Unexplained deaths of Americans in the Dominican Republic: Answers to 8 Top Questions
News from the Dominican Republic continues to become increasingly terrifying. After the deaths of American tourists in the resorts began to appear more and more controversial information. The Washington Post 8 answered the most important questions about the deaths of Americans in the Dominican Republic.
How many Americans died under mysterious circumstances in the Dominican Republic this year?
According to news reports and the US Department of State, seven Americans fell ill and died this year in the Dominican Republic under circumstances causing questions. The first victim was 67-year-old Robert Bell Wallace from California. He died unexpectedly after April 14 fell ill at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana. According to a family member, Wallace felt bad after drinking the scotch from the mini-bar.
The next three deaths occurred at the end of May and more than an hour southwest of the Hard Rock Hotel, in the neighboring resorts on the south coast. Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41-year-old woman from Pennsylvania, lived in Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville. She also became ill after she drank a drink from the minibar. Miranda died a few hours later.
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Residents of Maryland Cynthia Ann Day (49 years) and Nathaniel Edward Holmes (63 year), had to leave the hotel Grand Bahia Principe La Romana 30 in May, when a hotel employee discovered their bodies in the room.
Family members of two other tourists who died in Punta Cana this year have publicly raised the issue of the death of relatives. 78-year-old Jerry Curran, a retiree living in Florida, died in January after falling ill on the island. The US State Department confirmed that a woman from Staten Island (New York), Leila Cox, passed away on June 11. Her son said he doubted that his mother died of a heart attack.
Shortly after these deaths, 55-year-old sister Joseph Allen from New Jersey said that her brother was found dead in his June 13 room at the Tierra Linda Resort in Sosua on the north coast of the country.
What was the cause of death?
The authorities did not report what caused the death of the first victim, Robert Wallace. His stepson said that by the end of June, family members are awaiting the results of toxicological tests.
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An autopsy revealed that Shaup-Werner, Day and Holmes had enlarged hearts, internal bleeding and pulmonary edema. The hotel management, in turn, said that husband Shap-Werner reported that his wife had heart disease.
However, a representative of the Schaup-Werner family said that the deceased had been treated for 15 years ago and since then she had no health problems. In the room where Day and Holmes were located, prescription drugs were found, including blood pressure drugs and five milligrams of anesthetic Oxycodone.
Additional information will be known when the results of toxicological tests become available, by means of which the blood is tested for the content of drugs, alcohol, poison or other toxic substances in the body.
How long will these tests take?
According to Laura Labay, a forensic toxicologist and director of toxicological services at NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, toxicology results in the States are usually available in about two weeks. But depending on what the results show, and how many more tests need to be done, the deadlines may increase to six to eight weeks, which means that some of the families of the victims will have to wait for answers.
Labay says that if tests show a positive result for a drug or other substance, this should be confirmed by additional testing. And even the initial negative result may cause further analysis. “There are cases when the laboratory suspects that a chemical has caused the death, and the initial test is negative, then most likely it will be necessary to do narrower and more specialized tests,” Labay said.
Do not other tourists claim that they are sick too?
Many argue, and every day there are more and more such people. A couple from Colorado - 29-year-old Keylinn Null and 33-year-old Tom Schwander - said they got sick during a visit to Grand Bahia Principe La Romana in June 2018. They sued the hotel owners, claiming that they were exposed to chemicals commonly found in pesticides. Tourists from Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York also informed news agencies that they fell ill at the Dominican resorts from June 2018 to May 2019.
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Iwaspoisoned.com has recent claims from more than a thousand users who said they were sick in the Dominican Republic, although some of these cases date back to months or even years earlier.
Family members of at least two other tourists who died in the country from heart attacks in June and July of the year 2018 also reported on recent deaths. Another woman from Pennsylvania, 51-year-old Yvette Monique Sport, died unexpectedly in June 2018 during her stay at the Bahia Principe Resort in Punta Cana. Her sister, Felecia Nieves, said that the official cause of death was a heart attack, but stressed that before her death, her sister drank something from the mini-bar.
Dawn McCoy, a resident of Brandywine, Maryland, said her husband, David Harrison, died at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana in July 2018. He had a heart attack, but an autopsy revealed that he also had fluid in his lungs, like those tourists who had just died.
