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FBI Probes Samples From One Minibar in Dominican Republic

Some say the death rate isn't statistically significant
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2019 6:27 AM CDT
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This September 2018 photo shows a resort in La Romana, Dominican Republic.   (Wikimedia/Mariordo)

(Newser) – The FBI is testing samples taken from at least one minibar at the Bahia Principe Hotel in Dominican Republic's La Romana, where three US tourists died in the span of five days last month. The agency is also assisting with toxicology tests on those tourists—41-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner of Pennsylvania, 63-year-old Nathaniel Holmes of Maryland, and his partner Cynthia Day, 49—as it probes at least six of nine US tourist deaths since last June, per CNN and People. The FBI's toxicology results are expected within 30 days. DR officials are assuring visitors that a thorough investigation is underway, involving bacteria tests on minibars and water analysis from sinks and showers.

But some describe the death rate as statistically minimal, per People. Between 2012 and 2018, 128 of the 14 million American who visited the DR died of something other than natural causes, for an average of 18 per year, per CNN. Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia has painted the recent deaths as isolated incidents. "In the last five years, over 30 million tourists have visited the Dominican Republic, but this is the first time the international media report such an alarming situation," he said earlier this month. Per CNN, preliminary autopsy results suggest the latest American to die, Joseph Allen of New Jersey, suffered from cardiac arrest, though his brother says the 55-year-old regular guest of Sosua's Hotel Terra Linda had just had a physical and been found healthy. (Read more Dominican Republic stories.)

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