DENVER — A Colorado couple says they suspect they were poisoned while vacationing at a resort in the Dominican Republic where the recent deaths of three Americans are under investigation.
Kaylynn Knull, 29, and Tom Schwander, 33, have filed a lawsuit against the Grand Bahia Principe resort in hopes of finding out what exactly poisoned them, CNN reported.
Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, of Pennsylvania, died at the resort May 25. Five days later, Maryland couple Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, were found unresponsive in their room and later died. According to preliminary autopsies, they all had fluid in their lungs, but no cause of death was listed, CBS Denver reported.
Knull said she was angry and sad to learn of the deaths.
"My blood boiled. It made me want to scream. It made me want to cry," Knull said. "There's something going on. What happened to us may be related to what happened to them."
Six days into the couple’s June 2018 vacation, Knull said she awoke in their room at the Grand Bahia Principe with a pounding headache. When the couple returned to the room later in the day, she said there was a "chemical smell like someone had painted the walls.”
The couple switched rooms. However, Knull said her symptoms worsened, and Schwander soon became sick, too.
“Sweating … dizzy, nauseous. Yeah. And abdominal cramping was the worst. That was the hardest symptom to deal with. It was just so much pain,” Schwander said.
Among the couples’ symptoms were intense abdominal cramping, sweating and drooling. The two decided to cut the vacation short, Knull said.
Once home in Denver, doctors suspected the couple had been exposed to organophosphates -- chemicals sometimes found in pesticides.
Exposure to organophosphates can cause respiratory problems or failure, Emory University professor Dana Boyd Barr told CNN. Symptoms of organophosphate poisoning include seizures and excessive salivation, Barr said.
Knull said she believes her and Schwander’s illnesses may be linked to the recent deaths at the resort. The couple hopes their lawsuit will bring answers about what happened to them.
“Honestly, all I wanted was the chemical name. That is all I ever wanted,” Knull told CNN. “I could care less about the money. If I could save my own life later, and (Schwander), too. It’s what happened to him, what happened to me. What is it that we can do at this point?”
The resort released a statement saying, in part, the deaths should be treated as "isolated cases."
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