Dominican Republic Tourist Deaths: Questions must be answered

Dominican Republic Tourist Deaths: Questions must be answered

A graduation trip to the Dominican Republic for a group of 40 Oklahoma teenaged students from Deer Creek High School in Edmond went sour when earlier this month when they all became ill during their stay in the Caribbean country. One of the parents reported that they had traveled to the island nation on June 8 to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana. Fortunately, although they became ill, everyone survived.

To date, 7 Americans have died this year while vacationing in the Dominican Republic, all of them in their hotel rooms.

Joseph Allen (55) from New Jersey died on June 13 at the Terra Linda resort in Sosua, Dominican Republic. His sister said he had not been feeling well earlier but after leaving the pool, he showered and went out that night. He was found dead the next morning by hotel staff when he didn’t show up to meet his friends.

Leyla Cox (53) from New York City died in her hotel room on June 10 at the Excellence Resorts in Punta Cana. According to the hotel, a forensics report states the cause of death as a heart attack. Her son has doubts about the hotel’s statement about what she died from.

Nathaniel Holmes (63) and Cynthia Day (49) both died in their hotel room on May 30 at the Grand Bahia Principe in La Romana. Hotel staff found them, and authorities stated they had both died from internal bleeding and fluid in their lungs. Authorities are trying to say that Nathaniel had an enlarged heart and cirrhosis and that Cynthia also had fluid in her brain.

Miranda Schaup-Werner (41) from Whitehall township, Pennsylvania, died on May 25 while also staying at the Bahia Principe resort in La Romana. She and her husband Dan Werner were celebrating their wedding anniversary, and Miranda took a drink from the minibar then suddenly became ill and collapsed and died. The autopsy showed she died from a heart attack, pulmonary edema, and respiratory failure.

John Corcoran (60) from New Jersey died at the end of April in his hotel room, which according to his sister, Shark Tank TV star Barbara Corcoran, was due to natural causes as he had an existing heart condition.

Robert Wallace (67) from Turlock, California, died on April 12 while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana. He was with a family group for a wedding, and according to his son-in-law, he became sick after drinking scotch from the hotel minibar.

Neither US officials nor Dominican Republic authorities have indicated that these deaths are in anyway connected. The Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia, said “what happened is tragic and regrettable.”

In June of 2018, Mark Hulburt Sr. (62) from Arizona was found dead by his wife in their Punta Cana hotel room. His wife said when she woke up that morning, he had something green coming from his mouth. His cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but with all these recent deaths under odd and similar circumstances, the family now suspects something else caused him to die. Hulbert’s son said they now wish they had brought his body home for an autopsy.


Is it merely coincidental that both Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day should both die at the same time in their hotel room?

Is it just interesting that several of those who died got sick after drinking from a hotel minibar?

Is it difficult to pull all the contents from the minibars for testing to see if the contents are what is causing this rash of tourist deaths?

Is it wrong to expect a sense of urgency given the number of deaths of tourists found in hotel rooms in such a short span of time in the same country who previously suffered similar symptoms?

Is this going to affect tourism for the Dominican Republic?

Would you go?

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