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Quebec parents want son's mysterious death in Punta Cana investigated fully

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A Quebec couple is trying to get answers following the mysterious death of their 24-year-old son two months ago in the Dominican Republic.

William Gareau fell to his death at a resort in Punta Cana, and the boy's parents say local authorities aren't cooperating.

The young man, his girlfriend and some of her relatives were vacationing in the Bahia Principe Grand Luxury Ambar all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, and on Jan. 15, his parents received a panicked call from his girlfriend.

"We got the call that no parents ever want to receive at two o clock at night," said William's mother Sylvie Marcotte.

The couple was told that their son fell off the third-floor balcony and was critically injured. His mother jumped on the next flight to Santo Domingo, but it was too late.

"I wanted to see him," she said. "I wanted to touch him, see him, and maybe talk to him."

William Gareau's parents got a call no parent ever wants to receive when the 24-year-old's girlfriend told them about their son's fatal fall on Jan. 15, 2024. (Sylvie Marcotte)

The grieving parents then discovered their son's behaviour was bizarre before he fell and that he was in distress.

"He was not there, he was hallucinating, so he called for help," said Marcotte

His mother said hotel security picked him up and dropped him in his room rather than calling an ambulance or a doctor. His parents suspect he was drugged and that he may not have been the only one. They say his girlfriend's younger brother had the same symptoms.

"The younger brother came in his parent's room and was like absolutely not making sense," said Marcotte.

The medical examiner did call for an autopsy and a toxicology report, but the parents can't access the results.

Police never questioned the other alleged victim or anyone else that night.

The family hired a lawyer to help them find answers.

"We have a young man that died after suspicious circumstances that could be enlightened by local authorites," said lawyer Conrad Lord. "It's complicated. It should be easier because Canadians are there on a daily basis."

The Canadian government issued a travel alert for tourists travelling to the Dominican Republic, specifically saying that tourists should be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from strangers.

The family lawyer says travel agencies and airlines should also play a role in warning travellers.

"I don't think there's enough information out there to enable people to clearly understand the risk factors," said Lord.

The young man's family said they've heard of others who were also intoxicated against their will in popular resorts, which is why they promise to keep pushing for a full investigation. 

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