THE FBI is testing samples taken from minibars at a resort in the Dominican Republic after nine mystery deaths in the country.

The involvement of the FBI comes as the country’s health ministry has blasted reports of the deaths branding them “fake news” aimed at harming its tourism industry.

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The FBI is to begin taking tests on minibars at the Grand Bahia Principe resort, where three holidaymakers died
Sara Taylor

It comes as a ninth tourist died from a mystery illness in the Dominican Republic – including three at the  Bahia Principe Hotel, where the FBI is to begin taking tests.

Carlos Suero, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Public Health spokesman, said reports about the deaths are “fake news “and “people are taking aim at us”.

“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,” he told Fox News.

“The testing results are all negative, everything – the food, the alcohol, the air – is normal, there is no alteration of the alcohol.”

The latest death was that of Joseph Allen, 55, from New Jersey, who was found dead in his room at the Terra Linda hotel in Sosua on June 13, the State Department said.

A preliminary autopsy suggested he suffered a cardiac arrest and there were no signs of violence, CNN reported.

But his brother Jason said he can’t understand how Joseph could have died so suddenly given that a recent medical examination found no health problems.

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Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, died in May after a drink from a minibar at the Bahia Principe La Romana Hotel
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Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, died in their room at the Bahia Principe La Romana on May 30
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Yvette Monique Sport died in June of 2018 at a Dominican Republic resort
Fox 29

“If we don’t feel like we’re getting the help we need and the answers we need from them,” he said.
“We’d like to get some kind of testing done on American soil by American doctors to help us to understand what could have been the cause of my brother’s death.”

The State Department said: “The FBI is providing technical assistance to Dominican authorities with toxicology reports for three recent deaths at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana resort.

“Our FBI colleagues tell us that those results may take up to 30 days. ”

Eight other US nationals have died on the island in the last year, including 62-year-old Mark Hulburt Sr, who had “something green foaming from his mouth when his wife found him dead last June.

Hi son Mark Jr said told AZ Family: “It was something that came way out of left field.

Is alcohol behind the deaths and illness in the Dominican Republic?

In the past year, nine American tourists have died after falling ill at resorts in the Dominican Republic.

The deaths have an eerie similarity and suspicion has now turned to alcohol served in the minibars.

Most of the deaths as the victims were healthy adults and some of them drank from their hotel minibar before falling ill.

Some of the symptoms they had included nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, which one expert claims is similar with poisoning from pesticides of methanol.

Methanol is a type of alcohol that is not safe for human consumption.

Lawrence Kobilinsky, a forensic science professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said: “Adulterated alcohol is usually methanol added to alcohol or just plain methanol, which is very, very toxic.

“It looks to me, from what I’ve heard and read, is that something was added to the drinks or bottles in those little refrigerators.

“She woke up, and he didn’t. She told me that as she found him that he had something green coming from his mouth.”

The widow of one of those who died, David Harrison, has claimed officials repeatedly pressured her to cremate her husband following his sudden death in the Dominican Republic.

Mr Harrison, from Maryland, US, died in July 2018 on a family holiday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana.

His devastated wife Dawn McCoy said she was trying to figure out how to get his body back to the US when officials pressured her to cremate him, reports the New York Post.

Timeline of deaths

  • June 2018: Yvette Monique Sport, 51, of Glenside, Pennsylvania, dies after drinking from the minibar at at a Bahia Principe hotel in Punta Cana
  • July 2018: David Harrison dies while on holiday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana
  • April 2019: John Corcoran, brother of US TV star Barbara, dies from heart attack
  • April 14: Robert Bell Wallace, 67, of California in hospital four days after falling ill
  • May 25: Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, of Pennsylvannia, dies within hours of consuming a drink from a resort minibar at Bahia Principe Hotel in La Romana
  • May 30: Cynthia Day, 49, and Nathaniel Holmes, 63, of Maryland, are found dead in their hotel rooms
  • June 10: Leyla Cox, 53, of Staten Island, New York, is found dead in her hotel room
  • June 13: Joseph Allen, 55, from New Jersey, dies in room at the Terra Linda hotel in Sosua

 

She told People Magazine: “They kept trying to get me to cremate my husband. They kept telling me that it would be considerably cheaper to cremate him.”

Among those taken ill after visiting the island was Bachelor Star Melissa Rycroft who complained of suffering from “major stomach issues”.

The mum-of-three, 36, from Dallas, Texas, was described as “really sick” by an insider after her stay at the Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana, Page Six reports.

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Dawn McCoy

Dawn McCoy claims officials tried to bully her into a quickie cremation for her husband David Harrison[/caption]

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Joseph Allen was found dead in his hotel suite in the Dominican Republic on June 13, officials said[/caption]

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Joseph Allen was found dead in his hotel suite in the Dominican Republic on June 13, officials said[/caption]

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Leyla Cox died on June 10, making her the eighth tourist to die on the island
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Robert Bell Wallace, 67, of California, fell ill and died after drinking whisky at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Dominican Republic
Fox News
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David Harrison died in July last year at the same Hard Rock Hotel resort under similar circumstances

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