The Punta Cana Hard Rock Casino Mystery

June 11th, 2019 2.00pm

The Punta Cana Hard Rock Casino has recently become a centre of a scandal, after a series of mysterious fatalities in April and May this year. The circumstances of deaths have prompted rumours about a possible serial poisoner on the loose, triggering an investigation by the FBI.

Four Victims in Only Two Months

The public interest about the case was spurred by the death of three US tourists in May, who all displayed the same symptoms. The first victim, Miranda Schaup-Werner (41), fell ill shortly after arriving at San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic (some 70 miles west of Punta Cana) and allegedly died of a heart attack only two hours after the first symptoms were exhibited. Less than one week later, bodies of Cynthia Ann Day (49) and Nathaniel Edward Holmes (63) were discovered inside the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana, owned by the same company that manages Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville (Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts), where Cynthia checked in 5 days earlier.

The symptoms of all three individuals were eerily similar – haemorrhaging , enlarged heart, and pulmonary edema…

With the death of Robert Bell Wallace (67) in April, who passed away under the same circumstances during his stay at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, the total number of relatively recent incidents with tragic outcomes has amounted to six.

“Really, We’re a Safe Destination”

Only days before Robert Well Wallace’s fell ill, a Maryland resident Dawn McCoy expressed concerns about the death of her husband David Harrison who was a guest of the same resort (owned by Hard Rock International). Just like Wallace, Harrison was a healthy individual up until his visit to the Dominican Republic. According to Wallace’s niece, her uncle felt sick moments after drinking the Scotch from the minibar. Although immediately hospitalized, Mr Wallace died the following day. The cause of death remains a mystery and the family members are still waiting for the answers from the Dominican Republic authorities.

Paola Rainieri, the President of the Dominican Republic & Tourism Association, advised that these incidents are isolated and that the safety of the popular tourist destination, famous for its 5 reel video slots, is not compromised in any way. At the same time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved, providing “technical assistance with the toxicology reports” as stated by the State Department official.


In the meantime, one more death has been linked with the minibar drinks that were available at different resorts. In 2018, Yvette Monique Sport (51) from Pennsylvania died in her sleep after taking a drink from the minibar.

The autopsy reported a heart attack as the cause of death, but the toxicology report was never provided. Similar results are found in the autopsy report of Miranda Schaup-Werner, where the cause of death is listed as “heart attack in the left ventricular wall, pulmonary edema, and respiratory failure”. For some reason, the analysis of the glass is not provided.

While some of the possible theories include dangerous pesticides or even a serial killer, there are those who feel that the link is circumstantial and that the cases are unrelated.

So far, the pesticide poisoning seems to be the most valid assumption, corroborated by the Colorado couple’s lawsuit against the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel La Romana. The couple told CNN that they felt extremely ill after detecting a “chemical smell” inside their room, which they believe was caused by organophosphates exposure.



Hard Rock Punta Cana Casino