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American Tourists Who Mysteriously Died At Bahamas Resort Identified, Philly Lab Assisting With Autopsy

Great Exuma, BAHAMAS – Autopsies are underway in the Bahamas to determine what killed three American tourists and sickened a third in their hotel rooms at the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort on Great Exuma.

Officials identified the deceased as 68-year-old Michael Phillips and his wife, 65-year-old Robbie Phillips, who were travel agents from Tennessee visiting the luxury resort, the Daily Mail reported.

Vincent Chiarella, of Birmingham, Alabama, was also found dead on the floor in the villa located next door to the room the Phillips were staying in, ABC News reported.

His wife, Donna Chiarella, was found on a bed in their villa.

She was airlifted to Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau and then transferred to Kendall Regional Medical Center in Florida on Saturday, ABC News reported.

Donna Chiarella arrived in Florida in critical condition but has since been upgraded to stable.

Their son, Austin Chiarella, told ABC News that he had spoken to his mother about what happened.

He said she told him that they hadn’t felt well on Thursday and went to a local clinic and she “thought she was alright” when they got back to the room.

But they got sicker overnight.

“She woke up and my dad was laying there on the floor, and she couldn’t move,” Austin Chiarella told ABC News. “Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door.”

The Phillips were found by hotel employees at about 9 a.m. on May 6 in a villa at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Great Exuma, the Daily Mail reported.

Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) officers responded to the scene from the George Town Police Station.

While they were on the way to the luxury resort, hotel employees found two more people down in another villa on the resort property, according to a press release from RBPF.

In the second villa, police found another man unconscious on the bedroom floor, according to RBPF.

The press release said a Caucasian woman was also found unresponsive on a bed in a bedroom.

Investigators learned that the couple in the second villa had felt ill the day before and went to a local medical facility for treatment, according to the RBPF press release.

The officers then went to the second villa where they found another man unconscious on the bedroom floor, according to RBPF.

The press release said a Caucasian woman was also found unresponsive on a bed in a bedroom.

Police said that both of the victims in the second villa showed signs they had suffered from convulsions before they died.

“The coroner was appraised of the facts surrounding both scenes. The police will await an autopsy report to determine the exact cause of death,” the police press release read.

Exuma MP and Minister of Tourism Chester Cooper announced later in the day that a fourth American – another Caucasian woman – had also been found unresponsive at the Emerald Bay resort and was airlifted to Princess Margaret Hospital on the island of Nassau.

Cooper said the investigation was ongoing and the causes of death for the three Americans were not yet known.

“However, I am advised that foul play is not suspected,” the tourism minister said in a statement.

The U.S. Department of State said it was closely monitoring the Bahamian authorities’ investigation of the deaths, CNN reported.

“We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” it said in a press release.

A lab in Philadelphia is assisting with the toxicology testing being conducted by Bahamian pathologists, CNN reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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