HENDERSON, NV — Family and friends of Fil-Am Michelle Calanog Paul and her husband David Paul are still trying to make sense of their mysterious deaths, while taking their dream vacation in Fiji recently.
Just days after arriving in Fiji, the young and healthy couple from Texas experienced vomiting, diarrhea and extreme weakness — before their deaths.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has joined the investigation – conducted by Fiji’s health ministry, the U.S. embassy in Fiji, the Fiji police and the World Health Organization.
According to Michelle’s father, Marc Calanog, he was contacted by the embassy in Fiji — indicating the findings of Fiji health officials — on what caused the deaths of Michelle and David.
“Ngayon ko lang nalaman itong autopsy. E kuwan na nga ung — pulmonary edema.”
But Marc said he’ll believe it when the investigation is complete on the U.S. side.
“The only time na maniniwala ako kung dadating na ang report ng CDC… ang aking instruction wag ikiki cremate hanggan hindi sinasabe ng CDC na we have the specimen and its a good specimen.”
“I dont believe thats the cause of their death maybe just one of the complications but the real cause I don’t think that’s it,” said Michelle’s friend Elena. “It’s more of the gi problem, gastroentistinal. Kase nagsimula ang symptoms nya when she was admitted sa er sa vomitting diarrhea thats more of gi than pulmonary.”
“Hindi kapani paniwala kase all of a sudden very active sila suppossedly swimmer sila ever since its a questionable talaga.”
Marc Calanog confirmed that the Fiji department of health has sent biological samples from the autopsies to the CDC headquarters in Atlanta for further analysis.
Michelle reportedly died first, and David was in critical condition until he developed pneumonia. He died two days later.
The couple stayed at the Sheraton Denaru villas in Fiji.
“Dumating sila siguroo mga may 21, namatay si michelle ng 25. So 23 i believe merun na silang na experience na hindi maganda so they never recovered… ngayon si David naman nakausap ko pa pagkamatay ni michelle, he was very weak. Tapos binigyan siya ng 3 drip bags para sa IV.. Then nalaman ko na lang tumawag yung brother in law ni david this time they are considering na dalhin sa australia si dave pero sabe nila napakalakas ng risk na dadalhin nag decide sila na dadalhin, in that process namatay si Dave.”
Michelle’s parents are painfully recalling their final conversations with their youngest child and only daughter.
“Its so hard when I see that phone and then I will see. That’s why i don’t want to open her facebook, and whenever somebody call, relatives or friends, I never stop crying. My husband said you have to accept it,” said her mother Juliet.
Michelle and David left behind a two-year-old son — who is now in the care of Michelle’s parents.
The Calanogs said they continue to draw strength from prayers offered by people, as they wait for the final report from the CDC to finally make sense of this tragedy.