American biologist Suzanne Eaton, 59, whose body was found in a cave on Crete, was killed, forensic pathologists said on Wednesday following an autopsy.
Her body was found on Monday after a week of her being reported as missing on 2 July, according to the Max Planck Institute of Dresden University where she worked. She was on the island of Crete to participate in a scientific conference at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, and her remains were found by a local resident in Platania, Rethymno, 10km from the area where the search had been focused.
Doctors at Rethymno hospital say she died on the day she went missing but declined to give further details as the case is still under investigation. “What is definite is that we are talking about homicide. Also, there is no sign of death by gun.”
Police said on Wednesday that asphyxiation had been the cause of death.
The Max Planck Institute issued a statement following the recent turn of events. “There is an ongoing homicide investigation being led by the police in Crete, which has taken comprehensive measures to ensure that the responsible party(ies) will be brought to justice,” the institute said in a statement that also offered condolences to the scientist’s family.
“We will remember forever the extraordinary scientist so caring and devoted to her family and friends and so beloved by us all,” the statement said. “We remain in disbelief of this shocking and awful tragedy.”
Hans Müller-Steinhagen, university rector is quoted in the statement statement.
“We have lost an immensely renowned scientist and a truly outstanding human being,” he said. “We have come to know Suzanne as a lively and committed woman who made a decisive contribution to the development of our Institute. Her sudden and untimely death is devastating for us all. Our sympathy in these difficult times goes to her family and all those close to her. We will remember Suzanne as a remarkable person. We are profoundly saddened and speechless. Our hearts are with Suzanne’s family.”