NY holidaymakers presumed dead in Dominican Republic

Authorities in the Dominican Republic said Tuesday they believe they've found the bodies of an American couple who disappeared late last month after checking out of their hotel - and officials think the two died in a vehicle crash on their way to the airport.

Dominican police believe that Orlando Moore, 43, and Portia Ravenelle, 32, possibly suffered a auto accident while en route to the Las Americas International Airport from Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa in Samana.

Police believe the couple died March 27 en route to the airport after their rental vehicle plunged into the Caribbean Ocean off the Las Américas highway.

At the news conference on Tuesday, police said that a woman matching Ravenelle's description survived the crash but died six days later.

National Police spokesman Frank Felix Duran said that fishermen found a man's body in the water off San Souci on March 31.

A second body that was recovered - a badly decomposed male - has not yet been identified but police believe it is likely Orlando Moore's.

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Authorities had confirmed that Mr Moore and Ms Ravenelle passed a toll booth on the way to Santo Domingo at 01:41 on 27 March. The couple was vacationing in the country and was due to return home on March 27. He said treacherous water conditions have kept divers from getting to the submerged vehicle, but they expect it to be the same vehicle the couple rented to drive to the airport. Two days later, when they did not return, Lashay Turner, Moore's half-sister, reported him missing, CNN reported.

Autopsies are being conducted to determine if the two people who died in what appeared to be a auto accident are Moore and Ravenelle, the police statement said.

"We are aware of reports regarding a USA couple missing in the Dominican Republic". It is believed that the couple was potentially involved in the fatal crash while making their way to the airport. The welfare and safety of USA citizens overseas is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.

"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", a U.S. Department of State official said in a statement.

The Mount Vernon couple flew out of Newark Liberty International Airport on March 23, NBC reported. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.

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