Family of Woman Who Died at Dominican Resort Said Authorities Lied About 'Past Heart Attacks'

Leyla Cox died on June 10 at the Excellence Hotel and Resort in Punta Cana

Leyla Cox of Staten Island, New York, traveled to the the Dominican Republic earlier this month to celebrate her birthday. But she never returned.

The 53-year-old was found dead in her hotel room at the Excellence Hotel and Resort in Punta Cana on June 10.

Following her death, an autopsy was performed. Her son, William Cox, was told no toxicology report could be ordered because her autopsy showed “no red flags,” he told CBS New York.

In a Monday press conference, Public Health Minister Rafael Sanchez Cardenas spoke out about the case, saying that Leyla Cox had an enlarged heart, high blood pressure and that she had suffered “several past heart attacks.”

But now, her son disputes Cardenas’ comments.

“They’re lying,” William Cox tells Fox News. “It’s been like this from the beginning since she died. They give misinformation. They’re trying to cover up.”

“In the 25 years I’ve been alive, my mother did not have a heart attack,” William continued.

Leyla Cox

The U.S. State Department has confirmed that at least eight American tourists have died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic since the summer of 2018. Some of them passed away in what appear to be bizarre — and similar — circumstances.

Currently, the FBI has agents on the island nation to look into six of the deaths.

Agents are investigating four deaths at various Grand Bahia Principe properties: Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, were found dead in their hotel room May 30 at the Bahia Principle La Romana. Five days earlier, Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, collapsed shortly after mixing a drink from the minibar in the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville in La Romana. Last year, Pennsylvania native Yvette Monique Sport, 51, collapsed at the Bahia Príncipe resort in Punta Cana.

Robin Bernstein, the ambassador of the United States to the Dominican Republic, told Univision these high-profile incidents should not be considered anything more than 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.”

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Leyla Cox
Leyla Cox.

Cox’s death is not currently being investigated by the FBI or the CDC, but the U.S. State Department confirms she died.

William Cox tells Fox News that all he wants is answers in his mother’s death — but he fears he may never know exactly what killed her. “I felt like I was pushed up against the wall and didn’t have any options and they almost forced me to cremate the body within 24 hours,” he said. “I just want to know what happened.”

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