N.Y. woman sickened at Dominican resort before 3 deaths
NEW YORK — A New York woman says she barely escaped with her life from a Dominican Republic resort after a bleach-filled soda bottle turned a romantic getaway into a horror show.
Awilda Montes, 43, of Queens, told the New York Daily News on Friday that she initially believed a simple mistake was behind the bizarre incident that left chemical burns in her mouth after she started vomiting blood inside her room at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville.
“I thought the maid service, maybe to not carry the bleach bottle from room to room, would maybe put it into a smaller bottle. Or maybe they were trying to take it home to clean their house,” she said.
But when news broke of a trio of American deaths on the island, she began to suspect something more malicious.
“I honestly never imagined that somebody was trying to purposely do that until now, until watching the three deaths,” she told The News. “Now I’m thinking had (the hotel) investigated this mystery, they would be alive.”
She was staying at the same resort where one of the three U.S. tourists who died in the Dominican last month collapsed after getting a drink at the minibar in her room, according to a spokesman for the dead woman’s family. And Montes drank her tainted soda at the sister resort to the nearby hotel where a Maryland couple was found dead inside their room.
According to Montes, hotel management offered her a free couples massage and dinner on the house in return for her signature on a non-disclosure agreement — a deal that she rejected after the incident that left her in agony.
“I was miserable,” she said. “I was vomiting. I had stomach pains. The chemical burns were all over. I still don’t have sensation in my tongue.”
Montes didn’t make the connection between the recent fatalities and her own health scare until a friend called from Los Angeles and mentioned the three deaths last month.
She produced three pages of medical records from a local clinic that treated her after she took a swallow of what she thought was a 7Up taken from the minibar in her room.
The report detailed “a pain in the dorsal and lateral region of the tongue, accompanied with vomiting ... with a frequency of two occasions following the (ingestion) of a liquid approximately thirty minutes ago.”
The Dominican death toll for visiting Americans became a recent cause for concern after the Americans tourists passed away last month while vacationing on the Caribbean island.
Miranda Schaupp-Werner, 41, died inside her room shortly after arriving at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville resort on May 25. The Allentown, Pa., woman traveled to the Dominican Republic with her husband to celebrate their ninth anniversary, and reportedly collapsed after taking a drink from the minibar.
Five days later, a Maryland couple was found dead inside their room at the nearby Grand Bahia Principe, the Bouganville’s sister resort. Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, passed away shortly before they were due to check out of the hotel.