The body of an American scientist has been found in a Nazi bunker on Crete, Greece, according to local news outlets.
Greek authorities had a tough time accessing the body of Suzanne Eaton, 59, on Monday evening on a rocky patch near the settlement of Xamoudochori and the recovery effort was still not complete by Tuesday afternoon.
The Oklahoma woman’s body was found face down a few meters into the cave that is difficult to reach on foot, nearly a week after she vanished at some point between 3pm and 5pm on July 2, it was reported. It’s possible she may have reached the location in a vehicle, FlashNews.gr reported.
The body was clothed in items known to belong to her, although it’s not known what state she was dressed in. Authorities have not speculated and have not ruled out foul play.
The location is about six miles from where she was last seen playing piano in the lobby of the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolympari, where she was staying.
Suzanne Eaton, 59, of Oklahoma, was found dead on Monday on the island of Crete, Greece
Eaton disappeared July 2 and was last seen playing piano at Orthodox Academy before she went for a run between 3pm and 5pm, leaving her phone and wallet. She was discovered in a World War II cave near the settlement of Xamoudochori on Monday night
Authorities were seen in the search area of Xamoudochori where Eaton was found face down in the bunker Monday night wearing clothes known to belong to her
Greek police have not speculated on how she died and have not ruled out foul play
Eaton – who was a research leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany – was on the trip to attend a conference.
The Hellenic Police has not yet revealed details of how Eaton – who is married to British scientist Dr. Anthony Hyman, 57 – and lived in Germany for 25 years, died.
Relatives had said they believe she may have became overheated in the 88-degree temperatures and taken shelter where she suffered a medical emergency.
‘Due to the rough terrain and extreme heat, we believe the most likely possibility is that Suzanne may have either become overheated and looked for shade or that she may have fallen,’ a Facebook post read dedicated to her search. ‘We need as many volunteers as possible to help check ravines, trail edges, and under brush and shady areas.’
Her niece Callie Broaddus previously told CrimeOnline ‘she will typically run on trails and roads, especially somewhere with steep edges’. Eaton usually ran for 30 minutes each day.
Broaddus had traveled from Washington DC to assist in the search. Her brother-in-law and nephew were also in Crete ‘searching high and low’.
Broaddus thanked people who assisted in the hunt – including those who donated to a fundraiser that received €45,000 within 24 hours – but asked that people avoided speculation.
Dr. Eaton was a senior research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. Her family said she goes on daily 30-minute runs on rough trails and roads. She is a senior black belt in Taw Kwon Do and ‘athlete’
How she died has not been revealed but relatives thought she may have became overheated or may have fallen in the rough terrain and took shelter. On Tuesday, family asked people not to speculate. This photo shows the Orthodox Academy of Crete where Dr. Eaton was attending a conference
‘We cannot comment on anything at this time, but I will post a message here when the time is appropriate, ‘Broaddus said on Tuesday.
Eaton’s body was found about a 17-minute drive away from the location of her conference in the area of Gonia, at Kolympari.
Both the bunker and Orthodox Academy – where she was staying – are in the Municipality of Platanias.
She had plans to attend a 6pm meeting that evening, which she never attended.
‘It is with enormous sadness and regret that we announce the tragic demise of our dearest friend and colleague, Suzanne Eaton,’ the Max Planck Institute said in a statement Tuesday.’
‘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. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Tony, her sons Max and Luke, and with all her family.’
‘The authorities have not yet completed their investigation regarding the events that may have transpired on Tuesday afternoon, 2nd July, and we will provide further updates as we receive information,’ the institute said.
Rescue teams and local volunteers were joined by Dr. Eaton’s husband and two sons in the search
Police, firefighters and local volunteers scoured the area using helicopters on Friday
The search mission included ‘specially trained dogs for land and special equipment for the sea’
Eaton was also a Professor at the Dresden Technical University in the city she had lived in for 25 years.
There was earlier speculation Eaton may not have gone for a run but the institute suggested seemed to change course in a statement before her body was found.
‘There are many observations that challenge such a theory, including the heat of the day suggesting that a swim would have been more attractive,’ the institute stated.
‘As well as being a leading scientist in her field, Suzanne is a strong athlete, runner and senior black belt in Tae Kwon Do. If anyone can find her way out of a difficult situation it is Suzanne.’
Drones, ships and planes had been scouring the seas and coastline near Chania for the researcher.
The expanded search to the village of Kolymbari used the help of specially trained dogs as well as equipment necessary for searching at sea, her friends, family and colleagues said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Eaton’s niece, Callie Broaddus, had traveled from Washington DC to assist in the search and said her aunt typically ran where there were steep edges
‘She changed out of her orange dress after that because we found the dress in her room,’ Broaddus told CrimeOnline.
Her running shoes were missing from her room, but all of her other belongings – including her passport, wallet, phone, cash – were still there, according to the post.
‘Due to the rough terrain and extreme heat, we believe the most likely possibility is that Suzanne may have either become overheated and looked for shade or that she may have fallen,’ her loved ones wrote.
They said she had gone for a run at the same time the previous day along a northeastern route.
A €50,000 ($56,000) reward for offered for anyone who could help with information about her disappearance.
According to family, she spent much of her childhood in Armonk, New York, and in California.
She attended Brown University and earned her PhD from UCLA studying immunoglobulin gene transcription.
The Greek authorities had issued a public alert for her disappearance and the US Embassy in Athens had been informed.
Greek rescuers posted that ‘intensive investigations are underway in the area of Kolymbari’
This photo shows the Hellenic Rescue Team Heraklion examining a map of the area where Dr. Eaton went missing