Dominican Republic deaths: 'Very healthy' pizzeria owner is 10th American to die while vacationing in the country
Caruso's sister-in-law said that she received a phone call last week, saying Caruso was sick, then she received another call minutes later informing her that he had died.
Yet another American citizen has been found dead in the Dominican Republic in the midst of a spate of mysterious deaths of tourists in the Carribean country.
A 56-year-old pizzeria owner from Glen Cove, New York, identified as Vittori Caruso, died in the country on June 17, according to his family.
Vittori's sister-in-law Lisa Maria Caruso said that she received a phone call last week saying Vittori was sick. She then received another call minutes later informing her that he had died, according to News 12.
The family is expected to receive the autopsy results on Monday.
Vittori's death was confirmed by the US State Department on Friday.
Vittori reportedly died at the Boca Chica Resort in Santo Domingo.
Lisa Maria, while talking to Fox News, said that Vittori had gone into "respiratory distress after drinking something."
Vittori's older brother, Frank Caruso, told the New York Post that his brother was "very healthy" when he left for vacation.
"He went to the doctor before he left, and he had no problems,” Frank said. “I spoke to the doctor. He called me when he found out he died, and he said he did not see anything wrong before he left.”
At least nine other American citizens have died in the Dominican Republic over the past year, according to information from the US State Department.
The FBI is reportedly analyzing alcohol samples from at least one minibar at the popular Bahia Príncipe resort in the Dominican Republic to see if the hotel alcohol is to blame for a recent series of tourist deaths in the country.
Many of the victims were staying at the Bahia Príncipe, and at least three of them had consumed the alcohol at the resort before their deaths.
Law enforcement officials are now trying to figure out whether the victims drank the resort liquor before their deaths, and if the drinks had any dangerous chemicals in them.
Amid rising concerns from American tourists, the US State Department released a statement last week, saying: "Speaking generally, we have not seen an uptick in the number of US citizen deaths reported to the Department. While the overwhelming majority travel without incident, we want to assure all Americans that we continue to work actively with the Dominican authorities at the very highest levels to ensure that U.S. citizens are safe and feel safe while in the Dominican Republic.”
The spokesperson of the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Public Health, Carlo Suero, meanwhile has called the recent concerns "hysteria" aimed to affect the country'ds tourism.
"It’s all a hysteria against the Dominican Republic, to hurt our tourism, this is a very competitive industry and we get millions of tourists, we are a popular destination," Suero said.