New York Mom Is Latest Death Reported at Dominican Republic Resort: Report

By Janita Kan

A 38-year-old woman from New York died under mysterious circumstances during a vacation at a Dominican Republic resort in 2018—the latest fatality to be reported at the Carribean country.

More than a dozen American tourists have been found dead in suspicious circumstances sparking worldwide attention in recent months.

Donette Edge Cannon, 38, went to the Sunscape Bávaro Beach Punta Cana to celebrate her brother-in-law’s birthday, reported the New York Post. Her sister Candace Edge Johnson told the newspaper that during the trip their group had suffered minor stomach problems, but nothing major to keep them from enjoying their trip.

“For us, throughout the trip, we kept using the bathroom,” Johnson said. “We went to a restaurant in the same condition, anytime we ate we were using the bathroom.”

She said her sister Cannon had diabetes and was receiving dialysis treatment. Cannon has four children, all under the age of 15, including 6-year-old twins, according to the Post.

Johnson said her sister started feeling sick on the last night. Cannon had woken up with a stomach ache, was vomiting, and also suffered from diarrhea. When she didn’t get better in the morning, the family decided to seek help from a doctor.

“My cousin said, ‘It’s getting worse. I’m going to have the medics come and check her out,’” Johnson told the Post. “Once they got to the room, she fell unconscious and they took her to the hospital.”

Johnson said emergency responders were told about Cannon’s kidney issues but did not bring her dialysis machine to the hospital.

“They basically let her die on the table,” her sister said.

Johnson recalled the autopsy showed that Cannon’s cause of death was kidney failure but did not provide details about what got her sick in the first place.

“We were so traumatized that we didn’t think about these things,” Johnson told the Post. “I would’ve pursued the resort more about whether there was food poisoning, and the decisions made about hospitals with dialysis, and just their [lack of] urgency to alert people [for help].”

She said seeing reports of other Americans dying in the Dominican Republic prompted her to think about the health care practices of the Carribean country.

“It’s not like the United States,” she said.

Many of the American tourists who have passed away in mysterious conditions in the past 12 months had reportedly drunk from the minibar in their rooms or elsewhere at the resort.

Autopsies for some of the victims have indicated heart attacks and pulmonary edema, or fluid build-up in the lungs.

Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Tom Inglesby, told The New York Times that reported symptoms such as pulmonary edema, bleeding, and vomiting blood could point to poisoning, even if accidental.

He added that it is still difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused the deaths of the tourists, and the exact reason will only be known when toxicology reports are available.

The FBI and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the causes of the deaths.

According to the State Department travel advisory from April this year, those traveling to the Dominican Republic should “exercise increased caution” due to crime.

Zachary Stieber and Epoch Times reporter Isabel Van Brugen contributed to this report.