The mystery behind the string of Dominican Republic deaths continues.
As RadarOnline.com has learned, a Staten Island woman was found unresponsive in her hotel room this Monday, June 10, making her the seventh American to die in the Caribbean country this year.
Leyla Cox of New Brighton was pronounced dead the day after her 53rd birthday, but local officials said no toxicology report could be carried out because all the country's machines are broken.
The woman’s son, William Cox, told the New York Post that the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo said his mother died of a heart attack, but he’s not ready to accept their explanation, especially due to the recent news about American deaths in the island.
“I have a right to be suspicious,” he said. “The Dominican Republic has not released an autopsy report.”
He said that while he’d like to fly his mother’s body back to the U.S. to get an autopsy, he doesn’t have enough money to do so. Plus, her wish was to be cremated after death, which complicates things even more.
William told the publication that he and the rest of Leyla’s family members were aware of the recent Dominican Republic tragedies and begged her not to go on the trip, but she insisted.
“My family wanted her to not go on this vacation,” he said. “I truly believe if my mother was not in the Dominican Republic, she would have been alive right now.”
He said that whatever is going on in the island, he believes his mother was a victim: “We think she's a casualty of what's been happening.”
He also recalled his last words to her, saying, “I called her on a Sunday and wished her a happy birthday… told her I loved her.”
Earlier this week, Atlanta couple Vanessa McNelley-Neal and husband James said they contracted a “very intense” illness while on vacation in the island. They were staying at the same resort, Bahia Principe Hotel, in which Cynthia Day and fiancé Nathaniel Holmes were found dead days prior. Miranda Schaup Werner and Yvette Monique Sport also died at the resort after having drinks from their minibars.
David Harrison died of an alleged heart attack while vacationing with his wife and son at the Hard Rock in Punta Cana. Robert Bell Wallace also died at that resort after having a scotch from the minibar.
After reports about the deaths spread, Florida resident Jerry Martin said he fell very ill while staying at the Caribe Club Princess Beach Resort & Spa in Punta Cana last month, and Maryland woman Tammy Lawrence-Daley said she was attacked and left for dead by a hotel staff in the area.
The resorts claim they are investigating the issues and cooperating with authorities and the U.S. embassy.