Dominican Republic mystery deaths: FBI joins probe into suspicious deaths of six Americans at country's resorts
The FBI is now involved in the investigation into the mysterious deaths of six seemingly healthy Americans who suddenly died at one of two resorts in the Dominican Republic in just the past year. It started with 67-year-old Robert Wallace, who fell ill almost immediately after he drank an alcoholic beverage from his in-room minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana on April 10. He died on April 14 after being hospitalized.
It was reported that 41-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner also died after she had a drink from the minibar in the Bahia Principe Hotel in La Romana on May 25. Only five days later, 49-year-old Cynthia Day and 63-year-old Nathaniel Holmes were found dead in their room in at the same resort but in an adjacent sister hotel, according to a Daily Mail report.
Meanwhile, 51-year-old Yvette Monique Sport's family members told Fox 29 that she also died after drinking from the minibar in the Bahia Principe Hotel a year ago. Yet another case was that of 45-year-old David Harrison who died of an alleged heart attack while he was on vacation with his wife and son at the Hard Rock Hotel in July last year, which his widow has now called into question given the recent deaths of other Americans.
The death certificate for Sport revealed that she died of a heart attack and preliminary tests for Schaup-Werner, Day, and Holmes showed that they all died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. To this day, there is no cause of death for Wallace that has been provided by Dominican authorities.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that on Thursday, June 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined other international agencies to conduct tests at the various Bahia Principe properties. It is unclear whether other resorts in the Dominican Republic such as the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana were also part of the inspection. The FBI then confirmed that it was assisting local authorities in investigating the mysterious deaths.
Iwaspoisoned.com, a consumer website that allows for diners to report suspected food poisoning and bad food experiences, shared that a shocking 240 people had fallen sick in the Dominican Republic in the last seven days. Of those, 52 reported symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, and more than 45 of those said they were guests at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, the same resort where 67-year-old Robert Bell Wallace and David Harrison had become seriously ill and died over the last year.
"Had drinks at hard rock and then was violently ill vomiting," one wrote. "Couldn't get off the floor. The workers had to transport me back to my room by golf cart. Couldn't eat or drink the rest of the stay. I was basically incapacitated the whole vacation [sic]."
"Stayed at the Hard Rock in Punta Cana from May 31, 2019, to June 4, 2019, for a destination wedding," another posted. "The evening of Saturday, June 1st, I began vomiting, which lasted until noon the following day. It was accompanied by diarrhea, nausea/stomach pains, and a fever."
"I spent the day in an ER in Bavaro and was prescribed antibiotics, anti-nausea/diarrheal, and probiotics. I was also given IV fluids for dehydration. Blood/urine/fecal tests confirmed a gastrointestinal infection," another wrote.
Officials with the US State Department have issued a travel advisory for American tourists planning to go to the Dominican Republic with "increased caution". The advisory stated on April 15 this year: "Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic. The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality on the broader scale."
The Department has said in a statement to ABC News: "We are in close contact with local authorities regarding their investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. The US Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater responsibility than the protection of US citizens overseas. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment."