A WEALTHY woman who immigrated to the Caribbean from Britain mysteriously starved to death after meeting a new boyfriend.
Virginia Owen, 48, moved to the Dominican Republic in 2006 with her £200,000 ($327,500) life savings.
Her family said Ms Owen, a former store manager from Berkshire, southern England, was seemingly healthy when she went to live in the beach town of Sosua after her marriage collapsed.
She met Hans Michel Magnusson, a 54-year-old Swede, and the couple moved into a two-bedroom apartment by the sea.
Her brother Daniel, 40, flew to see her this month when the family became concerned for her safety and said that he found her in a squalid apartment, looking like a “bag of bones,” covered in bedsores and unable to speak.
She was taken to a hospice, where she died of starvation the next day, October 13. An autopsy found that she was also suffering from liver cancer, which her family said they did not know about.
Mr Magnusson was arrested but later released without charge.
Ms Owen initially kept in regular contact with her family until five months ago. Her family said that Ms Owen’s emails turned sinister and threatening, and her mother said she was surprised that the emails were written by her daughter because they were in poor English.
Rosemary Walkley, 73, said she phoned her daughter’s apartment and spoke to Mr Magnusson but became worried when she heard her daughter crying out in pain in the background.
“It was so dreadful to hear her in such agony,” she said. “I asked Hans to take her to a doctor, but he said they didn’t have any money. Virginia flew out there with £200,000 – how did her money run out so quickly? I told Hans to take her to hospital and we would pay the bill.”
Henry Ventura, of the Sosua police, said an investigation was under way.
The small town, in the north of the island, has been a popular tourist spot since the 1980s and has a large foreign community of European, British and American expatriates attracted by the cheap cost of living.