Who Killed Flight Attendant Nick Aaronson In His Mexico City Hotel Room?


When 27-year-old U.S. Airways flight attendant Nick Aaronson of Phoenix missed his scheduled shuttle bus in Mexico City on Saturday morning, his co-workers asked hotel staff to check on the young man. They found him “naked, face down on the hotel bed, unconscious, with a belt around his neck and his hands tied behind him.” He had been severely beaten and strangled to death.

Though the attacker scattered the contents of Aaronson’s luggage around the room, the police found no drugs or weapons there. They did however just arrest a suspect reportedly caught by security cameras and in possession of Aaronson’s iPhone. There’s no indication of motive for the attack as of yet.

LGBTQ Nation has more:

Meanwhile Deborah Volopeck, president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) Council 66 — a union which represents U.S. Airways employees—and who knew Aaronson personally, told the Arizona Republic, that Nick was a “very popular” and “very loved” member of the airline’s Phoenix-based crews.

“It’s tragic. We are caring for our co-workers. We’re a tight-knit group in Phoenix. “What our focus is right now, is caring for our co-workers who all know Nick… His loss is a heavy loss for all of us,” said Volopeck.

Aaronson even participated in Adam Bouska’s NOH8 campaign. That he fell victim to hate is a cruel irony.

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  • Dan

    This story is sad.

    Just a safety tip: whenever you are going to hook up with someone, take a clear picture of them first with your phone and send it to your best friend, so there is a visual record of who you are with. Use this buddy system to protect yourself from straight guys (or gay/bi guys on drugs) who would otherwise use things like Grindr to hurt/rob gay/bi guys. If your hook-up refuses to be photographed when you meet, then you know something is up.

  • Atlas

    This story is sad.

    There are already too few cute, gay gingers in the world, and now we’re one less.

  • ChrisC

    This is horrible. I first heard about this when Natalie Nunn from Bad Girls Club tweeted that her flight attendant had been murdered. I wish his family and friends the best during this horrible time and that he will get the justice that he deserves. This is so sad.

  • jj

    That’s what happens when u superficial losers base hook ups on a “hot” pic. Pics lie losers. Most of you are too damn stupid to remember that

  • John

    Nick was a good friend of mine and we went to high school together, had drinks, and just enjoyed one anothers’ company. He was a great guy and someone you would be honored to call friend. The thought of him in that hotel room, alone, and further…is a horrible, awful thought. Our love and prayers need to go to his mother, brother, and sister. They’ve lost an amazing son and brother. We love you, Nick.

  • Dennis

    It’s sad but many of the critical comments that have been left on news stories suggest that perhaps the well loved and respected flight attendant may have invited this person into his room for a sexual encounter which went bad. Well, it IS a possibility after all. It may have been a setup from the outset. It nay not have been a potential sexual encounter but a robbery and murder. Hopefully the police in Mexico will get to the bottom of things. While the murder of any human being is horrible, painting a picture of a choirboy is just setting everyone up for the same attacks that were done following the death of Steve Jobs. I say be realistic or just avoid pretending he was some saint. No one deserves to be killed, but pretending he was an innocent lamb is just dumb. He was a human being, he was gay and he was killed. What he may have done to allow this to happen to him is unknown at this point.

  • JoeyB

    Maybe it was the Cartels…

  • Red Meat

    Al Pacino did it.

  • sweetfunkystuff

    @jj: Well, damn, jj! I mean, look, I’m not the hottest guy out there, either (I say “either” because, judging from your post, it’s possible that you aren’t one of the “hot” guys that the boys flock to), and it sucks that hot guys aren’t knocking down my door to hook up with me, and yeah, the thought that this COULD HAVE been a hook-up with some rough trade in a hot dude’s clothing did cross my mind, but this guy was savagely murdered, and this is what you decide to post? Filter, man, use that filter that exists between your brain and your mouth (or, in this case, your typing fingers).

