Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon in Panama, Boquete 2014 - an ongoing mystery




The disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon in Panama, Boquete 2014 - an ongoing mystery 

4 December, 2019 I want to write something about a missing persons case that has kept the Netherlands awake for some time now. It is a relatively "old" case actually, from 2014, but there has been continuously written about it ever since, including in The Daily Beast where quite a few in depth investigating articles on this chilling disappearance appeared. I got sucked in so bad again recently, that for some time I had nightmares and trouble sleeping and thinking about anything else than what these fellow Dutchies must have gone through. Warning, it is a frightening mystery that has amassed huge coverage on news sites, blogs, youtube videos and forums; the many cryptic clues and unanswered questions give this case almost a cult status. Another warning; these blog posts I made on the 'Kris and Lisanne case' started as a small write up, but have by now grown into a ridiculously long read up. I just wanted to gather all the publicly available and relevant information in this case comprehensively in one spot (call it a form of Open-source Intelligence), with source links provided whenever possible. Instead of having all these pieces of information scattered all over the internet, I brought them together here in a (long) and ordered overview of what is publicly known about the case by now. This includes interviews, journalistic pieces, statements from people linked to this case, investigation results, new findings, leaked photos and files, anonymous tips and more. I read through all the available information and collected and streamlined it all here for you, with added annotations and footnotes. I also translated many videos and articles of interest from Dutch to English in order to provide you with the most detailed archive of this case. Fellow Dutchie Juan did so too, we both believe in transparency, openness and offering our services for free for everyone who has an interest in this case. A lot of the details of the information below were until 2019 not easy to find, especially not for those who don't speak Dutch. I am not sure just how (un)readable the whole thing has become by now for the average reader, due to its sheer length. If you prefer a short summary of this case, then this is probably not the blog for you. But if you are interested in all the details, theories and updates on this disappearance case, then keep reading. Oh, and I'm not a native English speaker, so apologies also for any grammar errors I may have made. If you find your publicly available information on here (think of forum comments for instance, which I usually try to anonimize) and don't want it visible here, just send me an email about it. It took me many months to find all the sources, to translate Dutch material and compose the full, detailed story here based on what is known from publicly available information so far. Oh, and don't be a douche and give a shout out or small source mentioning when you use direct info of these blogs for your own videos or sites :) 

Disclaimer: Before we start: do yourself a favour and read this on a computer. Or a tablet.. Not on a smartphone. The layout of the text, photos and paragraphs is only neat and comprehensive on a bigger screen. Blogger is not great with this. Also make sure to read the proper page, so https://koudekaas.blogspot.com/, without ?m=1 at the end. This is how it looks then.See part 2 on this disappearance case here and the latest case updates here.


On March 15, 2014, Dutch students Kris Kremers (21) and Lisanne Froon (22) boarded a plane from Amsterdam to Costa Rica. They made a stopover in Houston. From San José, Costa Rica, they travelled by bus to Bocas del Toro, Panama. A boat took them to the Panamanian island Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Lisanne; tall, 184 cm, athletic and just graduated from her university studies in Applied Psychology. She was born on September 24th 1991 and said to be thoughtful, intelligent, empathetic and a little bit shy. She loved the music of Coldplay and kept a diary, which she also brought along to Panama. Lisanne's brother Martijn has read passages from her diary aloud in a Dutch TV program called Break Free (if you are interested in viewing this program, scroll further down this post for an upload with added English subtitles. If you want to read the diaries, go to part 3 of this blog series). Kris, a middle child with an older brother Sjors and a younger brother Tijn, was less tall than her friend, measuring 167 cm. She had just completed her studies in cultural social education and the University of Utrecht. She had decided to study art history when she came back from Panama. She had previously done work in psychiatry, dealing with people with severe addiction diagnoses. Born on August 9th 1992, she was sparkling and extroverted; cheerful, intelligent, spontaneous and outspoken, with striking red/strawberry blonde hair, she loved theater and the artistic world. She also enjoyed festivals and music from Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. She had a boyfriend in the Netherlands and kept a diary, just like Lisanne. The two friends had saved for a long time for this trip, which was supposed to be part of a gap year. They knew each other from their work in cafe/restaurant 'In den Kleinen Hap' in Amersfoort and the girls also both rented rooms in the same student house - Lisanne had in fact only started living on her own several weeks before her trip to Panama. They planned to not only sight-see around Panama, but to also do volunteer work in a local children's school* (also named a nursery or a daycare center in the media, but I will call it a children's school in this blog) and to learn Spanish. They didn't just want to go on one long holiday, but also do something for local children. In Holland they gathered money from friends and family to buy children's toys for the Panamanian kids they would teach. They would return home on April 21st. (*Kris' brother Sjors always mentioned April 29th though). Kris developed a love for South-America after a holiday in Peru with her parents. Lisanne had never travelled further than southern Germany with her parents.

The girls first visited the coast of Panama and had a good time in Bocas del Toro, learning some Spanish, enjoying the beach, food, drinks, sightseeing and dancing in the evening. They met two young Dutch men there, who they spent a lot of time with, as well as several international young men. Lisanne wrote shortly after arrival in her diary; "Waaaaah what a trip. Luckily I almost forgot about it already upon arrival in the beautiful and cozy Bocas del Toro. I would not want to be found dead in San Jose, although the chance of this is quite high in San Jose. But I could live in Bocas for the rest of my life. Maybe when I ever retire? I am sitting in the sun, which I can't hold out much longer by the way (hot!) and I take a good look around me at my new accommodation for the next two weeks. The heat is already very special by the way, even in the shade I have the feeling that I can still burn alive. But despite this, the sun is actually quite nice. How intensely happy it can make a person. Kittens, stray cats, yes, they are regular customers here. They walk everywhere! Just like mini salamanders, even in the shower! If they manage to keep the spiders away, they could actually become my best friends. We have also seen a dolphin, the ultimate enjoyment. Drinking from a coconut, a real one yes! And gettig sunburned, I worked well on my tan, what more do you want?!" - She went on to describe Spanish classes, excursions where they saw dolphins, sloths and bounty islands, and evenings of eating and drinking and dancing with their new made friends. Kris wrote about their travel to Bocas: "The bus trip was an adventure in itself. The bus trip itself went well. But first we had to speed through San José by taxi because we had no cash on us. When we got out in Sixaola, we and two locals were the only ones left. We had to just figure out for ourselves how to get to the border. The bus driver only spoke Spanish. We were sent one way and with our backpacks we really stood out among the locals. We arrived at the border, which consisted of an old bridge. It was very bizarre to cross the border that way. Once on the other side we arrived at a building where we had to pay money for a sticker on a passport (I think we were scammed). When we stood at that real immigration [checkpoint] a man approached us and asked if we had to go to Bocas. We were a bit suspicious because we didn't know very well if we could trust him. All the people were in a great hurry because they thought we would not be able to catch the last boat. For this reason we decided to just jump in the car and hope for a happy ending. And it came. After a hellish ride where the driver was driving so fast that I didn't even dare to look, we arrived at a small stepping stone for the boat to Bocas. After about half an hour we finally arrived."

