Dominican and US Authorities Investigating Tourist Deaths

Dominican Republic has been in the news a lot recently. Some strange deaths that have occurred at two of its resorts. A few are recent, but as news spread, a couple of more cases have come out with more stories that go back a year or more. The there’s also the incident involving Dominican-American former Major League Baseball David Ortiz that was shot in the back. That was apparently a $8K murder plot.

Traveling to Dominican Republic

But let’s go back to those strange deaths that are now up to a total of 6. The Dominican Republic’s tourism minister said Wednesday the country is “working closely with the appropriate authorities to solve these cases as quickly as possible,” following the recent deaths of U.S. tourists at the Bahia Principe resort in La Romana.

Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, became ill and died a short time after consuming a mini-bar drink at in her room at the resort. American travelers Nathaniel Edward Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day were discovered dead in their hotel room at the same property the day they were scheduled to check out.

Two more deaths have been reported at at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino resort in Punta Cana. Real estate powerbroker and “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran says her brother was found dead inside his Dominican Republic hotel room in April. It was unclear if Corcoran died at one of the same hotels where the six others were found dead.

Dominican authorities have asked Embassy officials “for FBI assistance for further toxicology analysis on the recent Bahia Principe, La Romana cases,” according to the Embassy’s website. “Our FBI colleagues tell us that those results may take up to 30 days. We ask everyone to be patient while these investigations run their course,” says the statement.

Traveling to Dominican Republic

Travel Pulse reports that an increasing numbers of clients are opting to cancel their Dominican Republic travel. But if you are planning to go, or are already there, then CBS has some tips to make your travel safer.

If you’re considering a trip to the Dominican Republic:

  • Look at the State Department’s travel advisory system. The Department offers a safety rating on a scale of 1-4
  • The Dominican Republic currently has a 2, which means ‘be cautious’

If you’re trying to choose a hotel:

  • Use Google Street View to check out a destination from your home
  • Use social media for a “live snapshot” of what people are saying on the ground

If you’ve already booked a trip, but want to cancel:

  • Due to the government’s travel advisory, there’s “no requirement” for companies to refund your money
  • Call hotels and airlines and explain the situation. You could get a refund.

If you’re on the trip and want to stay safe:

  • Download CloseCircle, an app that tracks your location, sends you alerts, and offers a SOS button, for “extra security”
  • Use social media to get a sense of the locations you’re visiting
  • Buy a local newspaper and tuck it under your arm, to make yourself look more like a local and less like a target

Is anyone planning to travel to DR? Would you go?

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