The death of an American scientist in Greece is being investigated as a homicide, CNN reports.
Suzanne Eaton, 59, worked as a biologist with the Max Planck Institute at Dresden University in Germany and was attending a conference at Orthodox Academy in northwest Crete when authorities believe she disappeared during a run on July 2.
Eaton is the sister of a prominent Fauquier businesswoman.
In a post on the “Searching for Suzanne” Facebook page that family members started to help in the search efforts, Eaton’s niece, Callie Broaddus wrote that she and the family are “forever grateful for the support we’ve received from this global community of caring people over the last week.”
“I understand that many of you want answers, and I am thankful that you are invested in this case, but I humbly ask that you avoid speculation on this page. We cannot comment on anything at this time, but I will post a message here when the time is appropriate,” the post read.
In a statement, Eaton’s employer said police recovered her body on July 8.
Several family members released tribute statements Thursday.
“I can’t help but think that if Suzanne were here, she would know how to write this statement. She was good with words and it didn’t matter if it was a personal expression of grief or joy or a scientific paper on endocannabinoids,” said a statement attributed to Eaton’s unnamed sister.
“She took great pleasure in preparing exquisite meals and had an exotic fashion sense. She loved perfume. She taught and practiced Tae Kwon Do as a second-degree black belt. She finished crossword puzzles way too quickly, played concertos and read extensively. She fit Jane Austin’s strictest description of an ‘accomplished woman’ while maintaining a natural humility and ‘insatiable curiosity.’
“She worried that it was impossible to give both her science and her family her all. But anyone who read of her accomplishments in the field of molecular and developmental biology, or who witnessed her joy in tutoring, comforting, and inspiring her children, or sharing with, and loving her husband, would not have suspected. With a deep sensitivity and compassion, she somehow made us all a priority.
“We are immensely proud of her. Sue is too great a person for her legacy to be defined in any way by how we lost her. It was her words that finally helped me deal with death, and she was in the process of teaching me how to live. So, I will continue on that journey. I have made a conscious decision not to allow those facts to haunt my memory. My memory will be one of pure joy and gratitude, of love and admiration for an arm in arm sister, a closest confidant, a strong, kind, brilliant, selfless human being who made indelible contributions to science and added immeasurable beauty to our lives.”
A statement from the Max Planck Institute released earlier this week said, “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. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Tony, her sons Max and Luke, and with all her family.”
A CNN report Thursday said Eaton’s body was found inside a former Nazi bunker on the Greek island of Crete. The report said two locals found her body Monday, about 60 meters inside the cave. According to the CNN report, police said that Eaton was asphyxiated and had minor stab wounds. Police believe her body was dumped inside the cave, CNN reported.