When Kris and Lisanne arrived in Boquete two weeks later, on March 29th - a city close to the western border of the country with around 19.000 inhabitants - it soon after turned out that their appointments had changed; staff of the children's school "Aura" told them that they could not work there that week, as planned. They had no place for them and the girls had to come back a week later. All their preparations had been for nothing and all their plans went down the drain at that moment.. Especially Lisanne did not take this setback well, as they planned everything meticulously at home. Hans Kremers, Kris' father, also stated this in a Dutch talk show: the Spanish language school in Boquete - who had organized the volunteer work - had even sent an email on the Friday, so 3 days before they were supposed to start their volunteer work, confirming their start on the Monday."We have been sent away" Lisanne texted her parents. "I am really very disappointed." The girls stayed with a local host family in Alto Boquete, which is situated south of Boquete, for four weeks; Miriam Guerra often houses international students and had a room for the girls with its own entrance separate from the main house. Miriam described the girls as smart and shy. In this local newspaper article she also stated that the girls were "restless". She said that on the first evening there, Kris read a book in the girls' bedroom while Lisanne kept Miriam some company in the living room. Despite not speaking very good Spanish, Lisanne managed to explain to Miriam that they didn't yet know what to do with their newfound free time. Miriam suggested the local school Casa Esperanza to them (which said 'intermediate Spanish language skills' were requested; the same probably applied to the Aura childrens school), which offers the same type of work, but the girls told her that they had already tried that place in vain. Miriam also recalled to a Dutch newspaper that Lisanne had coughed a lot, as she was "asthmatic". It has not been confirmed as far as I know if Lisanne had actual asthma, or that the journalist just called it asthma but in reality Lisanne had a cold, a sore throat or perhaps even some issues with the higher altitude in Boquete. Either way, Miriam recalled that Lisanne was not feeling too well and also had a sore throat; Miriam didn't believe they would voluntarily make a very long hike the next day. But the girls eventually did decide to explore the area the next days. Miriam brought them breakfast at their room on Sunday March 30th, their second day in Boquete, and learned that the girls planned to walk around Boquete to learn more about the place. Photos show them out and about in Boquete that Sunday. They came back home before sunset. They have claimed to have planned all sorts of sightseeing tours for the next week (starting on Wednesday April 2nd until Saturday), with the help of staff of the local Language school they attended, called Spanish by the River. This Dutch-run Spanish language school has multiple locations, including one in Bocas del Torro, called Spanish by the Sea, and one near Boquete, called Spanish by the River. In fact, it was only a few houses from Miriam's place in Alto Boquete and Kris and Lisanne dropped in there many times, also to check things on the schools computers and to use their wifi. The girls planned to climb the local volcano for instance (on Saturday), as well as view local coffee plantations and a strawberry farm. But for Tuesday they had nothing planned yet. Perhaps to save money, because hiring a guide in Boquete costs between $35 and $45.

On Tuesday April 1, 2014 they set out on a hike on the Pianista Trail (Sendero la Culebra), which is a famous path bringing walkers to a summit at around 8 kilometer distance from Boquete, and passing clouded forests and waterfalls. Here you can see a post from a hiker who made beautiful photos on this trail, to get an impression of its beauty and here a video of people walking this trail. The girls wrote prior to the hike on Facebook that they intended to walk around Boquete. And they also sent Kris' boyfriend, Stephan, an SMS message according to Lisanne's mother, to say that they were going for a hike that Tuesday. A taxi is said to have picked them up and brought them to the start of the trail. The taxi driver declared that he dropped them off in the afternoon (13:40 pm), but the clock on their digital camera suggests they started around 11:00 in the morning on their hike. This is only one of many inconsistencies in this story, so be prepared for a lot of confusing storylines to come. According to her father and boyfriend, Kris last had contact with Stephan around 14:00 pm, by phone (Hans did not specify whether this was a phone call or a text or another form of contact). Lisanne and Kris wore light clothing on the day; shorts and a tank top, and didn't bring much with them other than a light backpack, one passport, some money, their mobile phones, a separate digital camera, a water bottle and most likely some food or snacks, although no wrappers of anything but small sweets were found and Lisanne's brother later said he didn't think they brought any food at all. So they were dressed for a short trip. Residents at the start of the trail have later declared to a Dutch journalist that they warned the girls not to walk up there by themselves, but the girls waved their worries away and there was word that they took a local dog (named Blue, or Azul in Spanish) along, who was from restaurant owners at the start of the trail. Suspicion rose however when the dogs owners declared that Blue returned to Boquete that same day, without the two girls. The host family is said to have searched the area surrounding their home once they realised that their guests had not come back in the evening, but found no sign of the girls. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, the host family decided they would wait until the morning to continue their search. Kris and Lisanne were said to have been scheduled with a local guide for a private walking tour the day after, April 2nd, but they never showed up for this appointment. Which makes you wonder why they didn't just wait for the day after to venture out with a knowledgeable local, but instead went out hiking alone this Tuesday also. It was at this point that the tour guide went to look for the girls at the nearby host family they stayed with. And later that day he and a staff member from the Language School contacted the authorities and the girls' families. The next morning, so Thursday April 3rd, authorities are said to have conducted an aerial search of the forest, as well as a foot search with the help of local residents.

The families of both Kris and Lisanne hadn’t heard from their daughters since April 1. Before that date, the girls had regularly contacted their parents and updated them. Kris' father Hans Kremers said that they sent a message to Kris by Wednesday (April 2nd), asking if all was OK and if she could contact them, but they heard nothing. Hans characterizes his daughter and her friend as responsible, down to earth girls who do not easily run into trouble. If they deviated from their plans they always let their parents know and he described them as serious and punctual. Lisanne's mother told in this talkshow interview that after the girls found out on Monday March 31st that they had to fill up their time in Boquete because to the volunteer work had been delayed, Lisanne had sent her mother a WhatsApp message saying that they had visited a massage parlour and a masseuse called Sigrid. But she added: "Mum she is a Dutch massage lady. So don't you worry." In other words: sensible girls. But they weren't unsociable either; in Bocas they freely enjoyed the usual young people's preferred past-time habits; drinking, dancing and meeting other young people. So what happened to them? A coworker of the Boquete Equestrian Centre mentioned to have seen the girls before April 1st. He stated: "They were hot and sweating and red from walking, so all things point to them not being acclimatized to altitude, no matter how fit they are." Although it is not certain that he actually saw Kris and Lisanne and not other tourists. Redness in the face is not that rare for north-western Europeans with pale skin - I myself get red cheeks also from exercise for instance - but in Lisanne's case her coughing, shortness of breath and asthma symptoms may perhaps have made the strenuous exercise more difficult. Especially in a humid climate with hills and mountains. The Pianista route brought the girls to a height of 1890 metres (6200 feet) above sea level. With the trail starting at an altitude of 1278 metres (4192 ft.), they had to climb around 610 meters over the space of 3.2 kilometres (2 miles). And by all accounts Lisanne was not 100% fit at that time. When their parents still hadn’t heard anything by April 6th, one of the girls’ parents boarded a plane along with detectives from the Netherlands. Together, police, dog units and the Dutch detectives searched the forests for a solid ten days. Kris and Lisanne’s parents offered a reward of $30,000 USD, but even this didn’t bring them any new information. Nothing was heard or seen from the girls for weeks, months.

