Pennsylvania Woman Died at Same Dominican Republic Resort 5 Days Before Engaged Couple Found Dead
Miranda Schaup-Werner had just enjoyed a drink from the minibar in her hotel room when she suddenly collapsed and died on May 25
For the second time in less than a week, another American was found dead inside of a Dominican Republic hotel.
Shortly after arriving on the Caribbean island on May 25, Miranda Schaup-Werner collapsed and died in her hotel room at Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville hotel in La Romana, Fox News reports.
The Allentown, Pennsylvania psychotherapist, 41, had just checked into her room with husband Daniel Werner and was looking forward to a relaxing trip to celebrate their 9th wedding anniversary, but the couple sadly never got the chance to do so.
Now, Miranda’s family are searching for answers as just five days after her sudden death, an engaged couple from Maryland were found dead in their room at the adjacent Grand Bahia Principe La Romana. (The two hotels are part of the same resort and share a phone number.)
“Daniel and all of us are in a state of disbelief, we are shocked. She was perfectly content, everything seemed fine,” Jay McDonald, Daniel’s brother-in-law, told Fox News. “It was, at first, a little confusing that there was such a strong parallel… it immediately caused serious concern for us.”
Speaking to the outlet, McDonald said Miranda and Daniel planned to spend five days in the Dominican Republic and seemed to be pleased by the island and resort from the minute they arrived.
“They enjoyed vacationing in that part of the world, in the Caribbean,” he told the outlet. “They arrived on May 25 on Saturday. They really seemed to enjoy the place. If you see the photos [on Facebook] and the way they were presented, clearly they were very happy to be there.”
As they were getting situated in their hotel room, McDonald said Miranda “decided to relax with a drink from the minibar” and mixed a bottle of alcohol with a soda. But less than an hour later, things took a turn for the worst.
“Suddenly, she called out to Dan and he came right over and she was unable to breathe. She collapsed, she couldn’t communicate,” he recalled to Fox News. “He did his best to try and resuscitate, to help her.”
After attempting CPR, Daniel called for help. After paramedics arrived, they administered an epinephrine injection, typically used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions. Despite their efforts, Miranda was declared dead soon after.
“It was very sudden,” he noted. “[Daniel] said one moment [Miranda was] taking pictures, smiling, happy and the next moment, in extreme pain and collapsing… she had no known health issues that I knew of.”
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While Miranda’s family was dealing with her “bizarre, mysterious” death, McDonald said they learned that Edward Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day, a couple from Maryland, had also died at a nearby hotel at the same resort just five days after Miranda.
After missing their scheduled check out on May 30, the pair was found unresponsive by hotel staff in their room, with no signs of violence.
McDonald said Miranda’s cause of death was respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, or fluid accumulation in the lungs, the same one listed as the cause of death for the Holmes and Day.
“That was beyond coincidence,” McDonald told Fox News. “They died five days after, and the cause was determined to be the same, this just puts this whole thing through the stratosphere — something is going on, and we want to know what it is.”
However, in a Wednesday statement obtained by PEOPLE, the resort disputed this characterization, saying that according to statements from the National Institute of Forensic Sciences and the National Police Investigations Unit, Schaup-Werner’s cause of death was determined to be a heart attack, and that Werner confirmed to authorities his wife had a heart condition.
Univision reports that Robin Bernstein, the ambassador of the United States to the Dominican Republic, said the incidents were isolated cases — an assertion also made by the resort in its Wednesday statement.
“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.”
In its Wednesday statement, the hotel said, “In both circumstances, established security protocols were followed, and we have maintained open communication with the authorities to provide information and clarification for each case.”
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On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department confirmed the three Americans tourists’ deaths to PEOPLE.
“The U.S. Embassy is actively monitoring the investigations by Dominican authorities into these tragic deaths. We stand ready to provide assistance as requested,” the statement said.
Now, with more than a week since Miranda’s passing, McDonald told Fox News the family has been in contact with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, as they work to have Miranda’s body returned to the country this week.
“[Daniel] wants his wife’s body home,” he told the outlet. “We want [an investigation] to be done domestically.”
Added McDonald: “It’s very hard to see my brother-in-law have to go through this and I don’t want this to get brushed under the rug. I don’t want to see it happen to anyone else.”