A health official in the Dominican Republic has downplayed the significance of nine recent deaths of American tourists, and insisted that reports questioning the safety of vacationing there are “fake news” targeting the popular tourist destination.
Ministry of Public Health spokesman Carlos Suero spoke indignantly in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, insisting that there was nothing suspicious about the recent spate of deaths in the Caribbean tourist destination, and indicating that some of those Americans who had died had unhealthy lifestyles and medical issues.
Regarding the engaged Maryland couple who were both found dead in their hotel room in Grand Bahia Principe on May 30, Suero speculated that the woman, 49-year-old Cynthia Day, likely died of “shock” after finding her partner, 63-year-old Edward Holmes, dead beside her.
He also pointed out that the couple appeared to have previously existing health issues.
“They had a lot of medical conditions. There were many bottles of prescription medication in their room,” Suero told Fox News. “They practically carried around a pharmacy with them. They had pills for blood pressure, for the heart, they had anti-depressants. When you get on an airplane and travel with all that medical [baggage], this can happen.”
Suero also said that autopsy reports, some preliminary and some final, showed that all nine tourists died of natural causes.
“It’s all a hysteria against the Dominican Republic, to hurt our tourism, this is a very competitive industry and we get millions of tourists, we are a popular destination,” Suero said. “People are taking aim at us.”
“People die all over the world … Unfortunately, very unfortunately for us, these tourists have died here. We had about 14 deaths last year here of U.S. tourists, and no one said a word. Now everyone is making a big deal of these.”
Fox News obtained a preliminary autopsy report for Joseph Allen, a New Jersey resident and frequent traveler to the Dominican Republic who was found dead in his hotel room this month.
The report described him as a “ticking time bomb,” saying that his “organs were practically destroyed, with a biological age of more than 80 years old. He was extremely obese, weighing more than 400 pounds.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Dominican Republic officials had said that a 53-year-old Staten Island woman who was also found dead in her hotel room this month had several previous heart attacks, a claim disputed by her family and a former work supervisor.
Suero told Fox News that testing of food and alcohol at the resorts where tourist died did not show any signs of contamination, but the U.S. State Department reportedly did not answer a specific question from Fox News about the testing, instead issuing a statement that read: “We are closely monitoring ongoing investigations by Dominican authorities into several recent deaths of U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic.”