Police Confirm Bodies Discovered Are Those Of New York Couple Who Went Missing After Vacationing In The Dominican Republic
The couple's family and friends say the two were supposed to return to the States two weeks ago.
April 09, 2019 at 12:11 am
Update (April 10, 2019): Dominican authorities have confirmed that the two bodies they recovered are those of an American couple who went missing over two weeks ago.
Investigators believe Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle died during a car accident as they drove to a Dominican airport to catch a flight back to the United States, reports the New York Daily News.
The bodies were recovered after fishermen reported seeing a car in the seawater. Divers have not been able to reach the vehicle due to choppy waters.
Moore's body was decomposed when it was recovered on March 31. Police noted a tattoo of the word “Milano” on his arm. Ravenelle was reportedly found alive but unconscious near the scene of the accident on March 27. She was transferred to a hospital where she died after eight days in the intensive care unit. Fingerprints were used to identify the 32-year-old on her April 4 passing.
Canadian tourist Cheryl Freeman and her boyfriend spent time with the couple during the trip.
“They were very sweet people,” Cheryl Freeman told CNN. “Orlando is so friendly he could make friends with anyone.”
Freeman claims Ravenelle was nervous about driving at night to catch their 2 a.m. flight, and she empathized with her because some locals "harassed you constantly and there were always people trying to get you to follow them and do stuff.”
Carter Warrington, Freeman’s boyfriend, sent an email wishing them a safe flight, but he never received a response. They didn’t know Moore and Ravenelle were missing until they returned home and read frantic emails from their families. Investigators submitted fingerprints to the United States to identify the bodies and don’t suspect foul play.
Original: Family and friends of a New York couple are worried after the two did not return from a four-day trip to the Dominican Republic two weeks ago.
The New York Daily News reports Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle traveled to the Dominican Republic from Newark Liberty International Airport on March 23 for a couple's trip. Family and friends of the two have grown concerned, stating that they were supposed to return from their vacation on March 27 and have not heard from either of them for nearly 13 days.
Investigators confirmed to NBC that the couple checked out of the Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa hotel in Samana, but their rental car in the Caribbean is missing, and they never made it to the airport for their return flight home.
The Mount Vernon couple's car also remains in the parking lot of Newark International Airport where they left it before leaving the States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection also stated that there are no records that indicate Moore and Ravenelle returned.
Additionally, their cell phones are turned off. Family and friends say they have not heard or seen from them since their last post on social media where the two are seen riding horses together.
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“This is definitely not my brother,” said Moore's sister, Lashay Turner. “He’s not going to run off on a hiatus and don’t tell his family and his daughter. I’m scared, I don’t know what’s going on. I'm saddened, my family is saddened by this and we just want my brother to return safe and alive."
The New York Department of State is working with local officers in the Dominican Republic to investigate the missing persons claim.
"When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts and share information with families however we can," the department said in a statement. "The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to U.S. citizens in need and to their families."
In a post reportedly uploaded by Moore's cousin, the couple was last seen in the Dominican Republic driving a white Kia Picanto and observed at a local bar. Ravenelle was reportedly wearing a pink and white shirt.
ORLANDO MOORE PLEASE SHARE AND HELP ME AND MY FAMILY FIND MY COUSIN AND HIS GIRLFRIEND???? Orlando Moore went missing on March 26, 2019. He and her girlfriend, Portia Ravenelle were staying at the Grand Bahia Principe in Cayacoa, Samana. They were driving a white Kia Picanto. We are in contact with the rental company trying to get additional information. The two missing people were set to get on a place in the night hours of March 26. However, records show they never got on the plane and the car they rented was never returned. Both their cellphones are being redirected to voicemail. Anyone with information on the disappearance of Orlando Moore and his Portia Ravenelle should inform local police. Someone also said: " Last seen wearing a pink and white shirt on the woman i also heard they where at a local bar."
Authorities are reportedly not suspecting foul play as of yet, but the couple's loved ones remain worried.
"When these things happen, you always think of the worst," said Moore's grandmother, Edith Walters, "but we are hoping for the best."
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