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South Bay couple suing Airbnb over death of 2-year-old daughter

South Bay couple suing Airbnb over pool death of 2-year-old daughter in Puerto Vallarta
Posted at 4:58 PM, Nov 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-13 21:11:35-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A South Bay couple is filing a lawsuit two years after the death of their little girl, who was found in the pool of their vacation rental in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Esmeralda Garcia and Ricardo Colin, parents of Grezhia Colin, announced their decision at a news conference Monday morning.

Garcia wore a necklace with her daughter's name. She also had her daughter’s pacifier, which she kept with her at all times.

“I honestly don't know how I’m standing here or how I’m still breathing without her,” said Garcia.

In November 2021, the family traveled to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate Garcia's birthday. Two-year-old Grezhia was among the group of nine family members.

The couple's lawyer said Garcia booked a home on Airbnb after using its app to search for accommodations for a group that included young children.

Attorney Omid Rejali said the tragedy unfolded within 20 minutes after the group arrived.

“Everybody was trying to figure out where they were going to be sleeping... Little Grezhia walks up the steps, we suppose, because nobody saw her, and she ends up in the pool,” said Rejali.

Grezhia was found floating in the pool. Eventually, a medical helicopter flew her to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, where she died.

"She is and always will be my everything… I feel anger. My emotions are just out there," Garcia said. "I didn’t know grief was until I lived it, until I am living it."

Rejali said safety measures for pools including tarps or safety gates should be required, especially if young children are included in the booking.

“Grezhia's death was completely preventable. Airbnb failed to have safety measures in place, which led to this tragedy," Rejali said. "Safety shouldn’t be an option. It should be a priority."

The family hopes the lawsuit will lead to a comprehensive changes aimed at safety.

“I don’t want her name, her face to be in vain… I don’t want any family to go through this pain,” said Garcia.

In a statement, Airbnb says "Our hearts go out to the Garcia-Colin family for their tragic loss."

While a spokesperson said they haven't received the lawsuit, she mentioned that photos of the pool were on the listing page, also emphasizing that the company promotes pool safety — including discounts on pool fences — and requires any host to adhere to local laws on pool safety.