Bedford, OH – A retired Bedford police officer’s family wants to know if their father’s January death in the Dominican Republic is related to at least nine other tourists who have recently died while visiting the island.
Retired Bedford Police Officer Jerry Curran, 78, and his wife Janet checked into the Dreams Resort in Punta Cana with another couple for vacation on Jan. 22, WKYC reported.
Curran was a 32-year veteran of the Bedford Police Department who worked an extra 10 years as a bailiff in the Bedford courts.
He and his wife moved to Florida to spend their retirement in a warmer climate shortly before they travelled to the Dominican Republic, WKYC reported.
Curran’s daughter, Kellie Brown, said that her father didn’t feel well after dinner and drinks on the night they arrived at Dreams Resort, and that he spent the next couple of days in bed.
He began vomiting at about 3 a.m. on Jan. 25 and then was unresponsive. Brown said it took two hours to have her father transported to a hospital, WKYC reported.
She received a call at 10:45 a.m. from her parents’ travelling companions with horrifying news.
“Your father needs surgery or he's going to die and they need fifty thousand dollars and you need to send it with a copy of your passport, the front and back of your debit card and an authorization stating that you would allow them to withdraw fifty thousand dollars,” Brown told WKYC they informed her.
Her mother had already put down $10,000 on her credit card when she first arrived at the hospital so Brown sent paperwork guaranteeing payment for the remaining $40,000.
“He made it thru surgery and he died about eight hours later,” Brown said.
The couple did have travel insurance but Curran’s wife didn’t think to use it when her husband was admitted to the Dominican hospital, WKYC reported.
The insurance company has since refunded the $50,000, but they made the check payable to Curran and the family hasn’t actually been able to deposit it yet.
Brown told WKYC that she was notified that her father had died as she waited for a flight to the Dominican Republic at an airport in North Carolina.
She said there are lots of things about her father’s death that don’t make sense.
For example, both the death certificates from the hospital and the U.S. Embassy have Curran’s death down as 11 a.m. on Jan. 26, but Brown said she was notified her father had died 11 hours earlier than that, WKYC reported.
The death certificate also listed four different causes of death for Curran.
“One of them is pulmonary edema which seems to be common in everyone else who's passed that we're learning about,” Brown told WKYC.
Cerebral hypoxia (no oxygen to the brain), pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), and a subdural hematoma (brain bleed), and severe encephalitic cranial trauma (traumatic brain injury) were listed as her father’s causes of death.
WKYC had an emergency physician review Curran’s x-ray and CT scan from the hospital in the Dominican Republic.
The doctor, who was not familiar with medical protocol on the island, said the amount of pulmonary edema on the x-ray was “scant,” but oddly, the image didn’t show that Curran had been put on a ventilator, which should have been standard.
There was no indication of a breathing tube on the scans, WKYC reported.
Also, the doctor called the hematoma significant and said it would be difficult to survive.
However, Brown said her father hadn’t mentioned that he had fallen or hit his head in any way, leaving everyone to wonder how he had gotten the brain bleed, WKYC reported.
“We want to find out what happened and why did he die,” she said.
Curran was cremated before he was brought back to the United States so Brown said she’s having his doctors review the medical records from his death to see if they spot anything hinky, according to WKYC.
Earlier in June, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced it had joined an investigation into the deaths of at least six American tourists in the Dominican Republic.
That number has continued to climb as news of the potential poisonings spread and more victims’ families have come forward.