Patricia Anton, 63, was tied up and strangled by seven men, police said in a statement. Anton had lived in the province of Puerto Plata for more than 15 years and taught at a local Montessori school for more than six.
Michael Mariñez Rosario, Heuri Flores Hernández, Junior Alexis Suarez, Juan José Andújar Mella, Oroniel Canario Montero and Alexis Maquey were in custody, police said. They had an arrest warrant for a man with the alias of “El Venezolano” — the Venezuelan.
Investigators said the men traveled to Puerto Plata “with the aim of committing crimes of such nature.” They said the men took a cellphone, a laptop computer, a 40-inch television and $80 in cash from Anton’s apartment.
“A horrendous case,” Ramon Brito, a spokesman for the tourism police, told The Washington Post. “We profoundly lament what happened.”
He said crimes against foreigners in the Dominican Republic are “uncommon” and “isolated.”
Four of the six men in custody have criminal records for committing “different crimes” between 2017 and 2019, police said. Two of the men 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 Puerto Plata. The school described her 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 express her love for the country.
She left 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.”
The deaths of three Americans at a resort complex in the resort town of La Romana drew international media attention to the island.
Autopsies showed that Day, 49, and Holmes, 63, died after their lungs filled with fluid, leading to respiratory failure, police said in June. An autopsy of Schaup-Werner, 41, showed pulmonary and cardiac problems.
International coverage of their deaths shook the tourist industry, which makes up a fifth of the Dominican economy. Visits by Americans have fallen by more than 100,000 this year.
The State Department has confirmed the deaths of at least 10 U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic this year — not an unusual number, U.S. and Dominican officials have said, for a country that welcomes more than 2 million Americans annually.
Local authorities said that Day, Holmes and Schaup-Werner died of natural causes, and that there was no evidence of a trend. The FBI, which conducted toxicology studies on the three victims, said its findings were consistent with the conclusions of local authorities. The State Department has not issued a travel warning.