‘Terrified’ couple ‘poisoned by pesticide’ at luxury Dominican Republic hotel where three US tourists mysteriously died

As authorities investigate the mysterious and sudden deaths of six American tourists at resorts in the Dominican Republic, another couple has said they also became violently ill during their stay.

Kaylynn Knull, 29, and Tom Schwander, 33, from Colorado stayed at Grand Bahia Principe Hotel La Romana in June last year.

Kaylynn Knull, 29, and Tom Schwander, 33, from Colorado said they also became violently ill during their stay in the Dominican Republic
Kaylynn Knull, 29, and Tom Schwander, 33, from Colorado said they also became violently ill during their stay in the Dominican Republic

They are just two out of 30 million tourists (2.7 million US tourists and 179,000 British nationals) who visit the popular holiday destination every year.

Knull told Inside Edition that on the sixth day of the their 13-day vacation, they noticed their room beginning to smell of chemicals.

She explained: “We both woke up soaked in sweat at 4am.

“We were kind of terrified. We booked a flight home before the sun came up.”

The couple claimed they woke with a pounding headache and suffered from dizziness, blurred vision, stomach cramps and shortness of breath.

They also said they endured intense stomach cramping like “chainsaws going through my insides”, diarrhoea, blood in her stool and watering eyes.

In an interview with CNN, Knoll described the “overwhelming chemical smell like someone had painted the walls”.

Knull said: “I had sopped his chest up (with drool) … I was sweating so hard my eyes were tearing. My vision was blurred. … My head was getting dizzy.”

[quote credit=”Kaylynn Knull”]There’s something going on. What happened to us may be related to what happened to them.”[/quote]

A doctor in the US told them they had been poisoned by a pesticide and exposed to organophosphates.

They now suspect insecticides were spread through the hotel’s air conditioning system.

The couple remembered a maintenance person spraying palm plants that covered air conditioning units just outside their room.
“I wondered if someone sprayed our unit,” she told CNN.

“They are always constantly out there taking care of the plants. We saw them out there with bug sprayers.”

However, without being able to identify any clear source of the smell the couple called the front desk but were unable to be helped.

After the incident, the couple claim they were sick for six weeks.

It also comes as a former FBI boss has called for a major investigation into the deaths, saying he believed “environmental issues” were to blame.

In an interview with FOX News, he explained that pesticide restrictions were “pretty liberal” in the region.

“If you’ve been to one of these hotels they spray [pesticides] all the time.”

The Colorado couple filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the owners and were horrified to discover the recent spate of deaths.

[quote credit=”Kaylynn Knull”]This was the hotel that sprayed our room with pesticides! This cannot be a coincidence….”[/quote]

Knull said: “My blood boiled. It made me want to scream. It made me want to cry.

“There’s something going on. What happened to us may be related to what happened to them.”

Posting to her private Facebook account, she said: “This was the hotel that sprayed our room with pesticides! This cannot be a coincidence….

“Honestly, there is something deeply wrong going on with a chemical so I believe that resort needs to be investigated if they are unknowingly harming people.”

She added: “We simply asked for the name of the chemical we were exposed to and a refund on our trip.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating their complaint.

The FBI is also now involved, working with local authorities in the Dominican Republic to try to determine what caused the recent deaths of tourists.

Dominican Republic Tourism Minister Francisco Garcia downplayed the deaths when speaking to reporters Thursday.

He said: “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. … These are isolated incidents and the Dominican Republic is a safe destination.”

A doctor in the US told the couple they had been poisoned by a pesticide and exposed to organophosphates

SIX TOURIST DEATHS

A total of 30 million tourists have visited the island in the past five years and 2.7 million US tourists visit the popular holiday destination every year.

179,000 British nationals visited the Dominican Republic in 2017.

Robert Bell Wallace, 67, became sick and urinated blood after he had one whisky from his room minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana.

He was visiting the country for his step-son’s wedding.

American David Harrison, 45, of Maryland, died in July last year at the same Hard Rock Hotel resort after a sudden heart attack.

His heartbroken widow Dawn McCoy said her husband was mumbling inanely and complained of a “very potent, strange smell”.

[quote credit=”Chloe Arnold, Niece of Robert Bell Wallace”]We have so many questions … We don’t want this to happen to anyone else[/quote]

Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, collapsed died in her room after having a drink from her minibar at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville in La Romana, 70 miles west of Punta Cana

Five days later, Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, were found dead in their room at the neighbouring Grand Bahia Principe resort.

