Police in the Dominican Republic have arrested six men and are looking for an additional man in the death of an American teacher who was found dead in her apartment on Tuesday.
Patricia Anton, 63, was tied up and strangled by seven men, a statement by investigative police said. Michael Mariñez Rosario, Heuri Flores Hernández, Junior Alexis Suarez, Juan José Andújar Mella, Oroniel Canario Montero and Alexis Maquey are now in custody, while a man under the alias of “El Venezolano,” meaning the Venezuelan, remains at large with an arrest warrant. According to investigators, the group traveled to Puerto Plata “with the aim of committing crimes of such nature.”
From Anton’s apartment in Puerto Plata, a province that she had been living in for more than 15 years, they took one cellphone, a laptop, a 40-inch television and $80 in cash.
“Authorities will continue investigations,” the statement said.
“A horrendous case,” Ramon Brito, a representative for the tourism police, told The Washington Post. “We profoundly lament what happened.”
He said crimes against foreigners in the Caribbean nation are “uncommon” and “isolated.”
Four of the six captured men had criminal records for committing “different crimes” dating back to 2017. The statement also specifies that two of them are Haitian.
Anton, who was born in Italy but grew up in Traverse City, Mich., worked as a teacher and consultant at the 3 Mariposas Montessori school in the northern province of Puerto Plata for more than six years. The school described her in a Facebook post on Wednesday as a “mentor” who could light up a room upon entering.” Anton’s cover photo on Facebook shows a Dominican beach, and many of her posts reiterate her love for the country.
She had a husband, Patrick, two sons, 35 and 31, and a daughter, 28. Her husband, who traveled every week for work, spent the weekends in Puerto Plata with her.
“We are really grateful and impressed by how much effort the police in the island has put to find out what happened,” said Anton’s cousin, Adrianne Machina, 51. “I would love people to know what an amazing mother, teacher and friend Patty was to everyone. She had a huge laugh and was very inclusive.”