ATHENS (AP) — Greek search crews have found the body of a British scientist who went missing while on holiday on the Aegean island of Ikaria in a ravine near where she had been staying, authorities said Wednesday.
Police said the body of Cyprus-based astrophysicist Natalie Christopher, 34, was found in a 20-meter (65-foot) deep ravine. Christopher had been reported missing on Monday by her Cypriot partner with whom she was vacationing after she went for a morning run. The cause of death was not immediately clear.
Police, firefighters, volunteers and the coast guard had been scouring the area where Christopher had been, which has paths along ravines and steep seaside cliffs. A specialized police unit with geolocation equipment was sent to the island to help in the search.
Cypriot authorities said they were in close contact with Greek search crews and the missing woman's family.
Christopher vanished after she was said to have gone out for a jog near the village of Kerame on the island, said Kathimerini in a report on the growing involvement of the police and the intensified search which hadn’t yet yielded a clue what happened to her.
Greek-Cypriot media also cited unidentified Greek police sources saying stains that looked like a nosebleed were found on the bed in the couple’s hotel room, which was sealed off by police who were checking cell phone records from the couple.
Reports said the boyfriend, a 38-year-old Cypriot man, reported her missing on Aug. 5 around 12:40 p.m., two hours after he said he awoke to find she wasn’t there. It wasn’t reported why he waited to call authorities.
Media reports also said the man told law enforcement officials that he tried to reach his girlfriend on her mobile phone and that she answered to tell him she had gone for a jog but then didn’t answer his follow-up calls.
Helicopters flew over the area where she was believed to have disappeared, said local TV reports, adding that her mobile phone had apparently been switched off. The search area expanded to an area about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) wide in an area that was open.
Reports said her last phone signal was picked up by a cell phone tower in Fournoi, an archipelago off Ikaria, and as the helicopter sent from Athens was also equipped with an infra-red camera to pick up heat images, and as volunteers and firefighters joined the hunt.
Friends and social media acquaintances spread the news, including in Cyprus, asking anyone with helpful information to contact police but refrain from calling her cell phone or sending messages so as not to drain the battery.
The Greek Police (ELAS) said a preliminary inquiry was being conducted by Samos police headquarters, a bigger island 19 kilometers (11.8 miles away) within sight of the Turkish coastline nearby.
Ikaria is famed as one of the few Blue Zones in the world, where many residents live past the age of 100 because of a less-stressful lifestyle, moderate wine consumption and without checking the time constantly among other reasons.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)