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By Elisha Fieldstadt, Daniela Mencos and Phil Helsel
The New York couple who went missing while on vacation in the Dominican Republic are believed to both be dead in an apparent car crash.
A car that had apparently veered off the road was found in the Caribbean Sea, and two bodies have been found, police said Tuesday.
Dominican Republic National Police told NBC News on Wednesday that authorities identified a woman who died in a hospital as Portia Ravenelle. Police said she was found seriously injured by the side of a road by a fisherman March 27 and was hospitalized, but died April 4.
The woman did not have any documents on her when she was found, police said.
Her body was identified using fingerprints supplied by the U.S. embassy, police said Wednesday. The man’s body that was found is so far unidentified.
Ravenelle and her boyfriend, Orlando Moore, were due to return from their Caribbean vacation March 27, Moore’s family said Monday.
But the Mount Vernon couple never made their flight home, and their car was still sitting at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where they had left it on March 23.
A man’s body in an “advanced state of decomposition” but with “the characteristics of Orlando Moore” was recovered from the water on March 31, police said in a statement translated from Spanish.
The couple is believed to have rented a car, and evidence indicates they were headed to the airport but had a car accident, police said.
Their rented car was seen at a toll booth near the point where a vehicle was found in the sea, police have said.
It was not immediately clear what may have caused the car to drop off the highway and into the sea, but fishermen told investigators that on March 27, they heard a “rumble” coming from the coast-hugging Las Americas Highway in Santo Domingo East, police said in Tuesday’s statement.
Police said Tuesday that divers have not been able to identify the submerged vehicle’s characteristics because of poor conditions, and the point is known for strong currents.
The U.S. Department of State said Tuesday that it was working on the investigation with authorities in the Dominican Republic, according to NBC New York.
Moore’s sister, Lashay Turner, alerted officials about the missing couple, NBC New York reported, and she told the station that that her brother was a father and not the type to “just run off on a hiatus.”
A neighbor of the couple, John Hollis, told NBC New York that “Orlando was a very vibrant outgoing person, that would do anything for you.” He considered them friends.
“Portia is a vibrant energy,” Hollis said. “I’m going to miss her,” he said.