Father of American biologist’s killer apologizes to her family for ‘heinous and appalling’ crime

The father of a 27-year-old man who confessed to killing American biologist Suzanne Eaton, 60, apologized to her family through a letter released to the press, saying he was shocked by the death, and called on media to spare his daughter-in-law and grandchildren the publicity.

Eaton was on the island to participate in a scientific conference at the Orthodox Academy of Crete and was reported missing on July 2. Her body was found five days after her disappearance, in a cave that had also served as a WWII bunker in the area of Maleme, Chania, in Crete.

Pantelis Zellios, 27, is currently in custody after admitting to running Eaton down by car, then raping and suffocating her in an apparent random act.

The full letter of Zellios’s father, a priest, is as follows:

“As a human being and a priest, and entirely in agreement with the prevailing sentiment, I am devastated at the heinous and appalling way one of our fellow humans lost her life, even more so that the perpetrator of this crime is my own child. I want to express my sincere condolences to the family, husband and children of the hapless American woman Suzanne Eaton. I hope God provides them strength and comfort. As long as I live, I will pray to the Almighty to rest her soul.

“On the other hand, as a father, I cannot not stand by my child during this difficult time, even if he committed such a serious crime. I would like to apologize to the family of the hapless woman, my fellow villagers, all Cretans, and the Greek and global public opinion. Now it is the turn of Greek justice. This isolated incident cannot in any way describe the peace-loving, honorable and welcoming residents of a country, a people and a nation.

“I also beseech you: For what happened, the perpetrator’s wife and young children bear no responsibility; please respect our own pain at this time. Just like the family of Suzanne who died tragically, so shall we from now on and from here die an emotional and moral death every day.”