WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – A vacation turned deadly for an Allentown woman visiting the Dominican Republic. Her death, just days before two others were found dead at the same resort, has investigators trying to figure out what exactly happened.
Five days before a Maryland couple was found dead in their hotel room at Grand Bahia Principe Hotel, 41-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner suddenly collapsed and died. They were all at the same hotel and all share the same cause of death, CBS News has learned.
But, so far, local authorities on the island say there’s no link.
The events surrounding their death have led to an active investigation by the U.S. State Department.
Cynthia Day and Nathaniel Holmes, who were engaged to be married, died on May 30. It is not believed the couples even knew each other.
Schaup-Werner was in the Caribbean with her husband celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary.
Officials say she had just one drink when she collapsed and her husband attempted CPR. Her cause of death is listed as respiratory failure and pulmonary edema.
In a statement sent to Eyewitness News Wednesday night, the hotel said Schaup-Werner had a history of heart conditions.
The questions swirling around Schaup-Werner’s death have left her distraught neighbors hopeful they’ll find closure.
“We don’t have any answers of what happened down there,” said Mike Saraceni, who lives next door to Schaup-Werner in Whitehall Township. “They’re very nice people. They’re the neighbors you want to have next to you. When there’s two feet of snow here in Lehigh Valley, they’re out with a snow shovel. When it’s a hot day, they offer you a beverage.”
Jessica Marselles has known Schaup-Werner for more than 10 years and said they suspected something was wrong after not seeing her around.
“I just felt really sad, really shocked and sad that it happened because she was such a sweet kind and person,” Marselles said. “You see it all over Twitter, Facebook, you know somebody died in the Dominican Republic from our area and it’s just very shocking still to see her face on the news.”
“We lost a great friend and an angel and hope we can get some closure on this and some peace in our neighborhood,” Saraceni said.
The Grand Bahia Principe Hotel released a statement that said there were no signs of violence in either of the rooms. The statement reads, in part, “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. During the event and in the days that followed we provided our complete support to Mr. Werner in collaboration with local authorities and the U.S. Embassy. We once again express our condolences to Mr. Werner and his family and friends on the passing of Mrs. Schaup-Werner.”