A man and woman missing for two weeks died after a car accident in the Dominican Republic, authorities said. Although their bodies were found within days of the wreck, family and friends are only now learning what happened to them.
The National Police believe the car Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle were in plunged into the ocean in the early hours of March 27, not long after the pair left for the airport to catch a flight home to New York.
A body fitting the description of Moore was found at sea in an advanced stage of decomposition, police said. A woman later identified as Ravenelle was found on the airport road on the day of the wreck but died in an ICU eight days later, they said, without explaining how or why she might have ended up on the road.
“She had to die by herself,” family friend Francesca Figueroa told CNN. “When one of us could have been there holding her hand.”
Friends with Moore for about 25 years, Figueroa said she thinks of him as family. Both Moore and Ravenelle, friends who worked together, spent the night before their trip to the Dominican Republic at Figueroa’s having dinner and watching a movie.
“Two silly individuals, two happy-go-lucky people, always trying to help people, that’s who they are,” Figueroa said.
They were due back in New York on March 27 at 5:45 a.m., Figueroa said. When they didn’t return, Figueroa said her family started looking for them.
Figueroa said she spoke to a US Embassy representative on March 31 who told her “no bodies were found, there were no dead bodies reported, no accidents, no one was in jail.”
She said she was relieved. Perhaps they were just lost.
But on Tuesday, she learned that her friends likely were in a car accident on the way to the airport to go back home.
“I am saddened it took this many days to find out,” Figueroa said.
Autopsies of both bodies are underway, with results expected next week, National Police Col. Frank Félix Durán Mejia said told CNN affiliate Telesistema.
“Everybody is devastated. Everybody is devastated,” Figueroa said. “His daughter is devastated, everybody is devastated, as I am, as my husband, as the mayor, as everybody in this town is because he’s well known in this town. You go on the corner, and everybody knows Orlando.”