Greek tragedy. Oakland scientist brutally murdered in Nazi Bunker on Crete

A murder on bucolic Crete in the Greek isles.  Dr. Eaton was from Oakland, yet the local Bay Area media has failed to give this crime story the attention it deserves.

The Daily Beast 7.12.2019

The tortured corpse of a 59-year-old American superstar scientist was found wrapped in burlap inside a secret Nazi bunker on the island of Crete, Greece. Police want to know why.

Suzanne Eaton was, by every standard, an accomplished woman. The 59-year-old molecular biologist from Oakland, California, held a black belt in Taekwondo and was a globetrotting speaker on the international science circuit. She was married to a British scientist with whom she had two children, and she was an avid runner, racking up several miles on her daily 30-minute run.

Eaton, who worked as a research leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, was last seen playing piano at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, in Kolymbari, on July 2, where she was attending a conference.

Her family and friends assumed that she had gone for a run and perhaps passed out in the stifling heat wave or fallen on rough terrain during her workout. Her passport, money, phone, cycling shoes, and laptop were all found in her hotel room, they say. All that was missing were her running shoes.

Her relatives and friends raised nearly $50,000 to aid the search through an online campaign. Then, on July 9, her body was found by two local residents exploring a World War II-era Nazi bunker about seven miles from where Eaton had been staying.

suzanne eaton II 7.13.2019

Her body, which was wrapped in burlap, showed signs of torture, including stab wounds, but her official cause of death, according to the coroner, was asphyxiation. The coroner said she likely suffered a “slow and painful death.”

There was no immediate sign of sexual violence, according to investigators,  who said she was still dressed when she was found. A full autopsy is under way. Her body was in such an advanced state of decomposition after a week in the extreme heat that dental records had to be used for a positive identification.

On Friday, Crete’s police spokesperson Eleni Papathanasiou confirmed to The Daily Beast that they were questioning several suspects, including some with neo-Nazi ties, who may know something about what happened to Eaton. 

Papathanasiou also said they were looking into whether the location of her body inside a labyrinth of tunnels dug out by Nazis occupying Crete during World War II was connected to the murder. “It is of course part of the investigation,” Papathanasiou told The Daily Beast. “It is a curious place to leave a body, especially when the victim was living and working in Germany.”

Her family and friends assumed that she had gone for a run and perhaps passed out in the stifling heat wave or fallen on rough terrain during her workout. Her passport, money, phone, cycling shoes, and laptop were all found in her hotel room, they say. All that was missing were her running shoes.

Her relatives and friends raised nearly $50,000 to aid the search through an online campaign. Then, on July 9, her body was found by two local residents exploring a World War II-era Nazi bunker about seven miles from where Eaton had been staying. 

Her body, which was wrapped in burlap, showed signs of torture, including stab wounds, but her official cause of death, according to the coroner, was asphyxiation. The coroner said she likely suffered a “slow and painful death.”

There was no immediate sign of sexual violence, according to investigators,  who said she was still dressed when she was found. A full autopsy is under way. Her body was in such an advanced state of decomposition after a week in the extreme heat that dental records had to be used for a positive identification.

On Friday, Crete’s police spokesperson Eleni Papathanasiou confirmed to The Daily Beast that they were questioning several suspects, including some with neo-Nazi ties, who may know something about what happened to Eaton.

Papathanasiou also said they were looking into whether the location of her body inside a labyrinth of tunnels dug out by Nazis occupying Crete during World War II was connected to the murder. “It is of course part of the investigation,” Papathanasiou told The Daily Beast. “It is a curious place to leave a body, especially when the victim was living and working in Germany.”

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