The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has stated that the results of an FBI toxicology investigation into the deaths of several American travellers at resorts across the Dominican Republic is “consistent with the findings of local authorities,” who ruled earlier this year that the tourists died of natural causes.
The statement, originally shared with the Pennsylvania-based FOX43 TV station, concluded that “the results of the additional, extensive toxicology testing completed to date have been consistent with the findings of local authorities.”
While the report also states that the FBI handed over that information to the families of the deceased travellers and Dominican authorities on Sept. 16, a Sept. 30 press conference to discuss the results was suddenly cancelled by the Dominican Republic’s Attorney General, alleging that it received incomplete test results from the FBI at the time.
Further details about the test results and a rescheduled date to discuss these results have yet to be announced.
The 11 deaths in question took place at several resorts in the DR this past spring; these include Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, who died shortly after checking into Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville (at least one report stated that she had become ill after having a drink from the room’s minibar); as well as Nathaniel Edward Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day, who were found dead in their room at the nearby Gran Bahia Principe La Romana, just prior to check-out.
In June, local authorities stated that Schaup-Werner died of a heart attack, while the FBI reported that final results from the enhanced toxicology report on the three tourists could take up to 30 days.
As a result of the incidents, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism said that it would work with ASONAHORES (the National Association of Hotels and Restaurants) to “reinforce safety conditions and quality control in food, beverages and any other element that has a positive impact on the satisfaction of those who visit our county as tourists.”
According to the tourism ministry, nearly 30 million tourists have visited the Dominican Republic in the last five years.
In 2018, the destination welcomed more than 6.5 million passengers via air travel - a 6.2 per cent increase of more than 380,000 additional arrivals compared to 2017. Of those visitors, 904,460 Canadians travelled to the country in 2018, an increase of 67,356 from 2017.
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