US

Bodies of Couple Found Dead in Dominican Republic Flown to United States

By Zachary Stieber

The bodies of an engaged couple who were found dead in their hotel room while on vacation in the Dominican Republic have been flown to the United States.

Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, were found dead in their room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana on May 30, five days after another American died at the same resort.

Autopsies performed on the couple showed they died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, reported WJZ.

“The evidence in the room shows that they might have died from high blood pressure from the heart. We found a lot of medicine used to treat that illness and according to the medical history the family provided, both of them had high blood pressure,” the country’s national police said in a statement.

Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana on May 26, 2019. (Danker Holmes/Facebook)

The bodies of Day and Holmes have arrived in the Washington-area, the family’s lawyer Steven Bullock confirmed to WUSA on June 11.

Families of both of the deceased plan on having a second autopsy done soon, Bullock said.

“The families of Cynthia Ann Day and Nathaniel Edward Holmes would like to thank the community for their condolences and support in their loss. We are continuing to investigate the exact cause of death,” Bullock said in a statement sent to People magazine.

“The families are determined to find out what happened and why. At this time the cause of death remains a mystery. We look forward to getting the FBI findings.”

The families would also be waiting to review the results of toxicology tests that Dominican officials said could take months to be returned.

Since the couple was found, five other suspicious deaths in the Dominican Republic in the last year have been revealed in addition to multiple people getting violently ill. Most of the incidents took place at a Bahia Principe property or the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana.

Day’s sister Sonya Jackson previously told NBC that the family doubts respiratory issues caused the deaths of the couple and said there would be another autopsy done once the bodies were flown to the United States.

Dr. Robert Shesser, chair of the department of emergency medicine at George Washington University, told the broadcaster that the autopsies indicated “that there was some type of lung injury that led to basically leaking of the fluid on portions of the lungs that should be filled with air.”

Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana on May 28, 2019. (Danker Holmes/Facebook)

“When that happens, people don’t get enough oxygen and can die,” he added. After learning that investigators were looking at whether carbon monoxide poisoning was involved, he said: “Anything that decreases the amount of oxygen could lead to leakage in the lungs. The way carbon monoxide works is it basically poisons the cells, so even though there is enough oxygen around, it’s not being used properly.”

The U.S. State Department currently has a level 2 travel advisory for the Dominican Republic, which sits on an island in the Caribbean bordering Haiti.

“Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic. The development of a professional tourist police corps, institution of a 911 system in many parts of the country, and a concentration of resources in resort areas means these tend to be better policed than urban areas like Santo Domingo,”  the State Department said.

“The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality on the broader scale.”