Dominican Officials Still Maintain Resorts ‘Are Safe’ After Leyla Cox’s Death at The Excellence Resorts in Punta Cana

In light of Leyla Cox’s death, the fifth American tourist who died June 10 at the Excellence Resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican officials still maintain that the resorts are safe for tourists.

Leyla Cox, from New York, died of an apparent heart attack, according to the autopsy report submitted by a Dominican medical examiner. The otherwise healthy woman went to the Excellence Resorts to celebrate her birthday. She was 53.

Her son, William Cox, is desperate to find out what caused his mom’s sudden death. This vacation was Leyla Cox’s second trip to the island, and she went alone against her family’s wishes.

“My family wanted her to not go on this vacation,” William said in an interview with “I truly believe if my mother was not in the Dominican Republic, she would have been alive right now.”

Related Story: Opinion: Should Americans Still Travel to The Dominican Republic?

“With everything going on in the news right now, we think she’s a casualty of what’s been happening,” he said.

Although Dominican officials have acknowledged the suspicious deaths of six American tourists in the past year, and the numerous accounts now becoming public of American tourists who got violently ill while vacationing on the island at resorts, they continue to say that the resorts are safe and encourage Americans to still vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Spokesman Roberto Rodriguez Marchena for the island’s tourism industry released a video on Twitter saying, the Dominican Republic was  the “largest, fastest growing, tourism destination of the Insular Caribbean.”

According to a report from the U.S. State Department, 128 Americans have died in the past six years while on the island. The causes of death were not listed. There has been no travel advisory listed regarding the Dominican Republic concerning the mounting resort deaths by the American government.

The problem isn’t that Americans are dying in droves in the Dominican Republic. 2.2 million Americans vacationed there last year.

The issue is this — although the number of deaths is disproportionately low compared to the number of American visitors, the Dominican government’s denial and failure to investigate what’s happening is an enormous cause for concern.

Now, many Americans are postponing or canceling travel plans to the island. With that said, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is currently working in conjunction with the Dominican government by request to analyze the toxicology tests of the recently deceased at the Bahia Principe resort in La Romana.

Though Dominican officials still deny if there’s any correlation between the deaths, it appears the prospect of losing billions of dollars in revenue has become an incentive for the Caribbean island nation to take action.


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