A New York woman said she fell violently ill at the same Dominican Republic resort where three Americans recently died after she drank from a minibar soda bottle in her hotel room that she alleges was filled with bleach.
Awilda Montes, 43, told New York Daily News in an exclusive that the alleged incident took place at the luxury resort Bahia Principe Bouganville where she was staying with her boyfriend in October 2018.
Montes said she took a big sip from a soda bottle in her minibar after checking into her room at the resort, and that she believes it was bleach.
“When I took a swig of it, I kind of held it in my mouth. The minute I held it, it just started burning,” Montes told Pix 11. “I ran to the bathroom. When I spit it out there was blood.
“My mouth was on fire. My gums … everything was bleeding.”
She told Fox News she was rushed to a hospital where she was treated and given an IV. The incident left her with “chemical burns” throughout her mouth, she explained.
Montes said that spitting out the soda likely saved her life and now thinks someone spiked the drink.
Speaking to the New York Daily News, Montes said she first thought cleaners could have left a bottle of bleach in the minibar by accident.
“I thought the maid service, maybe to not carry the bleach bottle from room to room, would maybe put it into a smaller bottle. Or maybe they were trying to take it home to clean their house,” she told NY Daily News.
But after details broke of the three sudden deaths of U.S. tourists on the island last month, Montes said she became suspicious.
“I didn’t realize this could’ve been done on purpose. I just thought it was an accident, someone mixed it up, but now I think it was done on purpose,” she told Pix 11.
As soon as Montes took a sip of what she thought was a bottle of 7UP, she was alarmed by the burning sensation in her mouth.
“I noticed there was no fizz in it, but I just figured it was Dominican soda, it was kind of flat. So I took a swig …. and luckily I kind of held it in my mouth a bit and I felt it burn.
“I swallowed a bit … (then) ran into the bathroom and spit in the sink,” she told NY Daily News.
The 43-year-old alerted her boyfriend when she noticed blood in the sink. “My tongue was bleeding and my mucous was all blood,” Montes told the New York Post.
“I told him, ‘I think this is bleach.’ And he smelled the bottle and he said, ‘It is,'” she told NY Daily News.
Montes and her boyfriend called the resort’s front desk, who took her to a medical clinic.
“They were very fast to take the bottle away from me,” she recalled in an interview with the New York Post.
According to Montes, hotel management claimed a staff member made an “accidental mixup” and asked her to sign a non-disclosure agreement, reported NY Daily News. The hotel offered her a free couples massage and dinner on the house—which she refused.
“I was miserable,” she said. “I was vomiting. I had stomach pains. The chemical burns were all over. I still don’t have sensation in my tongue.”
A medical report from the clinic where Montes was treated detailed “a pain in the dorsal and lateral region of the tongue, accompanied with vomiting … with a frequency of two occasions following the (ingestion) of a liquid approximately thirty minutes ago,” NY Daily News reported.
Hotel Deaths in the Dominican Republic
Details of Montes’s ordeal follows the deaths of three other American tourists on the Caribbean island last month.
Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, a Pennsylvania woman, was staying at the same hotel when she collapsed on May 25. She was pronounced dead after reportedly taking a drink from the minibar. Officials said she died of a heart attack.
Five days later, Cynthia Day and Nathaniel Holmes, an engaged Maryland couple, were found dead in the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana—another resort belonging to the same hotel chain, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts.
In response to the information that has been circulating in different media outlets
regarding the two unfortunate events in the Dominican Republic, Bahia Principe
Hotels & Resorts would like to clarify the following: pic.twitter.com/Pg8QFmaq1L
— BahiaPrincipe (@BahiaPrincipe) June 5, 2019
To date, there has been no indication that any of the incidents are related and the hotels have been cooperating with authorities in the investigations.
Preliminary results indicated that the couple died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, which is caused by excess fluid in the lungs, but officials said toxicology results for the couple are pending.
Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts said in a statement on June 7, “We reiterate our firm commitment to collaborating completely with the authorities and hope for a prompt resolution of their inquiries and actions, and will not be making any further statements that may interfere with them.”
It added it may take legal action over “the dissemination of false information,” referring to the reports of deaths on the company’s properties.