An American scientist found dead in a bunker on Crete used by the Nazis during World War II was choked to death by a man—the son of a priest-- who raped her after mowing her down with his car, Greek police said Tuesday.
The grisly details in the death of Suzanne Eaton, a 59-year-old molecular biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, emerged as police said a 27-year-old man from Crete had confessed to the murder. The case has generated international headlines.
“The suspect reported that on July 2, 2019 … motivated by the intention to commit sexual assault, he hit her twice with his car to stop her,” Police Major Eleni Papathanasiou, a spokeswoman for the Crete Police, said.
“According to his claims, he placed the victim, unconscious, in the trunk of his car and transfer[ed] her to a ventilation drain in the wartime storage (tunnel), where after raping her, abandoned her there,” she said.
Papathanasiou said the accused, who was not identified in accordance to Greek law, then covered the World War II-era bunker with a wood palette and then drove his car to a nearby graveyard where he cleaned the trunk of blood.
Greek police said Eaton was attacked after going out for a daily walk in Chania where she was staying. The suspect spotted her as he drove past her on the road.
The autopsy showed Eaton died of asphyxiation and had “many broken ribs, and facial bones, and multiple injuries to both hands,” Papathanasiou said.
The Greek Reporter said the suspect was a married martial arts enthusiast with two children and that his father was a priest.
The man once uploaded videos showing his exploration of the Nazi bunker where Eaton’s body was found, according to the news outlet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.