Then, after about ten weeks, a local native woman found Lisanne's blue Lycra backpack and it was handed to the police. She found it in a rice paddy, stuck between a rock and the river, on the bank of the river Culebre near the village of Alto Romero in a remote area, nearly 17 kilometers away from their host place Boquete and 8 kilometers (and at least 14 walking hours) from the location where the girls were last seen. She said she was certain that the backpack had not been there the day before. People from the Justice department picked the backpack up with a helicopter. Police assumed it was drifted by the river to this spot, but the backpack was dry and everything in it was in good working order and also dry. It was a simple, non-waterproof backpack from cheap fabric, that under normal circumstances would have gotten wet, not to say soaked while being in the river for long, so that is the first mysterious circumstance. (And not even waterproof backpacks are typically designed to be able to withstand being submerged in lakes and rivers). Besides, it had been raining heavily in the prior few weeks, and the backpack did not look like it had spent weeks and weeks in a super wet, muddy jungle. It would in fact have endured - without any signs of wear - 72-something days in a highly humid rainforest. There wasn't even a hint of mold on it. This backpack also contained the first clues about what might have happened to the girls. In it were two neatly folded up bras, two simple pairs of sunglasses, an empty water bottle, both girls' mobile phones (a Samsung Galaxy from Lisanne and an iPhone from Kris), a digital camera - a Canon powershot SX 270 HS without lens cap -, Lisanne's passport, Kris' medical insurance card and 83 American dollars (although some sources have spoken out against this and claimed there were only 37 dollars in the bag). The photo circulating of this find is added below, and it also shows a memory card from the digital photo camera (circled), and next to it what looks like a battery for the same camera. Above the black bra you also see what looks like a wrapped up sweet, maybe a cough sweet or lozenge. And the sunglasses with the 'coloured' glasses matches the one Lisanne wears on this photo of them that day, but Kris seems to wear brown sunglasses there, not purple'ish ones like the one pictured with the bags content.. Was its colour somehow bleached by the sun? It seems that the girls did not bring some of the things that could have helped them perhaps, such as a compass, a solar charger/powerbank, or a reserve battery for their phones. (Obviously no satellite phone either..). No weapons have been found either; no knife and neither a lighter for instance. And where did the key of their room go? Surely they brought it with them... But it has not been found in their bag. Here in this Panamanian news item the photos of the backpack were shown on June 17th 2014. It was reported in a local newspaper that the backpack was already found by locals on June 11th. 

Soon after its discovery, this photo still from a short video started circulating in the Panamanian media, showing the backpack and its content. It is said that this video was made by the same local native woman who found the bag, and who later handed it to a local tour guide, the same one who  is said to have been booked by the girls for the remainder of the 1st week of April, who then passed it on to police. It is stated that as many as 34 different fingerprints were found; 13 on the backpack, 12 on the phones and the camera, as well as 6 different ones on the bras. As for the bra's: The Dutch forensic report mentioned that five of the fingerprint samples failed to obtain DNA profiles; the sixth came from one of the Institute's employee. As for the phones and the camera: The Dutch forensic report failed to detect DNA profiles on the phones and the camera. The report carried out by the Netherlands Forensic Institute revealed that also three fingerprints were found on the self-adhesive tape that joined the camera and the phones, and that only one of the prints, of which a photograph was sent to the Panamanian prosecutor's office, could have been checked in the Panama database. "This fact seems to have gone unnoticed by the prosecutor Betzaida Pittí, who so far has not checked the fingerprint with the locals who manipulated the objects or other possible suspects. According to the lawyer Enrique Arrocha, defense of the Kremers family, the prosecutor has not taken a statement from the people who handed over the young women's belongings to the prosecution, and neither had she collected the DNA found on the clothing and other belongings of the girls, he confirmed." It was later published in local newspaper La Estrella that one of the fingerprints found on the smartphone matched a Panamanian Database. No updates were ever given on this however. DNA samples from the backpack: 13 samples were obtained from the backpack, and it was determined that two of them came from two unknown women. In sample number five, a DNA profile was found that was a mixture of two unknown people, of which at least one is a man. Nevertheless, when presented to the woman leading the investigation, Betzaida Pitti, these leads were never further investigatedBotanical traces - The backpack of the girls showed minor traces of leaves and soil material. The Dutch forensic institute failed to determine the source of these plants for lack of reference. The task was forwarded to the Panamanian prosecution, but, to date, there are no reports to date of Pittí having actually compared these botanical results with the vegetation at the site where these belongings from the girls were found or the surrounding area. I also read statements that the native woman who found the bag and who first signaled in the local tour guide, first cleaned the backpack before handing it over to the police.. Not sure if this is correct however. But the bag was in the end described by investigators as clean and dry, with dry content. Despite no photo evidence having been published to back this up, Prosecutor Betzaida Pittí claimed to a local newspaper that the backpack had signs of dragging. "This suggests - she explained - that the foreigners could have been pushed by one of the tributaries of the river called by the locals as "Culebra", which flows into the Changuinola River, in Bocas del Toro".


I try to make an as complete and up to date as possible write-up of this disappearance case, with many source links. I try to gather the publicly available information about this disappearance and translate Dutch sources for you. I will also give plenty of attention to different theories about what may have happened to Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. But I will also write about my personal (subjective) feelings and thoughts and suspicions. Scroll down for more information on: The data found on the mobile phones; The data on the digital camera in Froons backpack; The missing photo #509; The nighttime photos; Info about the bones that were found; Info about a rolled up piece of skin from Lisanne; An analysis of the video of Kris' parents, walking the same Pianista trail; Information about what the girls had been up to in their weeks in Bocas del Toro; For an interesting investigation radio program on this case; An analysis of the discrepancies in this case. Also scroll down for a long list of dubious elements and questions about this case and information about other missing tourists in the region; An analysis of the inconsistencies of both the Accident scenario theory and the Crime scenario theory, including information from the Daily Beast articles on this topic. There is also a timeline of events and I uploaded the translated TV program "Break Free" in several parts further down this blog post. Also near the end I will describe what getting lost in the wilderness does to your brain and psychological state, and the mistakes people in general make when they get lost in the wilderness. 










Backpack of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaThe data on the mobile phones 
showed that within hours after the start of their hike, the girls were in trouble. This data of the registered mobile phone use was published by forensic reports of the Dutch Forensic Institute and confirmed by the lawyer of the Kremers family; below I write down all the data. Around 16:39 PM, when it was still light, a first attempt was made to call emergency services. Around ten minutes later a second attempt was made. Both the Dutch emergency number 112 (which is a European emergency number that is also used in some countries outside of the EU and if not, it automatically switches you through to the emergency number of the country you are in; it also works in Panama), and 911 were dialed. 911 isn't only the American emergency number but also Panama's emergency number for ambulances. But due to poor reception, these calls didn't go through. Then the phones were switched off and the caller tried calling again 14 hours later. In the days that followed, more attempts to dial emergency services were made. On day 2 of their disappearance, on Wednesday April 2nd, calls were made at 06:58 am, 08:14 am, 10:53 am and 13:56 pm. Both phones were used alternatively. This is also the only day when one of their calls made a short connection. During the first call attempt that morning, at 06:58 am, Lisanne's Samsung phone managed to make a connection with 112 for 1 to 2 seconds. Then the connection was broken off again and the phone was switched off (as in: turned off, deactivated) after approximately 36 seconds. It is not clear why exactly the call was disconnected; perhaps because the connection was too poorly, or possibly because the connection was broken off by someone. But then someone purposely switched off the phone shortly after. When over an hour later the iPhone from Kris was used to try to call 112 again, a screenshot photo was made from the telephone screen. Perhaps accidentally. Between the last call of day 2 and the first call of day 3 sit 19,5 hours. Then followed a string of attempts to just find a reception signal, mostly following a  specific pattern of daily times when the phones were switched on and off. The phones never again make a connection though, and over time they were used less and less to try to call emergency services. They were only switched on and off again now and then. On day 5 the battery of the Samsung phone from Lisanne died and the phone was no longer used after that. The iPhone from Kris was however switched on and off until April 11th, which seems a very long time for a smartphone (anno 2014) battery wise. Especially considering Dutch Forensic investigators have confirmed that both the phones had only 50% battery life on day 1, by the time the girls walked up the Pianista Trail. Although between the 7th and the 10th day, Kris' phone was not used or even switched on again, so if any battery life was left, it had been saved during that time (although phones even lose smaller amounts of battery life when they are switched off). Then suddenly on day eleven, on April 11th Kris' iPhone was switched on again at 10:51 am and stayed on for one hour. That was the last time it was used. Also important to mention: on day 6, when Lisanne's Samsung Galaxy battery had died, there were suddenly multiple attempts to activate Kris' iPhone. However; the wrong PIN code or no PIN code was entered from the afternoon of April 5th, several times. The phone first needed to be unlocked with a special code, which was 0556 for the iPhone, and then the correct PIN code needed to be entered. Which happened correctly until April 5th, 13:37 pm. From that time onward, the iPhone from Kris was switched on and off either without entering a PIN code, or with a wrong PIN code. Whomever entered these incorrect PIN codes failed to activate the phone, but in theory phones can still make emergency phone calls then; there is just no access to the phone data itself. These are the essentials. If you are particularly interested in the exact times of the calls, please read the next paragraph. You can also skip it of course.


