STUMP » Articles » Deaths in the Dominican Republic: How Many are We Up To Now? » 15 July 2019, 20:25

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Deaths in the Dominican Republic: How Many are We Up To Now?  


15 July 2019, 20:25

Yes, another one. But wait.

Georgia man is 11th Dominican Republic tourist to die in a year

The death of a Georgia man has been confirmed by the US State Department, making him the 11th American tourist to mysteriously die in the Dominican Republic over the past year.

Tracy Jerome Jester Jr., 31, of Forsyth, died on March 17 — as a result of “respiratory issues,” according to his death certificate — after a day of sightseeing in the Caribbean country, his mom, Melody Moore, told ABC News on Sunday. He’d been staying at a resort with his sister, though it was not immediately clear which one.
Moore told local outlet WSB-TV 2 last week that she spoke with her son during his time away, and he seemed fine. But he did say he drank a soda that didn’t taste right, she recalled.

Early the next day, Jester’s sister frantically called Moore to say that her brother was struggling to breathe.

“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,’” Moore told the outlet.

His distraught sister quickly dialed 911, but to no avail.

Jester’s body was returned home on April 4, his mom told ABC. She knew nothing of the circumstances surrounding her son’s death, besides what was written on his death certificate, she said. She confirmed her son had lupus.

Okay. So this was back in March.

Now, one needs to keep track — lots of American tourists die in the Dominican Republic. Yes, sometimes from botched plastic surgery, sometimes from car accidents, some from outright murder (as in, with guns. David Ortiz was lucky.)

I went looking to see if there were any autopsy results, and came across this piece:

Miranda Schaup-Werner, the first of three American tourists to die mysteriously within a week at a Dominican Republic resort, succumbed to a heart attack, the Caribbean island’s attorney general said.

Authorities released details Thursday of the preliminary autopsy reports for the Pennsylvania woman as well as Maryland couple Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day. While it remains unclear what may have caused their deaths, officials offered a glimpse into the conditions of their bodies.

The couple had internal bleeding, including in their pancreases. Holmes had an enlarged heart and cirrhosis of the liver — both signs of significant pre-existing disease. Day also had fluid in her brain. The couple also had fluid in their lungs, Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez Sanchez’s office said in a statement.

Authorities said they won’t be able to provide more details on the causes of death until toxicology results are completed. Investigators found “several pill bottles” of three medications, including the prescription opioid oxycodone, in the couple’s room, the attorney general’s office said.

That’s from back in June.

It may be that there’s nothing particularly mysterious about some of these deaths. It can come from a bad mix of just-normal-booze plus regularly prescribed meds (that you’re not supposed to mix with booze) plus generally being in poor health… for some of the people.

A few of the deaths could be outright poisoning. Who knows?

Some of the reports, though, are hindsight bias. The thing is, with 2 million-ish American tourists visiting every year… a handful of “mysterious” deaths are to be expected… all depending on how you define “mysterious”.

Some of the people who died “mysteriously” were in poor health and not all that young. Some were young, but we don’t know exactly what they were up to. Sometimes… people go on vacation and do things that are not a good idea, and it’s not necessarily just unwittingly drinking bad hooch.

Other recent Dominican Republic links:

Here is my problem with these — it’s the count. A lot more than 11 or 12 American tourists had to have died in the Dominican Republic over the past year (my prior figuring that likely a few hundred die every year).

I already flagged a few of the ones that were not mysterious at all. This one claims 12 “mysterious” deaths, and others had claimed 11. Who the heck is keeping this list? Can we have a central clearinghouse indicating which deaths are mysterious and which are not?

I believe the State Dept., etc., when they say that there’s not an uptick in deaths of tourists in the DR. It’s just that it’s easy to find a “pattern” when this stuff happens all the time. It’s like any media-fueled “trend” (shark attack!). You just decide to publicize something that happens often enough that you’ll get a report at least once a week. So you can keep feeding the media coverage!

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