Dominican tourism official swears ‘disciplinary action’ if U.S. tourist death probe discovers neglect – Fox News

The Dominican Republic’s tourist minister stated on Friday that if the investigation into the rash of deaths of U.S. travelers discovers misdeed or neglect, those accountable will face “disciplinary steps to fit their actions.”

In an unique interview with Fox News, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia revealed confidence that the deaths were all rooted in natural causes and firmly insisted that it is safe to trip there.

” We want these things didn’t happen,” he stated. “But sadly, they do. … That’s why we have an interest in knowing what happened to them.”

Garcia worried that autopsy reports that were done following the deaths of many of the travelers revealed that there was absolutely nothing wicked, and acknowledged the toxicological tests the FBI is performing in its proving ground in Quantico, Va., in the deaths of three Americans who passed away in their spaces at Bahia Principe resorts.

” If there’s something that failed, we will take the disciplinary measures that are warranted,” Garcia said. “We will make whatever choice we should make if there’s been carelessness of any kind. We will act.”

The FBI informed Fox News on Friday that it has sent out a team to the Dominican Republic to investigate the deaths.

Earlier in the day, Garcia held a press conference to make the case that the popular Caribbean getaway spot is safe and that it did not be worthy of the negative attention activated by around the world headlines about the rash of U.S. traveler deaths. The Dominican Republic has signed a $35,000 regular monthly contract with the New York-based Rubenstein public relations powerhouse to combat the negative promotion.

As Dominican authorities attempted to stop rising concerns among would-be tourists around the world about security there, the State Department on Friday verified to Fox News the June 17 death of a New York company owner, Vittorio Caruso, 56, who died after ending up being critically ill at the Boca Chica Resort in Santo Domingo.

Vittorio Caruso, 56, of Glen Cove, N.Y.

Vittorio Caruso, 56, of Glen Cove, N.Y.
( Thanks To Lisa Caruso)

Caruso’s death is the 3rd in a seven-day span in June, and he’s the 11 th American tourist to pass away in the Dominican Republic given that last year. The case of another tourist, a lady from Pennsylvania who passed away in 2016 under comparable scenarios, was revealed by her household this past week after they check out about the others and identified typical threads.

The 2 other U.S. tourists who died this month are Leyla Cox, a 53- year-old medical facility MRI professional from New york city who was discovered dead in her hotel space on June 10, and Joseph Allen, 55, from New Jersey, who passed away in his room on June 13.

Caruso’s sister-in-law, Lisa Maria Caruso, told Fox News that Vittorio was in great health and had owned and operated a pizzeria in New york city with his bro till a month earlier. She stated that he ‘d taken a trip alone to the Dominican Republic.


” We discovered out he was brought by ambulance to the medical facility in respiratory distress after consuming something,” Caruso stated. “We were told he wasn’t reacting to any meds he was offered and died. I honestly do not understand precisely what occurred, as we have actually been told conflicting stories from different people there.”

” It is very hard to get a straight story from anyone there,” she stated, adding that relatives are awaiting the autopsy report. “They even wished to cremate the body. We insisted on having the body returned here.”

” This was a total shock to us, as Vittorio was not an ill person,” Caruso stated. “He was anticipated to return home on June 27.”

Chris Palmer with granddaughter Ruby

Chris Palmer with granddaughter Ruby.
( Thanks To Bernadette Hiller)

On Thursday, Garcia told Fox News that the Tourist Ministry has tested the alcohol, food, water, kitchens and other locations of the resorts where U.S. travelers have actually passed away. He said the outcomes of those tests might be referred to as soon as Monday.

From the beginning, Dominican officials have actually denounced the characterization of the deaths as mysterious or in some way linked.

” There are no strange deaths here,” Garcia stated in the Friday interview with Fox News.”‘ Mystical’ suggests that things happened that science can not discuss.”

Garcia struck an understanding tone when asked what he would inform the departed travelers’ relatives, who have actually consistently informed stories of being offered the run-around by resort workers and government authorities as they have actually attempted for more information about what happened.


Like Caruso, the family members have actually stated that the travelers, who range in age from 41 to 78, remained in reasonably health and showed no indications of health problem prior to traveling to the Dominican Republic. The deaths have been explained as happening following a sudden and quickly getting worse start of signs.

Several travelers passed away soon after taking in a minibar drink.

