NEWS

Suspect in killing of American scientist to be charged with murder

Plain-clothes police officers escort the suspect (C) for the murder of American biologist Suzanne Eaton to the prosecutor in Chania, on the island of Crete, Tuesday.

TAGS: Crime

A 27-year-old man who was detained as the prime suspect in the murder of American scientist Suzanne Eaton last week will be charged with murder, police authorities said on Tuesday during a joint press conference in Crete. 

Eaton’s body was found near the settlement of Xamoudochori, in Hania, nearly a week after she was last seen by friends on July 2.

An examination of the 59-year-old's remains by two local coroners reportedly indicated that she had had her mouth and nose blocked, though it remains unclear whether her death was the result of suffocation.

The suspect, who is a farmer and a father of two, was detained along with several other men, has reportedly confessed to the crime.

Speaking at the press conference, police officer Eleni Papathanasiou said the suspect saw Eaton in the street and rammed her with his vehicle twice. He then threw her in his truck and drove her at the area where her body was found where he raped her. He then disposed of her body in the bunker.

The suspect is expected to appear before a prosecutor in Hania later in the day.

The car with which he allegedly hit the woman will be sent to the police’s forensic labs in Athens for further investigation.

Police said the suspect, who owns a plot of land near the old German bunker and knows the area well, appeared to have selected his victim randomly.

The 27-year-old had posted photos and videos of his own explorations of the old bunker on his Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Investigators are also waiting for the results of the forensic tests and cellphone records.

A molecular biologist at the Max Planck Institute at Dresden University, Eaton had been on the island to attend a conference in Hania. She had visited Crete before for reasons related to her work. She is survived by her husband, British scientist Tony Hyman, and two sons.

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