Fiji – an island in the South Pacific that typically pops up on people’s travel bucket lists is now home to the mysterious death of an American couple
David and Michelle Paul passed away recently due to a mysterious illness while they were on an “amazing vacation,” per their family.
According to WFAA, the couple was from Fort Worth, Texas and were on a trip of a lifetime. Now, their families are trying to cope with the loss of the young couple.
David & Michelle Paul had a 2-Year-Old Son
According to ABC News, the couple had a 2-year-old son.
Tracey Calanog, sister-in-law to the couple through her husband, who is Michelle Paul’s brother, said the families of David and Michelle received a tragic phone call the day before the couple planned on returning home.
A State Department official confirmed their deaths with ABC News. The department said they are monitoring an on-going local investigation as the cause of death is still unclear.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death,” a spokesperson from the State Department said. “We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”
David & Michelle’s Death at the Hands of a Strong Illness
According to a report by the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, police confirmed that an illness was what caused the death of the couple who were in their 30s. More testing will be done on the remains of the couple overseas.
Calanog told WFAA, that the two were very healthy and physically fit.
“Very physically fit. Former Air Force. Former student-athlete,” Calanog said.
Michelle apparently died first, per WFAA. Plans were developed to transport David to Australia for further treatment, but officials did not get him there on time. They said he could’ve died because of pneumonia.
ABC News reported that the couple may have died because of the island’s dangerous flu season.
According to Calanog, the couple’s remains will not be returned to the United States until further medical investigations can be done. If they contracted an infectious disease, their bodies will have to be cremated.
David & Michelle’s Dog, Zooey, in Safe Hands
The couple’s 2-year-old was staying with relatives during their trip, but their dog, Zooey, was boarded up at a kennel during their time in Fiji.
According to WFAA, Calanog was set on finding Zooey, as she called every boarding facility in the Fort Worth area. After making friends with many animal lovers on Facebook, Calanog was able to rescue the pup. Zooey is now in safe hands with Calanog and her husband in College Station, Texas.
“We are incredibly grateful for everyone that came together and helped locate Zooey,” Calanog said. “I’ve never seen a community like Fort Worth come together for complete strangers to help find a family member.”
Five Fiji Locals Who Came Into Contact With David & Michelle Under Medical Observation
According to the Fiji Sun, five locals who had contact with David and Michelle Paul are now under observation at the Nadi Hospital.
Two security guards, two medical staff and a police officer are the ones who have shown symptoms similar to the Pauls.
The Fiji Sun also reports that 10 staff members from the property the couple stayed at on Denarau Island have been told to go on leave with pay.
“The post-mortem examination (on Saturday) revealed the couple died as a result of an illness. However, we have liaised with the Ministry of Health to send samples overseas for further testing,” police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said.
Another couple passed away in an international country this week, as Edward Nathael Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49 were found dead in their hotel room in the Dominican Republic.