U.S. couple says they fell ill at Dominican Republic resort where 3 tourists died

A Colorado couple says they fell severely ill last year at the same Dominican Republic resort where three Americans recently died.

While the three deaths occurred last month within days of each other, authorities in the Dominican Republic said earlier this week that they appear to be unrelated incidents.

But the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel La Romana deaths are still being investigated by Dominican police.

On May 30, 63-year-old Edward Nathaniel Holmes and 49-year-old Cynthia Ann Day of Maryland were discovered dead in their room. A forensics report indicates the pair appear to have suffered respiratory failure and fluid in the lungs.

Five days before that couple’s death, a 41-year-old Pennsylvania woman named Miranda Schaup-Werner died in her room of an apparent heart attack.

The Colorado couple told CNN in an interview that they became violently ill while at the resort, and suspect that it was caused by insecticides spread through the air conditioning system.

In the CNN interview, 29-year-old Kaylynn Knull said news of the recent deaths made her “want to cry.”

“There’s something going on. What happened to us may be related to what happened to them,” she said.

Knull and her boyfriend, 33-year-old Tom Schwander, filed a lawsuit against the resort earlier this year.

The U.S. State Department released the following statement to ABC 7 Chicago: “We are in close contact with local authorities regarding their investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater responsibility than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas.

“Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”

Families of those who died are also seeking answers. A family spokesman for Schaup-Werner, Jay McDonald, told WFMZ-TV that the woman collapsed after getting a drink from the minibar.

McDonald said Schaup-Werner’s family heard about the deaths of Holmes and Day, who he said checked into the hotel the same day.

Dominican Republic’s Tourism Minister Francisco Garcia has accused media of inflaming the incidents, saying millions of visitors have had safe trips.

“These are isolated incidents and the Dominican Republic is a safe destination,” he said.

According to the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, Canadians were the second largest market for Dominican Republic tourism in 2017, with over 837,000 Canadians visiting the region. The United States remains the largest market with 2,073,963 visitors in 2017.

— With files from Global News reporter Jessica Vomiero and The Associated Press

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