The Kia rented by a Mount Vernon couple who were found dead in the Dominican Republic has been recovered, and alcohol, high speeds and dark roads may have been factors in their death, according to new reports.
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.
According to new reports, authorities in the Dominican Republic have cited a “deadly combination of speeding alcohol and dark roadways” may have contributed to the deaths of the couple. Moore had reportedly been seen drinking before he and Ravenelle left their hotel to drive to the airport.
Reports state that the two may have then been speeding to get to the airport on time, made a wrong turn and lost control of the vehicle before plunging into the Caribbean Sea. Over the weekend, their rented vehicle was finally recovered following days of rough seas. The cause of the crash has not officially been released.
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.
Officials said that because Ravenelle did not have any documentation on her, they were unable to identify her until this week. She died four days after being brought to the hospital.
The incident has led to local lawmakers calling on the FBI to further investigate the crash to determine an official 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.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up on behalf of Orlando Moore’s family, as they attempt to have his body returned to the country.
“The family of Orlando Moore made the decision to return him to the United States,” the page states. This must also be coordinated through the Jamaican Consulate since Orlando was traveling on a Jamaican Passport. Returning a body to the U.S. is a complex and expensive process.
'The family of the deceased is responsible for all costs associated with this process. I am raising funds to cover Orlando D. Moore funeral services, investigation, and children.”
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