12 JUN 2019: Four tourists have died in curious circumstances in the Dominican Republic in recent months. Dominican authorities said post-mortem examinations revealed they all died of natural causes but families of the deceased are demanding answers. Groupo Pinero owner of the Bahia Principe Hotels and resorts is threatening legal action after suffering a backlash following the sudden deaths.

Robert Bell Wallace, 67, became sick and urinated blood after he allegedly had just one whisky from his room minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana in April. His wife who was with him said he began vomiting blood and was admitted to hospital, where he died two days later.

American holidaymaker Miranda Schaup-Werner, aged 41, visiting the DR with her husband, died in her room on May 25 after she reportedly had a drink from her minibar at the Bahia Principe La Romana

Five days later, engaged couple Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, were found dead in their room at the Bahia Principe La Romana, a neighouring hotel on the same resort.

It has also emerged that tourist, 51-year-old Yvette Sport, died suddenly at the Bahia Principe resort in Punta Cana last June. She is alleged to have died of a heart-attack but her family now says that the most recent deaths at the Bahia Principe resorts have caused them to question her death.

Last July, David Harrison, from the US, died at the Hard Rock Hotel and his family is also now questioning the reason.

The FBI is reportedly helping the Dominican Republic authorities investigate the deaths.

In a statement issued following the deaths in May, Grupo Pinero said: "In regards to the two unfortunate events that took place in the Dominican Republic, and after inaccurate and false information has been spread or circulated of by various media, digital platforms and social networks, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts would like to express our deep respect to the authorities and the ongoing investigations.

"We reiterate our firm commitment to collaborating completely with the authorities and hope for a prompt resolution of their inquiries and actions and will not be making any further statements that may interfere with them.

"As a result of the misinformation that has been published, which we wholeheartedly disagree with, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts has suffered great damage to its image and reputation.'¨

"Serious insults and threats have been levied on some of our more than 15,000 employees and their families, who are the backbone of our company and before whom we cannot stand idle on the sidelines.

"For 24 years, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts has operated in the Dominican Republic, which is one of the most internationally recognized destinations, receiving 7 million tourists from all over the world annually.

"In the D.R., we have 14 hotels and more than 7,100 rooms, making us the largest hotel brand in total number of hotel beds in the country. We welcome approximately 700,000 guests each year.

"The safety and comfort of our guests and staff stand at the core of our company values, and we work daily to ensure it. All our properties in the Dominican Republic hold some of the most prestigious certifications in the industry including Travelife certifications at the Gold level, as well as a Global Reputation Index (GRI) of 90 percent.

"We reiterate that we completely disagree with the dissemination of false information issued publicly which threatens the image and reputation of the company and the integrity and rights of our employees and their families, reserving, where necessary, the right to take the appropriate legal action."

4A_DR

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