Georgia man died vacationing in Dominican Republic in March, 11th US tourist death
By THERESA BRAINE | New York Daily News | Published: July 15, 2019
(Tribune News Service) — An 11th U.S. tourist has been confirmed dead in the Dominican Republic, this one a 31-year-old from Georgia who passed away in March.
Tracy Jerome Jester Jr., of Forsyth County, died March 17 of “respiratory illness,” his mother told ABC News. He had been vacationing with his sister and had just wound up a day of sightseeing.
Like many of the other tourists who died while vacationing there over the past year, Jester was taken ill suddenly, vomiting up blood and saying he couldn’t breathe. But how he died was unclear.
“We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in the Dominican Republic in March 2019,” the state department told ABC News Sunday. “We offer our sincerest condolences to the family for their loss. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we do not have additional information to provide.”
U.S. and Dominican authorities have repeatedly said that there has been no increase in the number of tourists dying in the Dominican Republic.
Measured against the 2.2 million American tourists who visit the DR every year, and the overall 6.5 million who arrive from around the world, it is hardly a pervasive number, officials point out.
“These cases are very regrettable, but isolated,” Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia said in a statement last month, according to CNN. “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.”
So far there have been no answers. Causes of death for the 48 Americans who died there between 2016 and 2018, according to CNN, included drownings, homicides, suicides, vehicle and other accidents. Many of the 11 from the past year have perished after drinking from a resort minibar, or after imbibing at the swim-up bar at a resort pool.
While some people are canceling trips to the DR, others are capturing cheap tickets.
Jester had lupus, but that did not explain why, the evening before he was due to fly home, he “just dropped to his knees and started throwing up blood, and was calling for Mama,” his mother, Melody Moore, recounted to ABC News. He was dead by 4:40 the next morning, she said.
He died in March, Moore told ABC News, so she didn’t think to get toxicology tests because the other deaths either hadn’t occurred or hadn’t come to light.
Jester’s family has a whole spate of new questions in light of the other developments.
“I would like to know the truth,” Jester’s mother told ABC News.
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