‘Shark Tank’ star reveals brother among mysterious tourist deaths in Dominican Republic

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“Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran said her brother was found dead in his hotel room in the Dominican Republic back in April, TMZ reported.

Corcoran said her brother, John, was in the Dominican Republic with a friend on his yearly vacation. She was told he died of a heart attack. She doesn’t believe an autopsy was performed.

Corcoran told TMZ her brother’s friend discovered the body but said nobody knows exactly what happened.

John and Barbara were among 10 siblings in their family, according to a recent post on Instagram.

In a statement to Fox News, Corcoran’s assistant, Emily Burke, said:

“John Corcoran passed away at the end of April in the DR from what is believed to be natural causes. He loved and frequently visited the Dominican Republic. Barbara would like to respect the privacy of his children and is not releasing any other information at this time.”

Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia has insisted his country is a safe destination. He said the deaths were unrelated.

“These cases are very regrettable, but isolated,” he said in a statement. “Investigation into them is a top priority for us and for the National Police. We are asking them to deploy all resources to help provide answers as quickly as possible.”

Dominican government spokesman Roberto Rodriguez Marchena and others this week started reusing the hashtag #BeFairWithDR — which the officials have used before to counter negative publicity.

“Cheerful, welcoming and hospitable, our Dominican Republic, the economy that grows the most in America, with its beautiful beaches and mountains, its tasty gastronomy and hardworking people invites you to know and love it,” he tweeted.

Tourism last year represented more than 17% of the country’s economy, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

About 6.5 million tourists visited the Dominican Republic last year, more than any other Caribbean nation, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The United States accounted for 2.2 million of those tourists — more than any other country in the region.

Forty-eight Americans died in the Dominican Republic between 2016 and 2018, according to statistics available on the US Department of State website. The statistics, which do not cover deaths from natural causes, include drownings, homicides, suicides, vehicle and other accidents.

At least seven U.S. citizens have died in the last year, the U.S. State Department and family members have confirmed.

Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, missed their scheduled checkout time at the Bahia Principe La Romana on May 30. Their hotel is located at the same resort. When hotel employees checked on the Maryland couple, they were dead, police said.

The couple had internal bleeding, including in their pancreases, according to Dominican authorities. Holmes had an enlarged heart and cirrhosis of the liver — both signs of significant pre-existing disease, the Dominican authorities said, and Day also had fluid in her brain. The couple also had fluid in their lungs, Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez Sanchez’s office said in a statement. Authorities wouldn’t provide more details on the cause of death until toxicology results are completed.

Miranda Schaup-Werner of Whitehall township, Pennsylvania, suffered from a heart attack, pulmonary edema and respiratory failure, according to a preliminary autopsy cited by the Attorney General’s Office of the Dominican Republic. Toxicology results are pending and the death remains under investigation.

She had checked into the Bahia Principe resort in La Romana on May 25 and excitedly took pictures in the room she shared with her husband, Dan Werner. They were celebrating a wedding anniversary. She had a drink from the minibar and suddenly felt ill, family spokesman Jay McDonald told CNN affiliate WFMZ. Shortly afterward, she collapsed and died.

• John Corcoran died at the end of April in his hotel room in the Dominican Republic, according to a statement from his sister, businesswoman and “Shark Tank” TV star Barbara Corcoran. “He passed away from what is believed to be natural causes,” the statement said. “He loved and frequently visited the Dominican Republic.”

Robert Wallace, 67, a resident of Turlock, California, died after becoming ill at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana on April 12, relatives told CNN affiliate KTXL-TV. More than two dozen members of his family were in the Dominican Republic for a wedding. Tommy Tickenhoff, his son in law, told the station that Wallace became sick after drinking scotch from a minibar.

The US State Department confirmed the death. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, in a statement, did not discuss the particulars of the case but confirmed the death. It said it was awaiting official reports in the death and added, “The safety and wellness of our guests … is now, and has always been our highest priority. We are confident that all operational protocols were followed to ensure the safety of our guests. While we are deeply saddened by these incidents, and our thoughts go out to all of those affected, we, along with the general public, will be monitoring the facts as they unfold surrounding these events.”

• David Harrison, 45, of Brandywine, Maryland, died at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana on July 14, according to his wife, Dawn McCoy. They were celebrating an anniversary. She said her husband returned from a snorkeling excursion one day earlier and he said he wasn’t feeling well. Early the next morning, she said, he was sweating and unable to get up before he died. The cause of death was listed as a heart attack and pulmonary edema by local authorities.

• Yvette Monique Sport died in June 2018 at the Bahia Principe in Punta Cana, her sister, Felecia Nieves, told CNN. She had traveled there June 22 with a group of friends, her first vacation in eight years, Nieves said.

Sport, a resident of Pennsylvania, took a shower and went to bed after having drinks with her fiance, Nieves said. Sport also had a drink from the minibar, she said. Her fiance heard her make “a gurgling sound” in her sleep, Nieves said. The next morning, Nieves said he discovered that she was dead. The family is still awaiting toxicology reports. The US State Department confirmed the death.

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