Police in Crete Arrest 27-Year-Old Man in Killing of American Scientist

Police in Crete Arrest 27-Year-Old Man in Killing of American Scientist


The Greek police have arrested a man over the killing of an American scientist whose body was found last week in a cave on the island of Crete, the authorities said on Tuesday.

The disappearance of Suzanne Eaton, 59, a prominent developmental biologist who had been in Crete for a conference, set off an international online campaign by friends and family members to find her.

Her remains were discovered on July 8, six days after she was last seen alive. A coroner found that she had been asphyxiated, and ruled that her death had resulted from a criminal act.

A 27-year-old man has been arrested, a police spokesman, Theodoros Chronopoulos, said on Tuesday. Local news reports described the suspect, who name was not released, as a farmer with two children, who is the son of a priest.

Professor Eaton, who had a black belt in taekwondo, was last seen at 3 p.m. on July 2, playing a piano at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, which was hosting the conference. The academy, outside the small town of Kolymvari in the northwestern part of the island, is nestled between the rocky shoreline and rugged hills.

The scientist apparently went on her daily, 30-minute run — her running shoes were missing from her room, but her passport, wallet, phone, and cycling shoes were still there, her family said in a Facebook post three days after her disappearance. She never came back.

After Professor Eaton was reported missing on July 4, according to Mr. Chronopoulos, her family and colleagues raised 50,000 euros to give as a reward for her recovery. A “Searching for Suzanne” Facebook group was also created, where users discussed theories and possible trails she might have taken during her run.

Her body was found in a cave that local news reports said had been used as a bunker in World War II and then abandoned. Mr. Chronopoulos, the police spokesman, said it was about six miles away from the conference center.

Professor Eaton led a research group at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, and was a professor at the Biotechnology Center of the Dresden University of Technology.

A tribute page to her on the Planck Institute website described her as “a world-renowned scientist who was a key player in developmental biology.”

She lived in Dresden with her husband, Anthony Hyman, also a biologist, and their two children.

Originally from California, she graduated from Brown University and earned a doctorate at the University of California Los Angeles.

“My mother was a remarkable woman,” her son Max said in a statement. “She managed to live a life with few regrets,” he added.



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