An American teacher’s death in the Dominican Republic was being investigated Thursday as a murder. Police said they found Patricia Anton deceased in her apartment in Puerto Plata, on the country’s northern coast, with her hands and feet bound.
Officials have said the 63-year-old was strangled.
CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan said police have not yet indicated the identification of any potential suspects in the case, but they’ve revealed that Anton’s death may have been part of a burglary.
Investigators said multiple items were missing from her apartment, including a cellphone, laptop, television, sheets and a pair of sports shoes.
Anton, from Michigan, dedicated her life to helping children. She had lived in the Dominican Republic for the last five years, where she worked as a consultant at an elementary school.
The school’s website said she had more than 20 years of teaching experience and was previously a legislative aide at the Michigan state capitol.
On their Facebook page, school administrators at the 3 Mariposas Montessori school said Anton would “light up a room upon entering it and be sure to make everyone smile and laugh with her wonderful sense of humor.”
“She shared our belief that peace in the world can only come from getting close to and understanding people who are different from ourselves,” the school said. “That is why she gave her heart and soul to our school.”
Anton is one of at least 11 Americans who have died in the Dominican Republic this year. The rest have been tourists, and the reasons range from natural causes to deaths possibly linked to tainted alcohol.
Anton’s body was to be taken to a lab in the country for further testing. Police have urged anyone with knowledge of the crime to come forward.
The U.S. State Department did not offer any immediate comment on the American’s death.