Police Say New York Couple Who Went Missing In Dominican Republic Likely Dead
The couple from New York who went missing in late March during a trip to the Dominican Republic are presumed dead, according to the country's national police spokesperson.
CBS News reports two bodies were found with "characteristics similar to the American couple" who were scheduled to fly back to Newark International Airport on March 27.
Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle checked out of their hotel and were set to drive their rental car 100 miles to the airport. However, police believe the couple crashed in the early hours of March 27 as they were heading to the airport to catch a 2 a.m. flight.
Police said the car is at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea and has not been retrieved.
Dominican Republic national police chief spokesman Col. Frank Félix Durán Mejia also revealed a woman’s body was found injured on the highway on March 27.
The woman, who is believed to be Ravenelle, was admitted to a hospital, where she died eight days later on April 4, Mejia told CBS News.
Mejia also said a decomposed body of a male washed ashore about 19 miles from the accident scene on March 31. The body has a tattoo reading "MILANO" that matches a similar tattoo on Orlando Moore.
Mejia said the bodies were sent to the National Institute of Forensic Pathology for autopsies, and official identification is pending.
Police are also working on getting the vehicle from the sea.
"We have information on a vehicle at the bottom of the sea near the location where they were last seen. We can't confirm the characteristics of the vehicle because of rough seas and our divers are having a hard time reaching the depths," Mejia told CBS News.
An image from a toll plaza near Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo apparently shows the car the couple was using the night of the accident and it was photographed after they were supposed to board their flight.
The U.S. State Department said they are aware of the case.
In a statement to BET, a State Department spokesperson wrote: “We are aware of reports regarding a U.S. couple missing in the Dominican Republic. The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to U.S. citizens in need and to their families.
“When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts and share information with families however we can. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further information to offer at this time. For questions regarding investigations in the Dominican Republic, we refer you to local authorities.”