Suzanne Eaton was of every standard a perfected woman. The 59-year-old molecular biologist from Oakland, California, held a black belt in Taekwondo and was a globetrotter speaker at the international science circle. She was married to a British scientist with whom she had two children, and she was an avid runner who racked up miles on her daily 30-minute drive.
Eaton, who worked as research leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, was last seen playing the piano at the Orthodox Academy in Crete in Kolymbari on July 2, attending a conference.
Her family and friends assumed that she had gone for a run and perhaps went out into the suffocating heat wave or fell on rough terrain during her training. Her passports, money, phone, bicycle shoes and laptop were all found in their hotel room, they say. All that was missing was her running shoes.
Her relatives and friends raised nearly $ 50,000 to help the search through an online campaign. Then, on July 9, her body was found by two local residents who explored a Nazi bunker from World War II about seven miles from where Eaton had lived.
Her body, which was wrapped in burlap, showed signs of torture, including stab wounds, but her official cause of death, according to the denier, was suffocation. The vascular said she was likely to suffer from a "slow and painful death".
There was no immediate sign of sexual violence, according to investigators, who said she was still dressed when she was found. A complete autopsy is underway. Her body was so severely disintegrated after a week in the extreme heat that dentists had to use for a positive identification.
On Friday, Crete police president Eleni Papathanasiou confirmed to The Daily Beast that they were questioning several suspects, including some with neo-Nazi bands, who may know something about what happened to Eaton.
Papathanasiou also said that they investigated whether the site of her body in a labyrinth of tunnels dug out by Nazis who occupied Crete during World War II was linked to the murder. "It is of course part of the investigation," Papathanasiou told The Daily Beast. "It is a curious place to leave a body, especially when the victim lived and worked in Germany."
The police also take into account how a woman who fits like Eaton who had a black belt in Taekwondo could be overcome. "The perpetrator or the perpetrators may suffer from defensive wounds, and we also look at it."
Crete has long been a magnet for neo-Nazi sympathizers who regularly treasure hunting in bunkers like that where Eaton was found, searching for World War II relics. Several collectors have unofficial museums in small villages where their Nazi regalia are displayed.
Crete was also a new base for several leaders of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party who had chosen the Greek island for their historical ties with the Nazi occupation. In 201
Konstantinos Beblidakis, Vice Mayor of the Local Platanias Municipality, said that the area where Eaton was found was accessible via various back roads but there were no surveillance cameras, even though the area above the bunkers was a popular tourist area for tourists.
He said that most people, besides those well-known in the island's Nazi past, would not have known about the bunker, who was not open to the public or in any way marked. It is still unclear how the two local residents found her or just why they were inside the secret bunker.
Eaton's university age, Max, praised his mother in a statement. "She managed to live a life with few regrets and balance her personal life with her career," he said. "I think the fact that I didn't realize how well she had managed to do it was clear [by the fact] that other moms around me had taken care of their children full time, but mine was never exaggerated by any of them."