Missing scientist found suffocated in abandoned WWII bunker. Coroner says it was a ‘criminal act’: Reports

The American scientist whose body was discovered inside an abandoned WWII bunker on the island of Crete earlier this week died from suffocation, according to BBC.

Cretalive reports that the autopsy of a woman believed to be Suzanne Eaton showed no indication of additional trauma. The state coroner who examined the body, Antonis Papadomanolakis, told The Associated Press that a final identification was still needed, but it was “highly likely it was Suzanne Eaton.”

Papadomanolakis also confirmed that the scientist’s death was a result of a “criminal act.”

“The only thing we can say is that the (death) resulted from a criminal act. We can’t give out any other details because there is an ongoing police investigation.”

As CrimeOnline previously reported, the 59-year-old molecular biologist disappeared on July 2 after leaving the Orthodox Academy of Crete for a run before a 6:00 p.m. meeting.

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“The time of her death fits to the date of her disappearance,” the coroner told zarpanews.

Konstantinos Beblidakis, vice mayor of the Platanias municipality, told ABC News on Tuesday that the road leading to the bunker is “accessible.”

“There are many people going out there and especially tourists who go either by hiking or to go to the villas where they have rented rooms. It is an amphitheatrical area where many tourists pass by daily.”

A large search operation for Eaton took place in the rural areas near Chania. Fire Service rescuers from Athens were assisted by members of scientist’s family who flew to the island to help coordinate efforts.

Posted by Missing Pieces Network on Tuesday, July 9, 2019


According to Fire Service rescue team leader Nikolaos Papaleonidas, “the recovery operation was not difficult but it followed an extensive search effort. The tunnel was about 100 meters (yards) from a rural road.”

Dr. Eaton’s niece, Callie Broaddus, posted on the Facebook group “Searching for Suzanne,” shortly after learning of the scientist’s untimely death.

“I will be forever grateful for the support we’ve received from this global community of caring people over the last week. I understand that many of you want answers, and I am thankful that you are invested in this case, but I humbly ask that you avoid speculation on this page. We cannot comment on anything at this time, but I will post a message here when the time is appropriate.”

Eaton was senior research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, and Professor at the Dresden Technical University. She was a U.S. citizen who had lived and worked in Dresden, Germany, for the past 25 years.

Dr. Eaton had plans to attend a 6:00 meeting the evening she disappeared and was believed to have gone on her daily run between 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The scientist’s phone, passport, watch, cash, and cycling shoes were found in her room. Her running shoes and a hot pink running shirt were missing. 

The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

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[Feature Photo: Suzanne Eaton/Handout]