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Grisly murder ends life of Bethlehem grad in Guatemala

The Dryden's three children, Jessica, Daniel and Brian, were reunited with their mother in Guatemala on Tuesday, Aug. 12. On Friday, Aug. 15, officials announced that two brothers were taken into custody in Guatemala in connection with the murder.

Rick Dryden, who graduated from Bethlehem in 1965 and now lives in Syracuse, said his brother, Dan, had just bought the sailboat he was killed on, and was anchored in the middle of the Guatemalan lake to work on his engine when he and wife were attacked.

Even though Dan and Nancy Dryden were both Bethlehem graduates, they had met in England and were both experienced sailors.

"During the 1970s he bought a sailboat in England and that's where he met his wife," said Rick Dryden. "They spent a number of years on that boat and they had a lot of sailing experience behind them."

"Dan was a very practical and worldly individual," Rick Dryden said of his late brother. "I would say he was a good example of a Renaissance man. He was an excellent horseman, he loved trekking over the mountains of Alaska and downhill skiing, which he did with his family and friends on a regular basis."

Dan Dryden was also involved with the Native American community as well as town government in his Alaskan home, according to his brother.

Rick Dryden said his presence and inspiration will be missed.

"He had that kind of charisma about him to encourage people to go beyond their comfortable limits. He inspired a lot of people because of the natural enthusiasm he had for life," Rick Dryden said. "It's been difficult for all of us. Nancy's family and myself and my daughter are all very close."

Dan Dryden inspired others in the Bethlehem community, too.

"I loved Dan, he was great. I lived near the Dryden Farm in the '80s," said Bethlehem photographer Joann Hoose. "He was the type of person who was there for you. They were really interesting people and such adventurers. The man was just amazing."

Hoose said whenever Dan Dryden would come to the farm, his sense of adventure would undoubtedly follow him.

"He would come home and just jump on the wildest horse on the farm. He was just in complete control of his universe" Hoose said. "It's very sad that he's not going to be here anymore."

Dan Dryden's travels haven't ended just yet, according to his brother.

"Nancy can't leave [Guatemala] for a couple of weeks at least," Rick Dryden said, "but I do believe Nancy's desire is to bring his ashes back to Alaska back home."

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