Police are anxious to trace the American relatives of an Irish retiree found murdered on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.

Detectives believe Gary Power Hatswell was killed in a botched robbery after his half naked body was discovered tied up in his sitting room.

They are trying to contact next of kin in America after the thieves made away with his personal documentation.

The 68-year-old widower had lived alone on the island ever since the death of his wife.

Police told the Irish Sun newspaper that windows had been forced open and the house had been ransacked with a TV among the missing items.

The paper reports that Power Hatswell had been involved in a road accident the night before his death.

Detective Joel Gonzalez, who is leading the murder hunt, told the Irish Sun: “Our theory is that it was a burglary. It looks like these individuals could have entered at the rear of the house.

“They beat him, they tied him up, his hands were tied in front of him and he was practically asphyxiated.

“Our officers have been working for the past 12 hours at the house to collect possible fingerprints and DNA.

“It’s a complicated and extensive crime scene, because we believe the victim struggled with his attackers.”

Lieutenant Gonzalez confirmed that keen amateur painter Power Hatswell had been living alone since his wife died.

He added: “Unfortunately, the attackers took many of his personal documents, so we have no means of contacting his family, some of whom we understand live in the US.”