UPDATED 9:21 AM PT — Friday, June 7, 2019
Within five days, three Americans were found dead in hotels owned by the same company in the Dominican Republic. Families, friends and Americans are now demanding answers.
While speaking to reporters Thursday, the Dominican Republic tourism minister said authorities are conducting an investigation. He also said the international press is quickly and unfairly drawing conclusions.
“In the last five years the Dominican Republic has received 30,000 tourists and we have never had to give a news conference like this to clarify nothing,” stated Minister Francisco Javier Garcia. “So, it tells you that it is a coincidence, circumstantial fact that has occurred.”
On May 25th, 41-year-old Miranda Shaup-Werner of Pennsylvania died while in her hotel room at the rand Bahia Principe hotel. Five days after her death, 63-year-old Edward Holmes and 49-year-old Cynthia Day were discovered after failing to check out of their room at a sister resort called the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana. Police said there was no evidence of violence in their room. Initial autopsy reports show each died of respiratory failure, and an excess of fluid in the lungs.
A Colorado couple has now filed a lawsuit against the La Romana Hotel, alleging they fell seriously ill last year because of the pesticides used on the property.
The president of the Dominican Republic Hotel Owners Association — Paola Rainieri — said they are working with the U.S. Embassy throughout the process.
“Meanwhile, we are waiting for the conclusion of one of the cases, and in the other for the pathology and toxicology reports which is usual in every country,” she explained. “They usually take about a month.”
After an attack on a Delaware woman inside her resort in mid-April, the State Department has warned Americans traveling to the country to exercise “increased caution” due to crime — a warning unlikely to be removed anytime soon.