Before Couple Died in Fiji, Family Got Alarming Text

Michelle Paul said pair had been 'throwing up for 8 hours'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 7, 2019 10:09 AM CDT
Before Couple Died in Fiji, Family Got Alarming Text
Michelle and David Paul, along with their dog Zooey, are pictured in Hawaii in December 2016.   (Tracey Calanog via AP)

Health officials in Fiji don't yet have an answer on why a Texas couple died while vacationing on the island but say influenza has been ruled out as a potential cause. Fiji's Ministry of Health and Medical Services said in a statement Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing into the deaths of 38-year-old Lockheed Martin engineer David Paul and 35-year-old Marriott International employee Michelle Paul, but that officials don't believe the public is at risk, per the AP. The couple died within two days of each other after falling ill from an unknown ailment. Michelle's father, Marc Calanog, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this week that the couple met five years ago in Hawaii and that both loved beaches and snorkeling. He said the couple had planned to visit Fiji from May 19 to May 27 because that's when family members could watch their two young children.

Calanog said he got this text from Michelle on May 24: "We are both going to doctor now. We have been throwing up for eight hours. David also has diarrhea. My hands are numb." He said he got a call on May 25 that Michelle was dead; David Paul was dead two days later. "I did not think it was so serious," Calanog told the newspaper, describing himself as "stunned" and "emotionally shocked." The ministry in Fiji said staff and health workers who were in contact with the couple are being monitored as a precaution, but that all are currently well. The ministry said it's also working with local police, the World Health Organization, and the CDC to determine the cause of death. "It would be premature to speculate further on the cause of death until the investigation is complete," the statement said.

(More Fiji stories.)

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