US

Ohio Father Went to Dominican Republic Healthy and ‘Just Never Came Back’

By Zachary Stieber

An Ohio father went to the Dominican Republic earlier this year and died three days after arriving there. In light of the spate of recent deaths, his family thinks something went amiss.

Jerry Curran, who worked for the Bedford Police Department for 32 years, went to the Caribbean country with his wife in mid-January and arrived at the Dreams Resort in Punta Cana on Jan. 22.

Three days later, he was dead.

His daughters said that they’ve struggled to get answers to lingering questions about his death.

“He went to the Dominican Republic healthy and he just never came back,” one of them, Kellie Brown, told WKYC.

When the family started reading about multiple American tourists dying in the country under suspicious circumstances, they grew even more concerned.

“I thought something’s not right my father was a healthy 78-year-old, he took care of himself and I just didn’t think anything like this was possible, but then I started to hear other people’s stories,” Brown said.

The situation bears similarities to many of the other deaths: upon arriving at the resort, Curran had several drinks and started feeling sick.

The location of the Dreams Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Screenshot/Google Maps)
The Dominican Republic is next to Haiti and near Puerto Rico. (Screenshot/Google Maps)

He was in bed for the next couple of days before he started to vomit. He was soon unconscious. A two-hour trip finally ended with him in a hospital on a ventilator.

That’s when Brown got a strange phone call from a friend who was traveling with her parents.

“Your father needs surgery or he’s going to die and they need $50,000 and you need to send it with a copy of your passport, the front and back of your debit card and an authorization stating that you would allow them to withdraw $50,000,” Brown told WKYC. They negotiated down to $40,000 and authorized the transaction.

Curran was dead eight hours later.

artificial skull with brain detail
An artificial model of a human skull and brain. (Jesse Orrico/Unsplash)

Four different causes for the death were listed by authorities: cerebral hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen to the brain; subdural hematoma, or a brain bleed; cranial trauma, or a traumatic brain injury; and pulmonary edema, or a build-up of fluid in the lungs.

A number of the other recent deaths have had pulmonary edema listed as one of the causes.

The family believes something strange happened. “We want to find out what happened and why did he die,” Brown said.

Bavaro beach, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on Jan. 16, 2012. (Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images)

According to Curran’s obituary, Curran died in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 26 “while doing what he loved best, traveling with his wife.”

“Jerry served as a Bedford police officer, detective, and bailiff for 42 years. He retired to The Villages in Florida, where he loved to golf, dance in the square, and spend time with so many friends,” it said. “His kind-heartedness, unforgettable laugh, and enthusiasm for life will never be forgotten.”

Curran was survived by his wife, daughters, four grandchildren, and two brothers.