DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (KRON) – Shock over a Pennsylvania woman’s sudden death at a Caribbean resort — Then came the stunning news that another American couple died at the same hotel with the same mysterious symptoms.
At a hotel in La Romana, on the south coast of the Dominican Republic, two couples checked in ten days ago. Total strangers to each other, but destined to share the same tragic fate.
On its website, the Bahia Principe Hotel seems like a slice of tropical paradise.
It was enough to convince Dan Warner and his wife Melinda Schaupp to celebrate their ninth wedding anniversary there.
On May 25, the Allentown, Pennsylvania couple checked into their room.
Melinda had a drink from the mini-bar and fell to the floor in agony.
Her husband, a doctor, administered CPR, but it was no use.
By the time an ambulance arrived the 41-year-old psychotherapist was dead.
The diagnosis? Respiratory failure due to water in her lungs.
“He was understandably in shock but the whole thing was just so stunning,” Jay McDonald, a family spokesperson, said.
Her family was even more stunned to learn about the death of another couple five days later.
“What we thought was a freak event, now we don’t know,” McDonald said.
63-year-old Edward Nathaniel Holmes and his 49-year-old fiancee Cynthia Ann Day arrived the same day as the Pennsylvania couple.
The couple posted photos of themselves on Facebook enjoying time on the beach, wading in the blue waters of the Caribbean, riding all-terrain vehicles and cruising on a boat.
On May 26, Holmes posted: “Can somebody please loan me $250,000 bcuz I don’t want to come home!!!!!”
Four days later they were found dead in their room.
Dominican authorities said they, too, died of respiratory failure due to water in the lungs.
“It’s extremely unusual and bizarre for both of them to pass away from the same thing,” Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, family and emergency medicine, said.
The hotel posted a statement saying “there were no signs of violence,” and adding, “we are in complete collaboration with authorities, but as the investigation is ongoing, we have no further information to share.”
Now relatives of both families are asking for an investigation while mourning their losses.
“We really want an independent medical review here in the states,” McDonald said.
More than two million tourists from the US and Canada visit the Dominican Republic each year.
Back on April 15, the state department issued a traveler’s warning for the country because of its high crime rate.