Just this year, there have been five deaths in the Dominican Republican, there of which were at the Grand Bahia Principe resort in La Romana. After a Colorado couple spoke out, saying they became ill staying at the resort, another couple from Philadelphia are saying they had the same horrific experience.
Susie Lauterborn, 38, and her husband, Doug Hand, 40, told BuzzFeed News they quickly became ill after staying at the Grand Bahia Principe in January 2018. Lauterborn described feeling severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, fatigue, chills, and cold sweats. A bright-red rash covered her entire body, and a fever above 100 degrees. She said, “The stabbing pain in my stomach was unlike anything I’ve experienced before and I’ve had an intestinal infection previously in my life and had to go to the hospital for that. This was worse than that.”
The hotel medical center’s were no help, “They literally told me I’d partied too much … but we don’t even party,” she said.
They wanted to leave early but it was too expensive to change flights. They stayed in the room most of the time and barely ate, “The food all tasted off, the drinks all tasted off, to the point where I was like, ‘I’m not even going to drink a glass of wine because it just tastes off.’ I can’t even explain — we ate pasta one night, and it was so bad I couldn’t finish it. It tasted acidic, like battery acid.”
Lauterborn also said the reason why things weren’t worse was because of their age, “I truly believe that the only reason we weren’t sicker or didn’t have the same outcome that these poor people had is probably because we were a bit younger and healthier.”
Myroslav Sparavalo, a 58-year-old in New York, also told BuzzFeed News a similar story and said, “I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do. Looks like I was very lucky to survive. It’s me who could be dead, not just them.”
As NewsOne previously reported, according to KMGH, Kaylynn Knull and her boyfriend, Tom Schwander, began experiencing the same mysterious symptoms at the Grand Bahia Principe resort but they checked out after only one day.
BuzzFeed News says a representative who answered the resort’s corporate line said people are “making a fuss about this.” In an insensitive statement Friday, the resort slammed the “dissemination of false information issued publicly, which threatens the image and reputation of the company…The safety and comfort of our guests and staff stand at the core of our company values and we work daily to ensure it.”
During the last week of May, a Black couple was found dead in their hotel room. Maryland couple Cynthia Ann Day, 49, and her fiance Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, were staying at the same Grand Baha Principe hotel. Their bodies were discovered on May 30, the same day they were to fly back to the United States. On Sunday, the Dominican Republic National Police determined that the couple died from respiratory failure and pulmonary edema caused by excess fluid in their lungs. Days later, it still remained unclear what may have caused their condition.
Just five days before Day and Holmes’ bodies were found, a Pennsylvania woman collapsed and died at the Baha Principe hotel. Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, checked in with her husband, Dan Werner, on May 25, the same day as the Maryland couple. Reports say after she enjoyed a drink at a minibar, she suddenly collapsed in her hotel room.
There have also been deaths outside of the hotel. Two months earlier, a Black couple from New York went missing in the Dominican Republic. Orlando Moore, 43, and his girlfriend, Portia Ravenelle, 51, had checked out of their hotel in Samana but never made it to their flight back to the United States back in March. The pair died after their car plunged off a cliff as they made their way to the airport.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for the Dominican Republic in April for crime before updating it in May to rank the nation a level 2 travel advisory for crime, which warns travelers to exercise increased caution.
According to the World Health Organization, the Dominican Republic ranked fifth in road deaths per capita in 2016.