A 27-year-old man has confessed to murdering American biologist Suzanne Eaton on the isle of Crete. On July 15, Yiannis Paraskakis admitted to Greek investigators that he was sexually motivated and that Eaton was a random target.
Paraskakis told prosecutors that he took his car and went out looking for the first woman he could rape and kill. “I would do it to anyone I met at that moment in front of me,” Paraskakis told authorities.
“Sometimes I catch something and I want to hurt,” he added.
“We all fell from the clouds because we never realized that the child was sick,” one of Paraskakis’ unidentified relatives told NewsIT.
Eaton, 59, was a molecular biologist with the Max Planck Society in Germany. She was on the isle of Crete attending a conference. On July 2, she left her hotel room around 2 p.m. to go for a jog, then vanished.
Authorities, citizens and family members searched for Eaton, who was very athletic and had a black belt in Taekwondo. During the search, family members initially didn’t suspect foul play and thought the wife and mother of two had probably become overheated while running and collapsed.
Eaton’s body was discovered five days later in an abandoned World War II Nazi bunker that had been used to store ammunition. The bunker is a series of tunnels located in a secluded spot that’s often covered with overgrown brush. Few people knew of its existence, but Paraskakis had been there many times and even videotaped himself exploring the hidden passageways.
Here’s what you need to know about Yiannis Paraskakis.
1. Paraskakis Hit Eaton With His Car to Immobilize Her
Paraskakis told Greek authorities he noticed Eaton jogging by the Memorial for Greek Cadets in Koyambri when he hit her twice with his car to immobilize her. Once unconscious, Paraskakis put Eaton in the trunk of his car. He told investigators he felt pleasure when he was able to conceal her in the back of his vehicle. Detectives later found bloodstains where he’d struck Eaton.
Paraskakis then drove Eaton to the bunker, where he raped her and left her to die.
According to Hellenic Police spokeswoman Eleni Papathanasiou, Paraskakis said Eaton, who had suffered serious fractures from being struck by his car, was unconscious but still alive when he brought her to the ventilation drain inside the bunker. Papathanasiou noted that Eaton’s body had “many broken ribs, face, bones, and multiple injuries at both hands.” The coroner also noted that she had been sexually assaulted.
After raping Eaton, Paraskakis blocked the area by the drain with a wooden pallet, then took his car to a nearby cemetery to remove any incriminating evidence. Police are still trying to determine if Paraskakis had an accomplice.
2. Paraskakis’ Car Was Captured on Video Surveillance Cameras
Paraskakis initially denied any involvement in Eaton’s death, saying he hadn’t visited the Nazi bunker for at least one month. He only confessed after authorities told him security cameras in the area had captured his car on video. TIME reported that detectives also found tire tracks by the bunker’s opening that matched Paraskakis’ vehicle.
When police checked cell phone records, they discovered Paraskakis’ phone was on at the time of the murder and had left a “digital footprint” showing he was by the cave on the same day as Eaton’s disappearance.
A forensic laboratory is currently testing an item given to Greek Air Force personnel that was found near Eaton’s body. Paraskakis previously served in the air force.
Paraskakis admitted to investigators he thought the idea of taking Eaton to the bunker was so clever he’d never be caught.
3. Paraskakis Is Married with Two Small Children
Paraskakis is a farmer and woodworker who has been married for three years and has two young children, a boy who is three years old and a girl who is two. Espresso News reported that Paraskakis lives in Melame, is from Kissamos and owns land near the bunker. He is the son of a priest and his mother is active with the church.
The best friend of Paraskakis’ wife, who is only identified as “Mary,” told NewsIT she was surprised by his arrest. “When I met him I was very impressed, I believed that my girlfriend found a good kid and I never believed he could do that.”
But “Mary” admitted she had concerns about her friend marrying Paraskakis, saying the future bride didn’t know him very well. “Mary, I love him and I’m expecting my first child with him,” she replied. After the birth of their son, Paraskakis’ wife told Mary, “I’m the happiest woman in the world.”
NewsIT reported that Paraskakis confessed to his wife when she suspected he was the murderer and confronted him. “Yes, I did it,” he told her. Paraskakis’ father-in-law said his son-in-law acted normally and is shocked by the tragic turn of events. “(Paraskakis) was not hiding, he was going to the village…My daughter is shocked, she’s crying all the time…” he said.
“Now I only think of his children and my girlfriend, who will suffer from now on. I tried to find her and talk to her, but I have not succeeded since yesterday,” Mary said.
4. Paraskakis Was Very Active on Social Media
Paraskakis regularly posted on various social media sites, has over 4,000 Facebook friends and was a regular YouTube contributor. There are several videos showing him exploring passageways that appear to be that of the abandoned Nazi ammunition bunker where Eaton’s body was located.
Paraskakis also enjoyed posting videos showing him boating, visiting distant spots with friends, handling bats, snakes and birds, and shooting weapons. He frequently added special effects and music to his productions.
5. Paraskakis Was Described as a “Brawler, but He Described Himself As “Eccentric”
Locals described Paraskakis as a “brawler” and said he was sometimes “irritating,” but never thought he was capable of committing murder.
Family members had a different take on his personality, with one relative saying he was “a calm man” who often told jokes. “(His jokes) did not leave you room to think of something else. He was shooting a video everywhere and showing us a lot of things. My nephews who stay above me and my wife were never bothered,” one unidentified relative said.
Parskakis described himself on social media as “eccentric.”
“I deal with sports and eastern martial arts, Shao Lin Kung Fu! I love what I do but at the same time, I take care of some of the animals already protected. I also deal with modeling. My dream is to become a great battle monk, Shaolin. I am proud of myself that I have reached this point.”