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Missing couple found dead in Dominican Republic

by Christopher Suarez - Campus Talk Editor
Tue, Apr 16th 2019 10:00 pm
Vacation tragedy An American couple that went missing in the Dominican Republic has been found miles away from their resort. Orlando Moore and Portia Ravanelle (above, left) were reportedly involved in a major car accident and the car was recently discovered in the sea nearby.
Vacation tragedy An American couple that went missing in the Dominican Republic has been found miles away from their resort. Orlando Moore and Portia Ravanelle (above, left) were reportedly involved in a major car accident and the car was recently discovered in the sea nearby.

Countries like Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Puerto Rico and more are hot spots for people looking to get away on vacations. One Caribbean island that has increased in popularity over the last couple of years has been the Dominican Republic. The small island bordering Haiti has beautiful beaches and amazing resorts. 

One American couple decided to see the island for themselves as they embarked on a vacation together to the Samana region of the Dominican Republic. Samana is the second most popular tourist location in the country after Punta Cana. Orlando Moore, 40, and Portia Ravanelle, 52, were enjoying their stay at the resort, meeting new people and taking in the island's tropical weather. However, the couple’s getaway did not end as planned. 

Moore and Ravanelle were supposed to return to New York on March 27 but never made it back. According to CNN, the family of the couple became worried when they did not hear from them for four days.

The couple had decided to rent out a car and drive by themselves to the airport. The flight was scheduled for 2 a.m. and the couple took off with nobody to help them. Instead of paying for a more expensive flight from a nearby airport in Samana, the couple decided to save money and choose to book a flight in an airport 100 miles away from the resort. 

According to CNN, Ravanelle was anxious about taking such a long trip late at night in a location they had no knowledge about. This anxiety derived from a warning the car rental company gave them to not stop and open their windows for anybody because locals know which cars are rental and which are not. However, the couple decided to take off anyway. 

According to CNN, the body of Ravanelle was found by a local fisherman on March 31 who stated that he had found her with major injuries. She suffered from severe trauma and contusions to the head. Ravanelle was rushed to the hospital and declared dead on April 4. 

When the fisherman found the body, there was no identification on Ravanelle and it seemed as if she was stripped of all her belongings. Also on March 31, that same fisherman reported finding a car inside the sea. When officials recovered the car, they discovered a body that fit the description of Orlando Moore. 

According to CNN, officials are confident that the body found was Moore, as the body had a tattoo that said “Milan,” which is Moore’s daughters name. The car pulled out of the water also matches the same vehicle identification number as that of the rental car that the couple had rented out just a couple of days before. A black iPhone was also found at the scene shattered, but the words “iPhone” were still legible. Multiple reports from the Dominican Republic have stated that the couple had gotten off the road and drove into the sea. 

But many questions have still gone unanswered as the sequence of events do not seem to line up with the conditions of the bodies that were discovered. How was Ravanelle’s body so badly injured if the car got off road and drove into the sea? How did the iPhone get shattered the way it did, almost selectively, if the car didn’t make immediate impact? 

Being from the Dominican Republic myself, I believe the reported story is false. The country is plagued with a lot of violence and a mass amount of poverty, which could have played part in the incident.

The locals near Samana are very poor and many would capitalize on any opportunity to make money. The car rental company warned them for a reason because the nearby areas are not safe for tourists to go into alone.

I feel like the couple was either followed from the resort or stopped by locals in one of the neighboring towns and was robbed and killed. From the injuries on the body of Ravenelle, it seems like there was some sort of human-inflicted injury. 

It saddens me this paradise will now receive fewer tourists because of this incident. There is a deep-rooted issue in the country that needs to get fixed as the poverty rate in the country continues to increase and people are starving. Tourists will never be safe in the Dominican Republic as long as the locals are suffering. 

May Ravanelle and Moore rest in peace, and I hope that their families will one day get the exact truth behind the cause of death.

 

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