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John Loveless, U.S. Man, Held in Girlfriend's Death in Mexico, Authorities Say

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — A U.S. man is being held in the death of his American girlfriend in the Caribbean resort city of Playa del Carmen, Mexican authorities said Sunday.

Federal police identified him as John Loveless, 59, but did not give his hometown. A police statement said he was detained at the Cancun airport before he was to board a flight to Atlanta.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City confirmed the death in Playa del Carmen of an American citizen it identified as Tamra Turpin, but also would not give her hometown. It offered condolences and said it was providing consular assistance in the case.

The embassy said it was aware of reports that a U.S. citizen had been detained, but referred further questions to Mexican authorities.

According to the prosecutors' office in Quintana Roo state, where both Playa del Carmen and Cancun are located, Loveless faces a criminal homicide investigation in the death of the woman. It said the suspect was in a relationship with the victim.

The woman was found dead Wednesday in a condo the couple had rented, and a forensic examination concluded she died of asphyxia by strangulation.

The suspect was in custody in Playa del Carmen. Appearing before a judge Friday, he declined to make an official declaration in the case, and it was not clear whether he had a local attorney.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Turpin, 36, was from Union, Missouri, which is about 50 miles west of St. Louis. The newspaper quoted family members as saying she had gone to Mexico on vacation with her boyfriend, a lawyer.