State Department 'actively monitoring' vacation deaths in Dominican Republic

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- An Allentown, Pennsylvania woman died of respiratory failure at the same resort in the Dominican Republic where a Maryland couple died, 6abc Action News has learned.

Miranda Schaup-Werner was found dead at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville hotel on May 25.

Miranda and her husband Dan were celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary.

As soon as they checked in they began posting pictures of their room.

FACEBOOK/MIRANDA SCHAUP-WERNER



But a family spokesperson over the phone tells Action News the next moments turned deadly.

"Miranda had a beverage from the mini bar in the room," the spokesperson said.

Next the spokesman says Miranda felt an acute pain and collapsed.

Her husband had emergency responders rushed to the resort but she never regained consciousness.

Days later, Edward Holmes and his fiance Cynthia Day were found dead in their hotel room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana.

Both hotels are in same Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts complex.

In both cases, the cause of death was listed as respiratory failure and pulmonary edema.

However, the hotel says Miranda died of a heart attack.

"According to the statements from the National Institute of Forensic Sciences, and the National Police Investigations Unit, Mrs. Schaup-Werner's cause of death was determined to be a heart attack," a hotel statement read.



Schaup-Werner's family released a statement saying, "Was this a poisoning? Why wasn't that question originally investigated by the local police? Is it just normally assumed that a healthy 41-year-old suddenly dies like this? Is this a pattern?"

Many neighbors including those living right next door say Miranda was always so kind.

"She was a very nice and kind, sweet person. She didn't hurt anyone or say anything bad. She never judged anyone at all," said Jessica Marselles of Whitehall.

At first the family says they felt devastation for her loss but now they also are skeptical of the way she died.

As of now there are no signs of any violence with either case.

On Wednesday, for the first time, we're hearing from police in the Dominican Republic.

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They admit they're worried about what's happened at the resort and want to provide clarity to tourists and citizens who depend on tourism for their livelihoods. That's why they're asking for time to investigate throughly.

But police there say as of right now they can't connect either case. The couples never crossed paths and were staying at different buildings.

The police were also asked if they believe either of the three victims were poisoned.

All they would say is they're waiting for toxicology reports to come back.

Schaup-Werner did have a history of a heart condition but her family says it was corrected many years ago.

The State Department released this statement to Action News following these incidents:

"The U.S. Embassy is actively monitoring the ongoing investigations by Dominican authorities into these tragic deaths. We stand ready to provide assistance as requested. Out of respect for the families during this difficult time, we have no further comment."
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