Dominican Republic Officials Postpone Briefing on Tourists' FBI Toxicology Report
In a last-minute move, the Dominican Republic Attorney General's office on Monday postponed a press briefing for the same day at which officials planned to announce the results of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) toxicology studies performed on tourists who died at the Bahia Principe resort and at other Dominican Republic properties in the past year.
In a statement, Dominican Republic government officials said the press conference was postponed because “the results that were being expected from the FBI came partially.”
The statement adds, "We ask for excuses for the inconvenience caused and later we will be communicating the date on which we would be holding the press conference to offer citizens complete information about the important results of these analyzes.”
The development further delays a full explanation of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of several vacationers at Dominican resorts earlier this year. In June, the US Embassy in Santo Domingo said the FBI toxicology analysis and results “might take up to 30 days.”
Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, became ill and died in her room at the Bahia Principe resort in May after drinking. American travelers Nathaniel Edward Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day were discovered dead in their hotel room at the same property on May 30, the day the couple was due to check out.
The events prompted other travelers to come forward with stories of becoming ill at Dominican Republic resorts and triggered a sharp decline in resort bookings for the country, which has for several years been the most popular Caribbean destination with American vacationers. Bookings have since trended upward.
“In the room were found several bottles of medication for hypertensive patients and the bodies had no signs of violence, as reported that day,” reads the government statement, in reference to Holmes and Day. “According to [Dominican] investigations, the two died due to respiratory failure.”
In the wake of the tourist deaths and resulting questions regarding traveler safety and security in the Dominican Republic, travel agency groups and resort operators have sought to reassure consumers about the country’s safety.
In addition, in conjunction with the Apple Leisure Group, travAllianceMedia has established travFACTS.org, a website designed to analyze and correct erroneous media reports that could be damaging to tourist destinations worldwide.