Mystery Surrounds Deaths of Couple Who Went Missing in Dominican Republican

Image of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, at night.
Photo: iStock

The deaths of a suburban New York couple who went missing while vacationing in the Dominican Republic before authorities realized they had been killed in a car wreck have two U.S. congressman calling for an FBI investigation.

Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., went missing March 27 when they didn’t show up for a return flight home after a three-day vacation. It was not until Tuesday, two weeks later, that Dominican authorities announced that they believed the pair were killed in a car wreck the night they were to depart the island, the Washington Post reports.

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Two U.S. congressmen, Reps. Eliot Engel and Adriano Espaillat of New York, are asking the FBI to look into the couple’s deaths, according to the Journal News.

Questions have arisen about what exactly happened the night Moore and Ravenelle died and why it took so long for Dominican officials to put the pieces together when a badly injured woman ended up dying in a hospital before she could be ID’d and the body of a man washed up on the shores of the Caribbean Sea around the same time.

“It is essential that this investigation be conducted expeditiously so that both families can receive the closure they deserve,” the congressman wrote in a letter to the FBI, the Post reports.

The case has also highlighted the dangers of driving in the Caribbean nation.

According to the Journal News, the Dominican Republic

ranked fifth worst in the world in road deaths per capita in 2016, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Status report last year. And the State Department warns Americans traveling there not to drive if they can avoid it, particularly when it’s dark.

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Dominican authorities say they believe the crash happened on March 27 along a road that runs parallel to the Caribbean Sea, just about 10 to 15 minutes from the airport, the Journal News reports. Ravenelle was found along the side of the road the same day. She was badly injured and without any ID and taken to a hospital where she died nine days later, on April 4.

Officials pulled a body believed to be Moore’s from the water on March 31. Both bodies were positively identified on Wednesday.

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An investigation is ongoing and no cause of the crash has been announced, but experts say Dominican roads are treacherous.

As the Journal News reports, a report by a unit of the U.S. State Department 

advises travelers to refrain from driving unless they are familiar with the country’s roads.

“Travel at night on intercity highways and in rural areas can be highly dangerous and is not advised due to animals on the road, poor road conditions and vehicles being driven at either very slow or excessive speeds, often with malfunctioning headlights or taillights,” the report read.

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