The specific detailed phone use data
Error in the above schedule, which was made by another sleuth: wrong PIN code was entered from April 5th, 13:37 pm, not April 6th - On April 1st, two phone calls were made. The iPhone from Kris was first used at 16:39 pm, when it was still light, to try to call emergency services at the Dutch number 112. Then, around ten minutes later, the Samsung phone from Lisanne was used at 16:51 pm to call 112 as well. But due to poor reception, their calls didn't go through. Then they switched their phones off and tried calling again 14 hours later. On April 2nd, the second day of their disappearance, calls were made at 06:58 am (112, Kris' iPhone), 08:14 am (112, Lisanne's Samsung phone), 10:53 am (112 and 911, Samsung) and 13;56 pm (112 and 911, Samsung). The iPhone from Kris had to be unlocked every time with a 4-digit security code, which is 0556, and then afterwards the sim-PIN code had to be entered; one code to enter the device and the one to pass the standby mode. From April 1st to April 5th her telephone was consistently activated and turned on by entering both codes correctly. Importantly, on day 2, at 06:58 am, Lisanne's Samsung phone managed to make a connection with 112 for 1 to 2 seconds. Then the connection was broken off again; we do not know if this happened automatically due to the poor reception signal, or if someone perhaps disconnected manually and on purpose. After this, the Samsung phone was switched off very quickly (as in: totally turned off, so that no battery is further depleted). This happened after approximately 36 seconds. It then took another hour before another attempt was made to call 112, this time with Kris' iPhone. After this 08:14 am call attempt, a screenshot photo was made from the telephone screen. It is not clear if this happened accidentally or on purpose, but investigators found the information about this screenshot action back in the phones data log. Then almost four hours later, attempts were made to call both 112 and 911 again with Lisanne's phone, at 10:53 am. It then took around three hours until the same numbers were tried again at 13:56 pm. That was it for the day. For the rest of the afternoon, evening and night no more phone calls were attempted and the phones were also not switched on again. (So, despite them having had a short connection that morning...). On the third day of their disappearance, April 3rd, one attempt was made to call emergency services (911) with Kris' iPhone at 09:33 am (so 19 and a half hours after their last call attempt). The iPhone stayed switched on for one minute after that call. At 13:50 pm the Samsung phone from Lisanne was switched on for 50 seconds to check for a signal; the phone's light did not even light up. Then the same happened two more times around four in the afternoon; once the iPhone was switched back on at 16:00 for a signal check and the light of the phone did switch on. No call was made. And at 16:19 pm the Samsung phone from Lisanne was switched on shortly again, no call was made with it. On the fourth day, April 4th, only Kris' iPhone was used; it was again switched on very shortly to look for a signal, at 10:16 am (then turned off again very soon after). And again at 13:42 pm: again no call was made and the phone was switched off again quickly. Lisanne's Samsung phone was not used at all that day. Then on the fifth day, on April 5th, Lisanne's phone was switched on very early in the morning, at 04:50 am; it then turned off immediately again. At 05:00 am the phone was again switched on, now for the last time. Its screen lit up a last time and then the battery was exhausted. The Samsung phone was never used again. At 10:50 am Kris' iPhone was switched on after the correct PIN code was entered, and one minute later it switched off again. Then at 13:37 pm  the iPhone was switched on again, however an incorrect PIN code was entered and the phone was not unlocked therefore. From that moment onward, the iPhone from Kris was switched on and off either without entering a PIN code, or with a wrong PIN code. Whomever entered these incorrect PIN codes failed to activate the phone, but in principle phones can still make emergency phone calls then; there is just no access to the phone data itself. It is not clear why the iPhone stopped receiving the correct PIN codes from day 5 onward. On the sixth day, April 6th, Kris' iPhone was 
switched on at 10:26 am, the PIN code was again entered incorrectly. The phone's screen got swiped however. One minute later the phone was turned off again. Then at 13:37 am the iPhone was switched on once more, again a PIN code was entered incorrectly (although another source says that simply no PIN code was entered at all) and a minute later the phone was switched off again. Between the 7th and the 10th day, Kris' iPhone was not successfully entered at all. Despite the girls being awake and active seemingly on the night of April 8th, when around 90 nighttime photos were made by someone. According to some sources, no less than 77 attempts to get into the phone were made however during these four days (between the 7th and 10th of April) and some claim that no less than 77 times the wrong PIN code was entered then. (In this news article, former detective Dick Steffens has been quoted in that there were 80 attempts to log in on the phones of the girls). However, there is controversy about this, and according to others these '77 times' can also refer to the amount of times someone just tried to activate the phone.. This detail is open for interpretation. Wikipedia states that 77 actual emergency call attempts were made between April 7-10. But some long-time Dutch FOK forum members who followed this case from the start and are exceptional sleuths, claim that this is incorrect and state that no phone activity took place at all between April 7-10 - based on sources De Telegraaf and La Estrella. So well, I wished I could say with 100% certainty which of these versions is the correct one, but I have been digging a bit deeper into this thing and will explain it below. (Feel free to skip these further digging into such a small detail). Then suddenly on day eleven, on April 11th the iPhone from Kris was switched on again at 10:51 am. And by all accounts no PIN code was entered then either. The phone stayed on for one hour and 5 minutes. Then it was turned off for the last time at 11:56 am. Was Lisanne or Kris still handling the phone at this point? Or someone else? We don't know.. All in all, none of the calls had gone through due to a lack of reception in the area except for one 112 call attempt on April 2 that lasted for a little over a second before breaking up. 


Update: And in this Dutch TV program, investigators and police discuss the case and also show some details from the Dutch police file. In this blog I have to go by the information that has been made public, one way or another. And some of the details which eagle-eyed viewers saw in close-up footage of the case file, have never been incorporated in the mainstream reports on this case. Kris' iPhone was used to try to call 112 on day 2 at 08:14 AM. But this iPhone was also powered on four times at/after 11:46 AM, according to the police file. If or when more details emerge about the exact use of Kris and Lisanne's mobile phones, I will add them to the info on this blog.  