What are the US authorities doing with this situation?
The FBI has confirmed that it is helping the authorities of the Dominican Republic in their investigation. According to the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic, local authorities turned to the FBI for further toxicological analysis of recent cases in Bahia Principe and La Romana, which may take up to 30 days.
"The US Embassy in Santo Domingo is actively working with the government of the Dominican Republic to ensure US citizens' safety in the Dominican Republic," the embassy said in a statement.
The State Department also stressed that representatives helped officials in the Dominican Republic connect with the families of Day and Holmes and arrange for their bodies to be sent to the United States.
Is the Dominican Republic safe for tourists?
According to the US Department of State, Americans should exercise heightened caution because of crime. The country has a "2 level" of four in accordance with the information system for foreign destinations.
“Violent crime, including armed robbery, murder, and sexual assault, is of concern throughout the Dominican Republic. The wide availability of weapons, illicit drug trafficking, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to a high crime rate, the report says, which also states that there are usually more police officers in resort areas than in urban areas like Santo -Domingo.
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The State Department also warns travelers not to drink alcohol alone or with new acquaintances, and not to leave drinks unattended. There is also information that tourists have repeatedly become victims of the so-called “date-rape drugs”.
Meanwhile, two recent high-profile crimes have attracted new close attention. David Ortiz, a former Boston Red Sox player, was injured on June 9 in Santo Domingo. And 51-year-old Delaware resident Tammy Lawrence-Daly reported that she was severely beaten in the resort of Punta Cana in January.
How safe is the country for tourists from the States?
According to the State Department, at the beginning of 2017, and at the end of 2018, 30 Americans died in the Dominican Republic from unnatural causes - they drowned, died from an accident, were killed or committed suicide.
Last year, 6,6 was visited by millions of tourists, with more than 2,3 a million of them from America.
What happens if travelers give up the upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic?
They may have to pay some fees. In some hotels there are different rules regarding how much advance you need to cancel your reservation in order not to pay penalties. But airlines, including Delta and United, said they would work with passengers who want to cancel an order individually.
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In addition, there is travel insurance, but to take advantage of it, when you made out documents for a trip, you had to initially choose the option that allows you to cancel a trip for any reason. With such insurance, the tourist can not return all, but most of the money spent.
As ForumDaily wrote earlier:
- Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, from Prince George County, Virginia, were found in a room at the Bahía Príncipe in the resort of Playa Nueva Romana, on the south-east coast of the country. The cause of death has not yet been established, but the police found no signs of violence.
- Miranda Schaupp-Werner was found dead in a hotel Grand Bahía Príncipe in La Romana 25 May.
- Relatives of 51-year-old Yvette Monique Sport told that she went to the resort last June and stopped at the Bahia Principe Resort in Punta Cana. In the room she drank a drink from the minibar and died that night.
- Delaware Woman severely beaten and left to die at a resort in the Dominican Republic. Tammy Lawrence-Daily said she wants to share her story "in the hope that women will be more knowledgeable."
- She said that on the second night of her vacation in January at the Majestic Elegance Punta Cana resort, where she arrived with her husband and two friends, she went to the next building to have a snack. She was attacked. The woman's nose and arm are broken, she has partially lost her hearing.
- 10 Jun reported that a woman from New York claimed that because of a soda bottle filled with bleach, she was bleeding in the same resort in the Dominican Republic, where at least three American tourists died suddenly.
- 31 is a summer tourist from Russia Maria Cheremushkina passed away during the holidays Dominican Republic. Inudent happened on the night of June on 1. Relatives learned that shortly before the incident, the girl complained of heartache, but the necessary help was not provided to her. For some reason, she was taken to the hospital by taxi, because the ambulance staff refused to call the hotel.
- Deer Creek High School Alumni (Oklahoma) flew out 8 was in June in the Dominican Republic and settled at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, where at least 2 Americans were killed and several others fell ill. Soon the adolescents began to feel bad, they were never able to establish the diagnosis.
- 55-year-old Joseph Allen from Avenel, NJ, was found dead Thursday morning, 13 Jun. Allen complained that it was hot in the pool and left to take a shower. The report says that he went to bed and the next day his dead.
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