Greek police say US scientist found dead on Crete was asphyxiated
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Greek police say US scientist found dead on Crete was asphyxiated

Authorities say foul play suspected after body of 59-year-old molecular biologist Suzanne Eaton found at abandoned WWII bunker, a week after she was last seen

American 59-year-old molecular biologist Suzanne Eaton in an undated photo provided by her family. (AP Photo)
American 59-year-old molecular biologist Suzanne Eaton in an undated photo provided by her family. (AP Photo)

ATHENS, Greece — Police in Greece on Thursday said foul play was involved in the death of a 59-year-old American scientist whose body was found in an abandoned WWII bunker on the island of Crete earlier this week.

“This was a criminal act, death by asphyxiation,” a police source told AFP.

The body of Suzanne Eaton, a molecular biologist at the Max Planck Institute at Dresden University, was found on Monday near the town of Hania, nearly a week after she was last seen by friends on July 2.

She was found inside a cave complex near the settlement of Xamoudochori, a short distance from a road, increasing suspicion that she was killed elsewhere and hidden there.

The little-known cave complex had been used by German occupation forces during World War II.

“We are deeply shocked and disturbed by this tragic event. 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,” the institute said in a statement.

According to reports, an examination of her remains by two local coroners indicated that she had had her mouth and nose blocked, though it remains unclear whether her death was the result of suffocation.

Police declined to give further details.

Eaton had been attending a conference in Hania.

She is survived by her husband, Israeli-born molecular scientist Anthony Hyman, and the couple’s two sons.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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