The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics confirmed her death, saying her body was recovered on the evening of July 8.
Eaton, 59, is survived by her husband and two sons. She was a fellow at the Germany-based institute.
With a heavy heart we have to inform you that SUZANNE is missing from her hotel @orth_acad_crete since Tuesday. She was attending a meeting in Kolymbari, Crete. Search is on in full swing. Please spread this to reliable networks and PRAY for her safe return.(1/2) pic.twitter.com/AMq9uW1BDQ
— EatonLab (@eaton_lab) July 4, 2019
“It is with enormous sadness and regret that we announce the tragic demise of our dearest friend and colleague, Suzanne Eaton,” the Max Planck Institute said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Greek publication Ekathimerini. “We are deeply shocked and disturbed by this tragic event. Suzanne was an outstanding and inspiring scientist, a loving spouse and mother, an athlete as well as a truly wonderful person beloved to us all. Her loss is unbearable.”
She had been attending the Orthodox Academy in Hania, Greece.
— Ste Tavano (@SteTavano) July 5, 2019
The publication reported that her body was found inside a cave in Xamoudochori, located near Hania. It was about 6 miles from where Eaton was last seen a week ago.
According to ABC News, her running shoes were missing, leading colleagues to suspect she was jogging.
“The authorities have not yet completed their investigation regarding the events that may have transpired on Tuesday afternoon, 2nd July, and we will provide further updates as we receive information,” the institute told ABC.
Family of American Scientist Missing in #Crete “Exploring Every Option” to Find Her, Says Niece
— Golsa Sarabi (@GolsaSarabi) July 8, 2019
The U.S. State Department told ABC that they were aware of an American citizen missing in Greece.
She was also a professor at the Biotechnology Center of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany.
“We were shocked to learn of the death of our dear colleague and friend, Prof. Suzanne Eaton,” Hans Muller-Steinhagen, rector of the TU Dresden, said on Tuesday. “We have lost an immensely renowned scientist and a truly outstanding human being.”
“We have come to know Suzanne as a lively and committed woman who made a decisive contribution to the development of our institute. Her sudden and untimely death is devastating for us all,” said Michael Schroeder, director of the TU Dresden Biotechnology Center. “We will remember Suzanne as a remarkable person. We are profoundly saddened and speechless.”
Her niece, Callie Broaddus, told People magazine that her family didn’t “have any leads save for what we’ve already posted on Facebook,” adding that she traveled from the United States to help search for the woman.
“The Greek government has been incredibly supportive and sent in a whole armada to help find Suzanna,” said Broaddus. “We’ve been joined by so many volunteer groups and people flying drones, people coming out to search in their spare time and taking out their own boats—even planes as well. It seems like everyone in Crete knows.”
On Tuesday morning, the Facebook page “Searching for Suzanne” wrote: “We cannot comment on anything at this time, but I will post a message here when the time is appropriate.”