The FBI determined that tainted booze is not to blame for recent American tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic, backing an assertion by local authorities that the deaths were due to natural causes.
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The State Department says FBI toxicology reports on the mysterious deaths of the U.S. tourists in the Dominican Republic showed no evidence inconsistent with the island nation’s findings of natural causes.
"The results of the additional, extensive toxicology testing completed to date have been consistent with the findings of local authorities," a State Department spokesperson told FOX Business.
The first deaths to make headlines were in May, when a couple reportedly died at the same time in the same hotel room. The bodies of Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, were found on May 30 in their room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana hotel.
In this instance, "toxicology findings from the FBI were able to rule out several potential causes of death" for Day and Holmes including "methanol poisoning from tainted alcohol." It was also ruled out in the other U.S. citizen deaths investigated by Dominican authorities, according to the department.
Another victim died at the same hotel just days before, which Dominican authorities determined was a heart attack, according to the State Department.
The toxicology test results to date have been provided by the FBI to Dominican authorities, and family members of the deceased have been informed, according to the State Department.
"The safety of U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic is a top priority for the U.S. government and the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, the State Department said. "We will continue to work with all of our Dominican counterparts in the tourism, law enforcement, and health sectors to assess and inform the public about safety risks in the Dominican Republic."
The Dominican Republic’s tourism minister said in June that the deaths were not part of any mysterious series of fatalities but were a statistically normal phenomenon being lumped together by the U.S. media.
However, the wave of fatalities in the Dominican Republic reportedly forced American tourists to consider different travel destinations.
ForwardKeys, which analyzes flight data, said that from June 1 to June 17, flight cancellations increased by 45 percent, according to The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, flight bookings to the island from the U.S. in July and August decreased by 59 percent, compared to a year ago, according to ForwardKeys, which analyzes about 17 million flight bookings a day.
“The recent deaths of U.S. tourists in the Dominican Republic appear to have had a dramatic impact on travel to the destination,” Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights for ForwardKeys, told FOXBusiness in a statement.
The Associated Press and FOX Business' Kathleen Joyce contributed to this report.