And it has since emerged Yvette Monique Short, 51, passed away she had a drink from the minibar.

It wasn’t clear if Mr Holmes and Ms Day drank from the minibar, and their deaths were attributed by officials to respiratory failure.

Dominican officials said Mr Schaup-Werner suffered a heart attack, but her brother-in-law, Jay McDonald, insisted she died of respiratory failure and had drunk from the bar.

Another woman who stayed at the Bahia Principe this week claimed that she “vomited blood” after drinking a 7-UP from her minibar.

Awilda Montes, from New York, US, believes the 7-Up she drank at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville resort, in the Dominican Republic, contained bleach.

Awilda initially thought it was an accident, but she now thinks she may have been spiked, following the deaths of three people at the resort last month.

[quote credit=”Patrick Quade”]We started to see unusual activity in April when six people reported being ill on the island, but in June it exploded.[/quote]

She told CBS News: “I was cautious when I took a gulp of it. I immediately felt it burn me, burn my mouth, burn my tongue. My mouth was on fire.

Meanwhile, nearly 70 tourists have reported becoming violently ill while staying on the island since March, according to iwaspoisoned.com – a website that tracks food-borne illness outbreaks.

In June alone, 52 tourists reported symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.

More than 45 of them identified themselves as guests at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana.

Website founder Patrick Quade told the NY Post: “We started to see unusual activity in April when six people reported being ill on the island, but in June it exploded.”

Quade consulted Lee-Ann Jaykus, a food microbiologist in the department of food science at North Carolina State University.

Meanwhile, nearly 70 tourists have reported becoming violently ill while vacationing on the island since March, according to iwaspoisoned.com – a website that tracks food-borne illness outbreaks.

In June alone, 52 tourists reported symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.

More than 45 of them identified themselves as guests at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana.

Website founder Patrick Quade told the NY Post: “We started to see unusual activity in April when six people reported being ill on the island, but in June it exploded.”

Quade consulted Lee-Ann Jaykus, a food microbiologist in the department of food science at North Carolina State University.

Jaykus said exposure to an insecticide chemical known as organophosphate could result in severe vomiting and diarrhoea, and in extreme cases it could cause a cardiac crisis.

Dominican authorities said post-mortem examinations revealed all six died of natural causes.

The families of at least three people who died on the island last month were told that their loved ones died from pulmonary edema and respiratory failure.

Other victims were said to have died of heart attacks.

“We are deeply saddened by the incident at one of our hotels in La Romana, Dominican Republic, and want to express our deepest condolences to their family and friends,” Bahia Principe Hotel said in a statement after a Maryland couple was found dead in their hotel room at the end of May.

The US State Department told Fox News: “We can confirm the death of a US citizen in April 2019 in the Dominican Republic.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family for their loss.

“Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we do not have additional information to provide.”

Robert Bell Wallace, 67, right, of California, fell ill and died after drinking a whisky at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Dominican Republic
Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, died in May after a drink from a minibar at the Bahia Principe La Romana Hotel
David Harrison, left, died in July last year at the same Hard Rock Hotel resort under similar, sudden circumstances

The resort apologised and offered her and her boyfriend a meal and a massage, according to reports.

In a statement on the Grupo Pinero website the company that owns the hotel said: “In regards to the two unfortunate events that took place in the Dominican Republic, and after inaccurate and false information has been spread, 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.

[article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN WORLD NEWS” posts_category=”328″ posts_number=”12″ query_type=”popular” /]

“The safety and comfort of our guests and staff stand at the core of our company values, and we work daily to ensure it.

“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.”

The Sun Online has contacted The Hard Rock Hotel and the Dominican Republic Tourist Board for comment.

Yvette Monique Sport, 51, died in June of 2018 on a holiday with her fiancé
David Harrison’s, left, death was ruled a heart attack by authorities in the Dominican Republic
Robert Wallace, right, was allegedly in good health and an avid skier
Engaged Maryland couple Edward Holmes, 63, left, and Cynthia Day, 49, right, died in their room at the Bahia Principe La Romana on May 30
Awilda Montes, from New York, believes her drink was spiked with bleach at the same hotel where three others have died

[bc_video video_id=”6046446017001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Brooklyn woman claims she vomited blood after drinking a beverage from her hotel room’s mini bar in the Dominican Republic”]

 


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‘Terrified’ couple ‘poisoned by pesticide’ at luxury Dominican Republic hotel where three US tourists mysteriously died