John Van Hoy, Jr., 33, of Missouri drowned in a hot tub/whirlpool at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort while on vacation with his fiancée Nicole Cleaveland. John became pinned to the suction drain of the hot tub/whirlpool shortly after 11:00 pm on December 28, 2010. Noticing that John did not come up for air, his fiancée yelled for help. Upon hearing her calls, at least five individuals jumped into the hot tub but collectively could not pull John from the bottom suction drain. The suction pump was not turned off promptly and the rescuers, despite valiant efforts, were unable to break the entrapment holding John underwater. By the time John was freed it was too late. Despite CPR efforts, John was pronounced dead.

John is survived by the love of his life, Nicole Cleaveland, and his two sons, Tyler Van Hoy and Landon Cleaveland; his grandparents, Dean and Jackie Van Hoy, grandmother JoAnn Smith, and grandmother Clara Dunagan; his father, John A. Van Hoy; his mother, Myrna (Smith) and Eric Morris; his sister, Deana Van Hoy; his sister and brother-in-law, Arron and Brady Prestia; his brother, James Van Hoy; and his nephew, J.B. Prestia Jr.


The above blog post was recently changed to remove reference to Sandals employees not assisting in the hot tub and/or not providing CPR to John after he was dislodged from the suction drain. These changes are in recognition that Sandals recently contacted the authors of this blog and assert that there were Sandals employees who assisted in the rescue in the whirlpool and that Sandals employees did aid in the attempts to revive Mr. Van Hoy, Jr.

The authors of this blog endeavor to exercise reasonable care and accuracy before any blog is released for publication. Questions of fact, however, have arisen at this juncture regarding whether and to what extent Sandals employees assisted in the hot tub and with life saving efforts after John was freed. In the end, a Judge or Jury may well need to hear all available testimony in this regard and make these determinations at a later time.




The law offices of Brais & Brais have been retained by the victim’s family. We request any witnesses, in particular, the persons who tried to save John’s life contact the firm.

We continue to request any witness to this tragic event contact the firm.

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