Couple recounts ‘horrible’ illness at embattled Dominican resort

A Philadelphia couple says they fell ill after being exposed to a strange smell at the embattled Dominican Republic resort where three tourists died — and now they want to caution others.

Susie Lauterborn, 38, and her husband, Doug Hand, 40, said they became sick within days of checking into their room at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel in June 2018, news station KYW-TV reported.

“Like as soon as we got to the room, I noticed a smell,” Hand told the news outlet. “It smelled like a moldy, mildewy dirty air.”

Not long after, Lauterborn was suffering from cold sweats, vomiting and diarrhea, the couple said. She also experienced rashes on her torso and had a temperature of over 100 degrees.

“I think it was the second or third day, she was just feeling horrible,” said Hand, adding that he faced less severe symptoms.

The couple visited the hotel medic and were given pills but never received a diagnosis, according to KYW-TV.

They said they wanted to get the word out about their illness after three tourists died within a week of each other at the same resort.

Pennsylvania psychotherapist Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, succumbed to a heart attack on May 25 at the resort. Five days later, Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, of Maryland were found dead in their room from pulmonary edema and respiratory failure.

“Maybe there’s something deeper here,” Lauterborn said. “I don’t think it’s just limited to those people either.”

The couple’s case is the latest in a rash of mysterious ailments reported in the country, where in the last year at least six American tourists have died, including the three recent fatalities. Nearly 70 travelers have reported illnesses since March.

A rep for the hotel didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the pair’s stay.

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