Police hunting American biologist’s killer focus on neo-Nazi sympathizers on the Greek island after her body was found at the bottom of Second World War bunker
Marine biologist Suzanne Eaton, 59, was found suffocated and stabbed after going out walking on July 2, on the Greek island of Crete
Police in Crete are hunting her killer are focusing on neo-Nazi supporters on the Greek island, questioned several people, including criminals and Nazi sympathizers
Body was found in a cave used by Nazis to store ammunition during WW2 and Crete has groups of Nazi fanatics who trade in memorabilia and souvenirs
Police on the island believe they are close to a break-through in their investigation, they’re confident of making an arrest within days
Officers are talking to Greece’s three major phone companies trying to establish whether a phone signal was picked up by cell phone masts close to the remote olive fields where Eaton’s body was found
Crucially, they have pin-pointed a two-hour period on the night of July 2 when several phone signals were picked up in an area which they believe would have been known to them and few from outside the area
Police on the Greek island of Crete launched a murder investigation after the body of the American scientist was discovered in a cave used as a Nazi bunker during World War II.
Suzanne Eaton, who worked for the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, based in Dresden, Germany, was on the Mediterranean island to attend a conference but disappeared on July 2.
Dr Eaton left her lodgings at The Crete Orthodox Academy for a run and was discovered in a World War II cave near the settlement of Xamoudochori on Monday night
Her body was found deep at the bottom of a cave which was used by Nazis to store ammunition during the second World War.
Police believe the location of the caves would only have been known to a few around there and particularly those with an interest in Nazi background.Crete has groups of Nazi fanatics and supporters who trade in memorabilia and souvenirs left behind by soldiers.
Police have questioned several people, including convicted criminals and Nazi sympathizers, and they have provided DNA samples.
The suspects were detained after detectives pieced together Dr Eaton’s last movements before she disappeared, with the help of two witnesses who saw her in the hours before she went missing.
They were released after questioning.
Police on the island believe they are close to a break-through in their investigation, they’re confident of making an arrest within days.
‘As I grew, her brilliance as a scientist began to dawn on me. Always armed with a question, she would show interest in any topic broached.
‘Many a time I discussed topics with her that I had studied at university, and within a week, she would be as well versed in that topic as any of my professors.
‘Yet she was far more than a scientist. Her love for music shone brightly, her eyes lit up every time she talked about a piece she was playing, and she would laugh with me in admiration of the sheer complexity of a piano arrangement.
‘I have many fond memories of her and my father playing duets together, filling our home with a beautiful, joyful sound that was unique to them, and I shall forever cherish the memory of lying on the floor, watching and listening to the thing that brought them together.’
An 85-year-old gardener and an elderly fisherman have both independently told detectives they saw Dr Eaton in the village of Afrata, which is three miles from the place she had been staying.
Officers now believe Dr Eaton disappeared a mile outside of Afrata as she made her way back to the Orthodox Academy of Crete where she was due to be a keynote conference speaker.
The witnesses are adamant she came into the former fishing village, which does not have street surveillance cameras and is surrounded by cliffs and olive fields, before turning back towards the academy.
It is believed she met her killer or killers on the road out of Afrata and may have become exhausted in the 90-degree heat and through having walked four miles.
She had walked north out of the academy and her body was found about six miles away south of the academy in a cave which had been a Nazi bunker during the Second World War.
It is thought she was picked up from the road outside Afrata and suffocated and stabbed, before being dumped through a shaft into the cave at Xamoudochori.
Her body had still not been released to her family and forensic tests are trying to establish if she had been raped by her killers.
Coroner Antonis Papadomanolakis told local media: ‘Her death was not immediate. It is not like in a shooting. There was duration involved.’
She had fought for her life against an attacker armed with a knife, and suffered substantial knife wounds to her body, police sources told ABC.
One of the last people to see her alive, Katerina Karkala-Zormpa of the Orthodox Academy of Crete, observed that: ‘She always felt safe here and it was her fourth visit.
‘She felt so comfortable here, she left her room unlocked with the key inside and her belongings.’
‘It was a great shock when we heard that she was missing. She used to take walks whenever she was here and I could not believe she had got lost,’ Karkala-Zormpa said.
Dr Eaton was an experienced and fit hiker and would not normally have accepted a ride from strangers, she said
The prosecuting authorities are sweeping the wider area, checking farmhouses, old warehouses, pens, houses looking for evidence that may help solve the crime. They are also checking the cars of possible suspects, they are looking to see if they bear bruises or scratches, tracing their cell phones to check their whereabouts on the day of the disappearance.
Authorities Police are also talking to cell phone companies on Crete that the murderer or murderers possibly had on them at the time of the murder.
Authorities are trying to establish whether a phone signal was picked up by cell phone masts close to the remote olive fields where her body was found.
Crucially, they have pin-pointed a two-hour period on the night of Tuesday, July 2 when several phone signals were picked up in an area which they believe would have been known to them and few from outside the area.
A source said: ‘They did this because they wanted to test close to the cave their own phones and co-ordinates and then with the help of GPS mapping and computer data find out which other mobile phones have been in that area in the last week.
‘It is a lonely spot and there is no reason really except for hikers or cave explorers, for anybody to go there.
‘If the killers had their phone, they think that is enough to find them.
‘There cannot be very many people who go there and if that is the evening her body was left there, they will be looking for the owners of the cell phones picked up in the area during that time.’
Police and forensic officers have carried out a thorough examination of the cave and the opening to the cave, which is partially blocked by a fallen tree and accessible only on all fours. Police also revealed that because of the nature of the crime, they immediately started bringing in suspects for questioning and collecting DNA samples so that it can be matched to the DNA evidence found on Dr Eaton’s clothes and body.