About these wrong PIN codes and the amount of attempts:
I found out where exactly this "77 wrong attempts" statement came from (aside from wikipedia stating it). In this episode from RTL Late night, on October 1st 2014 - unfortunately no longer playing for some reason -, the presenter, Humberto Tan, who already did multiple episodes about the Kris and Lisanne case (mostly all translated in English by me and shared here and on youtube), discussed the case again with Independent Criminologist Dick Steffens, and he asks the parents if they have any questions, to which the father of Kris, Hans Kremers, asks right away in this TV program, at the 4 minute mark: "That for 4 days there were logins with the correct PIN code, and then for 4 to 5 days there followed attempts to login with the wrong PIN code." Then presenter Humberto Tan says that there were 80 attempts to get into the phone between April 6-10 without or with the wrong PIN code. Nobody at the table corrects him on this. Not the investigator who starts talking afterwards, not the parents. So this is where viewers took this detail for the truth. On forums some people think however that Humberto referred perhaps to the 70 nighttime photos made.. Which argument doesn't convince me as there were 90 nighttime photos and not 70.. So, who will say what the truth is here.. However, the thing is that three days after this TV show, the (160 pages long) report of the Dutch Forensics Institute (NFI) was published and they stated that there were 4 attempts to get into the phone with the wrong PIN code. However, not all the information in the report turned out to be entirely correct. Because investigators also state in it that none of the calls made by the girls made it through; none made contact - which is incorrect as it later turned out that one call did make it through for 1 to 2 seconds. So whether to believe the bare report in the way in which it was translated by this newspaper, who mentions 4 wrong logins, or in fact believe the TV presenter mentioning 80-or so attempts, well... that is up to you to decide. This is what is literally in the report, as quoted by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf from October 4th, 2014, who had insight in the report. Its headline is: "Somebody else used the telephone from Kris Kremers. Mobile phones tell a puzzling story". The article and the NFI report say about this PIN code problem:

"The iPhone from Kris has to be unlocked every time with a 4-digit security code, which is 0556, and then afterwards the sim-PIN code has to be entered. From April 1st to April 5th the telephone is consistently activated and turned on by entering both codes correctly. The investigator from the NFI concluded that the iPhone therefore had to be in Kris' possession between April 1-5, until the morning of April 5th in fact. However, from 13:37 PM on April 5th onward, the iPhone is activated four times without or by entering the wrong PIN code. On April 6th for instance at 10:25 AM and 13:37 PM. But there are in fact purposeful actions made such as the swiping of the telephone screen, and the opening of its control panel. The NFI investigator concluded literally that he cannot think of any technical reasons for this to have happened, but that he in fact believes that the reason for this changing of the login patter is due to another person than the original owner trying to get access to the iPhone. A user who did not know the PIN code. Investigators believe it was a third person"


Smartphones have Emergency Call on the lock screen nowadays and also already in 2014, so I wonder why someone was trying so hard to unlock the phone. You should be able to contact emergency services without unlocking the phone if there is cell phone reception. Maybe a third party wanted access to the phone, and not just to call emergency services but to see what was stored inside the phone, such as photos or messages. Maybe Kris was incapacitated and Lisanne had not memorized her friends PIN codes in advance, but still tried to gain access to the iPhone. Or perhaps both the girls got confused, forgot all their codes, but wanted to send a text message suddenly (although.. why didn't they do so the first five days then..?). They connected to emergency services once for over a second before the connection dropped, so maybe if they had tried to send a text message and let it pending, this short connection would have been enough to send it, and we could have had some clues now about what had happened to them. Both Kris and Lisanne kept a diary normally, so they were naturally prone to documenting things in writing, but apart from the photos that were found, no personal messages were left behind. Or perhaps they did and a third party removed them again, just like one specific photo was erased - more on that missing photo further below. Some local guides stated by the way that there is only one spot of around 20 meters in size on the highest hilltop in that jungle north of Boquete where there is cell phone coverage once you climb up the Pianista trail. And you not only need to know which mountain, but also which specific 20 meters on it, so the guide claims. Even a satellite telephone does not always work in the cloud forest, when the clouds are too heavy and thick for instance. *By the way: If you need to place an emergency call, all networks will accept 911 (or it's equivalent). Even if there's no signal that your phone uses without roaming (which is practically moot domestically, but relevant internationally) and even if your phone has been disconnected for non-payment or currently isn't attached to any provider. You can still make an emergency call, for obvious reasons.

Also, this Dutch newspaper mentioned that the phone screen was also 'swiped', with a finger, often. But without having access to the phone's content (at this point false PIN codes were entered), what was there really to swipe? Maybe Kris did it purposely or accidentally and it is nothing of importance. Or could this perhaps mean that someone who did not exactly know how the phone worked tried to swipe it? I think the chance of that is vastly smaller than Kris doing it herself for whatever reason But a possible yet far-fetched lead: in the small youtube video added below this paragraph, someone explains one possible reason for swiping an iPhone 4 (the same on that Kris had) when you do not have its PIN code. The video is from 2011 - so it was available in 2014 - and has millions of views. It's quite an extensive order of things that you need to do, but it shows that swiping by itself, IF you combine it with all sorts of other steps, could have gotten the person who wanted access to the phone after April 5th actually into the phone. Back in 2014 it was theoretically possible therefore to find out about this hack pretty easy online. I doubt that the girls themselves would have known about this, or had been able to memorize all these steps by day 5 of their disappearance, if they even knew about this hack option at all. But anyone else  at  that  time could have  found  this  information  easily if  they  had internet. Again, it
seems not very likely or logically, but when thinking of all possible explanations, it is something to know about. Interesting is also that the time stamp on the phone of the man in the youtube video, once he gets in, is 1:37.. (The equivalent of our European 13:37 PM). The same time that was in Kris' phone for not one, but two signal checks on April 5th and 6th. So on both days, the phone was switched on at exactly 1:37 PM. Probably a coincidence though. Also interesting is that the guy in that youtube video pressed 112 for help - the Dutch emergency number - and not 911. Meaning that anyone watching this video and not coming from the Netherlands could have known about this number. Another thing is that the Panamanian media had insight in the police report and published the photo above this paragraph, on the left. On April 2nd, for 08:14 am, they registered: "Tomaron una foto de la pantalla del telefono, despues registra apago. Llamada de auxilio al 112". Meaning in English: "They took a picture of the phone screen, then registered the shutdown. Call for help to 112." This is another peculiar thing; the iPhone from Kris took a screenshot picture on day 2 in the morning... It made no sense really why they or someone else would do that. But in the youtube video below, the only way to get access into an iPhone 4 when you don't have the PIN code is to actually make a screenshot, while simultaneously pressing the home button and the power button. Although for several days after that screenshot was taken, the correct PIN code was still being entered in the iPhone from Kris. So the screenshot on day 2 was most likely something insignificant, done accidentally perhaps by one of the girls. By the way, it could also be possible theoretically that these attempts to call emergency services were mostly done by a 3rd party altogether, as a fake trail and by removing the little phone cards that are needed to actually make a connection. More on all that later. 

    

As mentioned above, it could well be a coincidence that both on April 5th and April 6th, Kris' iPhone was switched on at exactly 13:37. What doesn't seem to be a coincidence however, is that there seems to be a preference to call in specific time blocks: roughly speaking between 10:16 am until 11:00 am and then between 13:00 and 16:00 pm. This is remarkable, because these very regular call patters are not related to sunrise, sunset and zenith times, making them all the more.. striking. Why didn't Kris and Lisanne ever try to call in the quiet evening or night? All these phone calls - except for two which were made 04:50 and 05:00 am on Saturday morning - were made during daylight. And what happened on April 5th, when Lisanne's Samsung phone stopped working and Kris' iPhone suddenly no longer received the correct PIN codes? (Big thank you to Jeremy S. who made me this image of the 'working hour' phone call times). 

