SAN JUAN (AP) — The three Americans found dead in mysterious circumstances on May 6 at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Resort & Spa in Exuma, Bahamas, included a married couple from Tennessee who owned a travel company.
Michael Phillips, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, belonging royal trip. Robbie Phillips, who called himself “The Lady of the Sands” specializing in organizing trips to Sandals resorts. She posted photos of the resort’s beach on her Facebook page on Thursday, saying she was there with her husband.
The third victim was Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64, a resident of Florida. Chiarella’s wife, Donnis, was airlifted to a Florida hospital and remained in serious condition.
Samples taken from the three visitors have been sent to a lab in the United States to expedite results and help authorities figure out what happened, officials said Monday.
Bahamas Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said officials also took samples from the rooms where the tourists were staying and from the surrounding property to determine if any contaminants were present.
“We really want to know what caused this,” he said.
The bodies were found Friday morning at Sandals Emerald Bay, where the couples were staying in two separate villas.
Samples taken from the victims were sent to a laboratory in Philadelphia, with the results of the toxicology study expected in about a week, Rolle said. He noted that the Bahamas Department of Environmental Health and police officers are still at the resort.
When asked what he thinks might have caused the tourists’ deaths, Rolle replied, “I’m not going to speculate.”
He noted that the four tourists went to a doctor the day before their bodies were found and complained of feeling unwell. He said they went there at different times and ate different things.
Meanwhile, Sandals Resorts said it would not comment beyond its initial statement, which said it supported the investigation and the families of those involved.
“Out of respect for our customers’ privacy, we cannot release any further information at this time,” the company said.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price also confirmed that three U.S. citizens had died and offered “his sincere condolences to the families and other loved ones of those who passed away.”
“We are closely following local authorities’ investigations into the cause of death, and we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” he added.
The deaths come seven years after a Delaware family fell seriously ill at a resort in the US Virgin Islands. US authorities determined that methyl bromide, a highly toxic pesticide banned for indoor residential use in 1984, was to blame and had been used repeatedly at this resort.
Associated Press reporter Michael Catalini in Trenton, NJ, contributed.