Suspect Caught In Murder Of Cancer Researcher Dr. Eugenia Calle

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Renowned cancer researcher Dr. Eugenia Calle was found dead in her high-rise Atlanta apartment late Tuesday night. 57-year-old Dr. Calle was found by her fiancé around 11:00 p.m., though she appeared to have been dead for as much as 12 hours before she was discovered.

Investigators say she died from blunt force trauma to the back of the head and that signs of a struggle were apparent in her surroundings, but only this morning have police been able to zero in on a suspect in Dr. Calle's killing.

At about 3:00 a.m. Thursday, Atlanta police arrested 22-year-old Jamal Thompson as a suspect in the murder. Thompson may have met Dr. Eugenia Calle by chance while viewing two other units in her posh apartment building with a real estate agent. Dr. Calle invited him into her apartment, which she was trying to sell so she could move in with her fiancé, whose name has not been released to the press.

Atlanta police say it was doubtful that Mr. Thompson had the money or seriously intended to purchase an apartment. He probably entered the building with the express intention of burglarizing one of the upscale condos. It is uncertain whether his intention was to kill Dr. Eugenia Calle, or simply to disable her with a blow to the head while he robbed her of her credit cards and escaped.

Police caught up with him Thursday morning after tracking the use of one of the stolen credit cards registered in Eugenia Calle's name.

Calle's death represents a real loss to the scientific community: She was a ground-breaking cancer researcher whose studies on the links between cancer and obesity, HRT, diet and other factors often made news headlines. Just last month, she retired after fifteen years from the post of vice president of the epidemiology department of the American Cancer Society.

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"She was a major force in epidemiology," says Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, of Dr. Calle. "Science has lost a great scientist."

Dr. Eugenia Calle's work in epidemiology – the study of disease - focused on many aspects of cancer management. She examined nearly 70,000 women in the thirteen-year study that linked prolonged Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT to breast cancer. She established a link between cancer and obesity and between cancer and diet.

Dr. Eugenia Calle's tragic death marks the loss of a great mind in the fight against cancer.

Sources

Doheny, Kathleen, "Drop in Breast Cancer Rates Due to Drop in HRT Use," health.USnews.com, February 4, 2009.

Morris, Mike and Tim Eberly, "Midtown slaying suspect met victim by chance," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 19, 2009.

WSBTV.com, "Woman Found Dead in Midtown Penthouse ID'd as Cancer Researcher," February 18, 2009.

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