Were David and Michelle Paul victims of poisoning? Fiji hopes not…

It’s really unavoidable, the mysteriously sinister undertones. The unknown is scary to normal minds but downright fodder to the innately suspicious mind.

So…a young attractive couple flies to a tropical island and within a day or two, fall gravely ill. There are texts from the stricken spouses as they relay their deteriorating state back home to relatives. Distant ill-fated messages ooze the ominous.

Authorities are trying to determine what killed a holidaying couple in Fiji as it’s revealed they sent a final text message to family before dying.

David Paul, 38, and his wife Michelle, 35, from Texas, were staying at a Sheraton resort in Fiji last month when they both became violently ill.

Both were hospitalised.

Ms Paul’s father Marc Canalog said he received a text message from his daughter on May 24 to say they were in bad shape.

“She told me that they’re sick, and they are vomiting and they have diarrhoea… she told me that her hands are numb,” Mr Canalog said.

He said the couple looked healthy when they dropped off their two-year-old son Ayden before the trip.

Ms Paul died in hospital on May 25 before her husband died two days later.

This story is “old” and has been subject to many interpretations and keyboard sleuthing over the past three weeks. The circumstances of their demise, at once very immediate and accessible, leave us with a smug sense of rare insight; but at once, very unknowable and remote, enigmatic.

David and Michelle Paul

Within 2 days of arriving, the couple was apparently stricken with a “virus” and one day later, Michelle was dead. David, physically stronger, lasted another two days. Whatever killed them was sudden and ferocious.

This article from People magazine perpetuates the predominant narrative surrounding this tragic event: it was an illness.

Their “amazing vacation”, however, turned into a nightmare when the parents of four — David and Michelle share a 2-year-old son and also raise David’s three kids from a past relationship — came down with an unknown illness, sending them both to the hospital.

and…

Unfortunately, it was too late, as Michelle and David both succumbed to the illness they had contracted on the South Pacific island — one so aggressive and deadly that it managed to debilitate two healthy, fit, and young individuals.

I believe Fijian authorities would prefer the microbe angle; that timeline certainly exculpates the island’s role in the couple’s death. Most viral infections this deadly have a substantially longer incubation than 2 days, so it would be nice (for Fiji) to confidently assert the Paul’s infection happened during a period of time they were not on the island.

One of the more laughable conspiracy theories I’ve heard involves Ebola. This is highly doubtful. David Paul’s seeming “resurrection” following the death of his wife and his own initial bout seems to disqualify this: Ebola infection takes you down completely, and in the rare instance of recovery, you’re not going to be back on your feet right away, boasting that you’re “feeling better.”

Most mainstream coverage has defaulted to the disease angle while neglecting another possibility that seems more likely: poisoning. If the couple was murdered, Fiji’s culpability skyrockets in our eyes. Goodbye tourism revenue.

It’s time to expose the emperor’s new Fijian clothes. The Paul’s were most likely poisoned.

Unless they were fungal foragers and stumbled across a mistaken breed?