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Police identify 3 Americans who died at a Bahamas resort, continue investigation

A fourth person was also taken to a Miami hospital.
/ Source: TODAY

Police have confirmed the identities of the three Americans who mysteriously died at a Sandals resort in the Bahamas last week.

A married couple from Tennessee and a man from Florida all died while staying in the same split villa at Sandals Emerald Bay, prompting authorities to investigate if there is any common thread connecting the three people.

Michael Phillips, 68, and his wife, Robbie, 65, were among the deceased, as was Vincent Chiarella, 64. Chiarella's wife, Donnis, 65, was also sick and taken to a Miami hospital, where she is in fair condition.

“Our hearts are grieving and broken,” the Phillips' family told NBC News.

“The forensic examination should be able to help us to determine whether or not there was a chemical or whatever it was,” Commissioner of Royal Bahamas Police Force Paul Rolle said at a press conference.

Police believe the deaths took place between 11 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 a.m. Friday and said all victims had reported feeling ill the night before.

Detectives are examining the hot water heater and air conditioner for potentially harmful leaks.

“Health persons are doing some follow-up investigations ... and they will be able to speak to what they are doing later,” Rolle told NBC News' Kerry Sanders.

The Royal Bahamian police chief said a pathology and toxicology report should be available in about a week, but complete autopsies could take longer. Several guests at the resort have also told NBC News they have complained about a strong odor of insecticide on the premises.

Investigators don't know what caused three people to die at Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma.
Investigators don't know what caused three people to die at Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma.TODAY

After the deaths, the resort issued a health emergency, and investigators say they don’t believe foul play had any role in the deaths. Bahamas Minister of Health & Wellness Dr. Michael Darville said he believes the deaths were an "isolated case."

“There were some signs of individuals presenting to the clinic with nausea, vomiting and some symptoms. They were eventually seen to and subsequently discharged themselves,” he said.

The resort issued a statement over the weekend, explaining: “Nothing is more important to Sandals Resorts than the safety of our guests. We are actively working to support both the investigation as well as the guests’ families in every way possible during this difficult time. Out of respect for the privacy of our guests, we cannot disclose further information at this time.”