Days after after an American scientist was found dead in an abandoned bunker in Greece, a man has admitted to abducting, raping, and murdering her, police say.
Authorities first discovered the body of Suzanne Eaton, 59, on July 8, ABC News reports. The molecular biologist had come to the Greek island of Crete for a conference, but nearly one week after she vanished while out for a run, her body was found inside a cave that had been used by Nazis in World War II, local authorities confirmed to CNN.
A 27-year-old man has since admitted to abducting, raping, and killing Eaton, police in Crete said during press conferences on Monday and Tuesday.
The unnamed local man told authorities that he saw Eaton out for a run, and then, “with sexual assault as a probable motive, hit her twice with his car in order to immobilize her,” Konstantinos Lagoudakis, Crete’s Chief of Police, said during a press conference on Tuesday, according to CNN.
The man then placed an unconscious Eaton inside of his trunk and transported her to the bunker where her body would later be found, Lagoudakis said.
He then raped her before leaving her body in the bunker and using a slab of wood to cover the air shaft, according to Crete Police’s head of press Eleni Papathanassiou, who told CNN it has not yet been established if Eaton was still alive during the sexual assault.
After leaving Eaton behind, the man then drove to a graveyard and “carefully cleaned” the trunk of his car, police said Tuesday, according to ABC News. Authorities say that the man, a married father of two from the town of Kissamos, was taken in mere days after investigators gathered DNA from a dozen people while working the case. He then “confessed his crime” after being brought in for questioning, according to police.
“He admitted his guilt and today he will be brought to justice,” Lagoudakis said.
Police said that cellphone data placed the man near the scene of the crime on the day that Eaton is believed to have been killed, in direct contradiction to the man’s claims to police that he hadn’t been near the bunker for a month, according to CNN. He also claimed to have never met Eaton before, but he did admit that he’d seen her out for a run in the past.
Eaton’s body was found with numerous minor stab wounds, and she had been asphyxiated, police previously said, according to CNN.
Eaton, a research group leader with the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, was visiting the island of Crete for a conference at the Orthodox Academy. The sudden disappearance of the California native and mother of two prompted a coordinated search effort involving numerous organizations and volunteers, as well as a 50,000 euro reward offered by her family, according to the Greek Reporter.
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