The family of a Pennsylvania woman who was vacationing in the Dominican Republic last year says she died in her room at a resort that is part of a popular hotel chain where the deaths of three other U.S. tourists last month are under investigation.
Relatives of Yvette Monique Sport, 51, told Fox 29 Philadelphia she was visiting the popular tourist spot last June, and stayed at the Bahia Principe Resort in Punta Cana. They say that Sport had a drink from the mini bar inside her room, later went to bed, and never woke up.
The report of Sport’s death comes on the heels of the known deaths of three U.S. tourists in five days that occurred in their rooms at hotels owned by the Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts group.
Her death certificate listed “heart attack” as the cause.
"She was 51 years of age, relatively healthy, no reason for her to go on vacation and die so suddenly," her sister, Felecia Nieves, told Fox 29.
The U.S. State Department on Thursday confirmed her death in an email to Fox News.
"We can confirm the death of U.S. citizen Yvette Monique Sport in June 2018 in the Dominican Republic," the statement said. "We offer our sincerest condolences to her family for their loss. Ms. Sport passed away at a different Bahia Principe hotel in Punta Cana, approximately 50 miles from the Nueva Romana hotels. Out of respect for the privacy of her family, we have no further comment at this time."
The details of Sport's actions preceding her death are identical to that of Miranda Schaup-Werner of Allentown, Penn., who collapsed and died on May 25 after having a drink from the room mini bar. Her death has been attributed to a heart attack, although her family has said she was healthy. Schaup-Werner's death initially was said to have been linked to pulmonary edema, where the lungs fill with fluid. Five days later, on May 30, another couple, Edward Holmes and Cynthia Day were found dead in their room. They too were said by authorities to have had pulmonary edema, though a conclusion still has not been reported regarding their cause of death.
Schaup died at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville, Holmes and Day died at the adjacent Bahia Principe La Romana.
"It makes me question at this point is this cause of death even true," Nieves said.
Sport was vacationing there with her fiancé, Howard Taltoan, and their friends.
"We were promised within three months that we would receive a toxicology report to this day, which is almost a year now we’ve got nothing," Nieves said.
"I think the State Department needs to step in and investigate these deaths something is not right," Taltoan said.
Referring to other deaths at hotels in the same chain, Nieves said: "It makes me question at this point is this cause of death even true?"
The report noted that U.S. federal data show that in 2018, 13 American deaths were reported in the Dominican Republican. It did not include Sport’s death because it was declared by Dominican authorities to have been caused by natural causes.
The attorney for Holmes' family says an autopsy will be conducted once his body is returned to the U.S.
Fox News asked the Bahia Principe group on Tuesday if other Americans have died on its properties in the last two years. They have not yet responded.