June 13, 2019– Mary Greeley News – A number of American tourists have died during recent trips to the Dominican Republic, sparking widespread concern and an FBI investigation.
Family members confirmed Monday that Robert Bell Wallace, a 67-year-old resident of California, died in April after staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, marking yet another mysterious tourist death to have taken place at a resort on the island, the New York Post reports. While an official cause of death has yet to be released, Wallace’s niece said that three days before her uncle died at a hospital, he drank scotch from the hotel mini bar and got sick almost immediately after, Fox News reports.
“He was fine,” his niece, Chloe Arnold, told the outlet. “He and his wife arrived there at around midnight on April 10. On April 11 he had scotch from the minibar. He started feeling very sick, he had blood in his urine and stool right afterward.”
The FBI confirmed to Fox News on Friday that their organization is working with authorities in the Dominican Republic to investigate what appears to be a string of deaths.
David Harrison, a 45-year-old Maryland resident, died under similarly mysterious circumstances after staying at the same resort as Wallace a year prior, in July 2018, the Post reports.
His widow, Dawn McCoy, told WTOP earlier this month that she, her husband, and their son visited the country last year to celebrate their wedding anniversary but that her husband suddenly fell ill during the trip. He died without warning, and while officials in the country listed his cause of death as pulmonary edema and a heart attack, McCoy, who said that her husband was in good health before the trip, began expressing doubts as news spread that other tourists were dying in similar ways.
“I started seeing all these other people that were dying of the same exact causes, which made me start to second guess. I no longer feel like my husband died of natural causes,” McCoy told the outlet.
It is suspected round up glyphosate may have been used to poison people.
Products containing glyphosate may cause eye or skin irritation. People who breathed in spray mist from products containing glyphosate felt irritation in their nose and throat. Swallowing products with glyphosate can cause increased saliva, burns in the mouth and throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Acute poisoning effects of glyphosate herbicides include:
Gastrointestinal corrosive effects, with mouth, throat and epigastric (upper central abdomen) pain and dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing) are common. Kidney and liver impairment are also frequent.
Respiratory distress, impaired consciousness, pulmonary oedema, shock, arrythmia, renal failure requiring haemodialysis, metabolic acidosis and hyperkalaemia (high blood potassium levels) are observed in severe cases. Bradycardia (low heart rate) and ventricular arrhythmias are often present prior to death.
Dermal exposure to ready-to-use glyphosate formulations can cause irritation and photo-contact dermatitis has been reported occasionally; these effects are probably due to the preservative Proxel® (benzisothiazolin-3-one). Severe skin burns are rare. Inhalation is a minor route of exposure but spray mist may cause oral or nasal discomfort, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, tingling and throat irritation. Eye exposure may lead to mild conjunctivitis, and superficial corneal injury is possible
A number of other tourists died after allegedly having a drink from their hotel’s mini bar. Miranda Schaup-Werner, a 41-year-old Pennsylvania resident, died in her hotel room at the Luxury Bahia Principe in Bouganville last month after drinking something from the mini bar, according to a report from the New York Post. The deceased woman’s family say that she died of pulmonary edema and respiratory failure.
Similarly, the sister of a deceased Philadelphia woman, Yvette Monique Short, said that the woman died after staying at the Bahia Principe last year and having a drink from the mini bar, according to the outlet.
She went to bed and never woke up, Short’s family said, according to Fox 2 Detroit. The 51-year-old’s cause of death is listed as a heart attack, and her family says that while authorities promised to send them a toxicology report within three months, they’ve yet to receive one a year later.
Still more tourists have died after staying at a resort in the Dominican Republic. A Maryland couple, 63-year-old Nathaniel Holmes and 49-year-old Cynthia Ann Day, were found dead in their rooms at the Bahia Principe hotel late last month, NBC Washington reports. While their official cause of death has yet to be released, authorities say that there were “no signs of violence” present, according to the outlet.
The couple’s hotel — the Grand Bahía Principe La Romana — was right next to where Schaup-Werner was staying, according to a report from the Post. The pair checked in on the same day as Schaup-Werner, only to be found dead a mere five days later.
In a statement released on June 5, the Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts insisted that they’d followed hotel protocol when handling the situations involving Schaup-Werner and Holmes and Day.
“To date, there are no indications of any correlation between these two unfortunate incidents,” their statement reads. “In both circumstances, established security protocols were followed, and we have maintained open communication with the authorities to provide information and clarification for each case.”