  • cruelirony

    -“Just a safety tip: whenever you are going to hook up with someone, take a clear picture of them first with your phone and send it to your best friend, so there is a visual record of who you are with. Use this buddy system to protect yourself from straight guys (or gay/bi guys on drugs) who would otherwise use things like Grindr to hurt/rob gay/bi guys. If your hook-up refuses to be photographed when you meet, then you know something is up.”-

    Right, so people are supposed to let you photograph them, no questions asked, but when someone asks to take a photograph of you (y’know, maybe because they feel uncomfortable and are using your cute little “buddy system”)you’re supposed to decline or be on your guard.

    Spec-fucking-tacular reasoning there, Dan.

  • Ricky

    This is very sad.It had to be a hook up gone wrong.

  • Griff

    Another Dan Villarreal fail. This wasn’t a hate crime b/c there is no evidence that this man was targeted for being gay. He picked up a criminal who used the promise of sex to get him into a vulnerable position. That is a felony murder, but it is not a hate crime.

    Violence like this is facilitated by a gay subculture, and more specifically a gay male urban subculture, that promotes anonymous sexual encounters. Someone in the comments mentioned Al Pacino. Well, Pacino’s movie was based on real hook-up violence that occurred all the time in the 70s. The murder of this flight attendant is just the latest in a line of murders and assaults that go back decades. Bathhouses and personal ads have been replaced by Grindr and Manhunt, but it is the same foul, loveless subculture that all too often leads to disease, violence, a lack of emotional commitment, depression, and loneliness. And to make matters worse, those gays who are not part of this get tagged with the stigma of what some urban gay males do.

    It doesn’t have to be this way and abandoning this subculture does not mean becoming a prude or even monogamous. It just means using some common sense and having a degree of self-respect. For example, there are many, many straight people who enjoy sleeping around, but the vast majority of them do it with some moderation. A single man or woman might have a half dozen or dozen partners in a year. A Grindr fan might go through that many men in a week. Grow up, respect yourself and use moderation.

  • josue

    Come because I say you have to mistreat Mexicans in America Mexicans are trash.
    to all the trash Mexicans working in the field should be deported to Mexico

  • Dan

    @cruelirony since your post makes no sense, you are perhaps someone taking advantage of gay/bi guys and don’t want to have your picture taken.

  • josue

    Mexico City became Colombia drug trafficking, poverty, impunity, overpopulation, guerrillas

    is dangerous mexico city

  • shannon

    A MEXICAN……………..

  • A.R

    Am i the only who can tell he brought the wrong tricks back from the bar? or he hook up with the wrong tricks online? He met a 20 year old a mexican from the bar and hookup in his own hotel room.

  • Shawn

    We have not heard the end of this story. Just becuase he was well liked by fellow crew members does not mean he could not have invited a local up to his hotel room. Crews tend to stay at better places and that often means security guards, CCTV and card keys used for elevator and building access. It would seem unlikely that a murderer would have just been able to show up at his room and gain entrance. The more likely scenario is that it was someone he picked up and brought with him. That’s just my opinion of course. I too was put off by people saying that Aaronson was so loved and so special. Everyone’s loved ones are beloved and special people. They can make poor choices. They too can be involved in lifestyles that would not exactly make their parents proud. Saying someone was in high school with you or that you had drinks with them does not somehow change the picture and make them immune from doing dumb things.

  • ewe

    One should always let the hotel staff see who you are bringing upstairs. All it takes is you stopping by the desk and chitchatting for three minutes and somehow including your Trick in the conversation however brief. You could even say “i am having so and so as my guest for the night or up for a drink.” If they are too discreet for that then ask for a foldout cot to be brought upstairs. Just saying. Anyone who doesn’t want to even be seen by strangers is probably not someone you want alone in your room amidst your belongings. Thug types in particular know you are one up on them if you do this. It’s the truth. Could save your life. Just sayin. Poor thing. Must have been a horrible end for him.

