In the midst of U.S. tourists panicking over the recent spate of mysterious deaths in the Dominican Republic, as well as intense speculation over the cause of the deaths, another American tourist has been found dead in a Dominican Republic hotel.
Joseph Allen, 55, was found dead early Thursday in the Hotel Terra Linda in Sosua, Dominican Republic, CNN reports. He was reportedly a regular at the hotel. According to Dominican officials, the preliminary autopsy report stated that his cause of death was cardiac arrest, and there were no signs of violence. (Hotel Terra Linda did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)
Allen is at least the ninth American tourist to die in the past year either at a Dominican Republic hotel or shortly after visiting one. On June 10th, a 53-year-old Staten Island woman named Leyla Cox was found dead at Excellence Resorts in Punta Cana. A statement from the hotel said that she, too, had died of cardiac arrest, according to CNN.
In May, Dominican authorities reported that a Pennsylvania woman named Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, was found dead at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville hotel. A married couple, Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, were found dead a few days later at another hotel on the same resort. All three were found to have fluid in their lungs and signs of respiratory failure, according to a preliminary autopsy report.
Although it wasn’t confirmed until earlier this month, yet another American tourist, Robert Wallace, was also found dead at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana in April. His niece said that he had taken a drink from the minibar prior to complaining about feeling ill. (Considering another one of the victims, Schaup-Werner, also reportedly had a drink from a hotel minibar prior to taking ill, some have speculated that counterfeit alcohol could have played a role in at least some of the deaths.) Last summer, at least two other American tourists, Yvette Sport and David Harrison, also were found dead at the Bahia Principe in Punta Cana and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, respectively.
One of the deaths in the Dominican Republic was that of the brother of Barbara Corcoran, one of the stars of ABC’s Shark Tank. However, she reported that her brother John died at a resort in the Dominican Republic last April, though she later sad that he had a pre-existing heart condition, and that “we believe he died of natural causes.”
The Dominician Republic is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with 2.7 million Americans visiting the island every year, according to the State Department. Dominican Republic Tourism Minister Francisco Garcia has denied that the tourist deaths are connected, referring to them as “isolated incidents.”
In a previous statement to Rolling Stone, a representative for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana said that “the safety and health of our guests is now, and has always been our highest priority.” Representatives for Grand Bahía did not respond to a request for comment, but in a post on Twitter on June 7th, the resort disputed recent media reports about the deaths of American tourists, saying that it “completely disagree[d] with the dissemination of false information issued publicly which threatens the image and reputation of the company,” adding that the hotel chain “would like to express our deep respect to the authorities and the ongoing investigations. We reiterate our firm commitment to collaborating completely with the authorities and the ongoing investigations.”