By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
LOCAL officials and Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma were tight-lipped yesterday about the cause of death of three American tourists who were found dead in their rooms at the hotel earlier this month.
However, The Tribune was told yesterday that it has been confirmed that carbon monoxide was to blame for the deaths of couple Michael and Robbie Phillips, from Maryville, Tennessee, and Vincent Paul Chiarella, of Florida.
The victims, all in their 60s, were found dead in two separate villas at Sandals on May 6 after they were stricken by an unknown illness and had sought medical help in the hours before they were found.
Donnis Chiarella, wife of Paul Chiarella, was the lone survivor. She was ultimately airlifted to the United States for treatment.
Asked about the claim yesterday, Royal Bahamas Police Force Commissioner Paul Rolle said: “Wait for the pathologist for cause of death. I do not know.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson at Sandals told The Tribune the resort is waiting for the official comment from the authorities “following which we shall have a statement.”
Relatives of the deceased also declined to comment yesterday.
On Sunday, Mr Rolle said the RBPF received the results of samples that were taken from each of the three victims and sent to Philadelphia for analysis earlier this month.
Mr Rolle said he directed that those results be forwarded to the local pathologist.
He said that when a cause of death is released to the police, he will first release it to family members and then to the media.
The commissioner was unable to say whether relatives of the victims were granted permission to bring in a US pathologist to conduct another autopsy, saying this was outside of his remit.
Officials say the two men and one woman died sometime between 11pm on May 5 when they, along with the lone survivor, visited the clinic seeking medical attention for nausea and vomiting, and around 8.30am to 9am the next morning, when they were found dead in two separate villas.
Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper had earlier told reporters that autopsies of the American victims had already been completed. However, he noted the findings had not been released.