Farmer confesses to raping, killing US scientist

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By Agence France-Presse

A 27-year-old farmer on the Greek island on Crete has confessed to raping and killing an American scientist before dumping her body in an abandoned World War II bunker, police said Tuesday.

“The primary suspect has confessed,” Crete police director Constantinos Lagoudakis told reporters.

“The motive was sexual abuse,” added police press officer Eleni Papathanassiou.

A local prosecutor has charged the suspect — a married father of two, and son of a local priest — with manslaughter, rape and illegal weapons possession.

He is expected to appear in court on Friday.

The body of Suzanne Eaton, a molecular biologist at the Max Planck Institute at Dresden University, was found near the city of Chania nearly a week after she was last seen by friends on July 2.

Eaton, 59, had been attending a conference near the city and had gone out hiking on the day of her murder, leaving behind her cellphone, the police said.

Police said the suspect had encountered Eaton on a rural road, and ran her over twice with his car to incapacitate her.

He then put her in the trunk of the car and drove to the bunker’s remote location, near the settlement of Xamoudochori, where he sexually assaulted her.

He then threw her down a ventilation opening in the bunker’s ceiling.

A coroner has attributed Eaton’s death to asphyxiation, but the police on Tuesday did not clarify whether she was suffocated or died from her injuries.

“Forensic examination found multiple bone fractures in the ribs and face and injuries in both hands,” the police said.

The little-known bunker had been used by German occupation forces during World War II.

Eaton’s body was found by cave explorers six days after she disappeared, police said.

She is survived by her husband, British scientist Anthony Hyman, and two sons.

In a statement released after her death, the Max Planck Institute said it was “deeply shocked and disturbed by this tragic event”.

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