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Engel, Espaillat Call for FBI Investigation into Reported Deaths of 2 Mount Vernon Residents in the Dominican Republic

Engel, Espaillat Call for FBI Investigation into Reported Deaths of 2 Mount Vernon Residents in the Dominican Republic

New York– Representatives Eliot Engel (NY-16) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray calling for an FBI investigation into the reported deaths of Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle, two Mount Vernon residents who reportedly died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

“We write to request an immediate investigation into the reported deaths of Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle who never returned from their vacation in the Dominican Republic,” the Members wrote in their letter dated April 10. “The FBI must work quickly to conduct a thorough investigation regarding details of their reported deaths that raise questions for us. It is essential that this investigation be conducted expeditiously so that both families can receive the closure they deserve.”

Moore and Ravenelle were expected back in New York on March 27th but never returned. Dominican authorities contend their rental car plunged into the ocean as they drove to the airport to fly home. Reps. Engel and Espaillat met Wednesday morning with U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Robin Bernstein, who acknowledged the importance of learning the full facts of this case.

“Any loved one lost from Mount Vernon is a loved one lost for all of us, and we are heartbroken by the loss of Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas, who reached out to both Engel and Espaillat’s offices regarding the case. “We keep their family, children, and loved ones in prayer during this time of grief. The City of Mount Vernon is determined to get the full facts on the tragedy in the Dominican Republic. There are too many unanswered questions and the people of Mount Vernon thank Congressman Eliot Engel and Congressman Adriano Espaillat for taking action, requesting F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray to conduct a full investigation into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths of our citizens who vanished on vacation in the Dominican Republic.

“Mount Vernon is a tight knit city. There are families who have been here for a very long time, love each other, and know each other.  On behalf of the citizens of Mount Vernon, we offer all of our resources to the multiple official agencies involved, so that we can have a complete resolution. Mount Vernon will always be there for all of our people.”

 

Text of the letter to Director Wray can be found below:

 

April 10, 2019

 

Dear Director Wray,

We write to request an immediate investigation into the reported deaths of Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle who never returned from their vacation in the Dominican Republic. Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas reached out to both of our offices on this urgent issue, as the individuals are from Mount Vernon. The FBI must work quickly to conduct a thorough investigation regarding details of their reported deaths that raise questions for us. It is essential that this investigation be conducted expeditiously so that both families can receive the closure they deserve.

We understand that Mr. Moore and Ms. Ravenelle were expected back in New York on March 27. Dominican authorities contend that their rental car plunged into the ocean on March 27 as they drove to the airport to take their flight home. National Police Colonel Frank Felix Duran Mejia stated that an unconscious woman fitting the description of Ms. Ravenelle was found on the day of the crash and died in the intensive care unit at the Doctor Dario Contreras Hospital on April 4. Colonel Mejia also announced that the body of a man fitting the description of Orlando Moore was found at sea near the Santo Domingo neighborhood of Sans Souci. As far as we know, the rental car has not yet been found.

We held a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Robin Bernstein, in which she acknowledged the importance of learning the full facts of this case. As such, we request:

  • A full investigation into the reported deaths of Orlando Moore and Portia Ravenelle, and a follow-up briefing summarizing your findings.
  • A complete timeline of events spanning from Moore’s and Ravenelle’s arrival to the Dominican Republic through the announcement of their found bodies on April 9, 2019.
  • Assistance to Dominican authorities to recover Moore’s and Ravenelle’s rental car, and a thorough search of the vehicle.
  • A detailed report on FBI cooperation with Dominican authorities – including National Police Colonel Frank Felix Duran Mejia.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent matter. We eagerly anticipate your  response and ensuing investigation.