  • fredo777

    @Shawn: Whether or not he invited someone to his hotel room does not make the fact that this kid was brutally murdered any less tragic. What does a murderer look like, exactly? How many proper dates before you can tell he/she’s a murderer? While it’s usually a poor choice to hook up with someone that you don’t know anything about, if the price of making a poor choice was death, none of us would be here typing right now. What’s more, it’s not exactly impossible to end up sleeping with the wrong person even after several dates, several years of dating, or even marrying that person. Nor is it impossible to hook up with the wrong person even if you seldom have casual hook-ups. “Oh, he had a casual hook-up? He must have been a slut + that’s why he got killed.” Ridiculous.

    There is a difference between reminding others to exercise good judgment + just being judgmental.

  • xander

    @ewe : that ‘s great advice! @fredo777 : well put! /\ This is a sad story, and I hope that the local police dept recognizes that this story is being followed and reported on around the world.

  • Shawn

    @fredo777 I agree that “There is a difference between reminding others to exercise good judgment + just being judgmental.” And you seem to have crossed over to the latter. As it turns out, according to a news story just released, my own suspicions have been confirmed. “Security cameras showed the two entering the hotel, with Aaronson signing Ramirez in as a guest.”—That’s what the story says. I think anyone with a brain can now see what happened.

    I am not naive enough to think that this was the first time for “poor Nick.” I am certain of one thing: IT WAS HIS LAST. And I too looked up his Facebook page out of sheer curiosity and saw that his status went from single to in a relationship to in ca relationship with (another male’s name.) And that was AFTER he was found dead. Go figure.

    So rather than being judgmental which has negative connotations, I would say I am realistic and analytical. A young male flight attendant in a committed relationship invited a 20 year old local up to his hotel room and he is found naked, bound and very dead. Feel free to do the math.

  • till the world ends

    Well they found out who the guy is. Jose Ramirez. Convict on parole. He is denying he killed him and saying it was someone else. I saw the video stills and it was just the two of them. Hotels in Mexico doesn’t usually let you bring people into the hotel if they think you do not know them. He convinced security that Jose was his friend. They caught him using gps on the iphone he stole from him. Still sad. But a little justice for now.

  • joseluis

    the only thing worth is Coyoacan Mexico City and its environs

  • joseluis

    the only thing worth mexico city’s Coyoacan and San Angel and the surrounding

  • fredo777

    @Shawn: “And you seem to have crossed over to the latter.”

    Actually, no, you have. Your “poor Nick” comment says everything I need to know about whether or not you are coming from a judgmental place. And despite my comment being in reply to yours, it was meant for all of the folks hell-bent on proving that (insert name of murder/HIV/etc. victim) wasn’t a perfect angel (which, by the way, neither are you).

    “my own suspicions have been confirmed”

    Cool. Your being right is what’s most important here, after all. I never argued against the possibility that Aaronson brought the suspect into his hotel room. What I do have an issue with is your assertion that it is somehow wrong for a murder victim’s loved ones to remember him for the good things that he brought into their lives instead of harping on his shortcomings or mistakes.

    Translation: tell us all the moral of the story, but you don’t have to be a dick about it.

  • Brad00

    @Griff. People, gay or straight, hook up with strangers all the time, every minute of every day. Straight men hire prostitutes all the time and often fall victim to deceit and theft as a result. Sexual orientation or even sex with strangers is not the issue here. Your misguided rant on a perceived evil subculture are way off base and reveal more about yourself than Nick Aaronson. Most would assume that someone willing to turn over their ID to hotel staff, all the while being recorded on many visible security cameras was not planning on committing a crime, let alone murder, all but guaranteeing being caught. Mexico City is a city that has so many crimes against tourists, that they even have a special branch of their police dept. dedicated to assisting tourists who become victims of crime. That’s why hotels there require any guest to leave behind ID and register at the front desk. There’s likely more to the story. Either way, self respect has nothing to do with this story.

  • Kerry

    @Dennis: I totally agree with Dennis. Sad to say, Nick was ultimately responsible for his own death. He made a bad choice with someone who promised him sex to put him in a position to rob him. Unfortunately, I have had friends who have had this has happened to here in Los Angeles.

