Greek police have arrested a 27-year-old man who is accused of raping and killing American biologist Dr. Suzanne Eaton on the island of Crete and hid her body inside a World War II Nazi bunker.
In a press conference on July 16, Greek police described the sequence of tragic events that led to the 60-year-old scientist’s murder, saying the man confessed to the “violent criminal act” and would be charged, reported the Greek Reporter, a local English news outlet.
“He admitted his guilt and today he will be brought to justice,” Maj. Gen. Constantinos Lagoudakis, director of Police General Directorate of Crete, said in a statement according to ABC News.
Eaton was working as a molecular biologist with Max Planck Institute in Dresden and was attending a conference at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, said Eaton’s niece, Callie Broaddus in a Facebook post.
— DrosEU (@Dros_EU) July 10, 2019
On July 2, the alleged culprit came across Eaton while he was driving through the town of Kolymbari, according to the Greek Reporter.
The man is believed to have hit Eaton with his car twice and put the unconscious scientist in the trunk of his car. The man was “motivated by sexual satisfaction,” said Eleni Papathanassiou, a spokeswoman for Crete’s police department, according to ABC News.
The suspect then drove her to a cave that was used as a bunker by Nazis during World War II and raped her before choking her to death.
With a heavy heart we have to inform you that SUZANNE is missing from her hotel @orth_acad_crete since Tuesday. She was attending a meeting in Kolymbari, Crete. Search is on in full swing. Please spread this to reliable networks and PRAY for her safe return.(1/2) pic.twitter.com/AMq9uW1BDQ
— EatonLab (@eaton_lab) July 4, 2019
Minor stab wounds were found on her body but they were not the main reason for her death.
Papathanassiou said the suspect drove from the crime scene to a nearby graveyard where he thoroughly cleaned his car’s trunk, reported the Greek Reporter.
In a previous article, the Greek Reporter said the suspect is a local farmer and married with two children.
Right now we are trying to keep the search on. We require your help to do this, please donate whatever you can and RT https://t.co/HABKkcRbs5
— EatonLab (@eaton_lab) July 7, 2019
ABC News reported that a security camera in the area near the crime spot captured the suspect’s vehicle and helped police to reach him.
While the search was on, Broaddus gave some details about the search efforts in her Facebook post, “We are working with the police to elevate the message that we need the police department to request dogs from the German government and an infrared-equipped helicopter.”
I am sad and angry about the murder of Suzanne Eaton. Sad because she is someone I’ve known and admired for 25 years. Angry because every woman has to think about this happening to her every time she walks alone in the world. This has to change. https://t.co/mavdh1OoK4 pic.twitter.com/abScdRKMSQ
— Tim Stearns (@StearnsLab) July 11, 2019
Outstanding and Inspiring Scientist
The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics expressed its shock at Eaton’s tragic death and described her as an “outstanding and inspiring scientist” in an official statement released on its website.
“Suzanne was an outstanding and inspiring scientist, a loving spouse and mother, an athlete as well as a truly wonderful person beloved to us all. Her loss is unbearable. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Tony, her sons Max and Luke, and with all her family,” said the statement.