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6 held in strangling death of U.S. teacher in Dominican Republic

By Clyde Hughes

Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Authorities in the Dominican Republic say they have arrested six people in connection with the homicide of a U.S. teacher on the Caribbean island nation.

National Police said Patricia Anton, 63, was strangled in her apartment about a week ago, after her assailants had bound her feet and hands. Her cellphone, laptop computer, television and other items were missing.

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Police said Sunday they have arrested Michael Marinez Rosario, Heuri Flores Hernandez, Junior Alexis Suarez, Juan Jose Andujar Mella, Oroniel Canario Montero and Alexis Maquey, and they're seeking a seventh suspect.

Police declined to give details about Anton's death, or say how she was connected to the suspects. Authorities said two of the men were Haiti nationals and four had previous arrests records.

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Anton, a native of Italy, grew up in Traverse City, Mich., and had lived in the Dominican Republic since 2013. She taught at the 3 Mariposas Montessori School in Puerto Plata. She and her husband had three adult-age children.

"We are really grateful and impressed by how much effort the police in the island has put to find out what happened," said cousin Adrianne Machina. "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."

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Several U.S. tourists have died in the Dominican Republic over the past year, causing some concern over the safety of Americans on the island.

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Toxicology tests, however, on three Americans who died there in May -- Miranda Schaup-Werner, Cynthia Day and Nathaniel Holmes -- showed they all died of natural causes, the U.S. State Department said last month.

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