UPDATED: 3:51 p.m. EDT — A cause of death has been announced in the case of a Maryland couple who were found dead in their hotel room in the Dominican Republic last week.
According to CNN, the Dominican Republic National Police have concluded that Cynthia Ann Day, 49, and her fiancé Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, died from respiratory failure and pulmonary edema caused by excess fluid in their lungs. There is no word on what could have caused their condition.
Day and Holmes were set to fly back to Prince George’s County on Thursday when their bodies were found in their hotel room. Family members were shocked to learn of the deaths as the couple seemed like they were having a “good time” at the popular vacation destination.
Bahia Principe Hotels, the company that runs the hotel the couple was staying at released a statement regarding the tragic deaths: “We are deeply saddened by the incident at one of our hotels in La Romana, Dominican Republic, and want to express our deepest condolences to their family and friends.”
The Dominican Republic has been a popular vacation destination for tourists for years, but it made headlines earlier this year for the wrong reasons after a Black couple went missing and was later found dead. Now another Black couple has been found dead the day they were to fly back home.
The bodies of Cynthia Ann Day, 49, and her fiance Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, were found in their hotel room on Thursday. The couple had been staying at the Baha Principe hotel in Playa Nueva Romana on the southeast coast of the island since May 25. Dominican media outlets have reported that there were no obvious signs of violence on the bodies, but a cause and manner of death had not been determined as of Sunday night.
Day and Holmes were expected to fly back to their Maryland home in Prince George’s County the day their bodies were found and now their family was wondering why the pair never made it onto their flight.
“It just hurts,” Holmes’ daughter Dajuan Holmes-Hamilton said on Friday. “I was just waiting for them to come back today because he said he was going to come see the baby today.”
Day’s sister, Sonya Jackson, expressed disbelief when the U.S. Embassy confirmed the couple had died and said that prior to their deaths, Day told her they were having a good time.
“I was just numb. I’m still numb,” Jackson said. “She was having a good time, she was enjoying herself.”
The Washington Post reported that there were bottles of heart medication near the bodies, but no word if they were empty. The newspaper also reported there were claims that Holmes called for a hotel doctor Thursday morning, complaining that he felt ill. When the doctor appeared, he reportedly refused treatment.
There were still more questions than answers and now the family must wait until the autopsy is complete before they can receive the bodies for burial.
With the discovery, Day and Holmes became the second Black couple to be found dead on the popular vacation island in as many months.
In late March, Orlando Moore, 43, and his girlfriend, Portia Ravenelle, 51, of New York, went missing the day of their flight home after they checked out of their hotel in Samana. Their bodies were identified two weeks later. It was determined that the pair died after their car plunged off a cliff as they made their way to the airport. Ravenelle was found unconscious on the side of the road and later died at a local hospital. Moore’s body was found at sea.
Recently, a Delaware woman shared her terrifying experience in Punta Cana in a now viral Facebook post. Tammy Lawrence-Daley recounted being kidnapped and severely beaten for eight hours by an employee of the hotel she was staying at in January. Daley also claimed that the man thought she was dead and tried to dispose of her in a hole.
“This man thought he killed me, but he failed. He is still out there, a predator, waiting for his next victim. Only the next woman may not be so fortunate. Please, please do not walk alone. These attacks are happening too frequently and the criminals are not being prosecuted even though evidence is found,” Daley wrote.
Daley said she still suffers from several issues, including nerve damage, and that she has to deal with the medical expenses.