Tragedy abroad: Ethnic Hungarian teacher Ibolya Ryan fatally stabbed in Abu Dhabi shopping mall

News agencies report that an American kindergarten teacher who is the mother of 11-year-old twin boys was stabbed to death in the bathroom of an Abu Dhabi shopping mall by a robed figure dubbed the “Reem Island Ghost.” The weapon used in the attack, a kitchen knife, was found in the bathroom close to where the victim was found in a pool of her own blood after being stabbed six times.

The victim is a 47-year-old ethnic Hungarian woman, Ibolya Ryan, who was an immigrant to the United States, an American citizen. At this point, it is not clear if Ms. Ryan held other (Romanian and/or Hungarian) citizenships. Her life story and personal odyssey is remarkable.

She was born in Arad, Romania, close to the Hungarian border in ethnic Hungarian family. She completed her teacher studies in 1984 at the Iosif Vulcan Teacher’s College in Oradea (Nagyvárad).

After that, she moved to Hungary where probably received Hungarian citizenship. She worked as a teacher in Budapest and continued her studies at ELTE Bárczi Gusztáv Faculty of Special Education where she graduated in 1995.

Ibolya Ryan

Ibolya Ryan

She met an American, Paul Ryan. They married and moved to the United States, Denver, Colorado, where she had twins but the marriage fell apart and she decided to move back to Hungary.

In 2007 she started to work as an event planner at the Palace and Castle Hotel, Seregélyes. The small Hungarian boutique hotel in Fejér County catered to wealthy hunting clientele. The hotel closed in 2008.

In 2010 she moved to Vienna, Austria, where she started to work as a teacher for the American International School and the Danube International School, and in September 2013 she moved again, now to Abu Dhabi where she got a contract as an English teacher.

The attack comes just weeks after the U.S. embassies in the Middle East warned citizens of an anonymous posting on a jihadist website encouraging attacks against teachers at American schools in the Middle East.

Needless to say, we were outraged. We hope that the authorities in Abu Dhabi will spare no effort in order to unveil this heinous crime and bring the murderer to justice.

György Lázár

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