At least six tourists have died on vacation in the Dominican Republic since 2018 -- here's what we know about their deaths
The U.S. State Department has confirmed that at least six American tourists have died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic since summer 2018. Some of them passed away in what appear to be bizarre — and similar — circumstances.
PEOPLE confirms that both the FBI and the CDC are investigating these strange deaths, but the agencies are not yet releasing further details.
According to Univision, Robin Bernstein, the ambassador of the United States to the Dominican Republic, said last week the recent high-profile incidents 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.”
Here are the deceased victims we know about so far.
Nathaniel Edward Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day
On May 30, 2019, engaged couple Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, were found dead in their hotel room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana resort, according to a statement released by the hotel.
Holmes and Day, of Maryland, were found by resort staff after they missed their scheduled check-out time that day, per the statement.
Their bodies did not show signs of violence, USA Today reports. The Dominican Republic National Police announced that an autopsy found the couple had respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. Day also reportedly suffered cerebral edema.
Medication for high blood pressure was also found in the room, WBAL reports.
Yvette Monique Sport
Pennsylvania native Yvette Monique Sport, 51, had just arrived at the Bahia Príncipe resort in Punta Cana when she died in June 2018.
Her sister, Felecia Nieves, told FOX 29 that Sport, a bride-to-be traveling with her fiancé, had a drink from the minibar, took a shower, went to bed and was found unresponsive the next morning.
“She was 51 years of age, relatively healthy, no reason for her to go on vacation and die so suddenly,” Nieves said.
Though her death was initially ruled a heart attack, with the news that several American tourists have died at the Bahía Príncipe in Punta Cana, Sport’s cause of death is being investigated again.
David Harrison, 45, was celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife and 12-year-old son when he died of a heart attack at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana in July of 2018.
Harrison’s wife, Dawn McCoy, told WTOP that her husband started to feel sick, went to bed and later woke up drenched in sweat. “He was struggling quite a bit to get out of bed and to talk,” she said. “I tried to communicate with him and all he could do was mumble.”
He died soon afterwards. His cause of death was listed as heart attack as well as “pulmonary edema, an accumulation of fluid in the lungs that can cause respiratory failure, and atherosclerosis,” according to The Washington Post.
McCoy told the Post that her husband was “relatively healthy” but did have high blood pressure. “We went down there as a happy family, and we came home a broken family,” she told WTOP. “I came home a widow and my 12-year-old son came home fatherless.”
On May 25 of this year, Pennsylvania psychotherapist Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, collapsed shortly after mixing a drink from the minibar in the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville in La Romana, where she was celebrating her ninth wedding anniversary with husband Daniel Werner.
According to autopsy results released by the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic, she died of a heart attack that caused respiratory failure and fluid accumulation in her lungs.
Family spokesman Jay McDonald told Fox News that the attack came on suddenly.
“[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.” Schaup-Werner had arrived at the resort less than 24 hours earlier.
In April 2019, Robert Bell Wallace, 67, died 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 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 passed away three days later, and Arnold claims that authorities did not give them a cause of death. “We have so many questions,” she said. “We don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”