Wife of Maryland Man Who Died in Dominican Republic Last Year Says Resort Officials Pressured her to Have Husband Cremated

David Harrison (Credit: GoFundMe)
David Harrison (Credit: GoFundMe)

A Maryland woman whose husband died while on vacation at a resort in the Dominican Republic says officials “recommended” she cremate him before returning his body to the United States last year, she tells PEOPLE.

Dawn McCoy’s husband David Harrison and son David Jr. traveled to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on July 4, 2018. McCoy arrived a few days later and her husband was already beginning to feel ill, she recalls.

Within days, Harrison told his wife he wasn’t going to drink and he wanted to rest. His stomach was upset and a pungent odor began seeping through his pores, she recalls. On July 14, he woke up in a full-body sweat and couldn’t move or speak. He died hours later.

As she tried to process her grief, she knew she needed to get her son home and try to figure out how she was going to get her husband’s body back. But first she needed to pay.

“The hotel asked me to call them when I was on my way out and that they would meet me personally, so I called them and told them that we were getting ready to check out,” she says. “They pulled me aside and handed me a doctor bill.”

Before she could leave the resort, she says, she had to pay multiple bills — the hotel doctor, the ambulance, the hospital, the funeral home and more.

“They kept trying to get me to cremate my husband. They kept telling me that it would be considerably cheaper to cremate him. I want to say they asked me probably three or four times before they sent him home,” she recalls. “I was like, ‘No, no, no.’ Send him home. I want to make sure it’s him that’s coming home.”

On July 24, 10 days after Harrison died, he was returned home and cremated at a Maryland funeral home.

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SOURCE: Elaine Aradillas, People