” To individuals who have lost liked ones here, we want to say that when we discovered each one, it’s been the worst news we have received,” Garcia stated. “When those individuals come to the Dominican Republic, much like when somebody goes on trip, you go delighted, your household anticipates to see you once again. When this occurs, there’s pain and a sense of catastrophe. The pain and the tragedy, we feel it [too].”

However Garcia took pains to stress that the Dominican Republic is one of the best destination in the world.

Will Cox and his mother, Leyla Cox

Will Cox and his mom, Leyla Cox.
( Courtesy of Will Cox)

” We have actually become the preferred location for Americans initially due to the fact that of how we treat them,” he stated, “second, due to the fact that of the natural resources God blessed the Dominican Republic with, and 3rd, due to the fact that of the excellent hotels and resorts, of which are of a basic above that of centers in other countries.”

Lawyers and family members of the U.S. travelers assaulted efforts by Dominican officials to depict the deaths as a regrettable twist of fate and promote the nation as a preferable trip area. Some are relocating to have independent autopsies and toxicological tests carried out in the United States.


Steve Bullock, an attorney representing the families of Edward Holmes, 63, and his future husband Cynthia Day, 47, who both were discovered dead in their space on May 30 at the five-star Grand Bahia Principe La Romana resort, stated: “That type of reckless declaration is repulsive and repugnant. We will let the facts and medical reports tell the story.”

Holmes and Day will be buried next week, Bullock stated.

In an interview with Fox News host Harris Faulkner, Meghan Arnold– whose dad Chris Palmer, an Army veteran, was found dead in his resort room on April 18, 2018– said that she is stunned that Dominican officials appear to resist seeing the rash of deaths of otherwise healthy individuals as strange.

” Truthfully I have no words,” she said when Faulkner requested her response to the tourism minister’s interview. “I do not understand how someone can see– what is this, 11 deaths now? They all have rather of the exact same [offical cause of death], they’re all in the same area. He’s claiming that ‘You know, this can occur anywhere,’ and I totally agree. Heart attacks can happen anywhere. Bad things can happen anywhere. However where else are we seeing eleven cases of nearly the very same thing in the exact same area as we’re seeing in the Dominican Republic?”

” I’m just battling to discover answers,” Arnold stated. “I feel for all of these other families since I understand how hard this procedure is and I simply feel that we all need to collaborate as a group, [let’s] step forward and report these. Tell your story and let’s interact to get it determined … due to the fact that no one deserves this.”

Garcia said that statistically, the Dominican Republic has far fewer U.S. traveler deaths than other nations.

The US State Department site shows that in between 2012 to 2018, 128 Americans passed away in the Dominican Republic from something other than natural causes. Dominican authorities have actually been highlighting that statistic to argue that the country is safe, provided that more than 2 million U.S. travelers visit there each year.

What is not clear, nevertheless, is the number of U.S. tourists pass away of what Dominican authorities document as natural causes– the focus of the around the world headings.

When asked by Fox News on repeated celebrations what the yearly variety of such deaths is, neither the U.S. State Department nor Dominican authorities has actually provided them.

Dominican authorities and U.S. intelligence and public health experts say that ultimately, the FBI report on toxicology outcomes, as well as tests family members are having done here, will shed vital light on what caused the wave of deaths.

Previous FBI unique representative Manny Gomez said on Fox News that while, as Dominican officials have actually worried, people do die on trip all over the world, the similarities of the U.S. travelers deaths seem extraordinary. In almost every case, the cause of death was considered to be a cardiac arrest, and a lot of the tourists taken in a drink before passing away. Especially odd was the death of Holmes and Day at the very same time in their space.

” I see something that’s taking place that’s very suspicious,” Gomez said. “These deaths have actually taken place in various resorts, it just hasn’t been one resort, it’s been at several various resorts in a short quantity of time.”

Gomez thought it could be alcohol laced with methanol, “or another toxin.”

He stated that would be “criminal in nature since individuals have actually been hurt and passing away, there are lots of individuals who have actually gotten severely ill, worse than that we don’t understand how lots of other bad batches are out there.”

” That is why the FBI exists,” Gomez said. “The next phase in the examination if they identify that there’s a poisonous substance they need to discover out where it came from and stop it, [find out] where it originated from and who is accountable. The Dominican Republic requires to let the FBI do the great that they do.”

Garcia stated they requested help from the FBI due to the fact that they lack the resources that the agency has in the U.S.

” We have an interest in understanding what caused” the deaths, he stated.

Meanwhile, social networks is filled with arguments about whether there ought to be issue about vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Numerous said they were canceling bookings, however numerous others said they believe that the deaths were just fate which the island is safe.

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