U.S. tourist wants out of Guatemala after attack

/ Source: The Associated Press

Nancy Dryden had hoped to use her experience as a physical therapist to help Guatemala's children. But after four machete-wielding men killed her 66-year-old husband, Daniel, and stabbed her, puncturing her lung, Dryden said Tuesday that all she wants to do is leave the Central American country.

The retired couple was attacked Saturday on their boat anchored in a relatively busy bay in Rio Dulce, an area whose natural beauty attracts tourists and recreational sailors.

"I have sympathy for the problems of the third world, but I don't believe violence and thievery are the answer," Dryden said from her hospital bed.

Guatemalan police have made no arrests but are looking for the suspects based on sketches made from Dryden's descriptions.

Police said the men were trying to steal the motor off the couple's dingy when Daniel Dryden confronted them.

"They wanted dollars, but we only had a few quetzales with us on the boat", Nancy Dryden said, referring to the Guatemalan currency.

After demanding money, the attackers repeatedly stabbed Daniel and then strangled him, officials said.

"His chances of defense were minimal," lead prosecutor Eliseo Quinonez said.

After her husband was killed, Nancy Dryden was attacked in the back of the boat. She used the boat's radio to call for help on a public channel after the assailants left.

The couple, who were retired and living near Anchorage, Alaska, had bought the boat in February. They were equipping the vessel in preparation for a planned voyage out into the Caribbean and, eventually, to the U.S. east coast.

Dryden, who worked with Eskimo children, said the couple had wanted to help Guatemalan children.

"This case is a particularly tragic one when you look at the people involved," U.S. Ambassador Stephen McFarland said.

Dryden's children arrived Tuesday. They planned to take her back home in a few days and to transport their father's body to Alaska.