An American teacher was found bound and strangled in her apartment in the Dominican Republic, police said.
Patricia Ann Anton, 63, was found dead in her apartment in Cabarete, on the country's rural northern coast, with her hands and feet tied, the Dominican Republic National Police said.
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Anton was robbed by unknown suspects of a cellphone, laptop, 40-inch television, sheets and a pair of sports shoes, police said.
The acting medical examiner said Anton died due to strangulation and ordered her body be shipped to the National Institute of Forensic Pathology in Santiago. An official autopsy report will take days to complete and be released to the United States consulate in the Dominican Republic and the prosecutor's office in Puerto Plata, the agency told NBC News.
Anton was a teacher and consultant at a Montessori school, where she worked for six years.
"The children, parents, teachers and the community in general, are completely heartbroken over this loss," Sarah Ludwig-Ross, the founder and head of 3 Mariposas Montessori, told NBC News in a statement.
Ludwig-Ross said that Anton was not only a colleague, but a mentor, one of her best friends and one of the most caring people she has ever met.
"That is why she gave her heart and soul to our school — because we work with children and families from all over the world and from all socio-economic backgrounds," Ludwig-Ross said. "Patty loved each and every one of our children just as if they were her own."
According to the school's website, Anton was born in Italy and spent "a large portion of her life traveling with her family before settling down in Michigan to raise her own family."
She also served as a legislative aide at the Michigan State Capital and volunteered in Guatemala City, Guatemala and Matagorda in the Dominican Republic prior to joining 3 Mariposas Montessori's faculty.
Janelle Griffith is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.