Things are not looking good for the Dominican Republic as of late, not only for the island, but also for the Americans choosing it as a destination for a relaxing vacation.

This past summer, tourism declined a whopping 74 percent compared to the tourism numbers that occurred at the same time last year. It might have a little something to do with the fact that the twelfth American citizen has died this year at said destination, but the details of this gruesome crime are more than just the tainted drink stories heard earlier in the year.

Earlier in the week, Dominican Republic law enforcement officers had released eight people who they had taken into custody in connection with the brutal murder of a 63-year-old American teacher.

Patricia Ann Anton was bound, gagged and tortured inside her Cabarete apartment before her attackers strangled her to death, according to the Daily Mail. Her apartment was also looted in concurrence with the murder, and her 40-inch television, laptop and cell phone were stolen.

The 63-year-old American woman was found murdered inside her room.

 

Anton’s body was discovered inside her home on Tuesday of this past week. When authorities arrived on scene, they had seen that she was still tied up on her bed from the events that had played out in her apartment. The perpetrators had allegedly stuffed a rag into her mouth during what could only be imagined as a horrific scene. Investigators said there were no signs of forced entry, leading investigators to believe that whomever committed the atrocity was familiar with Anton.

After discovering the body, investigators went to work tracking down individuals associated with the victim. As a result, eight people were taken into custody in connection with the murder, including a Haitian maintenance worker who was employed at her apartment complex. One of the more intriguing aspects related to the murder was the fact that Anton had just moved into the complex merely two days before she was killed.

While the authorities had managed to round up a significant amount of people whom they believed could lend insight as to what transpired that day, all eight of the people that were taken into custody were eventually released due to a lack of connection to the actual murder.

According to a statement released by Dominican Tourism Police spokesperson Ramon Brito, “I certify that the investigation is on track and that the tourism police and the national police investigation unit are putting all efforts to clear up what happened.”

Federal police are also actively involved in the investigation as well, vesting effort into any leads that can be obtained regarding the tragic loss of Anton. Federal officials said that they had received tips about the case from a neighbor, and that they have also been reviewing security camera footage from the area.

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Anton was a U.S. citizen who had been working and living on the Caribbean island since 2014. She acted as a curriculum program director at the 3 Mariposas Montessori elementary school, which is a school focused on helping impoverished young girls to develop skills to better equip them to evade all matter of exploitation that parts of the area are notorious for.

According to the school website, “[Anton] brings her love for children and dedication to making positive changes through education to our school.”

 

Anton’s cousin, Adrianne Machina, said that the longtime teacher loved the work she was doing in the Dominican Republic. Machina reflected about the crime that took place.

“I can’t imagine what kind of monster could do something like that to such a kind soul. She just loved building up the teachers there, building up the students and really making a difference in the Cabarete area. I think if there’s a lesson, she looked and said ‘how can I help’; she really believed education was the path out of poverty.”

Anton lived a live that was admirable, having a long history of efforts of volunteerism. She had previously served as a legislative aide at the Michigan Capitol, and went on volunteer efforts to Matagorda and Guatemala City. We hope that the efforts being led by Dominican authorities bring justice for Anton, and we also pray for those suffering from the loss of this wonderful, and selfless woman. 

 


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