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Community Rallies Around Family Of Westchester Man Found Dead In Caribbean

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

The local community is rallying around the family of Mount Vernon resident Orlando Moore, who died on his way to his flight home following 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 left Newark Liberty International Airport at approximately midnight on March 23, leaving a car at the airport. The two posted pictures of their vacation on social media during the visit, but all communication then ceased. A police report was filed for the missing couple on behalf of their families 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 several days ago near the airport in Santo Domingo while they were on their way to their flight home.

In response, community members set up a GoFundMe fundraiser t o help Moore’s family have his body returned to the country. In less than 18 hours, the page garnered nearly $2,500 from 50 contributors, a quarter of their stated goal.

“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.

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.

Those interested in donating to the GoFundMe can do so here.

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