‘They’re Gone’: Hundreds Mourn Maryland Woman Who Died in Dominican Republic
Hundreds of family members and friends expressed grief and anger as they said goodbye to a Prince George's County woman who was found dead in a Dominican Republic hotel room last month.
Cynthia Day, 50, and her fiancé, Nathaniel Holmes, 63, were found dead May 30, five days after another American died after collapsing at a different hotel on the same resort property.
A memorial service was held for Day at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden on Monday.
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"Our beloved Cyndi has flown away. Oh how I wish we could have one more day," Day's aunt Diane Williams said at the service.
"They're gone, they're gone!" friend Meshonn Madison told News4.
The attorney general for the Dominican Republic released preliminary autopsy results earlier this month, confirming both suffered respiratory failure and pulmonary edema.
The family doesn't believe the results of that examination, a relative of Day has said, and another autopsy in the U.S. is planned.
"She had no health issues — no. Her and Dank, they had no health issues. He had high blood pressure. That was it," Madison said.
"When you have so many similar situations, there's reason for us to pause. We're gonna investigate this and get this matter resolved," said Steven Bullock, the family's attorney.
"It's nonsense. When you look at the study, we've got now three people that have died within days of each other at the same resort of pulmonary edema with secondary heart failure. It's nonsense," said attorney Nick Szokoly, who represents other families of American tourists who have died on the island.
Ministry of Tourism official Francisco Javier Garcia Fernandez called the recent events "heartbreaking," adding that their "hearts go out to all the victims and their families" but that the number of deaths is not an uptick in deaths, citing the U.S. Department of State.
Fernandez said that in the last three years there has been a reduction of 55 percent in the number of deaths of Americans in the Dominican Republic, including a 28 percent decrease from 2016 to 2018.
Fernandez said that it is important to stress that the deaths are not "mysterious," citing that they have been transparent with the autopsy findings and presented them to the families of the deceased.
"There is nothing to hide," he said.
For Day's family, their grief is compounded by the uncertainty surrounding the circumstances of her death.
"But now I can't say goodbye to you my darling, I love you," Day's aunt Joanne James said.