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Grisly murder ends the life of Bethlehem grad in Guatemala

Former Feura Bush resident and 1960 Bethlehem Central graduate Dan Dryden was killed in Guatemala while defending his wife and his sailboat from four machete-wielding assailants.

His wife Nancy is alive but remains in critical condition in a Guatemalan hospital, according to the family. The couple had recently retired and had spent the last six months sailing. The Dryden's moved to Alaska in the 1960s.

Nancy Dryden was also a Bethlehem alumni, class of '59, and former Glenmont resident.

The Dryden family reports that on Saturday, August 9, at around 9:30 p.m., they received a call from a woman in Guatemala informing them that Nancy Dryden was in the hospital and that Dan Dryden, 66, was dead.

The woman again spoke with the family later that evening and described the events that took place.

As they made dinner, anchored away from the marina in the harbor, Dan and Nancy heard a knock outside the cockpit. Dan emerged and found four men armed with machetes who had either swam or piloted their own dinghy to the sailboat, writes the family in a tribute Web site. "Both Dan and Nancy were prodded in the chest with the machetes as the assailants demanded US dollars and the access to either the sailboat or dinghy."

A conflict ensued after the four men were given money and Dan Dryden reportedly grabbed a machete and "fought to his death." The family reports that Nancy Dryden was held in a separate compartment on the boat and eventually radioed for help after the attackers left.

She was transported to the hospital with chest wounds that resulted in a collapsed lung. The Dryden's three children, Jessica, Daniel and Brian were reunited with their mother Nancy in Guatemala on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The attack occurred on Lake Izabal in Guatemala.

For an updated version to this story, read www.spotlightnews.com or read the Wednesday, Aug. 20, Spotlight print edition.

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