Much of the reporting in this story is courtesy of WSB-TV in Atlanta.
The family of a Forsyth man who died in the Dominican Republic in March is speaking out about his death for the first time, in the wake of similar American deaths on the island.
Tracy Jerome Jester Jr., 31, died while vacationing on the island with his sister, Nyesha Willis, also of Forsyth, on March 17. The official cause of death was listed as “respiratory issues,” according to his mother, Melody Moore, who spoke with ABC News.
Tammy Jester of Forsyth, manager of the Cotique Boutique, said that Jester is her cousin and confirmed he was from Forsyth.
Moore said her son called her the night before he died and seemed to be in good spirits.
“They had a good day. Saturday, they went out, they explored. They said they had a good day,” she told the Atlanta-based station WSB-TV.
According to WSB, Moore said her son made a remark about drinking a soda that didn’t taste right.
Moore told ABC News that early the next morning she got a call from her daughter, who said Jester had “just dropped to his knees and started throwing up blood.”
Moore said she instructed her daughter to call the police, but it was too late. By 4:40 a.m., Jester had died.
Jester’s sister told WSB that he had lupus, but it’s unclear whether the autoimmune disease had anything to do with his death.
His body was returned to his family in Georgia, and Moore said she didn’t have a toxicology report conducted at the time because the reports of other deaths in the country had yet to emerge, ABC News reported. Now she believes that her son’s death may be connected to the others.
She said that she had called the FBI and that an investigator has added her son’s name to a list of Americans who had died in the country recently.
Moore said she “would like to know the truth” about her son’s death.
The State Department confirmed to ABC News that it was aware of Jester’s death.
Officials have said that despite increased media attention, there has been no “uptick” in American deaths in the country.