As the investigation into the deaths of three Americans at a Dominican Republic resort continues, a Pennsylvania woman has come forward, claiming her sister also died under similar circumstances last year at another hotel owned by the same company.
“Just gut-wrenching horror,” Felecia Nieves told NBC10 Thursday. “It was horrifying.”
Nieves’ sister, 51-year-old Yvette Monique Sport of Glenside, Pennsylvania, died in June of 2018 at a Bahia Principe hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, according to an official with the Department of State.
“She drank from the mini-bar, took a shower, and wanted to retire for the evening,” Nieves said.
When Sport’s fiancé woke up the next morning however, he noticed she was unresponsive.
“He tried to nudge her again and there was no sound and then she was gone,” Nieves said.
Sport’s death certificate listed a heart attack as the official cause. Nieves told NBC10 her younger sister was healthy however. She’s even more suspicious now after learning of the recent deaths of Pennsylvania native Miranda Schaup-Werner as well as Maryland couple Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day.
Like Sport, Schaup-Werner also drank from the mini-bar after checking into her room with her husband at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville on May 25, according to a family spokesperson. Her family said she was then struck with “acute physical distress” and collapsed to the floor. She was later pronounced dead.
Preliminary autopsy reports released by the Dominican Republic's Attorney General said that Schaup-Werner died of "heart attacks in the left ventricular wall, pulmonary edema and respiratory failure." While the resort claimed that Schaup-Werner's husband confirmed she had a "history of heart conditions," a family spokesperson said she was healthy at the time of her trip.
Five days later, Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and his fiancée Cynthia Day, 50, were found dead at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana, an adjacent hotel on the same Bahia Principe property where Schaup-Werner died.
Causes of death have not been determined but a preliminary autopsy report released by the Dominican Republic's Attorney General presented a long list of health problems for both Holmes and Day, including respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. The toxicology report has not yet been completed.
The Department of State said in a statement they were "not aware" of any connection between the death of Schaup-Werner and the deaths of Day and Holmes, an assertion that the Bahia Principe also maintains.
The hotels where Schaup-Werner, Day and Holmes died are approximately 50 miles from where Sport died last summer. Nieves remains suspicious of all the deaths as well as the responses from officials in the Dominican Republic.
“It’s a complete fabrication,” Nieves said. “That you could have as many people and they all have the same cookie cutter outcome. It’s impossible.”
Nieves wants to connect with the families of the other victims to investigate further.
“This is about justice for people that we love,” she said. “We’re never going to get them back but we can give them justice.”