A Georgia mother is begging for answers after her son died suddenly while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.
Melody Moore’s son, Tracy Jester Jr., has joined the list of more than 10 U.S. tourists who have died on the island since last year, and the grieving mother said she believes her son’s death could be connected to the others.
“As a mother, [when] you’re not there when your son takes his last breath, that hurts,” Moore told Atlanta’s WSB-TV. “And I mean, you’ve got so many questions.”
Moore said her son flew with his sister to the Caribbean island in April for a quick weekend getaway. She said she spoke with Jester during his trip and said everything seemed fine.
“They had a good day,” she recalled. “Saturday, they went out, and they explored. They said they had a good day.”
Moore also recalled her son telling her that he drank a soda, but that it didn’t taste quite right. The next morning, she received a frantic call from her daughter.
“She called me about 3:30 in the morning and she told me he was calling her saying he couldn’t breathe, just saying, ‘mama, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,'” Moore told the station.
Her daughter called for help but it was already too late. Jester had passed away.
Relatives said Jester was in good health before the trip and never had any health issues.
According to his death certificate, the young man died as the result of a respiratory issue. Still, Moore believes there’s a connection between her son’s recent death and those of some 10 other American tourists, and has reached out to the FBI to investigate.
The bureau, along with the State Department, were already looking into the string of recent deaths. Though many of them are similar in nature, officials said that, so far, the deaths do not appear to be related.
In May, Maryland couple Cynthia Day and Nathaniel Holmes were found dead in their room at an all-inclusive Dominican resort — an event an preliminary autopsy determined had been caused by respiratory failure and pulmonary edema.
Pennsylvania woman Miranda Shuapp-Werner would suffer a similar fate just five days later. Relatives said Shaupp-Werner suddenly fell ill and died after having a drink from her hotel room’s mini bar. All three died in just a matter of days while vacationing at the Bahia Principe resort.
A number of similar deaths would soon follow, stoking fears and leading many to suspect that American tourists were being poisoned. Carlos Suero, an official with the DR Ministry of Public Health, denied the claims, however, calling it all “fake news.”
“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,” Suero told Fox News last month. “We’re a popular destination. People are taking aim at us.”
Still, Moore believes otherwise and is calling on officials for answers.
“Being a mom, I want to go to where he was, where he died at last,” she told WSB-TV. “Something is wrong; my son is gone. Something is really wrong.”