Things That Matter

FBI Agrees With Dominican Authorities That Deaths Of American Tourists Were All Of Natural Causes

The Dominican Republic is known to attract vacationers from all over the world. The Caribbean nation has beautiful beaches, stunning resorts, and the most chill ambiance. All of that sort of came to a halt during the summer when people began to steer clear of visiting after several tourists died while vacationing there. While the deaths occurred within several months and were all mostly unrelated to each other, the similarities were undeniable. It appeared that the tourists — 11 Americans that died in the Dominican Republic — passed away all of sudden or soon after consuming the beverages at their resorts. At least those were the claims. Now, after a thorough investigation, we’re getting the facts to these unfortunate events. 

The FBI investigated what led to the deaths of three people (out of 11 that died under suspicious circumstances) and report that they died of natural causes as local officials had concluded before.

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BuzzFeed reports that “17 people died while traveling to the Caribbean nation in 2017. In 2018, there were 13 deaths reported in the country. Between January to June of this year, ten people have died so far.” 

However, the deaths that the FBI investigated were that of three people — a couple from Maryland and a woman from Pennsylvania — who all died within days of each other. The FBI had previously said during the summer that they would look into the possibilities of tainted alcohol, and initial results showed that was not the case. 

“The results of the additional, extensive toxicology testing completed to date have been consistent with the findings of local authorities,” a State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Our condolences and sympathy go out to the families during this difficult time.”

While the initial results of the FBI investigation have been completed, the FBI still needs to test two more toxins found.

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“In the interest of providing as thorough an investigation as possible in this challenging case, the FBI is testing for two additional toxins and will provide Dominican authorities with results when tests are complete,” FBI officials said, according to BuzzFeed News. 

An attorney that is representing the family of the Maryland couple — Nathaniel E. Holmes and Cynthia A. Day — told ABC News that they are not satisfied with the results. Lawyer Steven E. Bullock said the coincidences are too high to rule their death a result of natural causes. 

“You had a couple that died of the same ailment at the same time, and they want to say that it’s natural causes,” Bullock told ABC News. “I think there’s something for us to continue to look into.”

From the very start of these strange occurrences, it seemed as if a curse descended upon the Dominican Republic because people were either dying in DR or getting sick.

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In June, 47 people traveling with a group in the Dominican Republic got “violently sick” after staying at a resort. 

“We went [to Hotel Riu Palace Macao] for the week — some longer, some shorter,” Dana Flowers, a member of the Central Oklahoma Parrothead Association who was in charge of the trip told People magazine. “We were enjoying the beach and the pool, and about 3 or 4 days into the trip, we started hearing about people getting sick. They were getting diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches.”

Tourist officials in the Dominican Republic maintained there was nothing out of the ordinary going on. The State Department agrees that despite people dying while on vacation, the occurrence of that is quite common.

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Officials say people die on vacation all the time, and the deaths that happened in the Dominican Republic is no different from any other year. 

“We can see that many international media outlets are just going for it as news, just to get the headline, and they are not really getting into what’s going on…The caricatures have been made, and some in media have done a lot of damage,” Luis José Chávez, president of the Dominican Tourism Press Association, told The Washington Post earlier this summer. “The whole country is trying to get over this and gain back the image of what we really are.”

During the summer, even Cardi B chimed in to support the Dominican Republic and the bad press they were receiving over the tourist deaths.

Credit: yosoymolusco / Instagram

“What is it that’s happening? I don’t know,” Cardi B said in Spanish on her Instagram. “If it’s you know, bad press I don’t know what’s happening, but something is happening. What I do know is that the Dominican Republic is the most beautiful country, and everyone has fun there. Even poor people have fun. So it hurts me a lot when people say ‘that country is bad. That country is this and that. What is happening?”

READ: Dominicans Are Taking To Social Media To Make Sure That People Stop Trying To Cancel The Dominican Republic

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