Dominican Republic deaths: New Jersey man becomes 8th American to die under suspicious circumstances while holidaying in the country
A state department official of New Jersey confirmed that another American tourist was found dead while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. He is the eighth victim to die in that country since last year.
55-year-old Joseph Allen from Avenel, New Jersey, was found dead in his hotel room at Terra Linda in Sosua on June 13 morning confirmed Allen's sister Jaime Reed to ABC. According to Reed, her brother was in the Dominican Republic to celebrate a friend's birthday with other friends.
His friend told Reed that Allen "complained about being hot at the pool. He said he was going to his room to take a shower. When his friends came back, he said he wasn't feeling 100% again, and said he was going to lie down for the night. The next morning his friend said he hadn't heard from Joe (Allen) before breakfast, so he knocked on his door and there was no response."
The friend then called the hotel's front desk for a wellness check. She further added, "They found him on the floor," and explained, "He had been there for a while. Rigor mortis (postmortem rigidity) had set in, and he was cold." She also said her brother was "for the most part healthy". Despite the recent deaths, Reed didn't think much about Allen's trip as he was a frequent visitor to the country. She said, "We didn't think anything of it, because he does this all the time."
Reed also revealed that Allen's son Amir was on his way to the Dominican Republic to spend Father's Day with him, but landed to the news of his father's death. Allen's body was identified with the help of his passport.
Allen's family wants his remains to be sent back home as soon as possible, however, according to the funeral house, this might take a day due to the embalming process after the postmortem procedure. She said, "I just don't want them to suppress anything, especially with them embalming the body. We want answers. We've reached out to everybody, including Senator (Robert) Menendez to try to get some help from anyone."
Reed also said things were difficult. She explained, "Our hands are tied. My brother's Muslim. So many things are supposed to take place. We can't even give him a proper burial." She also said she is speaking out because she doesn't want other families to go through the same: "The families need answers. We deserve answers...My brother was my best friend. I spoke to him every day. This is killing me."
According to a report in Essence, Allen's brother Jason Allen wrote a letter to New Jersey senator Bob Menendez stating: "To make matters worse, only a few hours after finding my brother Joe, my nephew Amir, Joe’s only son, arrived in the Dominican Republic to celebrate Father’s Day with his dad, only to learn that his father had passed away."
He also added, "Being aware of the recent number of mysterious deaths occurring in the Dominican Republic, we immediately attempted to contact the U.S. Embassy…for answers and seeking any help they could offer in getting an investigation started with an autopsy done back in the United States."