Cretan Police Hold Greek Man in US Scientist’s Murder

In this undated photo provided by her family, showing Suzanne Eaton, a 59-year-old molecular biologist. (AP Photo)

A 27-year-old Greek man, a father of two toddlers who said he was a Peeping Top, has been held for questioning in the murder of an American biologist who was attending a conference on the island of Crete.

The suspect wasn’t named in accordance with Greek privacy laws as reports said a security camera near the site of a World War II bunker where the body of Suzanne Eaton, 59, was found, first police to him. He admitted her, a Greek police source with direct knowledge told NBC News.

Eaton was a black belt in the martial art Tae Kwan Do and a runner and athlete but reports said the suspect may have first hit her with his car as details are being revealed slowly as the investigation is going on.

Authorities said the man was one of 10 people interviewed during the investigation after she vanished on July 2 and her body was found six days later in the bunker used as a storage site during the second World War.

A coroner has said her death resulted from a criminal act but did not elaborate while other reports said she was slowly suffocated and her body put in the bunker which the suspect was said to have known well.

An examination of the 59-year-old’s remains by two local coroners reportedly indicated that she had had her mouth and nose blocked, though it remains unclear whether her death was the result of suffocation, said Kathimerini.

It was also unclear whether the crime was committed at the scene or the 59-year-old was killed elsewhere and disposed of in the cave, the paper added.

Local police sources cited by Cretalive told the website officers also received information relating to a past incident involving the suspect, which was never reported to the authorities. No further details were provided on what that incident was.

TRAGIC LOSS

The suspect had posted photos and videos of his own exploration account of the events has So far, officers believe the motive behind the crime was sexual. The suspect, who owns a plot of land near the old German bunker and knows the area well, appeared to have selected his victim randomly.

Investigators are waiting for the results of the forensic tests and cellphone records. Eaton had visited Crete before for reasons related to her work. She is survived by her husband, British scientist Tony Hyman, and two sons.

Homicide detectives traveled from Athens to the island to head the investigation. Police and Fire Service officials had taken part in an extensive search for Eaton, who is believed to have gone for a run before her disappearance.

Eaton, a California native, was from New York state but was living and working in Germany at the Max Planck Institute in eastern city of Dresden. In messages on the Institute’s website, her brother, Rob Eaton, described his sister as kind and intelligent.

“I have lost a sister. The world has lost more than it will ever know,” he wrote. “I will miss our animated conversations. I would always walk away with a head full of new ideas and enthusiasm. Most of all I will miss the kindest, wisest person I will probably ever know.”

 

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)