Khalid Adkins, a Denver native, died during his travels to the Dominican Republic last week, making him the eleventh American tourist in the past year to suffer from a sudden fatality while visiting the Caribbean island.
The victim's sister-in-law, Marla Strick, told FOX13 that Adkins had traveled to the Dominican Republic with his daughter, and after she returned to Denver he became seriously ill. When he tried to fly back to the United States on Sunday, June 23, he was forced to disembark the plane due to his declining health. He was then hospitalized in Santo Domingo where he was pronounced dead on Tuesday night.
"They transferred him to Santo Domingo and [said] that his breathing is really bad and that his kidneys were failing," Strick said. "He said his leg started to swell and that’s why he couldn’t get up. And he started sweating and vomiting. He is just yelling and in pain, so he couldn’t talk to me."
She noted that doctors in the Dominican capital said they could try and find dialysis in Santo Domingo or return him to the United States via air ambulance, which would have cost his family approximately $20,000.
Strick circulated a GoFundMe in hopes of raising the funds needed to bring Khalid back home, which has amassed $22,000 at the time this article was published. However, after the family received word of his passing, Strick posted an update on the fundraiser page confirming the news. "I am absolutely detested to make this update but we have lost Khalid!!! We found out this morning that he passed away last night," she wrote on Wednesday. "I am at a loss for words we have no explanation of what happened all they will say is he get sick!! We need to get his body home anything helps please!! We really want to know what happened!"
Over the past twelve months, a total of 11 Americans have died under mysterious circumstances while visiting the Dominican Republic, prompting growing concerns over travel safety. Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways are waiving fees for travelers who no longer wish to visit the island on account of the deaths, allowing them to simply pay the difference in ticket cost and avoid the change fees.
The Dominican Ministry of Tourism has said that the deaths are simply coincidental and the island remains safe to visit, however some have questioned whether or not their deaths were the result of foul play.