Update: Gaetan wrote me and stated that if a cell phone connects to the network for 2 seconds [as was the case here], the operator automatically knows many things. Because when a mobile phone connects to a network, many data are checked: first, once the pin code is entered, the phone connects to the nearest cell tower. Your phone number is verified by the servers to know which operator you can get access to, then your subscription plan (or prepaid plan) is checked and once deemed valid, you can access the network. All this takes a few seconds. Then you see the network operator’s name on your cellphone. Considering that on April 2nd, Lisanne's Samsung phone had a few seconds of connection at 06:58 am, this means that the phone was actually connected to a specific cell tower. Meaning that Panamese cell operators should be able to know which cell tower was used when this specific 112 dial was made. Of course, a cell tower doesn’t give you a precise localisation like GPS. The accuracy depends on whether or not you are in an urban area (more towers, more accuracy) or in the countryside (less towers, larger radius). In the case of Kris & Lisanne, it would have helped to know if the calls were made from a city or a forest. It would also be good for us to know if a tower near the Pianista Trail pinged, or one near... let's say the Caldera swimming area. However, Panama supposedly found no info on this. Even though cellular tower companies should keep records or logs of established connections. But Betzaida Pitti and her team failed to get this information. The Dutch investigators as a result had nothing to work with.  -  Gaetan also confirmed that if somebody needed to access the iPhone, a code and pin code were required. At that time, to charge or to connect the iPhone to a computer, you needed its non-standard 30-pin connector to usb-a cable Kris certainly left in her room. Another thing which Gaetan told me, is that in 2014, the iPhone4 (which Kris had) used iOS 7. Even now, people usually leave the tracking location services on by default. It means the iPhone regularly pinpoints your location using either cell or gps. There was even an app showing on a map where you’ve been to. It could be interesting to know where the 112 calls have been made. Hopefully Dutch forensics knew about this hidden tracking device and checked it and did their job. Gaetan also wrote that the iPhone 4 battery cannot be compared to an iPhone 5C, as these two phones are a few generations apart (iPhone 4 from 2010 and the iPhone 5S/5C from 2013). He owns an iPhone 4 and after seven years of use, he now manages to keep its battery alive by charging it at 85% every 1 or 2 months. In the meantime, the phone is totally switched off. When he restarts it, the battery lost about 20 or 30%. But in his case, after 10 years the battery is still working fine. Translating this to the Kris and Lisanne case, it is apparently not that strange that Kris' iPhone 4 was able to be switched on and off for 11 days, starting with less than 50% battery life, and with a whole hour of phone time left by day 11. 


 












Then there was the digital camera in Froons backpack 
which had not the same battery problem as the mobile phones, so could be used for a much longer time. In fact, the battery life of this Canon SX270 HS digital camera is said to be amazing by users, and if the camera is not used it is known to last for a whole year even. The camera was also found in good condition, with remaining battery life and researchers were able to view around 133 consecutive photos (only one was missing, more on that later). The photos that were published look sharp and fine. This camera has no GPS location option, so investigators could only establish or guess the location of the photos based on the surroundings that were visible on them.   -   The first photos showed the girls in good spirits on April 1st, confirming that the women had taken the Pianista trail and wandered into some wilderness, hours before their first attempt to reach 911, but with no signs of anything unusual. The girls took photos of each other and the weather was good; sunny and no rain. These first photos show them walking up the trail. As this blogger who took the same route (on a cloudy wet day instead) describes it: "El Pianista Trail is one of the moodiest cloud forests I have ever adventured into. Rain droplets falling to the ground from every leaf and branch while mist floats through dramatically. The early stages of the hike are open fields, with mountains on all sides. You can already see the clouds hugging the summit of the mountain. You know what you are heading into. I enjoyed the early parts of this hike with the beautiful hills on either side and the sounds of the river cascades to the right." And in this blog the Pianista Trail is described as follows: "The trail can be broken into three "sections". In the first 45 minutes, you will walk through open area pasture land with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and downtown Boquete. Second you enter a dense jungle surrounded by lush vegetation, birds and insects. In here you will walk for about 1.5 hours and enter the cloud forest where it is very humid and magical, as you are literally walking in the clouds! Finally after another 30 minutes climbing the mountain, you will reach the top and will be fully enveloped in the cloud forest. It's really an amazing experience!"

Photo IMG_491 shows Kris with a stern look on her face, holding a water bottle in front of her. This picture was taken a little bit before the summit. Photo IMG_493 is said to show the trail up the Il Pianista, around 700 meters before the highest (Mirador) top. It was taken at 12:42 pm. That is the recalculated time, the official time stamp on that photo was 18:42 pm, but all these times were recalculated by investigators. Although there was a seven hours time difference between the Netherlands and Panama at that time, not six.. (Update: I just learnt that investigators may have been going with six hours instead of seven because the default time zone for Canon cameras is usually set to London time (GMT), which was six hours ahead of Panama on April 1st of 2014). Then the next set of photos on the girls' camera established precisely that they were at El Mirador (a lookout) on the El Pianista Trail, at the summit of the Continental Divide on April 1st, the day they went missing. The Continental Divide is a long string of mountain ranges that runs all the way from South America to North America. This specific mountain range is called the Cordillera de Talamanca, summarized the CD. At this lookout point you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on clear days. Experts have said that they could determine from the sun’s angle that the photos were taken at approximately 13:00 pm. But there is some controversy about these times, due to multiple important witnesses placing the girls around 14:00 pm at the start of the Pianista trail. More on that later.

Then followed a string of selfies on the Pianista summit, some of which have not been officially numbered for the public and some which have not been released to the public altogether. Although the majority of these photos have been made public one way or another, through leaks or from online use of them by family members. The general consensus is that photos IMG_495 (taken at 13:00 pm) until IMG_504 were all taken at the Pianista summit. Photo IMG_499 is the first confirmed next photo number that is linked to a specific photo, and it shows Lisanne smiling on the top of the mountain at 13:01:38 pm. Some people commented on the strange way in which Lisanne's body seems stretched in this photo. Especially her left breast looks a bit out of proportion suddenly - and only in this photo -, making some people believe there has been photoshopping done on this photo. Although smartphones also can distort photos at the edges sometimes due to their specific lens. However, this photo was not taken with a smartphone. This Dutch photo specialist has looked into the case and tells you in his video the extent of photoshopping he thinks he detected on the leaked photos of the girls and their trip, which have also been shared in this blog post of mine. Look in that respect also to this picture, and specifically to Lisanne's left arm (right for us viewers); it is either a strange optically deformed arm or we see her thumb in the lower right corner of the photo or her underarm muscle. Some more about this photo #499; the photo setting is set to landscape, not auto face detect. Yet we see Lisanne's face large and in focus. We can also see clearly in this photo that Lisanne is wearing the same bra that was found in the backpack (debunking more or less the theory that they brought multiple bras along).

Within the time frame of around 3 minutes, the girls made eight photos on the summit of the Pianista
if we can believe the data on those photos. Sometimes there were only 6 seconds between shots, in which Lisanne had to walk around from one side of the summit to another side, showing the different cloud background. This older type of camera does not show you what is in your photo frame, so you need to aim it correctly. Six seconds after the portrait photo of Lisanne was shot (#499), photo IMG_500 was taken, at 13:01:44. The clouds look very different between both photos, considering all the summit photos were taken within a six minute time frame (and these two specific photos within 6 seconds of one another). Near blue sky with a thin cloud on one and near covered clouds on the next. They aimed at different sides of the mountain though and must have turned around 180 degrees for the clouded background, but it is quite a difference in sky. Not much transition space seems left (going by these photos) for the blue to drift gradually over in full clouds. But from what I read it is not uncommon however on this stretch of land to have dramatically different skies on both sides of the Continental Divide. Which seems the most obvious explanation here and in this photo from the girls, taken a couple of days before their hike, you can also see compact cloud masses above the mountain. But I also won't exclude the possibility that both photos were taken at completely different times; one during the ascent and one later when they may have returned there for a possible descent. This photo of Kris is made around the same time; the only one made public which *may* have been taken with her mobile iPhone 4. Juan thinks this, based on different EXIF data compared with the other photos. Unfortunately, this has not been confirmed by the investigators and neither do we therefore know the date and time of the photo. That would have been handy, because then we can verify the times and date of the other photos taken with the digital Canon camera. 

