Investigation Into Texas Couple’s Mysterious Death in Fiji Might Take Weeks, Officials Say

June 9, 2019 Updated: June 9, 2019

The results of an investigation regarding the deaths of a Texas couple in Fiji will take several weeks or “possibly longer,” the island nation’s health ministry stated.

David Paul, 37, and his wife, Michelle Paul, 35, arrived in Fiji in late May before checking into a hotel. Then, they fell gravely ill and were hospitalized with weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and shortness of breath, ABC News reported.

The two died just two days apart in late May.

“After reporting feeling unwell, the guests were treated at the local medical facility, where they subsequently passed away,” the Sheraton Denarau Villas told ABC News in confirming their deaths.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of the deceased,” the statement said. “As always, the well-being of our guests and associates remains our highest priority. We are working closely with the authorities as they investigate the matter.”

The Health Ministry of Fiji said the investigation is a priority, and it is working with the U.S. Embassy, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The health ministry on June 8 “stressed that results of the investigation may take weeks or possibly longer,” said the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.

People who were in contact with the Pauls during their illness are well, the report said. Five staff who came into contact with the couple were released from the hospital.

“At this stage, for reasons of patient confidentiality, and out of respect to the families of Mr and Mrs Paul during this difficult time, the [Ministry of Health and Medical Services] and its partners involved in the investigation will not comment on specific details of the investigation,” the country’s health ministry told ABC.

Michelle and David Paul are survived by four young children.

“We have been throwing up for 8 hours,” Michelle wrote in one message to her family, according to ABC. “Dave has diarrhea. My hands are numb. We will text when we can.”

She messaged them again after returning to their hotel. “We just got back from the clinic. They gave us fluids and anti-nausea drip,” she wrote. “They gave us electrolyte packets and anti-nausea pills. We still don’t feel 100%. Going to rest in our room.”

Fiji’s health ministry ruled out the flu.

Boat and trees on a tropical beach in Fiji Islands. (Shutterstock)

“Influenza has been ruled out, and at this stage, we do not believe there is a risk to the public,” the Fiji Ministry of Health said earlier this week, reported the New York Post. “It would be premature to speculate further on the cause of death until the investigation is complete.”

Relatives said that the wait for answers is painful.

“I’m stuck in a nightmare,” Rebecca Ward, David Paul’s sister, told “Good Morning America” in an interview, ABC reported. “You think you’re going to have an answer today and you get a call that they don’t know.”

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