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NY Lawmakers Ask For Answers After Westchester Couple Dies In Caribbean

Orlando Moore, 43, and Portia Ravenelle, 32 Photo Credit: Contributed
Orlando Moore. Photo Credit: Contributed

New York lawmakers are calling on the FBI to investigate the deaths of a couple from Westchester who died on their way to the airport during a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Orlando Moore, 43, and his girlfriend, Portia Ravenelle, 52, had been scheduled to return to their Westchester home on March 27, following a four-day trip in the town of Samana. However, the couple never made it to the airport after checking out of a Dominican Republic hotel, prompting concern from friends and family and an investigation by Dominican authorities.

The two departed from Newark Liberty International Airport on March 23, leaving a car at their airport for their return. The two were active on social media during the vacation before suddenly going radio silent, leading to their family filing a police report on behalf of the missing couple on March 29.

On Wednesday, April 10, the Dominican Republic Embassy confirmed that both Moore and Ravenelle had died due to a car accident that took place along a road that runs parallel to the Caribbean Sea near the airport in Santo Domingo while they were on their way to their flight home.

While details continue to emerge, there remain many questions, which Congressmen Eliot Engel and Adriano Espaillat hope the FBI can solve, hoping to establish a timeline before their deaths.

“We write to request an immediate investigation into the reported deaths of Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle who never returned from their vacation in the Dominican Republic,” they wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI must work quickly to conduct a thorough investigation regarding details of their reported deaths that raise questions for us. It is essential that this investigation be conducted expeditiously so that both families can receive the closure they deserve.”

According to the Dominican authorities, Ravenelle managed to escape the car as their rented vehicle went under water. She was taken to a nearby hospital by first responders, but was unconscious at the time, unable to speak and never recovered from the crash. Moore’s body was found a few days later, still at sea. The car remains underwater, and the cause of the fatal crash remains under investigation.

“We keep their family, children, and loved ones in prayer during this time of grief,” Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas said in a statement. The City of Mount Vernon is determined to get the full facts on the tragedy in the Dominican Republic. There are too many unanswered questions.”

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