Both Lisanne and Kris also have their hair tied backwards in some photos, and loose and windswept in others. They must have rushed around to shoot all these photos on different spots, with different hair styles and all within those few minutes/seconds. Which has also sparked thoughts about faulty time and date stamps on the camera. Although this is just a theory, and physically it is possible that they rushed around to shoot these pictures away left right and center. Either way, the girls seemed in a hurry to take a lot of different shots within mere minutes. At this point they were over 4,5 kilometers away from Boquete. This site tells us that going up the Pianista until the Mirador summit, and then back down to Boquete again, takes the hiker 9,3 kilometers and around 5 hours and 40 minutes on average, depending on your speed and level of fitness. Local tour guides do it a lot faster however and can walk up the mountain in about an hour. Lisanne's brother Martijn retraced his sisters steps later (full TV show on this can be seen halfway down this blog post) and it took him and a local guide 3 hours to climb the Pianista up to the summit. The girls reached the summit by all accounts in around 2 hours time, making them fast walkers. But they also had excellent walking conditions on April 1st of 2014, with sunny dry weather and it had been dry for a long time, so the trail was easy to walk. Other fit hikers also managed to reach the summit within 2 hours, often in rainy and muddy conditions. This hiker for instance who is in good shape, reached the Mirador summit in 1 hour and 20 minutes he stated (and one hour to go back down again).

Normally tourists turn around at this lookout point at the top of the Pianista trail, to walk the same path back to Boquete. These days there are signs at the top - placed there after the tragedy of Kris and Lisanne - warning people not to walk further without a guide because there is more treacherous terrain ahead. But also a small waterfall... The girls had looked the trail up on a computer at the language school after reading about it in the school's copy of Lonely Planet, the day prior and they must therefore also have read the information that it was necessary to turn around and walk back to return to Boquete. But perhaps they reckoned that they still had time to walk on towards this waterfall. This is an assumption because we don't know why they didn't just return to Boquete the same way they came. We can only see the photos they kept taking, showing they wandered on, to what is called the Caribbean Descent. Not that walking on was some sort of abnormality, or risky business by the way (despite what the Panamanian press wanted the world to believe shortly after this disappearance case): the trail is used by locals and their cattle and tourists alike, leading to some local beauty spots; from quebrada gully-tunnels to natural streams and a small waterfall to cable bridges. But it was not the way back to Boquete, but instead a road further away from it. This explorer and writer actually walked the same Pianista Trail, after learning about the disappearance from Kris and Lisanne and he wrote about the situation at the Mirador summit: "Finally the Mirador was reached, very obvious by all the food wrappers left about by the previous searchers, it had taken exactly two hours to reach this point without stopping all the way from the restaurant. [..] Could they have become turned around thinking that the direction toward Boquete was in fact toward Changuinola to the North?  It seemed really unlikely as the Mirador had the section with the view to Boquete cut back on the right hand side,  with few trees rising above the path level, yet to the North it remained thickly wooded, even in the thick cloud it seemed unlikely, but of course not impossible." It looks like Kris and Lisanne also pictured Boquete lying behind them in the background on a photo they took at the summit. In this video, shot by Kris father, you can see at the 07:50 mark that this spot on the Mirador that was pictured by Kris or Lisanne, faces the south (south-east) and Boquete and that the trail that goes on beyond the summit faces the north. Considering the trail continues in a more or less straight line, I personally do not believe that these girls ever believed that the ongoing trail allowed them to loop or to eventually see Boquete looming in front of them again if they kept walking on to the north. I've hiked for many years myself and still do and I think that unless you are in very disorientating, uniform nature, such as dense woods or plain desert terrain, it is not that easy to become thís disorientated. We all have a built in sense of direction and granted, some have a better or a lesser developed sense for this, but given that Lisanne or Kris took an actual photo of Boquete lying down there behind them, it seems unlikely that they would have thought upon continuing straight on, that they would walk back to Boquete. They more likely walked on because it was a glorious day and not that late yet in the day and because ther was more to be seen ahead.

So, by the time they were done taking summit selfies, the girls did not return to Boquete, as advised by the information they had read at the language school about the Pianista Trail. Instead, they continued to walk on, past the summit: Photo IMG_505 shows Kris with her arms folded behind her back, looking around; this picture was taken after they walked straight on, downwards again, further into the jungle. It was taken at 13:20:33 pm. Around 13:40 pm the connection of their mobile phones was cut off as they had ventured too far from the summit. At 13:39 to be precise. We do not know what was on photo #506. Then IMG_507 shows Kris crossing a small stream, seen from the back again, at 13:54:50. Eight seconds later, IMG_508 is said to be taken. It is the last known photo taken by the girls that day. However, strangely enough there are two versions of photo #508: one shows in its metadata that it was taken 8 seconds after photo 507, but another version of the same photo circulating in online media and such, states that this last photo of Kris looking backwards was taken 50 seconds before the previous photo of her passing the creek. Of course, with her general direction of movement being forward and not backwards, this makes no sense. It is strange that two different versions circulate. This photo specialist explains that he thinks that he can link it to photo manipulation by a 3rd party. So far, this is a subjective explanation of events, but interesting nonetheless. The fact that no more daytime photos were taken on April 1st, could implicate either that they kept walking and got lost, or that they returned to the summit of the mountain and something went wrong there, or that they perhaps ran into some sort of trouble which prevented them from making any more photos on the trail leading deeper into the jungle. Returning cannot be ruled out, because they had already taken pictures of the route on the way there and didn't need to make more on their way back. The girls would have probably only needed approximately one hour to walk from the location of photo 508 - the 1st quebrada/stream - back to the summit. And to walk back downhill from the summit of the Pianista to Boquete would have probably taken them 1 to 1,5 hours at most. With the sun setting around 18:40 pm that day, this means that Kris and Lisanne should have turned around to walk back to Boquete at 16:00 pm at the latest, in order to make it home before it got dark. Although that would have been already tight and 15:00 pm would have been a better time in fact. It could explain possibly why the girls kept walking after having reached the summit ("plenty of time") around 13:00 pm, but panicked at 16:39 pm. If they had indeed kept walking on and on for all that time, they would never make it back to Boquete before dark by 16:39.. Please keep in mind that out of the 30 photos taken on April 1st 2014 by Kris and Lisanne, we the general public only know about 23 currently (of which 5 have been anonymously leaked by sources), and we only know the exact time and EXIF data of 8 photos. So there are 7 photos of that day which the family keeps private and of which we do not know the details. Please check out my entire and comprehensive oversight of all the photos taken by Kris and Lisanne, put in chronological order and with the known photo numbers and times attached here. Update: many of the remaining photos taken by Kris and Lisanne have been made public. You can see them all here or here.

