• American scientist found dead in former Nazi bunker after vanishing during conference in Greece

    By: Shelby Lin Erdman and Ann Smajstrla, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    CRETE, Greece - An American scientist was found dead Monday in a former Nazi bunker, a week after she vanished during a conference on the Greek island of Crete, according to her employer.

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    Biologist Suzanne Eaton, 59, a U.S. citizen and group leader at the Max Planck Institute at Dresden University in Germany, disappeared on July 2 near the port city of Chania while attending the conference at the Orthodox Academy in northeast Crete.

    It’s believed Eaton disappeared after going for a jog, ABC News reported. Colleagues reported her running shoes were missing. Her body was found Monday night by locals, police said Wednesday.

    Eaton's body was in a cave that was turned into a bunker by Nazi soldiers during World War II, Crete's Chief of Police Konstantinos Lagoudakis told CNN. The body was nearly 200 feet (60 meters) inside the cave beneath an airshaft, which was covered by a wooden pallet. Police said they believe her body was dumped in the cave because it was found face down.

    The former bunker is in an area that's popular with tourists, authorities told ABC News.

    Eaton died from asphyxiation, Lagoudakis said. There were also stab wounds on her body, but police said they don't believe they were the cause of her death.

    “It is with enormous sadness and regret that we announce the tragic demise of our dearest friend and colleague, Suzanne Eaton,” the 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.”

    Police told the BBC they are investigating Eaton's death as a criminal act.

    Eaton is survived by her husband and two sons.


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