American Teacher Who Died Alongside Boyfriend in Mexico Airbnb Loved Travel: 'He Was a Free Bird,' Family Says – PEOPLE

Jordan Marshall loved to explore the world — so much so that the 12th grade English teacher started his own online travel agency as a side gig.
"You just couldn't hold Jordan down," his sister, Jasmine Marshall, told PEOPLE Wednesday. "He was always down to travel."
In October alone, Marshall, 28, visited Mexico City twice for weekend getaways. At the end of the month, he made a trip with his boyfriend Courtez Hall, 33, and childhood pal Kandace Florence, 28, to celebrate Day of the Dead.
The trio stayed in an Airbnb in the La Rosita neighborhood, which boasted a beautiful view of the Mexican capital from its balcony, his sister said in the interview. On Saturday, Marshall posted a picture to his Instagram account showing him and Florence in their festive costumes and makeup.
On Sunday, all three American travelers were found dead in their Airbnb.
Mexico City authorities told Spanish-language paper El País they’ve opened an investigation into the incident and that they believe the American visitors died of “carbon monoxide poisoning.”
A rep for Airbnb did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for a comment.
Jasmine received the shocking news from Kandace’s boyfriend, Vincent Day, on Monday morning that her brother and his friends had died.
"I told him I need to go because I need to call my mom and tell her the bad news," says Jasmine, 30, a dentist from Hyattsville, Md. "And so I called her and it was like the hardest thing I've ever had to do."
The shocked, grieving family spent the next four days in Mexico City, looking for answers and arranging with a funeral home there to ship Jordan home for burial.
A funeral is planned for Friday at First Baptist Church South Hill in Chesapeake, Va.
"Jordan was a light of our lives," his mother, Jennifer Marshall, tells PEOPLE.
On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Embassy reached out to Jordan's father with an update on the cause of death.
"They said the toxicology results were negative for drugs and alcohol, and positive for some sort of gas," Jasmine tells PEOPLE.
"It's been incredibly frustrating," she continues. "The U.S. Embassy told us before we left they would be in touch with updates, and help us get his things back."
"We can confirm the death of three U.S. citizens in Mexico," the U.S. Embassy in Mexico tells PEOPLE in a statement. "We are closely monitoring local authorities' investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for the privacy of the families, we have nothing further to add at this time."
Marshall was born and raised in Virginia Beach, where his mother, a longtime educator, is now an elementary school librarian and his father, Larry, is a gasoline tanker truck driver.
At Princess Anne middle school, he met Florence — and the friends graduated Kellam High School together, his family said.
As a teenager, Jordan began making videos and films, and once wrote and directed a church Christmas production. "We used to call him little Spike Lee," says Jennifer.
After graduating from Hampton University, where he lived with Jasmine for two years, Jordan moved to the Washington, D.C. area and held various jobs in education, including as a middle school teacher, before moving to Metairie, Louisiana, last July to take a job at Rosenwald Collegiate High School in New Orleans.
"Jordan has always been very intellectual," says Jennifer, 50, noting he recently earned a master's degree in social studies. "He's always been a really great writer. So he just wanted to instill a love of writing and literacy to his students."
Like many teachers, Marshall spent his time off traveling, including visits to Croatia, Iceland, Morocco, and Italy, oftentimes with Florence. About a year ago, he started a travel consultancy business.
"And that's how Jordan was," says Jennifer. "He was a free bird."
The last time Jordan spent time with his family was in August, at a cousin's wedding. Courtez was also in attendance.
"It was a joyous occasion," says Jasmine. "We all actually decided to dress alike. So we had a beautiful family photo of all in our green. That was the last picture we all had together. I actually just got it blown up at Walmart. I'm excited that we got that last photo all together."
Since Jordan's death, his students have reached out to the Marshall family with photos, kind words and videos.
"They said they loved him and how much they are gonna miss him," says Jasmine. "We got teary-eyed knowing how much he was loved. That means a lot to us."
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