Jose Nunez Jr and his family died in an Airbnb last Tuesday, Sep. 28. The California family was in Mexico to visit family when an apparent gas leak killed Jose, his wife Maria, and their young son Jayden.
According to Trini Jacobo, his aunt, other family members staying at the Airbnb were completely unharmed. The couple is survived by their other four children, who remain unnamed.
“They’re still in Mexico and they’re going to be performing an autopsy and definitely getting to the root of what caused their deaths,” Trini Jacobo told Local 12 News. Authorities are still investigating what happened, but they believe that the incident was due to a gas leak in the Airbnb.
“We’re not sure about any specifics at this time,” she said, heartbroken over the second call she received when they informed her that it wasn’t just Jose who was found dead, but “also his wife and his son.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page for the couple, writing that, “our hearts are broken and we hate to ask for help but we cannot imagine leaving them in Mexico.”
The cost of getting all three of the bodies back to the United States, as well as the funeral costs, is very large, but the family has almost reached their goal of $30,000. As of 11:52 a.m. Tuesday morning, roughly 380 generous donors have attributed over $22,444.
“We’re not worried about anything else right now, we want our loved ones back in the States,” Jose Nunez Jr’s aunt Trini Jacobo told Local 12 News. “We want to know what happened to them, of course, but … right now, we’re focused on getting Jose, Maria and Jayden home.”
She said he was “in love with his family,” remembering how he was “always hugging them, always holding them.”
According to the New York Post, Airbnb released a statement about the alleged gas leak, coming under fire for letting the tragedy happen to Jose Nunez Jr and his family.
“The thoughts of our team are with the Nunez children and the entire extended family as they grieve the losses of Jose, Maria and Jayden,” Airbnb’s statement ead. “Safety is at the heart of everything we do at Airbnb, and we are conducting a comprehensive investigation into what happened.”
The company has received many complaints lately about hosts attitudes toward home rentals, and Airbnb’s apparent lack of oversight. The sheer amount of rental properties would make such a task impossible, and many critics argue that the problem lies centrally in the company’s business model.
In a Bloomberg report from last June, many victims emerged with horror stories of being raped or finding concealed cameras in their rooms, something that Airbnb says is not their responsibility since users sign a “liability” agreement. Critics said that Airbnb, which is arranged on a stranger to stranger basis, should be viewed as stringently as sites like Craigslist.
In 2019, there was a similar case when a Brazilian family of six died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. According to Bloomberg, a family member had called Airbnb right before they died, but no one at the call center spoke Portuguese.
Airbnb does not require hosts to have carbon monoxide detectors but said that they would send hosts detectors for free. The company did little more than suggest users bring their own carbon monoxide detector along when they travel.