Greek police have found blood on the hotel bed of a British Cypriot female, who was reported as missing while on vacation by her boyfriend hours before the couple was set to fly back to Cyprus.
Natalie Christopher, a 34-year-old British Cypriot scientist, went missing after reportedly leaving her hotel room to go running in Kerame, Ikaria. She had been spending vacation time on the Greek island since August 3 with her 38-year-old Cypriot boyfriend, who notified police around noon Monday to report Natalie’s disappearance.
Reports said the boyfriend reported Natalie missing on Monday around 12:40pm when he told police he woke up two hours earlier, around 10am, and discovered she was gone. Media reports also said the man told law enforcement officials that he tried to reach his girlfriend on her mobile, adding that Natalie picked up and said she had gone out for a morning run while failing to answer his follow up calls.
Helicopters flew over the area where Natalie had disappeared, according to local television reports, while her mobile was said to have been turned off. Search efforts were said to be ongoing in an area about 10 kilometres wide, with no particularly difficult or inaccessbile points.
Reports said Natalie’s last phone signal was picked up by a cell phone tower in Fournoi, while a helicopter from Athens which is equipped with infrared camera was sent to scan the area. So far search parties consisting of volunteer fire fighters searched the area including a local village but nothing was found.
Friends and social media acquaintances took to social media to spread the news, including in Cyprus, asking anyone with any helpful information to contact police but refrain from calling Natalie’s phone or sending messages in order to avoid draining her phone battery.
An official statement from Hellenic Police on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the news broke, was issued regarding Natalie’s disappearance.
According to the statement, a preliminary inquiry was being conducted by Samos police headquarters, with both security law enforcement and crime detectives joining the investigation.
Greek Cypriot media also cited Greek police sources saying blood stains that looked like nosebleed were found on Natalie’s bed in the couple’s hotel room. But it was not immediately clear whether the blood was self-induced, such as irritation, or the result of trauma.
Police sealed off the hotel room and were said to be seeking data from the private phone records of the couple to assist in the investigation.
Greek authorities were under media scrutiny last month as they were investigating the death of an American scientist, Suzanne Eaton, who was tortured, murdered, and raped in Crete, the country’s largest island.
A local man confessed to the crime in which sexual assault appeared to have been the motive. [Kathimerini Cyprus]