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Grisly murder ends life of Bethlehem grad in Guatemala

Former Feura Bush resident and 1960 Bethlehem Central graduate Dan Dryden, a free spirit and an inspiration to many who knew him, was killed on Lake Izabal in Guatemala on Sunday, Aug. 10, while defending his wife and his sailboat from four machete-wielding assailants.

The Dryden family reported that on Saturday, Aug. 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, wrote the family on a tribute Web site. "Both Dan and Nancy were prodded in the chest with the machetes as the assailants demanded U.S. 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. His wife, Nancy, is alive and recovering in a Guatemalan hospital but wants to go home as soon as possible, according to the family. Nancy Dryden was also a Bethlehem alumni, class of '59, and former Glenmont resident. The couple had recently retired and had spent the last six months sailing. The Drydens moved to Alaska in the 1960s, but would come back to New York from time to time.

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