Everything we know about the mysterious deaths at Sandals Resort in the Bahamas

Bahamian authorities continue to investigate the mysterious deaths last week of three American tourists staying at the luxurious Sandals Emerald Bay resort on the island of Exuma.

Michael Phillips, 68, and his wife Robbie, 65, who lived in Tennessee, were found dead Friday morning at their villa. Vincent Chiarella, 64, was found dead in the adjoining villa; he was visiting the Bahamas with her wife, Donnis, who was discovered alive in bed and rushed to hospital.

She was in serious condition Monday after being flown to Florida, Bahamian police said.

Detectives from New Providence, the country’s most populous island and the location of the capital Nassau, traveled to Exuma after police were alerted to the deaths.

Autopsies were performed Monday and samples taken from the deceased were sent to Philadelphia for analysis, according to the Guardian of Nassau.

Bahamas Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said Monday that the cause of death remained under investigation. Sandals is cooperating with authorities, according to a statement from the tour company.

Three American tourists have died and one is seriously ill in a Florida hospital in a mysterious tragedy at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas.

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event timeline

Chiarella and Phillips’ partners complained of feeling unwell Thursday night and received medical treatment before returning to their rooms, Rolle said Monday.

“Everyone was treated at different times and ate at different places,” he said.

Mrs. Chiarella raised the alarm on Friday morning, her son told ABC News.

“She woke up and my dad was laying on the floor and she couldn’t move,” Austin Chiarella said. She “her legs and arms were swollen and she couldn’t move and she was screaming for someone to come through the door.”

Shortly after 9 a.m. on Friday, May 7, resort staff contacted police in George Town and said “the body of a man was found unconscious in one of the villas,” according to a statement from the Royal Police. of Bahamas (RBPF).

“Upon arrival at the site they were directed to the first village. Upon entering a bedroom, they found a Caucasian male lying unresponsive on the floor. An examination of the body was performed, no signs of trauma were found. The local doctor later pronounced the victim dead.”

The statement continued: “Officers were then directed to the second villa, where they found a Caucasian male slumped against a wall in a bathroom unresponsive. A Caucasian female was also found in a bedroom on a bed. She a {sic} did not respond. Both individuals had signs of seizures. Officers examined the bodies and found no signs of trauma. The local doctor later pronounced both people dead.”

Who were the victims?

The couple in the first villa were named as Vincent and Robbie Chiarella, who were celebrating their wedding anniversary, their son said. The Chiarellas, who spent most of their lives in Alabama, had been visiting from Panama City, Florida.

Chiarella remained in serious condition Monday, Rolle said at a news conference. According to an interview that her brother, Steve Mulder, gave dailymail.comshe was covered in rashes.

“I’m so heartbroken right now,” Chiarella’s son, Austin, told ABC. “My dad was everything to me.”

In the villa next door was the second couple found dead, identified as Michael and Robbie Phillips, owners of a travel agency in Tennessee.

Ms. Phillips was a “Certified Sandals Specialist, Sandals Preferred Agent, Sandals WeddingMoons Certified Specialist, and a member of the Sandals President’s Royal Club,” according to the website for the couple’s business, Royal Travel.

As part of that travel agency, she founded The Sand Lady, which “started as a mother-daughter team [but] it has now expanded to include four foster sisters!” the site says.

“We have personally visited each of the resorts we sell and each year we attend multiple training sessions offered by Sandals. This way we stay familiar with all the new features and special offers that each resort offers. To ensure that we can handle any needs or requests from our clients, we maintain a personal relationship with the resort managers, wedding coordinators and other staff at each Sandals and Beaches resort.”

Robbie and Michael Phillips had three children and six grandchildren, their company site adds.

MIke Phillips and his wife, Robbie, were found dead last week at their villa at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas. They owned a travel agency in Tennessee that specialized in Sandals resorts.


In his final post last week from Sandals Emerald Bay, Robbie shared stunning photos of turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, writing, “If you want the most beautiful long private beach with clear blue water and you like to hear the waves crashing, check it out. sand. dunes and listening to the seagulls talk: that’s it! RELAXING.”

The Phillips’ daughter, Kali Hanson, gave a family statement to the independent Monday.

“Our hearts are heavy and broken, but full of hope,” the family said. “We know that our mom and dad are experiencing the fullness of joy in the presence of our heavenly Father. We already miss them terribly.

“Our parents left a legacy of faith in Jesus and generously loved their family and friends. Thank you for respecting our family’s privacy at this time.”

Cause of death

Rolle said Monday that Department of Environmental Health investigators remained on the Sandals property and autopsies were being performed on the victims.

Samples taken from the deceased were sent to Philadelphia for testing, he said.

“The pathologist drew samples from all of the individuals, and our forensic scientists collected those samples for examination,” Rolle said, according to the report. Guardian of Nassau.

“We are actively contracting with a lab in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania … to help us expedite toxicology testing on all of these samples.

“Once those tests are done, our pathologist will be able to give us an official report on the exact cause of death and help us determine exactly what happened.

“Our forensic scientists have also collected samples from both rooms and properties at the Sandals hotel on Exuma to determine whether or not contaminants are present.”

While authorities offered no theories about the cause of death, they ruled out foul play, with other guests and family members pointing to the air conditioning system as the possible culprit.

“When they arrived at the hotel, the air conditioning was not working,” said Mrs. Chiarella’s brother. dailymail.com. “They [staff] they were working on it every day.”

Another guest at Sandals Emerald Bay also pointed to the air conditioning, writing on Facebook that “looks like it may have been a fault with the air conditioning.

“It was hard to sleep last night, every time the air conditioner came on it woke me up,” wrote Chris Coucheron-Aamot, according to the New York Post.

Air conditioners use toxic refrigerants, often Freon, which are odorless but can be deadly if inhaled for prolonged periods.

Preliminary test results were expected within seven days, Rolle said, but final reports could take weeks.

Meanwhile, US officials in the Bahamas said they were in contact with relatives of the victims and had been in close contact with them since Friday.

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