Fourth death at luxury resorts in Dominican Republic sparks concern among US tourists visiting country
Robert Wallace is the fourth American to die in the Caribbean nation in recent times and has raised the alarm amongst US authorities
The spate of mysterious deaths in the Dominican Republic has alarmed many, with reports now suggesting that another American died suddenly at a resort in the Caribbean nation six weeks before three other Americans died at another property on the other side of the island.
According to the Fox News, 67-year-old Robert Bell Wallace of California was in relatively good health and had been skiing in Lake Tahoe just a month before he arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana on April 10 to attend his stepson's wedding.
On April 11, he reportedly consumed a scotch from his room minibar and immediately fell "very sick." He had blood in his urine and stool and, after two checkups by the hotel doctor, he was hospitalized.
Three days later, on April 14, he died. His family has said that the Dominican authorities are yet to provide them with a cause of death.
His death was confirmed by the US State Department, who said in a statement that they offer their "sincerest condolences to the family for their loss" but that they did not have any additional information to provide "out of respect for the family during their difficult time."
Wallace's is not the first such death at the resort in recent times.
A Maryland widow recently came out and questioned the circumstances surrounding the death of her husband, David Harrison, at the same resort last year.
She said she had gone with him to the resort with their 12-year-old son to celebrate their wedding anniversary and that he suddenly died. She described him as "very fit" and "very healthy" and said the recent string of deaths had caused her to question whether he did die of "natural causes."
Like Wallace, 41-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner, of Pennsylvania, had also died after consuming a drink from a resort minibar on May 25, though she was staying across the island with her husband at the Bahia Principe Hotel's Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville in La Romana at the time of her death.
Five days after Schaup-Werner's passing, Maryland couple Cynthia Day, 49, and Nathaniel Holmes, 63, were found dead in their rooms at an adjacent sister resort of the same hotel. A year prior to that, 51-year-old Yvette Monique Sport of Glenside, Pennsylvania, had also died after drinking from the minibar at that resort.
The Daily Mail reported that Sport's death certificate listed the cause of death as a heart attack. Preliminary tests performed on Schaup-Werner, Day, and Holmes also seemingly showed that they died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema.
But Dominican authorities have insisted that preliminary or final autopsies indicated they all died of natural causes and each death was an isolated incident.
The families of the victims, however, have expressed their doubts, with some hiring lawyers and planning additional autopsies and tests in the US.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now joined other international agencies in conducting tests at the Bahia Principe properties, and the FBI has confirmed it is assisting local authorities in investigating the deaths.