After a week of fruitless searches, an American scientist who went missing last week on the Greek island of Crete has been found dead. The cause of death remains unclear, but foul play is not suspected.
Greek authorities said the remains of Suzanne Eaton, a 59-year-old biologist with the Max Planck Institute at Dresden University in Germany, were discovered in a cave in Chania, Crete, on Monday night, according to local media reports.
The scientist traveled to the island to attend a conference at the Orthodox Academy in the village of Kolymbari, and was last seen on July 2.
Eaton is thought to have gone missing during a routine jog, according to a Facebook page set up by her family, entitled “Searching for Suzanne.” Family members said Eaton’s passport, phone, wallet and other belongings were found in her room at Orthodox Academy, and that only her running shoes were missing.
“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,” the Facebook page said.
The woman’s employer, the Max Planck Institute, which had previously offered a €50,000 ($56,000) reward for information on Eaton, confirmed on Monday that the scientist’s remains had been found, but said the investigation into what happened is ongoing.
“It is with enormous sadness and regret that we announce the tragic demise of our dearest friend and colleague,” the institute said in a statement. “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. We are deeply shocked and disturbed by this tragic event.”
Eaton earned her PhD in microbiology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1988; she is survived by her husband, British scientist Tony Hyman, and their two sons.