar incident while traveling for work. In addition, Stewart has represented victims in the 2019 Boeing plane crash and the families of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.

In an effort to clear up the dispute, KPRC 2 has reached out to Attorney Stewart several times, asking for documents showing Crews was an Airbnb customer. We have not received those items yet.

About the Author:

Cynthia Miranda graduated from UT Austin and is a proud Houstonian. She is passionate about covering breaking news and community stories. Cynthia previously covered elections, the historic 2021 Texas winter storm, and other news in East Texas. In addition to writing, she also loves going to concerts, watching movies, and cooking with her family.