At least seven American tourists have mysteriously died while vacationing at resorts in the Dominican Republic in the last year, and authorities are now zeroing in on what they believe to be the cause: illegal bootleg alcohol.
Local police in the Dominican Republic, as well as FBI investigators from America, are currently looking into alcohol suppliers and manufacturers that produce spirits forÂ The Hard Rock Hotel and theÂ Grand Bahia Principe resort, both near the Dominican city of Punta Cana. This according to the NY Post.
The deaths have put a black mark on tourism and travel within the Dominican Republic — a small nation in the Caribbean that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti — and families of the victims involved over the past year are even going so far as to encourage the U.S. State Department to get involved in the investigation.
Now, according to media reports, investigators are centering their focus on whether bootleg alcohol is responsible for the tourists’ deaths, as many of the victims reported nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea consistent with methanol poisoning immediately before they passed away. Police are investigating alcohol suppliers on the island, and trying to determine whether there’s a connection to someone making counterfeit booze there — and stocking the hotel mini-bars with it.
For its part, the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana has released a statement that affirms it “only buys unopened products from licensed and reputable vendors,” despite the fact that two of the victims had been staying there at the time of their deaths.
Dominican officials, concerned about the potential of this controversy to cause issues with its tourism industry, remain adamant that the deaths are all isolated incidents, but U.S. officials have found that most of the victims were apparently healthy adults with no previous known issues that would have caused a sudden, acute medical event leading to death like this. Furthermore, American law enforcement sources have now admitted to theÂ New York Post that they have long been looking into the fact that at least several of the victims are known to have drank alcohol from their hotel mini-bars in the hours leading up to their deaths.
As we’ve been reporting,Â the total is now up to seven Americans who have died in suspicious circumstances down in the D.R. over the past year: David Harrison, 45; Robert Bell Wallace, 67, Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41;Â Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63;Â Cynthia Day, 49; Yvette Monique Short, 51; andÂ Leyla Cox, 53. Still other Americans reported falling ill during their vacations, though they survived and were able to return home for medical care.
Whatever is going on down there in the Dominican Republic, we can only hope it gets discovered and corrected very soon — this tragedy has already claimed far too many lives and changed too many families forever.
So sad… R.I.P. to all the victims over the past year.
[Image via ABC/YouTube]
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