PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - A Delaware woman is sharing her story about being beaten for eight hours allegedly by a hotel employee when she visited a resort in the Dominican Republic in an effort to keep other women safe.
Tammy Lawrence-Daley said she, her husband and another couple went on a vacation in late January and stayed at the Majestic Elegance, an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. In a Facebook post, she recounted being beaten by a man wearing the hotel’s uniform with the logo on it for hours in a basement before he left her for dead.
“Now that I’ve had some time to heal, it’s time to tell my story in the hopes that women will be more aware, and hopefully prevent what happened to me,” she said.
On the second night at the resort, the couples attended a theater show and then went back to their rooms around 10:30 p.m.
Lawrence-Daley said she became hungry and tried calling for room service, but received a message that the kitchen was no longer serving. She told her husband she would be back in five minutes and headed down to the lounge area in her building.
In her post, she said she chose to bypass the lounge and decided to go for the lounge in a building next to hers so she could get photos of the moon on the ocean water since the beach was nearby. But she never made it to the beach.
As she was walking through the area between buildings, she noticed the hallway was empty and “eerily quiet.” Then Lawrence-Daley heard heavy footsteps and was “immediately immobilized” after being hit from behind.
“His arms wrapped around me and he started pulling me immediately into an unlocked maintenance room,” she said. “I’m not going to go into the gory details of everything, however, please know that I fought with everything I had at that moment.”
For the next eight hours, Lawrence-Daley said she was choked multiple times until she was unconscious, dragged down concrete stairs into an underground wastewater area, kicked in the head, beaten with a club and then choked one last time “for the kill.” She said she doesn’t know if the man did anything to her body while she was unconscious.
But after the man assumed he’d killed her, he disposed of her body in what she called a hole.
After she was found, she spent five days at an offsite hospital, where she underwent surgery for multiple injuries. Lawrence-Daley said she still suffers from several issues, including nerve damage, and that she has to deal with the medical expenses.
“Majestic Elegance claims no responsibility for the attack since I couldn’t identify the attacker,” she said. “Majestic Elegance didn’t offer to reimburse us for our vacation, let alone my current medical bills. Litigation went nowhere. Stories are being squashed.”
She said police found evidence of a blood-smeared mop handle and a maintenance hat in the area where she was located, but the investigation did not go any further.
When she went missing, she said her husband and friends went to the hotel’s front desk three times before security agreed to search for her and that it only involved using quads to look for her on the beach.
“This man thought he killed me, but he failed. He is still out there, a predator, waiting for his next victim. Only the next woman may not be so fortunate. Please, please do not walk alone. These attacks are happening too frequently and the criminals are not being prosecuted even though evidence is found,” she said.
The resort eventually responded to Lawrence-Daley's story, corroborating some of the details of the experience she described in her Facebook post, but claimed that while Lawrence-Daley "had bruises on her face and had broken the nail of her little finger. She had no scratches or other signs of violence on her body and still had her purse and cell phone with her," a statement from the hotel said.
According to the statement, "A member of the hotel staff stayed most of the time in the hospital to provide assistance and ensure that her needs were met. Majestic Resorts paid for all hospital expenses and offered Mrs. Lawrence, her husband and her fellow travelers a complimentary extension of their stay at the hotel for all the time necessary to recover and arrange their departure from the country."
Hotel officials prepared "special meals" for Lawrence-Daley after the attack, "as she had difficulty eating solid foods," the statement said.
The hotel's statement also indicated that a delegate from the U.S. Embassy visited Lawrence-Daley after the attack, but hotel officials claim she "refused to present any legal allegations despite the recommendations of the local authorities."
The statement went on to question Lawrence-Daley's story and motives in filing a lawsuit against the hotel seeking damages. "After their investigation, authorities understand that the scenario is still unclear, and that there are weak points and unanswered questions to answer in this strange and unusual case," the statement said.
The hotel said it "continues to cooperate with the local authorities in the resolution of this case until they can provide a final official declaration."
A statement from Lawrence-Daley’s legal team reads in part:
"Mrs. Lawrence Daley and her attorneys feel confident that the viewers and the public can see that the hotel's attempt to blame the victim in this case is their last plea to avoid taking responsibility for their failures...Mrs. Lawrence Daley is hopeful that with the help of her attorneys the resort will come to the forefront and make up for its prior lack of accommodation and protection."