For the 50+ Traveler

Warning: The following post contains photos that may be disturbing to some readers.

Facebook is buzzing with the story of a Delaware woman who said she was brutally attacked and left to die at the Majestic Elegance Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic. Nearly six months after the attack, she decided to share her story on Facebook as a warning to the world.

Her Worst Nightmare

On May 29, Tammy Lawrence-Daley posted a warning advising all travelers, especially those traveling abroad, to be extremely careful, in the hope that her tragic story will not become a recurring theme. Her Facebook post detailing the terrifying series of events that transpired at the resort has gone viral and was picked up by several news outlets, including NBC News.

Lawrence-Daley, her husband, and their two friends took a trip to the all-inclusive Punta Cana resort in January. They arrived at the resort on a Monday night, and the attack she described took place the next night.

In her post, Lawrence-Daley explained how, after returning from a show at 10:30 p.m., she left her room to find something to eat in the lounge downstairs. She instead decided to walk to the lounge in the building next door, since it was on the beach, and she hoped to snap some pictures. While walking between the buildings, she noticed that she didn’t see any people, and it was eerily quiet. That’s when it happened.

“Heavy footsteps … one, two, three, four, then they sped up, and then before I could react I was plowed into from behind and immediately immobilized. His arms wrapped around me and he started pulling me immediately into an unlocked maintenance room,” she wrote.

Lawrence-Daley said that she experienced an immense amount of pain and fear over the next several hours. Her attacker beat, kicked, and choked her and then dragged her down to an underground wastewater area. She fought for her life, but went in and out of consciousness; eventually, her attacker left her for dead. Over 8 hours later, she was found and taken to the hospital. Several graphic photos of her injuries accompany her Facebook post. She said that she underwent numerous surgeries, and that she still suffers from nerve damage.

According to Lawrence-Daley, the resort has taken zero responsibility for the attack and has refused to refund her for her trip because she couldn’t identify her attacker.

“Majestic Elegance claims no responsibility for the attack, since I couldn't identify the attacker (even though he was wearing a uniform WITH the resort logo and hit me directly in front of the unlocked maintenance room and dragged me down concrete stairs to a basement so that no one could hear or find me). Police did find evidence of the blood smeared mop handle and a maintenance hat in the area I was found, but this means nothing in these countries,” Lawrence-Daley wrote.

In closing, she gave a word of advice: “When you are in unfamiliar places, or even in familiar places, please remember … be smart, be safe.”

On April 15, 2019, a Level 2 travel advisory was issued for the Dominican Republic. According to the State Department, violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault, is a concern throughout the country.

“The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality,” reads the advisory.

Some Suggestions For Staying Safe While Traveling

Lawrence-Daley went public with her story to raise awareness of the dangers of traveling and the need to take proper precautions.

To aid in her efforts, here are some suggestions for staying safe in countries where exercising increased caution is advised.

  • Stay with a buddy whenever possible.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings at all times.
  • Don’t accept invitations from strangers.
  • Try not to travel with valuable items; if you must, keep them locked safely in your room.
  • Travel with minimal cash, and keep your credit cards separate from your cash.
  • Don’t wear flashy jewelry.
  • Don’t venture too far away from your resort/lodgings. Be sure you are aware of what areas are safe—and not safe—to explore.
  • Know how to ask for help in the local language.
  • Double-check your Uber or Lyft’s license place.

Photo Credit: Victor Maschek / Shutterstock

Photo Credit: jakkapan / Shutterstock