The death of an African American woman in the Dominican Republic was reported in what has become a series of unexplained fatalities among tourists, many of whom have been Black. The latest American on vacation to die there was Donette Edge Cannon, a 38-year-old New York City woman who fell ill with a violent stomach sickness on her trip to Punta Cana month. Her death was announced the same day Dominican officials insisted there was nothing to panic over.
Her family told the New York Post that Cannon was having the time of her life before she got sick during the trip. Cannon “suffered from diabetes and was receiving dialysis treatment,” but the stomach illness seemed separate from that, Cannon’s cousin said. Once Cannon kept vomiting for hours, her sister said, they called for medical attention.
“Once they got to the room, she fell unconscious and they took her to the hospital,” Candace Edge Johnson told the Post.
The autopsy determined Cannon died from kidney failure, but the medical examiner’s report “but it never addressed what initially got her sick in the first place,” Johnson said.
Cannon’s was at least the 10th death of an American tourist in recent months. Still, the head of tourism in the Dominican Republic insisted that was no cause for alarm, USA Today reported.
“The Dominican Republic is a safe country,” Francisco Javier Garcia, the minister of tourism in the Dominican Republic, said. “There is no such thing as mysterious deaths in the Dominican Republic. There is not an avalanche of deaths.”
Garcia said the Dominican Republic wasn’t the only place things like this happen.
“Unfortunately, people die in situations that they don’t want; these things happen and they will continue to happen in the world,” he said before adding, “The worst news is when we are informed that a tourist that has visited the Dominican Republic has died, no matter the cause of death. … We are in mourning with the victim, we are in suffering with the victim, but the Dominican Republic has made a name for itself in tourism.”
An African American New Jersey man died in the Dominican town of Sosua following an apparent stomach illness last week. Joseph (Joe) Allen III’s brother was demanding answers for what could be a “wrongful death.”
Dozens of other tourists on vacation have reported becoming violently ill on their own trips. Coupled with separate reports of violence, including the attempted murder of Major League baseball legend David Ortiz, there seemed to be a bona fide crisis in the Dominican Republic — it just was unclear what to attribute it to.
Nearly all of the people who have suffered illnesses or died — many have called them victims — reportedly drank from the minibars where they stayed, which at first were mostly at hotels and resorts along the country’s east coast. In many of the cases, the common denominator seemed to be the Grand Bahia Principe resort in La Romana. But Allen’s death seemed to be the first that was reported to have happened in the northern part of the country.