The mystery following a string of deaths in the Dominican Republic has deepened after a hotel staffer confirmed a U.S. woman died of respiratory failure days before a Maryland couple was found dead of the same cause at the very same resort.
Miranda Schaupp-Werner of Pennsylvania died at the Grand Bahía Príncipe hotel in La Romana on May 25, five days before Cynthia Day, 65, and fiancé Nathaniel Holmes, 63, were discovered dead in their hotel room, the staffer told ABC News.
A representative for Schaupp-Werner’s family said the 41–year–old “died suddenly and inexplicably in her hotel room” after having a drink from a minibar. Her husband, Daniel Werner, was present when she started experiencing physical distress and collapsed. The two were on the island celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary when tragedy struck.
Jay McDonald, the family’s spokesman, said Schaupp-Werner was in good health when she and her husband checked into the all-inclusive resort earlier that day. Day and Holmes had also arrived at the hotel that day and would meet a similar fate less than a week later.
An autopsy concluded all three died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, which is a buildup of fluid in the lungs. Officials with the Dominican Republic National Police said there was no sign of violence or struggle in Day and Holmes’ deaths.
McDonald said news of the couple’s demise sparked “serious concern” for Werner’s family, considering the blatant similarities. He said he believes their deaths were “beyond coincidence.”
“They died five days after, and the cause was determined to be the same, this just puts this whole thing through the stratosphere — something is going on, and we want to know what it is,” McDonald told Fox News.
The family suspects the vacationers may have been poisoned, however, a toxicology screening was never done, “nor were Mrs. Schaupp-Werner’s glass and drink tested,” according to McDonald. The family has since reached out to the State Department to request an investigation.
The agency confirmed to Fox News that it is “actively monitoring” the investigations into the “tragic”deaths, but said so far, it has found “no connection between these incidents.”
Dominican authorities said they were aware of Schaupp-Werner’s death but didn’t launch an investigation because it didn’t seem suspicious. In contrast, local police are investigating the deaths of Day and Holmes, which were deemed questionable after officials said Holmes complained of chest pains the day he died but refused to see the doctor on call.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” the State Department said of the deceased couple.
The deaths, along with a recent assault, have raised new alarm about traveling to the island paradise. A Delaware woman came forward this week to say she was attacked in an hours-long assault while staying at a resort in Punta Cana earlier this year. The brutal beating, suffered at the hands of a man in a resort uniform, reportedly happened as the woman was headed to get a late-night snack from a lounge at the resort.
In March, New York woman Portia Ravenelle, 52, and her friend, Orlando Moore, 40, were reported missing after they failed to return from their trip to the DR. An investigation concluded the pair perished on their way to the airport after their rental car veered off-road and into the ocean in the early hours of March 27.
Ravenelle’s was found on the side of the road and she died from her injuries days later while Moore’s body was recovered from the sea.