After months of investigation, the FBI has concluded that some of the mysterious deaths of American tourists who died in 2019 while vacationing in the Dominican Republic were all due to “natural causes.”
In total, 11 American tourists were found dead in 2019 while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. However, according to USA Today, three were of natural causes. No word on the cause of death of the other eight.
According to FOX43, the families of those who lost their lives were notified on Sept. 16, along with Dominican officials, who are claiming the tourists all passed away from natural causes (cardiac arrest, pulmonary edema or pneumonia) -- despite many believing foul play was involved
The FBI reportedly conducted its own toxicology reports, which came back with the same results as the island’s authorities. “The results of the additional, extensive toxicology testing completed to date have been consistent with the findings of local authorities,” the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs told FOX43 in a statement. “Our condolences and sympathy go out to the families during this difficult time.”
According to data from the U.S. State Department, 13 U.S. citizens died in 2018 while vacationing in the Dominican Islands. Although it was less than the estimated 17 American tourists that died in 2017, it was still substantial enough to leave many travelers concerned about visiting the Caribbean island, especially since most of the American tourists were considered healthy before they suddenly became ill.
Amongst the tourists who lost their lives in the DR is Maryland couple, Cynthia Day and Edward Holmes, who stayed at an all-inclusive Dominican resort and were both found dead inside their hotel room after suffering what an autopsy concluded to be “respiratory failure.”
Five days later, Pennsylvania tourist Miranda Schaup-Werner, suffered the same fate at a nearby resort after having a drink from the hotel room’s minibar.
The ninth victim was 55-year-old New Jersey tourist, Joseph Allen, who was reportedly healthy before his trip. He was found dead in his hotel room after he complained to his sister of feeling hot in the pool. A toxicology report wasn’t performed right away because the island’s toxicology machines were reportedly down.
Due to several news reports about the possibilities of poison, a case from 2017 resurfaced when the family of a Pennsylvania woman said she died in her sleep while vacationing in the DR after reportedly having a drink from her room’s minibar. Despite her family’s doubts, the cause of death on the certificate is listed as a “heart attack.”
A similar case was Tracy Jester, a 31-year-old Georgia man who reportedly complained that the soda he drank did not taste right before he suspiciously passed away.
While many travel experts found it quite strange that healthy people were passing away in alarming numbers, Carlos Suero, a spokesman for the DR’s Ministry of Public Health, voiced his concerns that the news coverage caused a dip in the island’s tourism.
“It’s all a hysteria against the Dominican Republic, to hurt our tourism; this is a very competitive industry and we get millions of tourists,” Carlos Suero told Fox News. “People die all over the world. Now people make a big deal over these.”
According to Dominican Today, negative media attacks caused 100,000 fewer people to visit the Dominican Republic between January and September of this year compared to 2018.
Since the incidents, the Dominican tourism industry has updated some of its emergency policies to ensure there are more hotel inspections and emergency information in each hotel room.
(Photo: Getty Images)