Couple was poisoned at same Dominican Republic hotel as 3 Americans

Nathaniel Edward Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day (pictured above) and a third American died at the same resort hotel in the Dominican Republic in May 2019. Photos: Facebook/Cynthia Ann Day

A Colorado couple said they were poisoned at the same vacation hotel in the Dominican Republic last year where three tourists died within five days of each other late last month.

CNN reports that Kaylynn Knull, 29, and her boyfriend Tom Schwander, 33, told authorities that they became violently ill with what they believe were insecticides. The chemicals were allegedly sprayed liberally on the plants outside their hotel room and got into the air conditioning unit.

Knull was overcome with emotion when she learned of the three American deaths.

“My blood boiled. It made me want to scream. It made me want to cry,” Knull told CNN. “There’s something going on. What happened to us may be related to what happened to them.”

In May 2019, the bodies of Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63 and Cynthia Day, 49, were found in their hotel rooms by employees at the resort. They were prompted to enter the room because the couple failed to leave at check out time. They were scheduled to fly back to suburban Washington D.C. that day. Autopsies later revealed that they died from respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, which was caused by excess fluid in the lungs.

Five days before their deaths, Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, suddenly collapsed and died mysteriously in her hotel room. She was also described as having died from pulmonary edema and respiratory failure. The three Americans checked into the hotel on the same day, May 25.

Knull said she and Schwander comment while they were at the hotel, they noticed a powerful “chemical smell like someone had painted the walls.” When the housekeeper came to the room after they called with complaints, they said she “waved her hand” over her nose and immediately walked out. The couple suffered from severe stomach pains that felt like “chainsaws going through my insides.” Eventually, the couple cut the vacation short and flew home early, which cost them an extra $600.

Knull told CNN they filed a lawsuit against the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel La Romana in the D.R. because of their violent illnesses.

Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, their decision to leave probably saved their lives.

Once back in the U.S., the couple visited their individual doctors who, as CNN reports, said they were exposed to organophosphates, a man-made chemical used in pesticides to kill ants and roaches.

Most troubling is the fact that organophosphates can cause respiratory problems and even or respiratory failure, said Emory University professor of exposure science and environmental health, Dana Boyd Barr.

The three Americans who died succumbed to respiratory failure.

Terry Shropshire
Terry Shropshire

A military veteran and Buckeye State native, I've written for the likes of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Detroit Free Press. I'm a lover of words, photography, books, travel, animals and The Ohio State Buckeyes. #GoBucks