Knoxville man still waiting for mother’s remains from Dominican Republic

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Will Cox knew his mother wouldn’t be the last American to die from “natural causes” while visiting the Dominican Republic.

Cox’s mother Leyla died June 11 while vacationing in the country for her 53rd birthday.

Ever since then, Cox has been trying to find out why his mother died when she was presumably healthy.

At first, all he was able to get was an autopsy, which was in Spanish, and stated that she had died from a heart attack.

Cox, with the help of a lawyer and U.S. officials, was able to hold off on getting his mother’s body cremated and was able to get samples of her blood, hair, tissue and more for a toxicology report.

When Cox first talked with WATE 6 On Your Side, Dominican Republic officials told him a toxicology test wasn’t possible because their machines were broken.

Since then, at least two more Americans died while visiting the Dominican Republic and the FBI announced it would help test the toxicology of three Americans.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer also tweeted about the deaths, saying the ATF and CDC need to get involved.

Cox agreed.

“There’s no telling what it is, but you know, all these people are dropping dead of random heart attacks that are healthy. There’s only so many times when you can line up the pieces before you say, ‘Hey this is not a coincidence, this is suspicious,'” Cox said.

Cox said the waiting game has been difficult. He’s waiting on his mother’s luggage, death certificate, toxicology results and remains.

He will get her body cremated Tuesday.

Cox said he wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without the help of the community and the donations on his GoFundMe account.

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