US student dies trying to climb into her locked Airbnb in Cancun

Leah Pearse, a college student from Massachusetts, died after falling from a balcony when she was trying to climb into her locked Airbnb (Driscoll Funeral Home)
Leah Pearse, a college student from Massachusetts, died after falling from a balcony when she was trying to climb into her locked Airbnb (Driscoll Funeral Home)

A 20-year-old woman from Massachusetts died while vacationing in Cancun, Mexico, after she fell from a balcony while trying to access her locked Airbnb.

Leah Pearse, a nursing student at Simmons University in Boston, found herself locked out of her Airbnb in Cancun on 6 January, according to NBC Boston. She tried to access the building by climbing onto her third-floor balcony.

Ms Pearse slipped during her climb and fell, reportedly dying instantly upon impact, according to her obituary.

She was described as "an outstanding individual who encompassed the full range of human emotions with such a depth and compassion for other that her presence was bright and brilliant for all who knew her," her obituary said.

Shortly after her death, Ms Pearse’s boyfriend, Augustine Aufderheide, was arrested by Cancun police, according to Mexican news site NotiCaribe.

He admitted that he and Ms Pearse had argued shortly before her death, but police ultimately determined that her fall was accidental and cleared Mr Aufderheide of any wrongdoing. He was later released by police.

Lynn Perry Wooten, the president of Simmons University where Ms Pearse studied, provided CBS News with a statement acknowledging her death and praising the woman’s character.

"Known for her confidence, compassion, and sense of humor, Leah brought out the best in others. Her lifelong goal was to become a nurse and she was an outstanding student in the accelerated five-year Bachelor of Science and Master of Science nursing degree program," Ms Wooten said. "We extend our deepest thoughts and condolences to Leah’s family, friends, and all those in our community impacted by this tragedy. Counseling and support services are available for students and employees."

It’s unclear how Ms Pearse became locked out of her Airbnb.