Family of woman who died on Dominican Republic vacation says officials lied about her medical history

The family of a Staten Island woman who died mysteriously while vacationing in the Dominican Republic earlier this month says that officials there claimed the woman had a history of heart attacks, when in fact she did not.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Leyla Cox, 53, died on June 10 while on vacation in Punta Cana — after ignoring her family’s pleas not to go on the vacation amid reports of unexplained deaths among American tourists.

Fox News reports that Dominican Republic Public Health Minister Rafael Sanchez Cardenas said in a press conference about Cox’s death that she had suffered “several past heart attacks” and had an enlarged heart along with high blood pressure at the time of her death.

But Cox’s family and her former supervisor says this isn’t true.

“In the 25 years I’ve been alive, my mother did not have a heart attack,” her son Michael Cox told Fox News, adding that additional family members also agree that claims made about her medical history are inaccurate.

“They’re lying … It’s been like this from the beginning since she died. They give misinformation. They’re trying to cover up.”

And Cox’s former supervisor at the Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island said that in the ten years that she knew Cox, an MRI technician, she never had any heart issues.

“She seemed to be in good health, she had medical tests here and all were good,” Kathy Giovinazzo told the news station. “In all the years I knew her, I never knew her to have a heart attack.”

Michael Cox reportedly arranged for a vial of his mother’s blood to be sent to the U.S. for toxicology testing, and is skeptical of the ruling by authorities in the Dominican Republic that his mother died of a heart attack. At least 8 other Americans have died in mysterious circumstances while vacationing in the Dominican Republic within the last year, and CNN reports that the FBI is working with authorities there to further investigate the deaths of three Americans since July 2018, two of them at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana.

Cox was also found dead in her hotel room, but is not yet clear where she was staying.