A New York man who died while on vacation in the Dominican Republic is the latest tourist to perish on the island, Fox News reports.
Former pizzeria owner Vittorio Caruso, 56, of Glen Cove, died on June 17 after falling ill at the Boca Chica Resort in Santo Domingo. His sister-in-law, Lisa Maria Caruso, told the news outlet that Vittorio, who was supposed to return home on June 27, had been in good health prior to the trip.
"We found out he was brought by ambulance to the hospital in respiratory distress after drinking something," she said. "We were told he wasn't responding to any meds he was given and died. I honestly don't know exactly what happened, as we have been told conflicting stories from different people there."
Lisa explained that authorities wanted to cremate Vittorio's body but the family insisted on bringing it back home.
"It is very hard to get a straight story from anyone there," she said.
Vittorio's relatives are expecting his autopsy results today, Lisa added.
He is one of several Americans who have mysteriously died at resorts throughout the country over the past several months.
Earlier this month, on June 13, New Jersey resident Joseph Allen died at the Terra Linda Resort in Sosua after complaining to his friends about being too hot in the pool the day before. A maid reportedly discovered Allen between his bedroom and bathroom, and a medical examiner later determined that he may have died of cardiac arrest.
Last month, a Pennsylvania psychotherapist and a Maryland couple died within just days of each other at a resort. On May 25, Miranda Schaup-Werner was celebrating her ninth anniversary with her husband at the Bahia Principe Bouganville in La Romana when she suddenly collapsed after having a drink. Five days later, Edward Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day were found dead in their room at the nearby Bahia Principe La Romana. In both cases, officials said the victims died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, although relatives of all three have remained skeptical. The FBI is currently assisting Dominican police with the investigation into their deaths.
Since June 2018, there have been over 10 cases of suspicious deaths in the Dominican Republic, many of which have involved the consumption of questionable alcohol or the use of hotel amenities. The victims include Pennsylvania woman Yvette Monique Sport, Maryland resident David Harrison, Californian Robert Wallace, Ohio resident Jerry Curran, California resident Robert Turlock, and New York resident Leyla Cox.
Last Friday, the New York Post reported that New Yorker Donette Edge Cannon, 38, also died last year following her stay at the Sunscape Bávaro Beach Punta Cana. Prior to her passing, she had allegedly woken up in the middle of the night and begun vomiting and having diarrhea.
Amid the growing number of incidents, Dominican officials have attempted to quell fears over their country's safety. In an interview with Fox News, Ministry of Public Health spokesman Carlos Suero dismissed any concerns as "fake news."
"People die all over the world," he said. "Unfortunately, very unfortunately for us, these tourists have died here. We had about 14 deaths last year here of U.S. tourists, and no one said a word. Now everyone is making a big deal of these."
Still, should authorities eventually determine that foul play is involved in any of the recent deaths, they would take appropriate action, said Francisco Garcia, the country's minister of tourism.
"If there's something that went wrong, we will take the disciplinary measures that are warranted," he said. "We will make whatever decision we must make if there's been negligence of any kind. We will act."