The FBI will investigate four mysterious deaths of American tourists since April
The U.S. State Department has confirmed that there are now four American tourists who have recently died while on vacation in the Domincan Republic, which has prompted an FBI investigation into the mystery.
Robert Bell Wallace, 67, died in April while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana. His niece, Chloe Arnold, told Fox News that he became ill after having a drink from the his hotel room’s minibar. He was in the country to attend his stepson’s wedding.
“He was fine,” Arnold said. “On April 11 he had scotch from the minibar. He started feeling very sick, he had blood in his urine and stool right afterward.”
He died three days later, and Arnold claims that authorities have not given them a cause of death. “We have so many questions,” she said. “We don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
Weeks after Wallace’s death, three more American tourists died at the same resort over a five-day period.
On May 25, Miranda Schaup-Werner, an Allentown, Pennsylvania psychotherapist, 41, collapsed shortly after mixing a drink from the minibar in the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville, where she was celebrating her 9th wedding anniversary with husband Daniel Werner.
According to the reports of her autopsy released Thursday by the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic, she died of a heart attack that caused respiratory failure and a fluid accumulation in her lungs.
Five days later, Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63 and Cynthia Day, 49, were found unresponsive in their hotel room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana, which is on the same resort as Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville. There were no signs of violence.
According to the autopsy report, the couple suffered respiratory failure and fluid accumulation in their lungs, with Day also suffering a cerebral edema, though the cause of the fatal episodes was not clear and toxicology results are still pending.
Last week, a Colorado couple who stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel alleged that they had become violently ill after being exposed to what they suspect were insecticides through the air conditioning system.
According to a lawsuit filed by the couple, their room smelled of chemicals. They say they experienced headaches, nausea, cramping and diarrhea.
FBI Will Conduct Tests at Resort Where 3 Americans Died
The FBI confirmed to Fox that it was joining the investigation into mysterious deaths and illnesses on the island. They will send experts to conduct tests at the Bahia Principe hotels where Schaup-Werner, Holmes and Day died.
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Univision reported that Robin Bernstein, the ambassador of the United States to the Dominican Republic, said last week the recent high-profile incidents involving American tourists in the Caribbean island nation — including the assault of a woman at another resort — were isolated cases.
“We have 2.7 million Americans who come to the country and the statistics is that this is a very … unique event,” Bernstein said. “They come to visit the beautiful beaches and enjoy the great culture. Unfortunately sometimes those things happen to people.”
The resorts did not respond Monday to PEOPLE’s request for comment.