Two bodies found amidst search for New York couple missing in Dominican Republic

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czekma13/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A search for a New York couple that went missing while on a romantic getaway to the Dominican Republic took a grim twist this week.

On Tuesday, police in the Dominican Republic said they are investigating if two people who apparently died in a car crash last month are the missing Americans.

Orlando Moore, 43, and his girlfriend, Portia Ravenelle, 32, both of Mount Vernon, vanished on the morning of March 27, the day they checked out of the Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa resort in Samana. Their relatives told police they were scheduled to fly to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey that day, but missed their flight out of Santa Domingo.

Fishermen reported hearing a loud noise coming from a highway along the coast leading to San Domingo on March 27 and passersby discovered a badly injured woman along the roadway, police said. She was taken to a hospital where she died on April 4, police said.

Police said a car was found submerged in the water below the highway and the body of a man was retrieved from the vehicle on March 31, according to police.

Autopsies are being conducted to determine if the two people who died in what appeared to be a car accident are Moore and Ravenelle, the police statement said.

U.S. State Department officials said earlier this week that they were working with Dominican authorities to find the missing couple.

"We are aware of reports regarding a U.S. couple missing in the Dominican Republic. The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to U.S. citizens in need and to their families," the State Department said in a statement. "When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts and share information with families however we can."

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