An American teacher was found strangled to death inside her apartment in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, Tuesday.
Sixty-three-year-old Patricia Ann Anton’s body was discovered in her bedroom with her hands and feet tied up after what police said may have been a robbery gone wrong.
“Per the preliminary investigation, we are working on the theory that this was a robbery,” said Frank Felix Duran Mejia, spokesperson for the Dominican National Police.
The medical examiner stated that the teacher died of suffocation by strangulation. However, it may take days for an official autopsy to be completed.
Authorities said Anton, who had worked as a curriculum program director for 3 Mariposas Montessori in Cabarete for six years, was robbed of her cellphone, laptop, television, sheets, and one pair of shoes.
Born in Italy, Anton later settled in Michigan to raise her family before moving to the Dominican Republic, according to her profile on the school’s website.
The profile continued:
In addition to her teaching experience, Patty has served as a legislative aide at the Michigan State Capital, and prior to joining 3 Mariposas Montessori’s faculty, she also served as a volunteer in Guatemala City, Guatemala and Matagorda, Dominican Republic. She brings her love for children and dedication to making positive changes through education to our school.
“Our family is heartbroken by the loss of Patty. She was an amazing mother, teacher and friend — a role model to so many,” wrote Anton’s cousin, Adrianne Machina, in a Facebook post. She called the tragic event “senseless” and “heartbreaking.”
“She had a heart of gold and would help anyone — but was also a seasoned savvy traveler who could hold her own and was always aware of her surroundings,” she concluded.
Mejia told Fox News that authorities were in contact with the U.S. State Department, adding, “Investigators continue to look for evidence that would lead us to solve this case as quickly as possible.”