On Monday, 53-year-old Leyla Cox died while she was celebrating her birthday at a resort in the Dominican town of Punta Cana, making her at least the sixth American tourist to die while on vacation in the Dominican Republic this year. Her son, William Cox, told the Staten Island Advance about her death and said that the cause was ruled a heart attack. The family has grown suspicious due to the volume of mysterious illnesses and deaths that have occurred in the Caribbean nation in 2019.
The State Department also confirmed Leyla's death on Friday. The U.S. Embassy addressed the issue as well.
"The safety and security of US citizens that live in, work in, and visit the Dominican Republic remains our highest priority," said Ambassador Robin Bernstein. “These incidents are tragic and we offer our deepest condolences to those personally impacted.”
Back in January another tourist, Jerry Curran, reportedly died while vacationing at Punta Cana's Dreams Resort. The cause of death in that incident was described as a pulmonary edema, which is fluid accumulation in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs.
BuzzFeed News adds that, last month, a Maryland couple that was staying at the country's Grand Bahia Principe Hotel La Romana also died of respiratory failure and fluid accumulation in the lungs. They were found dead in their room. At the time that resort sent out a statement, which said “There were no signs of violence. We immediately contacted the local authorities and have been collaborating completely with them throughout the investigation.”
Just a few days earlier 41-year-old, Miranda Schaup-Werner was found dead at a neighboring resort as she was celebrating her ninth anniversary. Her death was listed as a heart attack, and her husband confirmed that she had a history of heart conditions.
The U.S. Embassy in the Dominican said that local authorities were being assisted with toxicology tests by the FBI in the deaths of that couple, as well as that of Schaup-Werner.
The resort company Bahia Principe made sure to stress that those deaths took place in separate hotels, and they added that "there are no indications of any correlation between these two unfortunate incidents." Just a week ago, Bahia Principe also put out a statement saying that their company has "suffered great damage to its image and reputation" due to the publishing of "misinformation" after the deaths.
However, BuzzFeed says people who have stayed at that company's resorts have told them that they've come down with a number of terrible symptoms after their visits, including "severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, fever, fatigue, chills, cold sweats, and rashes on their bodies."
One couple says that their food "all tasted off," while adding that they were sick for days afterwards. They were also suspicious of the air conditioning in their room, which they said smelled "strange."