A pizzeria owner from Long Island, NY has joined a growing list of American tourists to die in the Dominican Republic this past year.
56-year-old Vittorio Caruso of Glen Cove died Monday after suddenly becoming ill at the Boca Chica Resort in Santo Domingo. He was the third American tourist to die in a week on the Caribbean island. Caruso went into respiratory distress and died after drinking something at the resort, relatives told Fox News.
“This was a complete shock to us, as Vittorio was not a sick person,” Lisa Maria Caruso, the dead man’s sister-in-law, told Fox.
Caruso’ death comes after Leyla Cox, a 53-year-old hospital MRI technician from Staten Island was found dead in her hotel room on June 10, and Joseph Allen, 55, from Avenel, N.J., who died in his room on June 13. The increase in unexplained deaths has sparked a debate about tourism to the Dominican Republic.
Meanwhile, authorities in the country say they are investigating the deaths but still don’t suspect any foul play. Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia insisted that it is safe to vacation there.
“If there’s been negligence of any kind, we will act,” Garcia said.
Lisa Maria Caruso said her late brother-in-law traveled alone to the Dominican Republic for a vacation and planned to return on Thursday.
“I honestly don’t know exactly what happened, as we have been told conflicting stories from different people there,” she said. “It is very hard to get a straight story from anyone there.”
Relatives were angered when Dominican authorities suggested cremating the dead man’s body.
“We insisted on having the body sent back here,” she said.
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