The family of a 53-year-old woman from Staten Island, New York say that she is the latest American tourist to die while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Leyla Cox was celebrating her birthday at the Excellence resort in Punta Cana when she suddenly became ill and died. Officials told her son, Will, that she died of a heart attack.
Cox's sudden death makes her the seventh American tourist to die under mysterious circumstances in the Dominican Republic in the past few months.
"I am overwhelmed and confused and in shock," Will told the Staten Island Advance. "I have a right to be suspicious."
Her family urged her to cancel her trip following the recent reports of otherwise healthy people dying in their hotel rooms while on vacation.
"My family wanted her to not go on this vacation," he said. "I truly believe if my mother was not in the Dominican Republic, she would have been alive right now."
Despite the similarities between the cases, Dominican officials say the country is safe and they do not believe the deaths are related.
Officials are looking into whether or not the alcohol in the minibars could have been contaminated since most of the deceased individuals reportedly had a drink before they died.