  • fredo777

    @Kerry: “Sad to say, Nick was ultimately responsible for his own death.”

    It’s a sad thing to say, indeed.

  • Dorian Gay


    Apparently you missed the news stories where Mr. Aaronson was referred to as “poor Nick.” I got the connection. Apparently you did not. Then you go off on an accusatory rant, based on your assumptions about someone who left a comment. For someone who has made almost 3000 comments you sure do have a lot to say about anyone who says anything other than what you happen to agree with.

  • Correct

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. After moving to Chicago 5 years ago, I view it as an absolute mess regarding these issues and I see the depression through these phony males (some pushing 50, still thinking they’re 22). I’ve always kept the gay life at arms length here, but have extended it further.

  • Daho

    @fredo777: I wouldn’t pay Shawn or those other posters any mind – he’s clearly a self loathing person. Just about every person I know, gay and straight, has brought home people for hook-ups. It’s a normal part of life. Denying it, or claiming it’s something only gay men do, is not only judgmental, but very ill-informed. It sounds like someone is struggling with something and projecting it onto something else…

  • fredo777

    @Dorian Gay: “Apparently you missed the news stories where Mr. Aaronson was referred to as “poor Nick.” I got the connection.”

    The origin of “poor Nick” doesn’t really make a lick of difference to my argument. Whether the person commenting was replying to the sympathetic tone of others commenting in general or (in this case) the literal words of the media/the victim’s loved ones, etc., the take-away is the same.

    “based on your assumptions about someone who left a comment.”

    I don’t need to watch the news in order to interpret a blog poster’s meaning, based on their word choice + overall tone.

    “For someone who has made almost 3000 comments you sure do have a lot to say about anyone who says anything other than what you happen to agree with.”

    I’m not sure what the number of comments I’ve made has anything to do with this subject, particularly the latter part of that statement. Have you actually read every one of my nearly 3000 comments left over the years (hint: I’ve been posting since 2007) that I’ve been a member of this site? If so, that’s pretty impressive. They’re a mixed bag, obviously, ranging from deeply argumentative to a simple “haha I thought it was funny…”

    Also, yes, I do tend to argue with those whose views differ from my own on a particular subject. That’s why it’s an argument (two opposing sides). You argue with those whose views are exactly the same as yours on a particular subject? Cool.

  • fredo777

    @Daho: “every person I know, gay and straight, has brought home people for hook-ups”


  • Griff

    @Brad00: I would hope that my comment would say something about me. It would be rather pointless if it did not.

    Sex with strangers has everything to do with this story. If the victim had not been picking up a complete stranger in a bar, he likely wouldn’t have found himself alone in a room with a convict and likely would not be dead now. As for your prattling about how straights do this too, I think you are missing the point. The point is not whether some straights pick up hookers or try to hook up through the internet and sometimes get victimized. The point is that such conduct is much, much less common and is widely frowned upon. There is no straight equivalent of Grindr or a bathhouse or “cruising areas” in public parks. There is no established subculture that promotes and sustains it.

    Now, straights do have a “singles’ scene” that is widespread, supported, and promoted. So that would be a fair basis for comparison. But what do straight singles do, by and large?

    Many of them look for a dating partner who might turn into a partner in a serious relationship. Others may just go out to find a sexual partner, but the vast majority of men will have to go out with a woman several times before scoring. And even the luckiest would score with a single woman in a single night and perhaps rack up a dozen partners in a year. Contrast that with the obsessive, assembly-line kind of hook-ups that the urban gay subculture promotes. It is a qualitative and a quantitative difference which partly explains not only tragedies such as the one in this case but a host of social and medical problems that beset many urban gay males. If gay men are going to live healthy lives, that subculture must die.

