Body of Missing Oakland Scientist Found on Greek Island

Police have recovered a woman’s body on the Greek island of Crete they say belonged to an American scientist who was reported missing while attending a conference.

Suzanne Eaton, a 59-year-old molecular biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, was last seen July 2. Colleagues at the conference said they believed Eaton had gone for a run near the port of Chania.

Eaton was from Oakland and has family in the Bay Area. UC Berkeley professor Rebecca Heald, a longtime friend, said Eaton was a respected scientist, a loving wife and mother of two and an avid athlete.

"It’s very hard to talk about her in the past tense because ... it’s hard to believe that she’s gone," Heald said.

Police say the body found Monday was in a cave near the port, and they weren't sure how the body ended up there as the World War II-era bunker is known only to locals.

Homicide detectives from Athens were traveling to Crete to lead an investigation. On Wednesday, they indicated foul play is suspected.

The German institute on Tuesday expressed "enormous sadness and regret" over Eaton’s death.

It said the biologist "was an outstanding and inspiring scientist, a loving spouse and mother, an athlete, as well as a truly wonderful person beloved to us all."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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