David Harrison, his wife Dawn McCoy and their 12-year-old son were celebrating the couple's anniversary in Punta Cana last July when David died of a sudden illness. After recent deaths under similar circumstances, Dawn is raising new questions about her husband's death.
“He couldn’t sit up, and he was making noises that … you couldn’t make out. He was struggling quite a bit to get out of bed and to talk,” said McCoy. “I tried to communicate with him and all he could do was mumble.”
She said after she made three phone calls, it took more than 20 minutes for the hotel’s doctor to arrive.
Her husband didn’t survive.
McCoy said Harrison was generally in good health, although he took medicine for high blood pressure. He got a physical exam shortly before the trip, and when the results came back, his doctor said he was good to go.
Harrison’s death certificate from the Dominican government states his cause of death as pulmonary edema and a heart attack.
McCoy spent almost $20,000 — including a $3,000 bill from the hotel doctor — to get her husband’s body back to the United States, where she had him cremated.
“We went down there as a happy family, and we came home a broken family. I came home a widow and my 12-year-old son came home fatherless.”
At the time, she accepted the death and tried to move on — but now, she feels differently.
“I started seeing all these other people that were dying of the same exact causes, which made me start to second guess. I no longer feel like my husband died of natural causes,” McCoy said.
She also wishes a second autopsy had been done on American soil, but that’s now impossible.
McCoy’s message for other families going through what she did: “Do what needs to be done in order to satisfy your mind that it was or was not natural causes that killed your loved one.”
McCoy booked a return trip to the same Dominican Republic hotel next month as a way to remember her husband. But after hearing about other recent deaths, she canceled and will lose almost $4,000.
“I no longer feel safe there,” she said.
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