  • Siggie Freud

    Several comments here directly or indirectly accuse posters of the classic psychological defense mechanism called projection; taking things unacceptable in ourselves and “projecting” them onto others then condemning them. I read the comments several times and to me, offering an opinion should not result in an automatic ad hominem attack and name calling. It’s fairly clear from the news stories that the young man made a series of bad decisions. The end result was that he lost his life. Some comments indicated that the decisions the flight attendant made set in place the next phase, which was robbery and murder. Being critical of a lifestyle that is focused on anonymous sex or “tricks” or prostitutes does not mean the posters are anti-gay, self-loathing, or wrong. It means they expressed opinions/comments. It feels like some people here are awfully quick to hurl their anger at opinions that are not the same as their own. I assumed that the comments were supposed to be about the story. While I have no issue with comments on the comments (since that’s what I am doing, basically) it might be more meaningful to disagree with a sense of respect rather than by verbally bitch-slapping people because you don’t agree with their take on things! Just a thought.

  • Tackle

    @Dennis: Ok maybe he wasen’t a choirboy or saint. None of us are. But even if he did pick up a stranger on line and invited him over for sex, It’s not a wise safe choice, but don’t think that makes him a bad or an evil person. I’m not sure what your trying to say about his character.

  • jason

    Regardless of whether this was a hate crime or not, this was an awful, awful crime. I want the alleged killer to be sent to jail where he will be raped repeatedly and on a daily basis.

  • Remi


    Did you see anwhere in Dennis’ comment where Aaronson was called a “a bad or an evil person?” I didn’t.

    I’m not sure what YOU’RE (as opposed to ‘YOUR’ trying to say about his character.

  • Remi


    Did you see anywhere in Dennis’ comment where Aaronson was called a “a bad or an evil person?” I didn’t.

    I’m not sure what YOU’RE (as opposed to ‘YOUR’ trying to say about his character.

  • fredo777

    @Remi: Way to triple-post, guy.

  • TripleThreat

    Fredo777: You are so dependable in your useless points. What does “way to triple post” have to do with the story? You seem to always need to get your digs in is all.

    I guess someone scored 3X. Score: Remi 3, You 0


  • John Schauf

    I was one of Nicks co workers, and he was the kindest person. Seriously.
    Please out of respect for the man, stop using his tragic death as a platform for your misguided hatred. If you do not have anything respectful to say, then just say a prayer for him and his family.

  • fredo777

    @John Schauf: “stop using his tragic death as a platform for your misguided hatred”

    I’m not sure if this was meant partially or wholly for my benefit, but I don’t hate anyone here. I will apologize if you felt that my arguing somehow disrespected your friend’s memory, as that was never my intent. I tend to get overzealous when there is something that I am passionate about, but this isn’t about me. Sorry for your loss.

  • Jennifer Wootton

    I was fortunite to go to school with nick and was on the swimm team with him. He would do anything for anybody if he had the means to do so. He will be deppely missed and my heart goes out to his family. Yes I know he was not perfict nobody is but it does not give you the right to say he caused is own death. He may have invited that man to his room for some fun but he did not say come have sex then kill me. He may have made a bad judgment call that night but by no means did he deserve to be killed by some poor excuse for a man that deserves to be put in jail and beaten everyday for what he did.

  • Vanessa


    OK you went to school with nick. You were on the swim team, with him. And that has exactly WHAT to do with his patronizing a prostitute and angaging is risky sexual behavior? The guy was supposedly in a committed relationship with his boyfriend. Yet he picks up a male prostitute in a bar and takes him to his hotel room. Are you naive enough to think there were going to have a cup of tea together or watch the Mexican version of Antiques Road Show? Come on now! Nick was found stripped naked and bound. Doesn’t that mean anything to you? No one said it’s cool to murder someone. NO ONE. But please try not to tell us that he was some soecial saint. To me it says you knew NOTHING about the real person, who was likely a sex addict at 27 who simply HAD to hook up with someone on an overnight. Ya really think this was his first and only “mistake?” If you really think that you are very naive. I will bet you this was the lifestyle he led. A boyfriend back home and a hookup every night away from home. Sure, maybe it was just back luck and his first time. I really doubt that….a lot. He’d been around the block before and he knew the risks. Apparently he saw it as being worth the risk. And my hunch is it’s because he was completely out of control.

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