Guests saw doctors hours before mysteriously dying
Posted On May 10, 2022
A pathologist is about to conduct autopsies on the victims, who were staying at Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Great Exum, however foul play is not suspected in the deaths, Bahamian acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper has said.
Forensic scientists are collecting samples from the deceased, and a lab in Philadelphia is helping with toxicology examinations.
The lab expects results will be ready within seven days, Royal Bahamas Police Force Commissioner Paul Rolle said.
Scientists also collected samples from the victims’ rooms to check for contaminants, but officials declined to say whether any contaminants have been found in samples so far.
Michael Phillips, 68, and his wife Robbie Phillips, 65, from Tennessee were declared dead at the resort on Friday, as was Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64, of Florida, who was found unresponsive in a separate room.
A fourth American – Chiarella’s 65-year-old wife, Donnis Chiarella – was found with her husband.
She was airlifted to a hospital in the Bahamian capital before being transferred to Miami’s Kendall Hospital, where she is in fair condition, said Jennifer Guerrieri, a spokesperson for Hospital Corporation of America’s east Florida division.
Their son, Austin Chiarella, told US outlet ABC News his mother “woke up and my dad was laying there on the floor, and she couldn’t move. Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door.”
Donnis Chiarella told her son she became ill on Thursday but after she was released from a clinic, she “thought she was alright”.
He was heartbroken over his father’s death.
“My dad was everything to me,” he said.
Victims went to doctor night before
All four victims sought medical treatment before they were found in their rooms, the police commissioner said.
They had eaten at different restaurants, he added.
“They were seen by the doctor the night before, and that would have been around 11, and they were discovered the next morning. So, we have the timeline … between 11 pm and 8:30am to 9am,” Rolle said.
Resort staff alerted police shortly after 9am on Friday that an unresponsive man had been found in a villa.
En route to the scene, police were told another man and woman were found unresponsive in another villa.
Police found in the first villa a “Caucasian male lying on the ground unresponsive” with no signs of trauma.
A doctor pronounced him dead, police said. The woman who was hospitalised was found with him, Rolle said on Saturday.
At the second villa, they found a second man “slumped against a wall in a bathroom unresponsive,” and the woman was “found in a bedroom on a bed”.
“Both showed signs of convulsion,” the release said.
Neither showed signs of trauma. They were also pronounced dead by a doctor.