D.C. Lawyer Found Bound, Gagged and Strangled to Death in Dominican Republic

A prominent D.C. defense attorney was found bound, gagged and strangled to death in his Dominican Republic apartment last weekend. 

Police identified the victim as 55-year-old Van Teasley and said his body was discovered early Friday.

Officials said police were alerted by a friend of the victim, Jeffrey Gordon Stroud, who was concerned that Teasley was not answering his door bell or responding to phone calls. The door to the victim's apartment was unlocked when police arrived to investigate, authorities said.

Teasley worked as a defense attorney in D.C. for more than 20 years.

"All of his colleagues are incredibly upset and shocked. [He] was here just a couple days ago in court," Teasley's co-worker and defense attorney Matt Rist said.

Teasley's cousin, Rev. Willie Wilson, with the Union Temple Baptist Church said he thinks his cousin may have gotten "too comfortable" in the Dominican Republic. 

"I think he might have ... [been] aware and conscious of his surroundings and what's going on, particularly in an impoverished nation like that where people don't have much and they see someone who they think has something, they want it," Wilson said.

Another friend, Dana Fonville, said Teasley had bought the apartment in Santo Domingo to use for brief vacations and visited 10 to 12 times a year.

"I'm very angry. He was a generous individual and was very well liked. He had a very alive personality and was very upbeat," Fonville said.

He said Teasley arrived in the Dominican Republic on Thursday and was scheduled to return to the U.S. on Tuesday. Teasley also owned several properties in the District he rented out.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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