Peacock's 'The Resort' reminds us of these real-life crimes that happened in would-be paradise

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Peacock’s mystery thriller The Resort — starring Cristin Milioti and William Jackson Harper as a married couple visiting a luxury resort who find an old cell phone connected to a mysterious disappearance at the same resort years earlier — is now here for the streaming. So it's timely to reflect on the most famous tragedies that happened at real-life holiday resorts.

The first season of the fictional show will take place at an all-inclusive resort on the Mayan Riviera. There, the couple in turmoil winds up at the heart of one of Yucatan’s most infamous unsolved mysteries. The show explores the themes of love, marriage, and family vacations, all while the couple embarks on an adventure to solve this mysterious case.

The first three episodes of the ”true-crime love story” created by Palm Springs writer Andy Siara and Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail — premiered on Peacock on July 28. The remaining five episodes will drop weekly every following Thursday.

And while The Resort is clearly a work of fiction, many infamous cases of true crime unfolded while folks were hoping for a memorable and sunny vacation.

Madeleine McCann

The disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann is probably the most famous missing persons case across the pond. Her disappearance was called "the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history” by The Telegraph in 2008.

On May 3, 2007 — just days short of her 4th birthday — McCann vanished while on vacation with her family in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, a popular coastal vacation villa and tourist destination. McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were initially identified as suspects by police in Portugal, making both them and the case tabloid fodder. They were cleared of suspicion in 2008 and they have actively been trying to find their daughter’s abductor.

There has been movement in that regard recently: German sex offender Christian Brückner, 44, was named as a suspect in the British toddler’s disappearance in April.

Natalee Holloway

Natalee Holloway’s disappearance took America by storm in 2005.

On May 30, 2005, Natalee Holloway — just 18 — vanished while on the island of Aruba. She was at the popular tourist destination as part of a high school graduation trip, wrapping up her successes as an honor student and dancer. She and more than 100 other classmates and several adult chaperones stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort near the northern end of the island.

Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch national living in Aruba who was then 17 years old, has always been the prime suspect in connection with her disappearance. He has never been charged due to a lack of evidence. He is, however, serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores. She died in a hotel room registered in van der Sloot's name, five years to the day of Holloway’s disappearance. When he is released by the Peruvian government in 2038, they have said he will be extradited to the U.S. to face extortion charges related to his alleged effort to obtain money to show Holloway's representatives the location of her body.

John Christopher Ludwick, who claimed to have disposed of Holloway’s remains on Oxygen’s "The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway” is dead: he was stabbed to death in 2018 while attempting to kidnap a woman from her car in South Florida.

Holloway was declared legally dead in 2012 but her remains were never found. The FBI is still seeking information in her vanishing.

Robyn Gardner

Six years after Holloway vanished, another blonde woman vanished from the same island. Maryland mother Robyn Gardner, 35, had told her boyfriend she was on a family trip with her parents to Aruba.

But she actually went with her lover Gary Giordano, 50, also of Maryland. Two days after their trip began — on Aug. 2, 2011 — Giordano called 911, claiming that Gardner vanished during a snorkeling trip. Her boyfriend had doubts about that story, claiming that she would never go snorkeling, People reported in 2011.

The case, and the salacious love triangle at the heart of it, soon became fodder for tabloid headlines. Giordano was declared a person of interest in the case but was never officially charged. He was arrested in 2012 on an indecent exposure charge.

Gardner has never been found.

 

Family annihilation of the Canases

A Texas woman apparently killed her entire family and then herself at a luxury spa and resort. Investigators say that Flor De Maria Pineda Canas, 37, shot her husband, 39-year-old Mauricio Canas, as well as her 10-year-old and 5-year-old sons inside a room at the San Luis Resort in Galveston, Texas in January 2018. When investigators arrived, the mother and her 10-year-old son were still alive, but they died shortly after being taken to a nearby hospital.

The community was shocked to learn about the killings.

“Just a loving family,” Neighbor Shirley Davis told Click 2 Houston at the time. “You wouldn't think of anything happening. Nothing strange about that family.”

The first three episodes of The Resort are now streaming on Peacock. New episodes drop every Thursday.

This story initially appeared on Oxygen.com.

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