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Police in Caribbean say booze may have played a role in tourists death as U.S. officials press for FBI probe

The top police officer in the Dominican Republic has said that the American couple who died in a car wreck had been seen drinking, and indicated he thinks alcohol played a role in the accident.

Translating from El Diario, the New York Daily News reports that National Police commander Frank Félix Duran Mejía said Orlando Moore, believed to have been driving the rental car he shared with his travel companion Portia Ravenelle, had been seen drinking before the pair drove to the airport for an early morning flight on March 27.

Moore and Ravenelle, both of Mount Vernon, New York, are both believed killed in the wreck, although only Ravenelle has been positively identified.

The police commander reportedly said that he believed Moore may have been speeding — possibly while under the influence of alcohol — in order to make it to the airport, and may have made a wrong turn that caused the vehicle to veer off the road into the Caribbean Sea.

Fisherman reportedly found a body in the water matching Moore’s description on March 31. The remains were in an advanced state of decomposition, and therefore could not be identified with fingerprints. Dominican authorities are reportedly sending photos of the body to Moore’s brother for identification.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, a Canadian couple that befriended Moore and Ravenelle at their vacation resort told CNN that the foursome shared a bottle of rum at a disco the night the Americans checked out of the hotel. The source also said that Ravenelle in particular was very nervous about the drive to the airport, which was further from the resort than she realized when she and Moore booked their trip. The rental car company had reportedly warned the pair about local muggers along the route who might target tourists.

Ravenelle was reportedly found, still alive, on March 27, and was taken to a nearby hospital where she died eight days later. It is not known exactly where in relation to the vehicle or the crash site Ravenelle was found. According to the El Diario report, Ravenelle was unconscious when she was found and had no identification; she reportedly never spoke again before she died.

The Daily News reports that congressional representatives from New York have written to FBI Director Christopher Wray  urging the FBI to “work quickly to conduct a thorough investigation regarding details of their reported deaths that raise questions for us.”