The FBI is reportedly investigating the mysterious death of a Westchester pair believed to have died in some type of vehicular accident on the final day of a brief Caribbean vacation.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle of Mount Vernon went missing on March 27 when they were scheduled to depart from the Dominican Republic, but never made their flight. Earlier this week, Dominican authorities said they believed the pair died in a traffic accident on their way to the airport.
A woman found along the route on March 27 who died in the hospital over a week later was identified by fingerprints as Ravenelle, and a body matching the description of Moore was reportedly found by fisherman, along with a vehicle, in or near the ocean on March 31. The vehicle has not yet been recovered from the water.
As reported by LouHud.com, Dominican authorities said that Ravenelle was found without identification, and investigators there believe she escaped the car as it sunk into the water. It remains unclear if authorities were aware at that time that the woman was a victim of a car accident; and why they apparently did not search for the vehicle or more victims right away. And there are conflicting reports on certain details about the pair: Some reports have said they are a couple, others said they are work friends; and Ravenelle’s age has been reported inconsistently – anywhere from 32 to 52 years old.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas told LouHud.com that his office is working with the FBI to investigate the accident and uncover why it took so long to identify Ravenelle — as family and friends in the U.S. were reportedly searching for the couple, who spent the hours before their departure with friends they had made at the resort.
“The car is right there, wouldn’t their bags be in the trunk? Wouldn’t there be an effort to identify them? Think about it. I’m not talking CSI stuff, I’m just saying it seems like common sense that you just try to verify who this person is and what’s going on with them,” Thomas told the news outlet.
“It doesn’t add up that contact was made the day they disappeared, and it doesn’t add up that Portia survived an accident but nobody knew where she was, and she was in a hospital alone. It’s just frustrating to know that there could have been a chance for the family to go down to the Dominican Republic to be with Portia and she didn’t have to be alone.”
According to the New York Daily News, Dominican police said that Moore’s body cannot be identified by fingerprints because it had decomposed by the time it was discovered. Instead, authorities are sending photos to Moore’s brother to identify the body.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, friends who met the couple at the Dominican resort told CNN that Ravenelle was nervous about the long, pre-dawn drive to the airport, as she had not realized until she and Moore arrived to their vacation that the airport was 100 miles from the resort. The pair had also reportedly been warned by the company that rented them a vehicle about local muggers along the route, who would be able to identify them as tourists. Authorities in the Dominican Republic have said they do not suspect foul play.
[Feature image: Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle/Instagram]