A New Jersey man died last week while staying at a resort in the Dominican Republic, becoming at least the ninth American tourist to die under strange circumstances in the last year while visiting the small Caribbean country.
Joseph Allen, 55, was found dead in his room on Thursday at the Terra Linda Resort in Sosua, where he was celebrating a friend’s birthday, his family approved to NBC News. An autopsy report provided to NBC News by a police source in the Dominican Republic showed Allen had prior heart issues, but an official cause of death is still undetermined pending a toxicology report.
Allen’s sister-in-law stated that the family was scrambling for answers.
“My brother was a hard worker,” Allen’s brother, Jason Allen, told NBC New York. “He taught me a lot about sacrifice. … He taught me so many things about being a man. He was selfless.”
The night before his death, family members said Allen — who has a 23-year-old son — complained to friends about the heat and went back to his room to take a shower and lie down.
“The maid opens the door, screams, slams the door. My brother is on the floor dead, between his room and the bathroom,” Jason Allen stated.
Jason Allen stated he doesn’t know who is to blame for his brother’s death but wants it investigated.
“I’d rather not guess because you will drive yourself crazy with that, but I do think something is off, and I think it needs to be investigated no matter how much money or how much time it is,” he stated.
A representative for the Terra Linda Resort was not immediately available for comment.
A number of other families have also reported stories of their relatives mysteriously dying while staying at resorts in the Dominican Republic.
Leyla Cox, 53, an MRI technician from the New York City borough of Staten Island, was staying at the Excellence resort in Punta Cana when she died on June 11, just a day after her birthday, according to her son. Will Cox stated he still does not know his mother’s cause of death and has not had the chance to mourn properly as her remains haven’t been returned home.
According to him, a representative for the U.S. Embassy said a toxicology test would not be conducted on his mother’s body because the machines were broken.