Due to the recent string of suspicious deaths, tourism has gone down drastically in the Dominican Republic. Now, a Georgia mother believes her son’s death in the Caribbean island is linked to the tragedies.
Tracy Jester Jr., 31, of Henry County, Georgia, flew to the Dominican Republic in April with his sister and never returned. His mother Melody Moore told WSB-TV that he told her he drank a soda that didn’t taste right and the next day her daughter frantically called him, “She called me about 3:30 in the morning and she told me he was calling her saying he couldn’t breathe, just saying mama I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”
Her daughter called 911, but it was too late — he died. His death certificate says he died of a respiratory problem but she believes his death is connected to the other tourists who have mysteriously died. WSB-TV reports, “She said she called the FBI and an investigator put her son’s name on a growing list of people who have died in the Dominican Republic in recent months. Moore says her son was healthy and never had any health issues.”
Moore also added, “Being a mom, I want to go to where he was, where he died at last. Something is wrong, my son is gone. Something is really wrong.”
To date, at least ten American tourists have died in the Dominican Republic in recent months, seven of whom were Black. In June 2018, Yvette Sport of Philadelphia died of a heart attack at the resort she was staying in reportedly after she had a drink at a mini bar. New York couple Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle died after their rental car plunged off of a cliff in March. Two months later, a Maryland couple, Cynthia Ann Day and Edward Nathaniel Holmes were found dead in their hotel room during the last week of May. Just days before their death, a Pennsylvania woman collapsed and died at the same hotel. On June 13, Joseph Allen of New Jersey was found dead in his hotel room reportedly from a heart attack, making him the latest tourist to die in the D.R. And the May death of 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, was just reported Friday.
Most of the problems seemed to stem from one hotel — the Bahia Principe Hotel in Punta Cana — but there have been deaths and sicknesses reported other tourist-friendly cities, as well.
Potential travelers definitely have something to be concerned as the death toll has continued to rise with no obvious end in sight. The FBI has announced that it is assisting in toxicology tests on some of Americans who have died in the D.R., but results can take up to 30 days. According to CNN, samples taken from at least one minibar at the Bahia Principe Hotel in Punta Cana are being tested by the FBI as part of the agency’s collaboration with D.R. authorities.
However, the head of tourism in the Dominican Republic has insisted that was no cause for alarm.
“The Dominican Republic is a safe country,” Francisco Javier Garcia, the minister of tourism in the Dominican Republic, said last moth. “There is no such thing as mysterious deaths in the Dominican Republic. There is not an avalanche of deaths.”