ST. LOUIS —
Between the dramatic David Ortiz shooting and suspicious deaths involving Americans in the Dominican Republic, it seems like the Caribbean country has been fixated in the headlines.
So we wanted to verify the claim that there's been a dramatic uptick in American deaths in the DR.
To answer this, we need to look at two different categories: natural and what the U.S. Government calls "unnatural deaths."
The State Department defines unnatural deaths as cases like homicides, suicides, car accidents and drownings.
There have been seven American unnatural deaths in the DR since the beginning of 2019.
That number is actually relatively low compared to other years.
In 2009, there were 14 by this point in June.
In 2011 and 2015, there were 15 recorded.
In 2016, 13 deaths classified as unnatural.
Despite the David Ortiz shooting, the annual U.S. State Department Crime Report shows overall crime is down this year in the Dominican Republic.
So we can verify, when it comes to crime-related suspicious deaths that claim is not true.
When it comes to Natural Deaths -- that's a little more tricky.
So far, there have been nine Americans who have died due to health-related issues in the Dominican Republican.
Unlike unnatural deaths, the State Department doesn't specifically track health-related deaths in foreign countries, so we don't have any other years to compare it to.
However, the State Department tells NBC News that they have "Not seen an uptick in the number of U.S. citizens deaths reported to the department."
So we can't independently verify that those numbers aren't higher than previous years, but the State Department insists, they're not.
The Dominican Republic also insists all of these deaths were isolated incidents.