#Roommates, please send prayers up as another U.S. tourist has died in the #DominicanRepublic. Leyla Cox, 53, passed away on June 10th in her hotel room, @cnn reports. The information was released Sunday night by the Excellence Resorts in Punta Cana.
Officials in the Dominican Republic have called the deaths “isolated events” as they work to reassure travelers their country is safe, although people are understandably skeptical of the eight American deaths that have been reported this year.
“In the last five years, over 30 million tourists have visited the Dominican Republic, but this is the first time the international media report such an alarming situation,” Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia said earlier this month. “These are isolated incidents and the Dominican Republic is a safe destination.”
Previously, the hotel told CNN that Cox felt sick and was taken to a hospital. But in a Sunday statement to CNN, the resort had a different story, saying that Cox, of Staten Island, New York, died in her hotel room.
The hotel gave the cause of death as heart attack, citing a forensics report but CNN reporters say they have not independently confirmed the contents of the report.
“We are deeply saddened by the recent incidents in the Dominican Republic,” the hotel’s statement said. “We understand that safety is a paramount concern for all travelers and we have always taken extensive measures to make safety a priority of all of our Excellence Punta Cana guests.”
Excellence Resorts says it is cooperating with both local and U.S. authorities and expressed “sincere condolences to all of those affected by the recent incidents.”
“We will strive to continue to provide outstanding services to our customers, with their safety and security top of mind.”
Cox’s son expressed doubts over the hotel’s claims about his mother’s cause of death, saying he does not believe she died from “natural causes.”
“I truly believe if she was anywhere else in the world besides the Dominican Republic she’d be alive right now,” Will Cox told CNN affiliate WCBS. “I just hope for some answers.”
We’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest on these stories, Roommates.
TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh