The tourists dying on vacations to Caribbean and Mexico

Tourists on tropical vacations have been plagued by trouble in paradise in recent years — including mysterious poisonings, unsolved disappearances and one couple’s tragic honeymoon murder.

Last week, American tourists Robbie Phillips, 65, Michael Phillips, 68, and Vincent Chiarella, 64, became the latest to have their dream trips turn into nightmares, when they suddenly fell ill and died mysteriously at the swanky Sandals Emerald Bay resort in the Bahamas.

The case reignited fear surrounding strange and violent deaths at vacation hotspots in the Caribbean and Mexico. 

Here are some examples of where paradise was lost:

Sativa Transue. Cancún, Mexico. November, 2021.

The 26-year-old Washington state woman planned to spend Thanksgiving relaxing in the sun with her boyfriend,  Taylor Allen.

But the day after arriving, she was reportedly found “beaten to a bloody pulp”  in a room at the $200-a-night All Ritmo Resort.

Allen was quickly arrested by Mexican authorities and charged with killing her.

Sativa Transue, 26, was found beaten to death in a swanky Cancún resort. Her boyfriend, Taylor Allen, was charged with her murder.
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Elijah Snow. Cancun,  Mexico. July 2021.

The 35 -year-old Texas firefighter was celebrating a wedding anniversary with his wife, Jamie, when he disappeared just hours after checking into the Royalton Chic Cancún Resort & Spa.

His body was found the next morning, stuffed into a small window on an isolated strip of the Sunset Royal Beach.

Elijah Snow
35-year-old Texas firefighter Elijah Snow died in Cancún.

Despite multiple bruises and a gash on his head, Mexican officials ruled his death an accident.

Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day. Dominican Republic. June 2019

The bodies of Day, 50, and her fiancé Holmes, 63, were found in their room at the Bahia Principe hotel at the Playa Nueva Romana resort.

They reportedly suffered respiratory failure amid a string of tourists deaths on the island in the summer of 2019.

Cynthia Ann Day and fiance Nathaniel Holmes
Cynthia Ann Day and fiancé Nathaniel Holmes were found dead in their Dominican Island hotel room in 2019.

Vittorio Caruso,  Dominican Republic. June, 2019

The 56-year-old Long Island pizzeria owner mysteriously died while staying at the Boca Chica Resort in Santo Domingo after “drinking something,” according to his sister-in-law, Lisa Maria Caruso.

He was the 10th American to die in the Dominican Republic during the time period. Authorities in the country later said he suffered from respiratory and heart failure.

Vittorio Caruso
Long Island pizzeria owner Vittorio Caruso died of respiratory and heart failure while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.
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Jerry Curran. Dominican Republic, January, 2019.

The 78-year-old former police officer from Bedford, Ohio, fell ill after having dinner and drinks with his wife, Janet, at the Dreams Resort in Punta Cana.

He was rushed to a hospital after he began vomiting and became unresponsive.

His official cause of death was pulmonary edema, cerebral hypoxia and severe encephalitic cranial trauma.

Jerry Curran
78-year-old Jerry Curran fell ill after having dinner and drinks with his wife while on vacation in the Dominican Republic in 2019.
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David Harrison. Dominican Republic, July 2018.

The 45-year-old Maryland man died suspiciously while celebrating a wedding anniversary at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana.

Harrison reportedly woke up struggling to breath and covered in sweat, according to his wife, Dawn McCoy.

McCoy later said staff at the hotel tried to pressure her into having his body cremated before returning to the US.  Methanol poisoning, linked to bootleg liquor, was eyed as the cause of his death.

David Harrison
David Harrison, 45, died on vacation in the Dominican Republic in 2018.
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Robert Bell Wallace. Dominican Republic, 2018.

The 67-year-old California man died after drinking from the minibar in his room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana.

His family called his death into question after learning that three other Americans had died suddenly within five days of each other at another all-inclusive resort on the island in May 2019.

Robert Bell Wallace
Robert Bell Wallace died while on vacation in the Dominican Republic after drinking from the minibar in his room.

Antonio Reyes. Dominican Republic. August, 2017.

The Wake County, North Carolina man died suddenly during his stay at the Bahia Principe resort in Punta Cana.

His death was ruled a heart attack. But his daughter, Jenaye Davenport, later called into question the circumstances, saying, “It was just strange because he was in perfect health.”

Antonio Reyes
Antonio Reyes died while on vacation in the Dominican Republic in 2017, his daughter said he was in perfect health.

The Esmond Family. St. John, US Virgin Islands. March, 2015.

Delaware school administrator Steve Esmond and his two sons, Ryan and Sean, were seriously sickened by pesticides and left unconscious in their luxury villa in the US Virgin Island of St. John.

Steve Esmond was left paralyzed and unable to speak more than a year later, and the boys were left unconscious for more than a month.

The pest control firm Terminix agreed to pay the family $87 million because the poison sprayed by their workers has been banned.

Monica Beresford-Redman. Cancún, Mexico. April 2010.

The 41-year-old wife of former “Survivor” producer Bruce Beresford-Redman was beaten and strangled to death while vacationing with her family at the posh Moon Palace resort.

The couple had taken the trip with the goal of working on their marriage — but her naked body was found dumped naked into a sewage tank at the hotel.

In 2015, her husband was convicted of her murder in Mexico.

Monica Beresford-Redman
Monica Beresford-Redman was beaten to death in Cancún, her husband was found guilty of her murder.
AP

Ben and Catherine Mullany. Antigua, 2008.

The 31-year-old couple from Pontardawe, Wales, were both fatally shot in the back of their heads at a luxurious beachside hotel room while on their honeymoon.

The assailant robbed them of a digital camera, cash and mobile phone before fleeing.

 Catherine, a doctor, died instantly and Ben, a former police officer, died a week later. In July 2011, Kaniel Martin and Avie Howell were sentenced to life in prison for their murders.

Ben and Catherine Mullany
Ben and Catherine Mullany were both shot in the back of their heads while celebrating their honeymoon in Antigua.

Natalee Holloway. Aruba, May 2005

The Alabama teen went missing while on a high school graduation trip with friends in a disappearance that captivated the country for years.

Despite a slew of theories and even reported “sightings,”  the case remains unsolved, and her body was never found.

A man who has been linked to her killing, Joran van der Sloot, is now serving a 28-year behind bars in Peru for the slaying of another young woman.

Natalee Holloway
Teenager Natalee Holloway went missing in Aruba in 2005, her body was never found.
AP

Robbie and Michael Phillips, and Vincent Chiarella. Exuma, Bahamas. May 2022.

The Phillips, who hail from Tennessee, were discovered dead in a villa at the luxury Sandals Emerald Bay resort after seeking medical treatment for feeling sick.

Vincent Chiarella, 64, of Florida also died under mysterious circumstances in a separate nearby villa at the hotel the same night. His wife was left seriously ill and hospitalized.

Robbie and Michael Phillips
Robbie and Michael Phillips.
Facebook/Robbie Phillips

The cause has not yet been determined. Police said blood samples have been taken from all the victims and sent to a lab in Philadelphia for toxicology tests.

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