Cause of Death Revealed for 3 Americans Found Dead at Sandals Resort in the Bahamas

·4 min read

Authorities have revealed the cause of death for the three Americans who were found dead at a Sandals resort in the Bahamas in early May.

The tourists — Tennessee couple Michael Phillips, 68, and his wife, Robbie Phillips, 65, and Florida resident Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64 — died "as a result of asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide poisoning," the Royal Bahamas Police Force said on Tuesday in a news release obtained by PEOPLE. The news was first reported by the Nassau Guardian on Monday.

Staff found the two couples in separate villas at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Exuma on May 6. Vincent's wife, Donnis Chiarella, 65, survived and was airlifted to a Florida hospital, where she was initially listed in serious condition.

The police department said that the incident remains "under investigation" at this time.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Sandals Resorts said they "remain devastated by the unimaginable tragedy."

"Despite initial speculation, Bahamian authorities have concluded the cause was an isolated incident in one standalone structure that housed two individual guest rooms and was in no way linked to the resort's air conditioning system, food and beverage service, landscaping services or foul play," the statement read.

"Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our guests and team members is and will always be paramount. It is for this reason that we have taken additional measures such as engaging environmental safety experts for a comprehensive review of all systems across the resort. In addition, CO detectors have now been placed in all guest rooms at Sandals Emerald Bay and although not mandated in any Caribbean destination where we operate, detectors will be installed in all guest rooms throughout the portfolio," the statement continued. "Our entire team is keeping the families in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Robbie and Mike Phillips
Robbie and Mike Phillips

Robbie and Mike Phillips/Facebook (L-R) Mike Phillips and Robbie Phillips

RELATED: 'Heartbroken' Son of Man Who Died at Bahamas Sandals Resort Says Mom Woke to Find Husband on Floor

Austin Chiarella, the son of Vincent and Donnis, previously said he was "heartbroken" over his father's death.  "My dad was everything to me," he told ABC News of his late father.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Caroline Phillips Fortenberry, the daughter of Michael and Robbie, said her parents "generously loved their family and friends," and will be dearly missed.

"Our hearts are grieving and broken but full of hope," she shared in a statement to CNN. "We know our mom and dad are experiencing fullness of joy in our heavenly Father's presence. We already miss them terribly. Our parents left a legacy of faith in Jesus and generously loved their family and friends."

RELATED VIDEO: Missing Man Found Dead, Wife Hospitalized After Their RV Is Discovered in Remote Area of Nevada

According to the Royal Bahamas Police Force, authorities were informed on the morning of May 6 that three bodies had been found.

"On their arrival at the scene they were directed to the first villa. On entering a bedroom, they found a caucasian male laying on the ground unresponsive," the RBPF said in the statement. "An examination of the body was conducted, there was no signs of trauma found. The local doctor later pronounced the victim dead."

RELATED: Family Says Their 'Hearts Are Grieving' Couple Who Mysteriously Died at Sandals Resort in Bahamas

"The officers were then directed to the second villa, where they found a caucasian male slumped against the wall in a bathroom unresponsive. A caucasian female was also found in a bedroom on a bed. She too was unresponsive. Both individuals showed signs of convulsion," they continued. "The officers examined the bodies and found no signs of trauma. The local doctor later pronounced both persons dead."

Sandals Emerald Bay Resort
Sandals Emerald Bay Resort

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, Bahamas

Based out of Jamaica, Sandals operates several luxury all-inclusive resort destinations in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and other parts of the Caribbean including St. Lucia and Barbados.

Late last month, Sandals Resorts installed carbon monoxide detectors at Sandals Emerald Bay, and said in a statement that it would install the devices at the rest of its properties in the Caribbean, according to The Washington Post.

At a press conference on May 9, Bahamas Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said that all of the Americans "had reported feeling ill" the night before they were found dead, and had been seen by medics, per CNN.

The victims' families have also requested an independent autopsy, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville told Eyewitness News last week.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting