Dominican Republic officials address deaths of US tourists

The Minister of Tourism for the Dominican Republic spoke to the media spoke to address the deaths of American tourists in the country.

Francisco Javier Garcia said the deaths were isolated incidents and the country remains a safe destination for tourists.

Garcia said in the last five years, more than 30 million tourists have visited the country and it's the first time they're receiving international attention for "events of this type."

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The minister called on the national police to speed up their investigation efforts so that they can provide answers about what exactly happened.

FOX 5 attempted to talk to officials at the embassy in DC but were told officials there are not authorized to talk on camera but did confirm they were closely monitoring the investigations.

The vacation destination started grabbing international headlines after a newly engaged couple from Prince George's County, Nate Holmes and Cynthia Day, was found dead in their room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana resort on May 30. Just five days earlier, a Pennsylvania woman, Miranda Schaupp Werner, collapsed and died in her room at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville resort.

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The causes of death were similar: respiratory failure and pulmonary edema or fluid in the lungs, according to officials.

As the public waits for more information, several families who've had loved ones die under similar circumstances while vacationing in the Dominican Republic are now coming forward.

Dawn McCoy, who lost her husband there nearly a year ago at a different resort in the Dominican Republic, spoke to FOX 5 Wednesday evening and said she wished she'd requested a second autopsy when his remains were returned to the US.

In Philadelphia, the family of Yvette Monique Sport has more questions about her death. The 51-year-old's death certificate says she had a heart attack, but her sister says she was also in good health.

"We were promised within three months that we would receive a toxicology report. To this day which is almost a year now we've got nothing," Felecia Nieves, Yvette Monique Sport's sister said. "There is something dirty at the bottom of all of this that is being hidden."

The State Department said it's also closely monitoring the investigation into the three recent deaths. FOX 5 requested the total number of Americans who have died in the Dominican Republic in the past year but have not yet heard back.