Shock twist in bashed tourist case
A popular luxury resort in the Dominican Republic has cast doubt on claims by a US tourist who alleges she was badly beaten and left for dead during a stay there in January.
Tammy Lawrence-Daley made world headlines last week when she posted shocking photographs of her battered face along with an account of her terrifying eight-hour ordeal on Facebook.
Ms Lawrence-Daley said she was holidaying at the five-star Majestic Elegance Punta Cana Hotel with her husband and friends when she left her room one evening to buy a snack. She claims she was then attacked from behind and subjected to hours of beatings by an individual wearing a hotel uniform.
But in an unexpected development, the resort has accused Ms Lawrence Daley of going public with her story only after it refused her demand for $US2.2 million ($A3.5 million).
"Mrs. Lawrence (sic) formally demanded a $2.2 million compensation agreement," hotel group Majestic Resorts said in a statement to Fox News. "After receiving no positive response, she disclosed her version of the case, 4 months after it happened."
In a Facebook post last Wednesday, Ms Lawrence Daley said frustration over the way the hotel and the police handled her allegations prompted her to go public to warn other tourists.
She told various news outlets an effort to reach an out-of-court settlement had failed, and the resort's insurance company eventually sent a letter saying Majestic Elegance bore no responsibility since she couldn't identify her assailant as an employee.
In her account, the 51-year-old recalled the hotel was "eerily quiet" before she was suddenly attacked from behind by a man in a uniform bearing the resort logo.
"I took about 10 or so steps just swinging my wristlet back and forth, not a care in the world," she wrote. "That's when I heard it. Heavy footsteps … one, two, three, four, then they sped up, and then before I could react, I was ploughed into from behind and immediately immobilised.
"His arms wrapped around me and he started pulling me immediately into an unlocked maintenance room.
"The next 8 hours brought me pain and fear. I was strangled multiple times to unconsciousness. My lifeless body was drug (sic) down concrete stairs to an underground waste water area.
"I was kicked in the head, I was beaten with a club. And then strangled again for the kill."
Ms Lawrence-Daley said her husband Christopher was forced to make repeated appeals to staff to help find her after she didn't return to their room.
But the hotel told Fox News its staff "took on the responsibility of providing all necessary attentions and that all actions in the case are well documented".
"A member of the hotel staff stayed most of the time in the hospital to provide assistance and ensure that her needs were met," Majestic Resorts said in a statement. "After their investigation, authorities understand that the scenario is still unclear, and that there are weak points and unanswered questions to answer in this strange and unusual case.
"Some news media sources in the United States have reported on the story considering her accounts are true and definitive instead of waiting for a final resolution of the case that not only affects Majestic Resorts but also tourism for the entire Dominican Republic."
Ms Lawrence-Daley now has until late July to find a Dominican lawyer to take up her case.
The development comes after the mysterious deaths of three US tourists in their rooms at two separate hotels in the Dominican Republic, both owned by the Spanish-based Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts.
Psychotherapist Miranda Schaup-Werner died in her room on May 25, and engaged couple Edward Holmes and Cynthia Day were found dead in their room five days later.
Preliminary post-mortem examination results showed they died of respiratory failure. Police said they were investigating the deaths, which relatives of all the three tourists have called suspicious.
Family spokesman Jay McDonald told Fox News Ms Schaup-Werner had been treated for a heart condition 15 years ago but was medically cleared and had not exhibited cardiac problems since then or in the days leading up to the trip.
The resort group statement said the deaths of Mr Holmes and Ms Day remain under investigation pending the results of toxicology and histopathological tests.
It also clarified initial reports by the family and Dominican authorities to the media that the three deaths occurred in the same building.
The new statement said the three deaths occurred in different buildings, which are located nearly side-by-side in La Romana, owned by the Bahia Principe resort group.
- with Fox News