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News

Gruesome Details Emerge In Murder Of Ex-Area Resident Found In Cave

Suzanne Eaton
Suzanne Eaton Photo Credit: MPI-CBG

A former Northern Westchester resident who was found murdered and sexually assaulted on the Island of Crete in Greece was initially hit by a car twice by the man charged with the crime, authorities said.

Suzanne Eaton, 59, a molecular biologist at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany, who disappeared on Tuesday, July 2 while on a work conference trip, was found dead six days later in a cave by two people exploring the area, said Crete Police Major Eleni Papathanasiou.

Papathanasiou said it was Eaton's fourth visit to the island to take part in similar conferences.

On the day she went missing, police say Eaton, who graduated from Byram Hills High School in Armonk in 1977, returned to her room around noon, changed into a sports outfit and went out for her daily walk, leaving behind her cell phone and other personal items, police said.

The man arrested for killing Eaton told investigators on July 2, he saw her walking toward the "Evelpidon” memorial, a series of caves or bunkers used by Nazis during World War II, and motivated by sexual satisfaction, he hit her twice with his car to stop her.

The vehicle used in the crime.

The married father of two, who is the son of a Greek priest, said he then put the unconscious Eaton in the trunk of his car and transferred her to a shelter’s ventilation drain, where after raping her, abandoned her there, Papathanasiou said.

The unnamed suspect then re-blocked the entrance of the drain with a wooden palette and moved to the nearby graveyard, where he carefully cleaned the trunk of his car from evidence and other forensic findings, he added.

"Forensic evidence showed suffocation as a cause of death," said Papathansiou. "Further forensic examination presented that the body had many broken ribs face bones and multiple injuries at both hands."

Crete police officials discuss the case.

The man, who police say acted alone, is scheduled to have a hearing on Friday, July 19.

Eaton leaves behind a husband and two sons.

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