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US has ruled out tainted alcohol in three Dominican Republic tourist death cases

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Posted at 9:08 PM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 21:08:58-04

BALTIMORE — The US has ruled out tainted alcohol in three big Dominican Republic tourist death cases.

The State Department says that the FBI toxicology reports from Cynthia Day and Nathaniel Holmes -- the Maryland couple that died on May 30 -- "were able to rule out several potential causes of death... including methanol poisoning from tainted alcohol," according to a department spokesperson.

According to the spokesperson, none of the chemicals identified as possible toxins were found.

U.S. citizens Cynthia Day and Nathaniel Holmes died in La Romana, Dominican Republic, on May 30. Investigation by Dominican authorities showed no physical violence or indications of foul play. Dominican authorities sought assistance from the FBI with the toxicology testing for the couple.

U.S. citizen Miranda Schaup-Werner died at a sister resort on May 25 from what Dominican authorities determined was a heart attack. The FBI performed toxicology testing for Miranda Schaup-Werner to ensure there was no linkage between the two events.

Test results have been provided to Dominican authorities and to the family members of the deceased. As in any death investigation, toxicology supports the physical autopsy and investigation into the circumstances of death. In this instance, the toxicology findings from the FBI were able to rule out several potential causes of death for Cynthia Day and Nathaniel Holmes, including methanol poisoning from tainted alcohol. The laboratory in Quantico and investigators in the Dominican Republic conducted thorough and time-consuming efforts, and none of the chemicals identified as possible toxins were found.

We refer you to local authorities regarding any specifics.

We reiterate our condolences to the families of the deceased during this difficult time.

We understand that the Dominican National Police investigation has not found any indications of violence or foul play linked to these deaths.

The safety of U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic is a top priority for the U.S. government and the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo. We will continue to work with all of our Dominican counterparts in the tourism, law enforcement, and health sectors to assess and inform the public about safety risks in the Dominican Republic.