The body of a woman thought to be American biologist Dr. Suzanne Eaton has been found in a cave in Chania, Crete. An island-wide search for the scientist missing since July 2nd may have ended in tragedy.
Update: Greek authorities have now confirmed that the body found near Maleme was in fact that of missing American scientist Dr. Suzanne Eaton. All our condolences go out to her family and friends.
According to the reports, a man found near Maleme, which is about 10 kilometers from Kolymvari where the scientist was staying during a conference on the island. Police have not positively identified Dr. Eaton, but her family has been notified according to police. Reuters describes the location where the body was found as a former World War II bunker, a leftover from the Nazi invasion of Crete in 1941.
Police have cordoned off the area where the body was discovered in lieu of the ongoing investigation as to the cause of the tragic death. According to the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, where Eaton was a research group leader, Greek police recovered the body on Monday night. The institute issued this statement on Tuesday:
“It is with enormous sadness and regret that we announce the tragic demise of our dearest friend and colleague, Suzanne Eaton. 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. Her loss is unbearable.”
In a message on Facebook on Tuesday midday, Eaton’s family called on everyone concerned to avoid speculation. “We cannot comment on anything at this time, but we will post a message when the time is appropriate.”
Dr. Eaton, a scientist at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany who was in Crete for a science conference, has not been heard from or seen since her disappearance. She was staying at the Orthodox Academy of Crete near the town of Kolymvari, west of Chania. According to the reports, Dr. Eaton was an avid runner, and it’s believed she went for a run in the afternoon of July 2 but never returned.
Her friends and family announced on Saturday that they are offering a cash reward of 50,000 euros for information that will lead to Dr. Eaton being found. The missing scientist’s family, Red Cross officials and local volunteers had joined the police and fire service search operation.
Our prayers and best wishes go out to the friends and family of Dr. Eaton.