New York Couple Goes Missing While on Vacation in Dominican Republic

New York Couple Goes Missing While on Vacation in Dominican Republic
Portia Ravenelle (L), and Orlando Moore vanished while on vacation in the Dominican Republic, in March 2019. (Orlando Moore/Facebook)

A New York couple is nowhere to be found after missing their scheduled flight home from the Dominican Republic.

Friends and family members are trying to get information after Orlando Moore and his girlfriend, Portia Ravenelle, missed their March 27 flight from the country to Mount Vernon.

Relatives told NBC 4 that their car is still parked at Newark Liberty International Airport, where they flew from on March 23.

Police officials looked into the situation and found that the couple checked out of their hotel in Samana but what happened to them next remains a mystery.

A frantic search is underway for a New York couple who took a vacation to the Caribbean, and suddenly vanished, with no sign of them for more than a week.

Posted by NBC New York on Monday, April 8, 2019

Lashay Turner, Moore’s sister, told the broadcaster that the couple rented a car in the Dominican Republic but that there’s no sign of the vehicle.

“We’ve been calling DR and they said they didn’t make their flight,” Turner said. “We also spoke to someone in U.S. Customs and they said my brother did not make his flight back here.”

Relatives said they’re still hoping for good news but fear the worst.

Residents in the Dominican Republic were alerted to the disappearance on April 2 by an article on the Dominican Today website. It said the couple was staying at the Grand Bahia Principe, Cayacoa, Samana.

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A Delta flight that was going from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport to Paris, France, in a file photo. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Citing a reader, it said that not only had couple’s rental car not been found but that their cellphones were going straight to voicemail.

According to the hotel’s website, it’s an all-inclusive resort with rooms typically running from $176. It’s located on the mid-northeastern coast of the country, which is connected by land to Haiti and sits west of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Before the disappearance, both Moore and Ravenelle had been uploading pictures to social media accounts but neither has issued updates since March 26.

Anyone with information was urged to contact the authorities.

NTD Photo
(Google Maps)

American Tourist Released After ‘Settlement’

An American tourist and her guide abducted in Uganda last week were released after a “negotiated settlement” was reached with the kidnappers, the firm that had organized her safari said on April 8.

Amid fears the incident could deter tourists from visiting the East African country, U.S. President Donald Trump called on Twitter for the kidnappers to be found.

Ugandan authorities said on Sunday, April 7, that Kimberley Sue Endecott, 35, and her driver, Jean Paul, had been rescued unharmed after being seized by gunmen in Queen Elizabeth National Park, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, on April 2. The kidnappers later demanded a ransom of $500,000 for Endecott’s release.

The acknowledgment of some negotiations with the captors follows reports in several local media outlets, including state-owned daily New Vision, that a ransom was paid before the kidnappers freed their victims.

“A negotiated settlement was arranged with the assistance of the American government,” a representative for the tour firm, Wild Frontiers Safaris Uganda said.

“I don’t have details of the final settlement.”

NTD Photo
Kimberley Sue Endecott, 35, reacts moments after she was rescued in Uganda. (Wild Frontiers via CNN)

New Vision reported on Monday citing undisclosed sources that a ransom of $30,000 had been paid.

The U.S. Embassy in Uganda did not return calls for comment. Uganda Police spokeswoman Polly Namaye said she could not confirm whether a ransom had been paid.

It remains unclear who was responsible for the abduction, which took place in an area once roamed by fighters belonging to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an anti-Kampala rebel group that is now mostly dormant. The group is still believed to have camps in eastern Congo.

Uganda must find the kidnappers of the American tourist and guide before people will feel safe in going there,” Trump said in a tweet on Monday. “Bring them to justice openly and quickly!”

Tourism is a key source of foreign exchange for Uganda and there are concerns the incident might raise safety fears and discourage visitors.

In a tweet on Monday, President Yoweri Museveni promised to “deal with these isolated pockets of criminals”.

“I want to reassure the country and our tourists that Uganda is safe and we shall continue to improve the security in our parks. Come and enjoy the Pearl of Africa,” he wrote.

The last attack on tourists in a Ugandan park was in 1999. Then, an American couple, four Britons and two New Zealanders were killed along with four Ugandan guides after being ambushed by gunmen in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a few miles south of the Queen Elizabeth Park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of most visited in the East African country, with tourists flocking there to see lions, hippos, crocodiles, and various types of antelope.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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