COON RAPIDS, Minn. (FOX 9) - As the United States Department of State reveals another American tourist death in the Dominican Republic, a Minnesota woman is sharing her story and raising concerns of her own.
“I don’t remember any more than that first hour and half there,” said Kelly Lichtanski of Coon Rapids.
Lichtanski says her all-inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic in October with her best friend, Therese Mickelson, was supposed to take her mind off the recent death of her husband.
Instead, Lichtanski spent the first half unconscious and in the hospital after blacking out and hitting the back of her head in the pool. The two women had just checked in to the Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana, a place they had stayed before.
“I went over and got the two drinks—I had the second one—Therese, I don’t think you had the second one, and that’s all I remember,” said Lichtanski.
“She has no memory of it and all of a sudden she went back on the tile in the pool area and the crack—just the sound of her head cracking—she was completely out of it,” said Mickelson.
Mickelson asked the resort to call an ambulance to take her friend to the hospital.
“They said they won’t look at her until I pay $200 US,” Mickelson said.
After paying even more money to see a doctor, a CT scan revealed swelling on Lichtanski’s brain. As the women tried to follow up with the hospital to conduct blood work and file a police report, they claim the resort staff started acting strangely. They say the staff deactivated their hotel key cards and banged on their doors in the middle of the night, which prompted the women to barricade their door with chairs, fearing their lives.
“I don’t know if robbery was the initial, but after that they didn’t want us talking,” said Mickelson.
Now that several American tourists have died in the Dominican Republic, the women want others to be aware so they don't become victims too.
“It all hit home,” said Lichtanski. “I really feel like my husband was watching over me.”
Lichtanski says it took several months for her to recover from a severe concussion.
FOX 9 reached out to the resort and the company that owns it for a response, but so far has not received a response.