Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle went missing late last month while on vacation in the Dominican Republic

By Helen Murphy
April 10, 2019 08:36 AM
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Portia Ravenelle, Orlando Moore

Police in the Dominican Republic believe they may have found the bodies of Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle, a New York couple who went missing while on vacation late last month, according to reports.

Dominican Republic national police chief spokesman Col. Frank Félix Durán Mejia released a statement on Tuesday where he said authorities had found two bodies with “characteristics similar to the American couple,” according to a translation by CBS. Police believe the couple crashed in a rental car on their way to the airport, reported CBS.

At a Spanish-language press conference on Tuesday, NBC New York reported that police said they found a woman believed to be Ravenelle, 32, unconscious on the side of a road. She was taken to the hospital and died on Thursday, the outlet said.

NBC New York added that a body believed to be Moore, 43, was found in a car in the ocean on March 31, though authorities have not yet been able to retrieve the car. According to CBS, the body has a tattoo that matches a tattoo on Moore.

CNN reported that the bodies are still in the process of being identified, and autopsies are “pending.” The outlet added that authorities said there is no sign of foul play.

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This week, numerous outlets reported that the U.S. Department of State was made aware of the situation and was working with authorities in the Dominican Republic to find the pair.

The Mount Vernon couple boarded a plane bound for the tropical island on March 23, reported New York’s PIX 11. According to NBC New York, they failed to return from their vacation on March 27.

“I’m very worried,” Moore’s aunt told the New York Post on Monday. “I am hoping that somewhere, they’re being held against their will and they’re alive. But as time goes by, we start thinking that something strange has happened.”

PEOPLE’s email to the Consulate General of the Dominican Republic was not returned Tuesday.

Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle
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A State Department official told PEOPLE on Tuesday, “We are aware of reports regarding a U.S. couple missing in the Dominican Republic. The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.”

The official added, “Due to privacy considerations, we have no further information to offer at this time.”

The Post also reported Monday that relatives said the couple never checked out of their hotel and never returned their rental car. Both their phones were off.

Cheryl Freeman and her boyfriend Carter Washington spent time with Moore and Ravenelle and told CNN they befriended the couple, who apparently had an early, pre-dawn flight home from an airport 100-plus miles from the resort they stayed at.

PEOPLE was unable to reach Moore or Ravenelle’s family for comment.