On May 29 at 1:04 PM, while most of us were celebrating a three-day weekend, one Delaware mom was reliving a horrific experience on Facebook.
While vacationing with her husband and two best friends at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic in January, 51-year-old Tammy Lawrence-Daley said she was viciously attacked and left for dead in a ‘hole’ near an underground wastewater area.
“How do you explain to your kids you were almost killed by some random stranger and that ‘Mommy is coming home, but I don’t look like myself?’ she wrote. “How do you look into your parents’ eyes as they gaze upon your battered face telling them, ‘I’m okay, I’ll be okay.’”
The answer, she continued: “You tell them a story. You recount every detail very matter of fact so that you don’t break down, that you stay strong… so they don’t see how you are crumbling inside with fear, disappointment, and weakness.”
But now that her body, face and mind have had a chance to heal, this brave mother plans to use her story as a shield against predators preying on other female travelers.
“I also want people to understand that the resorts will claim NO liability or responsibility and you will have no recourse for any reimbursement of expenses.”
After meeting up with friends at an 80s themed show, Lawrence-Daley said she and husband Christopher went back to their room at the resort.
“I had worked up an appetite dancing so I called down to room service,” she wrote on Facebook, but instead of placing an order, her call was rerouted to a pre-recorded message from the resort, stating they were no longer serving food.
Still hungry, the mother of two told her husband she was going to “run downstairs to the lounge” for a snack and that she’d be back in 5 minutes.
“I ended up bypassing the lounge in our building, and opted to go to the lounge in the next building,” she wrote. “I thought I could get some pictures of the moon on the water, but I never made it to the beach.”
While walking through the rotunda between the buildings, Lawrence-Daley said she noticed there wasn’t anyone in the hallway. “Not majorly odd, but still eerily quiet,” she wrote. “I took about 10 or so steps just swinging my wristlet back and forth, not a care in the world. That’s when I heard it. 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 spent the next eight hours in and out of consciousness—writhing in pain and riddled with fear. She was strangled repeatedly, kicked in the head and beaten with a club.
Then, she added, her lifeless body was “drug down concrete stairs to an underground waste water area” where she was “strangled again for the kill; at which time he disposed of my body into an area I refer to as the ‘hole.'”
Though she somehow managed to survive, Lawrence-Daley says that officials at the resort were less than accommodating when she went missing.
“My husband and friends went to the front desk at least 3 times throughout the night before security even agreed to look for me,” she wrote. “The security at Majestic Elegance thought I was drunk somewhere. I went missing at 10:30 and was found over 8 hrs later. It was hell.”
Months later, the couple continues to dispute liability with the resort.
“I spent 5 days in the medical clinic (an offsite hospital) and had surgery to repair my injuries,” wrote Lawrence-Daley, who is still dealing with nerve damage and exorbitant medical expenses since being home. “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).”
Equally as frustrating is the lack of cooperation the couple has received from Dominican Republic national police, who Lawrence-Daley says found evidence of a “blood smeared mop handle” and maintenance hat in the area where her body was discovered (the same police who recently claimed that another couple, found dead in their hotel room at the Bahia Principe Hotel in La Romana this week, died of respiratory failure).
“This man thought he killed me, but he failed. He is still out there, a predator, waiting for his next victim,” she said, adding that the next woman may not be so fortunate.
“These attacks are happening too frequently and the criminals are NOT being prosecuted even though evidence is found. Victims are not being compensated for medical or pain and suffering, and the resorts are not held liable. Majestic Elegance didn’t offer to reimburse us for our vacation, let alone my current medical bills.”
There were no cameras, bright lights or witnesses where the couple was staying, but even if there would have been, Lawrence-Daley warns that women must remember to be smart and safe.
If visiting an unfamiliar place, or even a familiar one, “Please, please do not walk alone.”