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A 20-year-old college student from Massachusetts died after she fell from a balcony at an Airbnb in Cancun, Mexico.

Leah “Lee” Pearse, a nursing student at Simmons University in Boston, locked herself out of her vacation rental on Jan. 6 and fell while trying to get back inside, according to her obituary. 

Pearse climbed to the third-floor balcony when slipped, fell and “died instantly,” the obituary says.

Pearse’s boyfriend, 21-year-old Augustine Robert Aufderheide of Prince Frederick, Maryland, was initially arrested by Mexican authorities after telling police that he and Pearse had gotten into an argument before she fell, according to Southern Maryland News Network.

Aufderheide was later released after Pearse’s death was ruled an accident, according to reports.

Leah Pearse, 20, of Newbury Massachusetts
Pearse, 20, fell and died while trying to enter her Airbnb rental in Cancun from the third-floor balcony.
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Pearse, from Newbury, Massachusetts, began working as a certified nurse assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital while pursuing her five-year Master’s Degree in Nursing when she was 18 years old.

“For the past two years she was the happiest we have ever seen her, living her independent college life in Boston, hanging around with her fabulous group of Simmons’ friends, and falling deeply in love with her amazing and ever-loving boyfriend Bobby (aka Gus or Augustin),” her obituary said.

Her heartbroken father, Reggie Pearse, told NBC 10 recalled the last time he spoke to his daughter.

“I just said to her, ‘Be careful,’ and she said, ‘I’ll try, Dad.,” he said. “She was extremely unpredictable, extremely quirky, extremely funny,” sister Anna Pearse told the news outlet.

Anna said her sister’s final hours were spent blissfully with her boyfriend.

“All day, they were singing, ‘That’s Amore,’” Anna Pearse said. “She was so in love with him.”

Pearse graduated from the Classical Academy at Haverhill High School in 2020 before embarking on her nursing career at Simmons.

“The Simmons University family is heartbroken at the loss of junior Leah Pearse, an active and beloved member of our community,” university president, Lynn Perry Wooten, told NBC 10 in a statement. “Known for her confidence, compassion, and sense of humor, Leah brought out the best in others.”

Massachusetts General Hospital remembered Pearse as a “vibrant” member of the hospital’s transplant unit.

“Her positive energy, creativity and thoughtfulness won the hearts of MGH’s patients and staff,” the hospital said in a statement to Boston.com. “Our community will come together in the coming days to honor Leah’s memory.”

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