Lehigh County Woman and Maryland Couple Die at Same Dominican Republic Resort Days Apart

Miranda Schaup-Werner died from respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, according to a family spokesperson.

What to Know

  • A Pennsylvania woman died at a Dominican Republic hotel days before a Maryland couple was found dead in another hotel at the same resort.
  • The resort said Miranda Schaup-Werner died from a heart attack, conflicting with an earlier statement from a family spokesperson.
  • Both the resort and the Department of State say the death of the Pa. woman and the deaths of the Md. couple are not related.

A Dominican Republic resort released the cause of death of a Pennsylvania woman who died inside her hotel room just days before a Maryland couple was found dead at a nearby hotel.

On May 25, Miranda Schaup-Werner, a 41-year-old psychotherapist from Lehigh County, arrived at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville with her husband to celebrate their ninth wedding anniversary.

While inside their room, Schaup-Werner had a drink from the mini-bar when she was suddenly struck with "acute physical distress," a family spokesperson said. She then collapsed to the floor.

Schaup-Werner's husband, a doctor, performed CPR as he waited for medics to arrive. She was later pronounced dead. 

A spokesperson for Bahia Principe released a statement Wednesday, stating that Schaup-Werner died from a heart attack.

"According to statements from the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF) and the National Police Investigations Unit (DICRIM), Mrs. Schaup-Werner’s cause of death was determined to be a heart attack, aligning with official statements provided by Mr. Werner, who confirmed she had a history of heart conditions," Bahia Principe wrote.

A spokesperson for the attorney general of the Dominican Republic, however, told NBC affiliate Telemundo 44, out of Washington, D.C., that she did not understand why the hotel is ruling on a manner of death when the investigation is not complete.

The message also conflicts with a statement from a family spokesperson who said Schaup-Werner died from respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. While the U.S. Department of State confirmed Schaup-Werner's death with NBC News, they did not identify an exact cause.

The family spokesperson claimed a toxicology report was never completed and Schaup-Werner's glass and drink were never tested. The spokesperson also said Schaup-Werner was healthy.

In their statement Wednesday, the resort said the hotel's medical staff was contacted immediately after Schaup-Werner was found unresponsive in the room and that they coordinated her transfer to the hospital.

"Unfortunately, Mrs. Schaup-Werner passed before this transfer could take place," the resort spokesperson wrote. "The case was placed in the hands of the local authorities while we provided our complete support to her husband, Mr. Werner."

On May 30, Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 50, an engaged couple from Maryland, were found dead at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana, an adjacent hotel on the same Bahia Principe property.

Investigators said Holmes and Day died from respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. The Department of State said in a statement they were "not aware" of any connection between the death of Schaup-Werner and the deaths of Day and Holmes.

Day and Holmes had been staying at the vacation spot since May 25 and were scheduled to fly back home May 30.

The bodies showed “no signs of violence,” according to a statement from Bahia Principe.

Police said investigators are looking at the possibility carbon monoxide poisoning is to blame for Holmes' and Day's deaths. Police did not confirm whether the couple's room had a carbon monoxide detector.

Speaking by phone, Sonya Jackson, Day’s sister, said the family is having a hard time believing respiratory issues caused the couple's deaths.

In their statement Wednesday, the spokesperson for the Bahia Principe said that the two incidents occurred at two different hotels and that they were not related.

"We disapprove of any speculation and conjecture on the possible causes of death and urge all to respect the families while the investigation is ongoing," the resort said.

The resort also said established security protocols were followed during both incidents and that they've maintained open communication with the authorities.

NBC News and NBC4 contributed to this report.

Correction: NBC10 initially reported that Miranda Schaup-Werner died at the same hotel where Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day died. We later determined that they died at two separate hotels at the same Dominican Republic resort.

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