FBI investigating 3 deaths at same Dominican Republic resort, more tourist deaths reported
More reports of apparently mysterious deaths in the Dominican Republic have surfaced since three people died at Bahia Principe resorts in May.
The FBI is investigating the recent deaths of three Americans at the same resort in the Dominican Republic, according to the U.S. embassy in the Caribbean nation.
Dominican authorities asked the FBI for assistance investigating the deaths of Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, and of a couple, Nathaniel Edward Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day, over a five-day period in late May at the Bahia Principe resort in La Romana, according to the embassy.
The FBI said further toxicology results on the three Americans could take up to 30 days. "We ask everyone to be patient while these investigations run their course," a statement from the embassy said.
Schaup-Werner and her husband checked into their room at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville on May 25, and after having a drink from the mini bar, she fell ill, according to the resort and her family. She died a short time later.
On May 30, Holmes and Day were found dead in their hotel room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana on the day they were supposed to check out.
Since news of the mysterious deaths was reported, families of four other people reported to have died at Dominican Republic hotels since 2018 have come forward.
One died at a Bahia Principe property in Punta Cana, and two died at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, their families said. Two died after taking a drink from the minibar, families said.
"Shark Tank" star Barbara Corcoran's representatives told NBC News that her brother also died in the Dominican Republic at the end of April. She was told he suffered a heart attack.
In addition, at least six other people have reported getting sick while staying in the Dominican Republic. All of them said they stayed at Bahia Principe properties. At least one reported drinking from the minibar.
A statement from Bahia Principe Resorts released Friday said, "We completely disagree with the dissemination of false information issued publicly which threatens the image and reputation of the company and the integrity and rights of our employees and their families, reserving, where necessary, the right to take appropriate legal action."
The statement didn't say which information hotel officials considered false, and it said the resort is cooperating with authorities' investigations.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino issued a statement Tuesday that said, "We can assure you, the safety and health of our guests is now, and has always been our highest priority."
The statement continued, "Our team members are trained to inspect all supplies, equipment and products that enter the property. Of course, we will continue to evaluate and recalibrate our protocols to strengthen and enhance guest safety."
Like tourism officials in the Dominican Republic, the Hard Rock hotel statement suggested that the reported illnesses and deaths were isolated incidents.
"Seven million tourists visit the Dominican Republic annually and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana hosts approximately a half million guests each year. We will continue welcoming guests to enjoy our beautiful destination and resort, as we have for the past eight years,” the statement said.
Internet searches for flights to the Dominican Republic decreased by 14 percent between June 3 and June 4, and continued to decrease between June 4 to June 10, according to travel company Kayak. On June 6, searches for flights to the Dominican Republic plummeted by 22 percent.
Jarris Herrera told NBC News she had booked a trip to the Dominican Republic with her husband that she had been planning for years to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. But she canceled their plans after hearing reports of the recent deaths. "We just didn't think it was worth it," Herrera said. "It wasn’t worth the risk."