American tourists in the Dominican Republic are dying suddenly and mysteriously.
The Dominican Republic occupies half of an island in the Caribbean; the other half is Haiti.
One such fatality is an Arizona man, 62-year-old Mark Hulburt Sr., who had “something green” foaming from his mouth following his sudden death.
Jackie Salo and Chris Perez report for the New York Post, June 17, 2010, that Hulburt’s family says he was seemingly healthy prior to the trip, but was found dead by his wife at a hotel in Punta Cana. Although the cause of death was listed as a heart attack, his family now suspects that something else is to blame following the recent reports of other tourists dying under strange circumstances and similar conditions.
Hulbert’s son, Mark Hulburt Jr., told AZ Family: “It was not something that any of us thought was going to happen. It was something that came way out of left field. She [the wife] woke up, and he didn’t. She told me that as she found him that he had something green coming from his mouth. Having known then what I know now I would have fought tooth and nail to have his remains brought back here and had his autopsy done here in America.”
There have been other reports of tourist fatalities in the Dominican Republic in the past month, with some happening recently and others months earlier. They include:
- In July 2018, David Harrison from Maryland died suddenly at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana. His relatives said that before going to bed, Harrison fell ill and died the next day from pulmonary edema and heart attack.
- In April 2019, Robert Bell Wallace, 67, died from unknown causes also at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana. His family said he became unwell after drinking a glass of scotch from the minibar.
- On May 25, 2019, Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, of Pennsylvania, died from a heart attack after having a drink from the minibar at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville, a luxury seafront resort in La Romana, 70 miles east of Punta Cana.
- Weeks later, Staten Island resident Leyla Cox, 53, died from a heart attack while on a trip to the same Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville. Relatives have asked for her body to be returned to the U.S. for a second autopsy — claiming that country’s toxicology machines were broken when they attempted the first one.
- The latest fatality is Joseph Allen, 55, of Woodbridge, New Jersey. He was staying at the Terra Linda Resort in Sosúa when he felt hot and sick before he suddenly died over night. His sister, Jamie Reed, told ABC News that she found him on the morning of June 13. Allen’s family released a statement saying they, too, fear he was “the victim of a wrongful death.”
The families of the dead have been asking that their cases be re-examined as more and more information continues to emerge. Hulburt Jr. observes: “Some seemingly quite healthy people seem to be having heart attacks out of the blue. Seeing everybody else that has passed, it’s brought up a lot of the same feelings. It’s been like a scab picked over and over again, all these people with the same causes all dying needlessly.”
There are also cases of American tourists in the Dominican Republic getting very sick.
The New York Post reports, June 17, 2019, that a group of Oklahoma teens’ senior trip to the Dominican Republic was ruined when they fell sick with a mysterious illness.
On June 8, a group of recent Deer Creek High School graduates flew to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, where at least two Americans have died and others have fallen ill.
For the first day, the teens enjoyed themselves hanging out on the beach. But after dining at the resort’s Japanese restaurant, the trip took a turn for the worse. Seven members of the group fell sick and were rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where they received anti-nausea medicine.
One of the teens, Bennet Hill, told KOCO: “I just woke up, and my stomach was cramping and I was sweating. I was freezing. We’ve been hooked up to IVs since we first got here with antibiotics, just getting hydrated.”
Liz McLaughlin, the mother of one of the sick teens, Libby, said they have “no idea what’s going on. We just don’t know what is happening. Is it the water? Is it the ice? Is it the food? Is it the food handling? Is it the pesticides?”
It’s unclear whether the group’s illnesses are linked to the fatal cases recently reported at the resort.
A Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana spokesperson said the resort “immediately took corrective action” after the group of students fell ill. “Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is disappointed regarding a recent situation in which a group of guests became ill after dining at one of our twelve venues. As the safety and health of our guests is now, and has always been our highest priority, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is regretful that we did not achieve the extremely high standards we set for ourselves.”
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