May 10, 2022 -- A Tennessee couple and a Florida man were identified Monday as three Americans who died at a Bahamas resort last week after becoming ill.

Police say the deceased couple were Michael Phillips, 68, and his wife Robbie, 65, who were travel agents. Family members confirmed the identity of the third person, Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64. His wife, Donnis, 65, was flown to a hospital in serious condition.

She has since been transferred to HCA Florida Kendall Hospital in Miami, which reported that her health was upgraded to “fair condition,” according to NBC Miami.

The two couples were visiting the Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Exuma, an adults-only resort hotel with 11 restaurants and a golf course overlooking the beach. The couples had been staying in two villas.

Officials said they couldn’t yet provide a cause of death but were expediting toxicology exams through a lab in Philadelphia. The results are expected in about a week, NBC Miami reported.

“Once those samples are done, our pathologist will be able to provide an official report as to an exact cause of death and determine exactly what has happened,” Paul Rolle, the Royal Bahamas Police commissioner, said during a news conference on Monday.

Royal Bahamas Police said they don’t suspect foul play. Rolle was reluctant to give theories about what happened NBC News reported, but he said samples were collected from the resort to “determine whether or not there was a chemical” leak or contaminant involved. A social media post, which was unsupported, claimed that there was a faulty air conditioner on the site.

“We really want to know what caused this without speculation,” Rolle said.

He said that all four tourists went to a doctor the night before the deaths and reported feeling ill. They went at different times and had eaten different things, he said.

On Thursday, several guests were taken to a clinic for nausea and vomiting, and they were treated, according to Eyewitness News Bahamas. Staff then alerted police on Friday morning after finding the three guests dead.

Chiarella was discovered in his villa on the floor of his bedroom, while the Phillipses were found in another villa, NBC News reported. Michael Phillips was in the bathroom and Robbie Phillips was on the bed, police said.

“We feel that what we are seeing is an isolated case associated in a particular area,” Michael Darville, the minister of health and wellness, told Eyewitness News.

An emergency medical team prepared to make a makeshift hospital to treat other patients at the resort, but they found that wasn’t necessary.

“There’s a few scenarios that we’re looking into, but I could say this much: It appears to be an isolated case, affiliated and associated with the four people,” he said.

Sandals Resorts said it wouldn’t comment beyond its original statement of support for the investigation and the families involved, NBC Miami reported.

“Out of respect for the privacy of our guests, we cannot disclose further information at this time,” the company said.

Show Sources

NBC News: “3 American tourists found dead at Bahamas resort identified.”

NBC Miami: “Florida Man, Tennessee Couple ID’d as Guests Found Dead at Bahamas Resort.”

Eyewitness News Bahamas: “Awaiting Answers: Danville says there are ‘ideas’ on American deaths at Sandals, but team must complete findings.”

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