NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Another American tourist has mysteriously died while on vacation in the Dominican Republic.
The latest victim in the popular tourist destination – a New York City mother. That’s now a half dozen deaths in the past year.
CBS2’s Alice Gainer spoke to the woman’s son, who is desperately searching for answers amid his grief.
Leyla Cox of Staten Island was on a solo birthday trip to the Dominican when she passed away this past Monday.
“I didn’t realize how much of an impact she made in New York until she passed away and that just shows how much of a bright light she was and now it’s forever extinguished in this world,” her son, Will Cox said.
The 53-year-old’s only son got the news when the U.S. embassy in the D.R. called him to tell him she died of a heart attack.
“I do not believe it was of natural causes. I truly believe if she was anywhere else in the world besides the Dominican Republic she’d be alive right now and we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” the grieving 25-year-old declared.
Cox joins a growing list of Americans who have passed away while in the Caribbean country over the last year.
Among those five, a Pennsylvania woman and a couple from Maryland all three died at the same resort.
Preliminary autopsies released by Dominican authorities say they all had fluid in their lungs and respiratory failure. Toxicology reports are not yet available.
Robert Wallace’s family said he quickly became sick and died after drinking a scotch from the minibar at a different hotel.
Nearly two months later, his family still doesn’t have answers.
Leyla Cox was staying at another hotel. Her son said he was told there would be no toxicology report because her autopsy showed no red flags and that the toxicology machine was broken.
Before Cox’s death, the U.S. embassy in the D.R. said in a statement, it had “no indication of any connection between the previous deaths.”
The ministry of tourism there said investigations are in progress.
“I’m going to miss my mother. I’m not ready to lose my mom and I would do anything to get her back and nothing I can do will get her back and I just hope for some answers,” Will Cox said.
He added that he can’t properly begin to grieve until he knows for sure why his mother died.
Cox told CBS2’s Alice Gainer that his mother traveled a lot and this was her third trip to the Dominican Republic.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department says it’s closely monitoring the police investigation in Punta Cana regarding Leyla Cox’s cause of death.
List Of Recent American Deaths In The Dominican Republic
- June 17, 2019: Vittorio Caruso, 56, from Glen Cove, N.Y.
Died after “drinking something,” cause of death not officially determined.
- June 13, 2019: Joseph Allen, 55, of Avenel, N.J.
Died at Terra Linda resort in Sosua, Dominican Republic. Cause of death yet to be officially determined.
- June 10, 2019: Leyla Cox, 53, of Staten Island, N.Y.
Died at the Excellence Resorts in Punta Cana. Cause of death in DR ruled a heart attack.
- May 30, 2019: Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63, of Maryland.
Died at the Grand Bahia Principe in La Romana. DR officials ruled cause of death as respiratory failure, along with Cynthia Day.
- May 30, 2019: Cynthia Day, 49, of Maryland.
Died at the Grand Bahia Principe in La Romana. DR officials ruled cause of death as respiratory failure, along with Nathaniel Holmes.
- May 25, 2019: Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, of Allentown, Pa.
Died at the Bahia Principe resort in La Romana. Cause of death ruled heart attack and respiratory failure.
- March 27, 2019: Orlando Moore, 40, of Westchester County, N.Y.
Body recovered from the sea near San Souci on March 31, linked to a traffic crash on March 27 with Ravenelle.
- March 27, 2019: Portia Ravenelle, 52, of Westchester County, N.Y.
Found alive on highway in DR, later died of injuries at a hospital, linked to a traffic crash on March 27 with Moore.
- April 12, 2019: Robert Wallace, 67, of California.
Died at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana of a heart attack after being served a scotch at the bar.
- April 2019: John Corcoran of Turlock, California
Death in DR reported by CNN through his sister, “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran.
- July 2018: David Harrison of Maryland.
Died at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana of a heart attack.
- June 2018: Yvette Monique Sport of Pennsylvania.
According to CNN reports, she died after drinking from her hotel room’s mini-bar at the Bahia Principe in Punta Cana.
- May 2018: Donette Edge Cannon of Queens, N.Y.
Died at hospital of kidney failure after stay in Punta Cana.