Dominican Republic deaths: Healthy army veteran, retired nurse died suddenly, under mysterious circumstances, say families

Dominican Republic deaths: Healthy army veteran, retired nurse died suddenly, under mysterious circumstances, say families

Adding to the string of mysterious deaths of foreign tourists in the Dominican Republic, two more Americans have been identified as having died during their vacations to the country.

The families of 41-year-old Chris Palmer, an Army veteran from Kansas, and 69-year-old Barbara Diane Maser-Mitchell, a retired nurse from Pennsylvania, have come forward to report their deaths which occurred before the strange spate of deaths made headlines.

Palmer reportedly died on April 18, 2018, and Maser-Mitchell died on Sept. 17, 2016, according to Fox News.

Their deaths were confirmed on Thursday by the State Department.

According to official determination by Dominical authorities, both Palmer and Maser-Mitchell died of heart attacks in the region. 

Palmer was reportedly staying at the Villa Cocotal Palma resort in Punta Cana.


He had been working at a Mexican resort and went to the Dominican Republic in hopes of selling timeshares and teaching scuba diving there, his friends and family told the outlet. The 41-year-old was a salesman and scuba diving instructor who loved traveling.

According to the reports given by Dominical authorities to his family, the officials said that Palmer had pulmonary edema.

However, the people who knew him well feared that the authorities were not revealing the whole story.

Palmer's former girlfriend, Bernadette Hiller, who continued to remain his close friend, said: "As soon as he died, I wondered if he was poisoned, if he was drugged. He was healthy as a horse.” Palmer, at some point during his stay there, told his friends that he had a bad headache. 

Dominican authorities said that he was found dead in his room after aspirating on his own vomit. Hiller told the outlet: "We are devastated and are seeking answers. This was so sudden and unexpected. This has been a nightmare for his family."


Meanwhile, Maser-Mitchell passed away during her stay at the Excellence resort in Punta Cana.

She reportedly celebrated her birthday there with her son and his long-time companion.

Reports state that she began feeling sick after having cocktails on her second day there. The next day, she felt worse and decided to not join her son and companion for breakfast. The family reportedly contacted the resort doctor who suggested the woman go to the hospital. She reportedly went into a cardiac arrest in the ambulance.

"I was sitting in the ambulance with her, holding her hand the whole time," her son's companion Terry Mackey told Fox News. He said that Maser-Mitchell's corpse was in such bad shape when it arrived to the US that relative could not view her, with Dominical authorities allegedly claiming that her body had not been properly preserved.

“She was a [licensed practical nurse], she knew the symptoms of a heart attack, she would have known,” Mackey said. “She didn’t present symptoms of a heart attack.”


She was reportedly given an all-clear during a medical exam before she set off for the vacation. 

At least nine other American citizens have died in the Dominican Republic over the past year, according to information from the US State Department.

Reports state that the FBI is 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 drank 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.


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