Family searching for answers after Whitehall Twp. woman dies suddenly in Dominican Republic


A Lehigh County family is looking for answers in the death of a Whitehall Township woman who died suddenly at a resort in the Dominican Republic.

Five days later, a couple from Maryland died at the same resort, the same way.

The U.S. Embassy tells 69 News it's actively monitoring the investigations by Dominican authorities into these tragic deaths.

Whitehall Township's Miranda Schaup-Werner and the Maryland couple checked into the Grand Bahia Principle Hotel on the same day, and then within 5 days of each other died from respiratory failure​​​​​​.

"The bizarre issue of the same hotel and these things happening within days of each other and the complete unexpected nature of what happened to Miranda, we just want to understand this," said family spokesman Jay McDonald.

McDonald says Miranda, 41, collapsed after having a drink from the minibar in the room she shared with her husband.

"She had been seemingly healthy. He was not aware of anything going on with her health," he said.

However, McDonald says 15 years ago she was treated for a heart condition. Dominican authorities say the Maryland pair, Ed Holmes and Cynthia Day, had heart conditions, too.

"Most obviously it speaks to something more," said LVHN Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician Dr. Joseph Schellenberg.

He adds that a heart condition isn't the only factor for an edema.

"You could have a delayed inflammatory response, delayed leaking of the capillaries," he said.

Brought on, he says, by anything from the flu or an infectious disease, with legionnaires' disease being a leading candidate.

Miranda's family says they just want concrete answers, and not just for themselves.

"We have concern for other people who might travel there," McDonald said.

The hotel says it is fully cooperating with authorities. A travel warning has been in place for Americans traveling to the Dominican Republic for months. However, that dealt with violence issues and not these three recent deaths.