Local women cancel Dominican Republic trip after rash of unexplained tourist deaths


Best friends Crystal Knox and Tracy Sweat go on a girls’ trip every year.
“Our last trip, we went to Dubai,” Sweat said. “That was a trip that was on our bucket list.” 

This year’s adventure was to the Dominican Republic in September.

“We were so excited to go,” Knox said. “Then, a lot of stuff kept happening over there.” 

They canceled the trip last week after more reports surfaced of American tourists being found dead.

“You really can’t enjoy yourself constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering if something is going to happen to me,” Sweat said.

At least eight American tourists have died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic this year. 

53-years-old Leyla Cox died last week in her resort. Her son Will Cox was told she died of a heart attack. 

“There’s something not right here,” Cox said during an interview with WATE.
“These are lives that are being lost,” said travel agent Erica James. “This is raising the level of alarm for my clients.”

James, who owns Erica James Travel, said 10 clients had canceled trips to the Dominican Republic in the past two weeks.

“They’re just afraid,” James said. “They’re afraid for their safety.” 

James has been a travel agent for 10 years and said, while there can be danger anywhere, the rising number of reports have been disturbing. 
“The difference is the stories right now are back to back to back,” she said. 

As a backup, James has rebooked her clients to Mexico and Jamaica instead.

“I’ve had to redo vacation packages,” she said. 

Crystal and Tracy will now be going to Cancun where they hope to have better peace of mind.

“We’re going to move to something else,” Knox said.

Officials with the Dominican Republic have blamed the deaths on breathing and heart issues. They claim the cases are unrelated and isolated.

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