The Hoy newspaper reported Thursday that a janitor at the apartment complex where Patricia Ann Anton lived was among the eight people taken into custody. Police made the arrests, it added, after reviewing surveillance footage provided by one of her neighbors.
Dominican National Police spokesperson Frank Felix Duran Mejia, who previously has spoken to Fox News about the investigation into Anton’s death, could not be reached Friday to comment on the reported arrests.
Anton was on her bed in her Puerto Plata home with her hands and feet tied up when her body was found Tuesday, Mejia told Fox News on Thursday.
“Per the preliminary investigation, we are working on the theory that this was a robbery,” he said.
Mejia said medical examiners ruled the 63-year-old’s cause of death to be suffocation by strangulation but he wouldn't confirm local reports that she'd been tortured.
A television, computer, and other items are reportedly missing from her home and police were working with her family to find out if any other objects were stolen. Authorities also are in contact with the U.S. State Department.
“Investigators continue to look for evidence that would lead us to solve this case as quickly as possible,” he said.
Anton worked for nearly six years at the Mariposas Montessori elementary school in Cabarete, a small town on the island’s northern shore, according to her LinkedIn profile. She served as a teacher before becoming the curriculum program director this year.
Anton, who was born in Italy and holds dual U.S.-Italian citizenship, previously worked at a private elementary school in Traverse City, Mich., for more than a decade, her LinkedIn profile added.
Fox News’ Marta Dhanis and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.