Canadian woman stabbed to death in her Mexican condo

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MONTREAL - A Canadian blogger was stabbed to death on the tranquil, tropical island in Mexico she had recently adopted as her home.
Local authorities told Mexican media outlets that Renee Wathelet was stabbed more than 30 times in the chest and neck Thursday in her condominium on Isla Mujeres. The reports say she was 60 years old.
Media reports say neighbours called police after they heard a woman's screams from the condo.
Police say they arrested a 24-year-old boatman named Joaquin Palacios Garza as he tried to flee the scene.
Wathelet kept a popular personal blog called En direct des iles, or Live From the Islands, which chronicled her life on the Island of Montreal and on Isla Mujeres, about 10 kilometres off the shores of Cancun.
"She was full of life, she had these eyes that sparkled all the time, she's the kind of person you want at your party," said Michelle Sullivan, a friend of Wathelet's in Montreal.
"It's particularly hard for us to comprehend what's happened because she was full of life."
Wathelet kept residences in both Montreal and Isla Mujeres for years before moving to the island permanently a few months ago, Sullivan said.
The mother of three grown children had been busy building a social-media consulting business on an island she had fallen in love with, her friend added. Wathelet kept a second, professional blog for her business.
Sullivan said that Wathelet, who had worked previously as a financial planner, was looking for something new.
"Renee was always what you would call a bit of a nomad," she said.
Wathelet adored the sea and the warmth of the people on Isla Mujeres, or Island of Women. She had even learned Spanish to connect with locals, Sullivan said.
In her final blog entry, dated the day she died, she wrote about her morning walk along the beach and looking north across the waves toward Montreal.
The Mexican Embassy in Ottawa called Wathelet's death an "atrocious homicide."
In a statement released Friday, a Mexican government spokesman wrote that Palacios "has been turned over to the competent judicial authority to face the corresponding charges."
A spokesman for Foreign Affairs said Friday that Canadian consular officials are providing support to the family.
"We were informed of the death of a Canadian citizen and we're in contact with the Mexican authorities responsible for the investigation," Alain Cacchione said.
He said he could not confirm any details about the victim or the circumstances of the death because of privacy laws.
Canadians have been at the centre of several violent incidents in Mexico over the last few years.

Organizations: Mexican Embassy, Foreign Affairs

Geographic location: MONTREAL, Isla Mujeres, Mexico Cancun Ottawa

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