When discussing the deaths with reporters on June 6, Tourism Minister Francisco Garcia described them as “isolated incidents,” according to CNN.
A Florida man who fell sick with a mystery illness during a Dominican Republic vacation is warning other travelers to avoid the country altogether, according to reports.
“Don’t go,” said Jerry Martin, who went with his wife to Caribe Club Princess Beach Resort & Spa in Punta Cana last month for their 40th wedding anniversary — before reports surfaced of American tourists dying at other hotels on the island, according to news station WTVT. “Just don’t go.”
Within days of arriving on May 17, Martin reportedly became severely sick with stomach pain while swimming in the pool.
“Fire in the bottom of my stomach. Pain, excruciating pain,” Martin told WTVT. “We were down at the pool when it hit, and I had to go up and just lay down and hold my stomach. It was on fire.”
Martin said he was unable to enjoy the rest of his week-long vacation because of the illness. He went to the emergency room once he returned home to Plant City, Florida.
Now three weeks later, Martin said he’s still suffering from symptoms and visited the hospital five times. He claimed he has continued to lose weight and undergone tests to get to the bottom of his health woes.
“I am scared, honestly,” he told the news station. “I told my wife we won’t go out of the country again.”
Martin, who said he’s not sure if his illness is linked to the deaths, said there’s “no way” he would’ve gone had he known about the terrifying reports out of the country, including four fatalities within two months.
The day after Martin returned home, Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, of Pennsylvania succumbed to a heart attack on May 25 at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel in La Romana.
Five days later, Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, of Maryland were found dead at the same resort from pulmonary edema and respiratory failure.
Relatives revealed earlier this week that 67-year-old Robert Wallace from California died on April 11 in Punta Cana. He reportedly became ill after having a drink from the minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort, around five miles from where Martin stayed with his wife.
“In the last five years, over 30 million tourists have visited the Dominican Republic, but this is the first time the international media report such an alarming situation. … These are isolated incidents and the Dominican Republic is a safe destination,” he said.
One Colorado couple who stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel La Romana last year has filed a suit against the hotel’s owners, CNN reports. Kaylynn Knull, 29, and 33-year-old Tom Schwander both fell ill while staying at the hotel, so much so that they were forced to fly back home earlier than intended. They suspect that they were poisoned by the improper use of insecticides in the hotel and believe that what they endured may be related to how the other tourists died.
“If talking about what happened to us helps find out what happened to those people — God bless their families. They deserve answers,” Knull told the outlet.
American authorities have been largely tight-lipped on the matter. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other American and international agencies traveled to hotels owned by Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts this month to conduct testing, according to Fox News. Some results are expected to be made public as early as Friday.
“We are awaiting the results, especially in regard to the tragic death of the couple from Maryland,” a spokeswoman for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism told Fox News on Friday. “We want these tests and investigation to be carried out carefully and professionally.”
Preliminary tests are said to have shown Miranda Schaup-Werner died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. To date, no cause of death for Wallace has been provided by Dominican authorities.
Vanessa McNelley-Neal and her husband, James Neal, stayed last November at the Bahia Principe hotels where they both became violently ill, news station WXIA reported.
“We had a good couple of days and then started feeling ill, started having really bad abdominal cramps,” McNelley-Neal told the news station.
McNelley-Neal — who has come down with food poisoning before — said the symptoms were like nothing she’d ever experienced.
“I had food poisoning years ago in Tahiti so I know what that feels like and it did not feel like that,” she said. “The stomach cramping was very different. It was very intense. It was not the normal stomach pains.”
Her husband said he also faced a lot of similar symptoms.
“I had a heavy headache that just lasted and lasted,” he said. “I took everything and nothing phased it.”
The couple did some research and found other guests who had the same complaints as them online.
“We just left it be until people started having the same issues and it sounded very similar to what we had going on and it just didn’t make a lot of sense,” McNelley-Neal said.
They remained sick for three weeks after returning home and underwent several tests — but never got to the bottom of what caused the illness, according to WXIA.
The couple said they’re speaking out in the wake of reports of six American tourists deaths, including four fatalities at Bahia Principe hotels on the island.
A Colorado couple told CNN in an interview that they became violently ill while at the resort, and suspect that it was caused by insecticides spread through the air conditioning system.
In the CNN interview, 29-year-old Kaylynn Knull said news of the recent deaths made her “want to cry.”
“There’s something going on. What happened to us may be related to what happened to them,” she said.
credit: In part with https://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/whats-behind-string-of-mysterious-us-tourist-deaths-in-the-dominican-republic