Greek police detain suspect in U.S. scientist murder mystery

A boat passes a lighthouse as it enters the old port of the town of Chania in the Greek island of Crete

A boat passes a lighthouse as it enters the old port of the town of Chania in the Greek island of Crete

The unnamed suspect is a 27-year-old Greek man who was brought in for questioning Monday and was later arrested after he "confessed his crime", according to Maj.

Lagoudakis told CNN on Thursday that he had never seen a case like this in his four years as police chief.

Police Major General Constantinos Lagoudakis said the track marks left by the suspect's auto were what helped police narrow their search and arrest the suspect.

"According to his claims, he placed the victim, unconscious, in the trunk of his vehicle and transferred her to a ventilation drain in the wartime storage (tunnel), where after raping her, abandoned her there".

The attacker purposely hit her with his vehicle, knocking her unconscious so he could put her into the trunk of his auto. She was found July 8, outside the port city of Chania, days after she was reported missing.

Local police sources cited by Cretalive told the website officers also received information relating to a past incident involving the suspect, which was never reported to the authorities.

He was detained just days after police obtained DNA evidence from almost a dozen people who live nearby. A coroner has said her death resulted from a criminal act but not provided details.

Police used dogs and helicopters to comb the island for Eaton, eventually finding her body in the bunker.

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According to reports, the man is from Kissamos and was traveling through the area when he intentionally hit Eaton with his auto.

Eaton, a 59-year-old molecular biologist and mother of two, was attending a conference in northwest Crete when she vanished on July 2. Her running shoes were gone from her hotel room but her belongings remained, leading some to think she went for a run and never came back.

Authorities had launched a major search for her in rural areas near Chania.

A police statement said she appeared to have been asphyxiated, with "sexual abuse" as a likely motive.

"We will remember forever the extraordinary scientist so caring and devoted to her family and friends and so beloved by us all", the statement said. The elderly farmer told the newspaper that he recognised her from the photos and described the clothes she was wearing to the police. Due to the decomposition of her body, it will take a week before conclusions can be drawn from the lab results.

Eaton had been on the island for a science conference.

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

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