WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WFMZ/CNN) - A Pennsylvania woman was found dead in a hotel in the Dominican Republic five days before a Maryland couple was found dead in the same resort.
"What we thought was a freak event - now we don't know," said Jay McDonald, speaking for Miranda Schaup-Werner's family.
McDonald says his brother-in-law Dan Werner and his wife flew to the Dominican Republic on May 25 to celebrate their ninth wedding anniversary.
The couple checked in at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel in La Romana, went straight to their room and began to relax. Schaup-Werner even had a drink from the minibar.
“At one point, she was sitting there happily smiling and taking pictures, and the next moment she was in acute pain and called out for Dan and she collapsed,” McDonald said.
EMTs and her husband did all they could to help her but to no avail.
"He was understandably in shock, but the whole thing was just so stunning," McDonald said.
Schaup-Werner, a psychotherapist, died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, according to the hotel.
McDonald said that was not something the family was aware of before, and they want an independent medical review in the U.S. She had a heart issue 15 years ago, but doctors then gave her a clean bill of health, he said.
"She was a very sweet person, and at 41 had a lot of life ahead of her," McDonald said. "And we miss her."
Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and 49-year-old Cynthia Ann Day of Maryland checked into the hotel the same day as the Werner couple. Five days later, after missing their scheduled check out time, hotel staff entered their room and found them dead.
Dominican Republic national police say Holmes and Day died of the same cause as Schaup-Werner.
Following the couple's death, the hotel posted a statement saying "there were no signs of violence," adding, "we are in complete collaboration with authorities, but as the investigation is ongoing, we have no further information to share."