In total, around 30 pictures have been taken on April 1st with the Canon digital camera. Photo #418 was the first taken that day, at 11:16 am (18:16 data time). Left you see the last known photo taken by the girls on April 1st (photo 508). It shows Kris in what’s being called “Quebrada”: a gully or ravine which you can walk through in the dry season, but in the rainy season they can be knee deep covered in mud. The term can also be used, confusingly, to describe a small stream of water. The photos also show what is said to be a barranca, also a gully or ravine, but with steeper sides, and also treacherous in the rainy season. On the photo of Kris crossing the small stream, the main trail she follows leads to the earlier mentioned small waterfall. They never pictured it however. The girls no longer made smiling selfies at this point, but instead someone - assuming it was Lisanne - took photos of Kris walking some distance in front. Kris looks back and her facial expression has been called slightly worried by some. The camera point is quite high, indicating that Lisanne may have climbed up onto something perhaps, or that the road itself was making a descent towards the creek. Something I couldn't see back in the videos made about this stretch of the track.

The question everyone is asking now: what could have happened to the girls? - These photos showed that they had left the Pianista trail, and crossed over to the other side of the Divide. The Pianista trail is a clear path, but once you walk on, paths eventually become small trails, poorly maintained and the jungle closes in. But not unless you walk on for a very long time; initially the ongoing path is clear to follow and surrounded by stone walls that make it impossible to divert from this one and ongoing trail. You cross a small river two times, the second time also passing a very small waterfall of sorts. These paths are said to be used mostly by locals, tourists and tribes of indigenous people living within the forests; some walk their cattle there, others use it to walk to coffee plantations. This includes the Ngobe people, who’s village is approximately 12 hours by foot from the Continental Divide, and in whose territory the girls’ backpack was found. But despite this clear to follow trail going on for a long time after the El Mirador, it is a frightening thought that the girls were in distress relatively short after they crossed onto this side of the mountain, and that they started to call emergency services so soon, while there was still daylight. And they called those emergency services in vain... The reason why they started calling 911 and 112  has never been discovered. Some people think they called for help because they thought they were lost.. Or because one of them had an injury. Host family mum Miriam recalled that Lisanne had been coughing a lot the previous two evenings, and she told journalists about Lisanne's "asthma symptoms". Which makes it all the more puzzling that Lisanne would want to climb in the warm humid Boquete climate, and that she decided to venture on and on - for hours -  as exercise can make asthma flare up worse.. Could she have become incapacitated, or struck down with lung issues? 

Others (I refer here to the many forums, comment sections and online discussion places I follow) think that the reason why Kris and Lisanne started calling emergency services shortly after 16:30 pm, because they were followed by someone, who forced them deeper into the jungle. Because if they had been 'lost' at that point, the obvious and most logical thing to do for them would have been to simply turn around. There was one path to follow. So why didn't they? Did the narrow passages near the summit scare them and did they not want to turn around to pass them another time perhaps? There were also no photos found of anything that could have explained the emergency calls; no photos of an injury, of a strange person or of them being lost in strange territory, away from the main trail. And another thing; they also didn't use the digital camera's video option. People have said that they may not have wanted to let their relatives know what was going on, but that would be in very stark contrast with their usual behaviour: the girls shared everything they did there with their parents and were in daily contact with them while in Panama. Why couldn't they have simply kept taking photos after their first call attempts? To document what was happening to them? Other people argue they probably wanted to spare the phones' batteries, which makes sense considering how vital those emergency calls were, but the digital camera (Canon powershot SX 270 HS) didn't have that battery issue, as its battery is sturdy and long lasting. And it enabled them to record videos. When investigators checked its battery, 10 weeks later, it still wasn't 'dead'. So one would assume that in a situation of panic or danger, it was much easier to make a video recording or take some pictures. And if they truly got lost, photos or videos could also serve as a vital reminder of the trail they came from, helping to document landmarks and so on. So why didn't they? The girls were said to have been avid mobile phone users and eager to stay in touch with their family. They also took photos every single day of their holiday, often several dozens. Like most young people do these days. Makes you wonder why they díd create those vague abundant 90+ night photos on the night of April 8th, but not a single normal selfie, photo or message about what happened to them for the entire 11+ days of their disappearance. Wouldn't they want to get a message out, or document their journey/ordeal? Kris had a boyfriend in the Netherlands, but didn't try to contact him through messaging or phone once after April 1st....Very strange. This young woman from New Zealand for instance fell in the desert of the US and broke her hip. Her phone had no cell coverage and she thought for days that she would die there. She said: "I was filming little videos from the moment I fell just in case anyone found me, to explain what happened. I haven't watched them yet [after she was found and saved]. I'm unsure whether I want to." Here you can see some of her self made videos, while lying isolated, thinking she would die there. And Robert Scott, to name just one of many other examples, was stuck in his tent in a snowstorm on Antarctica in 1912, knowing he would not make it out alive, and he used his last powers to write letters to loved ones and last lines in his diary. Leaving some message or some update of what is going on can work very soothing for most people. Many people do. So the fact that Kris and Lisanne didn't record anything, did not leave a single message for their beloved parents points perhaps towards them having been unable to for some reason. Either physically or because they didn't have the freedom to do so. If you want to consider foul play as a possible factor in this disappearance, then it isn't far-fetched to imagine how anyone can make fake phone call attempts in a region where not even your GPS location is establishable, let alone a phone connection. But a 3rd party cannot fake someone else's voice messages and personal videos, and neither Dutch draft text messages. (In this interview from June 2014, Lisanne's parents confirm that they also received text messages from their daughter while she was in Panama "via Whatsapp and SMS").

And regarding these emergency calls: David wrote me under one of my youtube videos on this case that he thinks you would only call that number as a desperate last resort. It's an important point to bear in mind he thinks, because if someone merely gets lost, in daylight still, his own experience has been that people are inclined to first try to find their own way out. To walk around the area until you find something that looks familiar. Not to start calling emergency services right away. Which seems a valid point to me. Although we need to remember that this was a foreign country, foreign terrain for these girls. Who were just 22 and 21 years old. So they may have panicked faster than they would have done at home, in the Netherlands. But David's point is that it's quite an extreme measure, calling 911 (or 112). So it is hard to say what triggered Kris and Lisanne to call emergency services themselves at 16:39 pm already. I personally think that it was because they experienced something frightening. Something very acute. Fear of being stalked, or fear of being unwantedly chaperoned by some men they were afraid of perhaps. An injury perhaps (but the girls were not found sitting alongside the trail by searchers, a few days later). If they had just realized that they had only two more hours of daylight left, why didn't they also try to call their host family nearby? Who would be a more reliable source to make sure police or volunteers went up there to guide the girls back home in the twilight or dark. But they didn't try to call the host family...

Another waterfall.
Not only is there a small and narrow waterfall, which the girls would have passed if they'd continued to walk the trail leading away from the Mirador. But there is also another, larger waterfall beyond the Pianista summit. But it is hard to find. (See part 3 of this blog series for the aerial 3D photos proving the waterfalls existence and where exactly it lies in relation to the small stream of photos 507 and 508). Is it possible that the girls deviated from the main path at some point to find this waterfall? And that they got lost along the way? Calista Hart wrote about the girls' disappearance in her blog:"In April my Spanish teacher told me that two young women had gone missing from the sister school in Boquete, Panama. They had left all of their belongings, and not told anyone where they were going that day.  The last anyone saw of them they were talking to two strange men, making plans to see the waterfall." Which exact waterfall they were talking about is not known, there are several in the area. And in this blog post, there is a description of how to get to this specific waterfall, pictured on the right. This waterfall is considered 'the hidden one', as there is no official description of how to get there. "The Pianista really is a knockout, winding through meadows with stunning mountain vistas along the rushing Rio Pianista, and with an abundance of lush cloud forest vegetation. This trail goes up to the Continental Divide (a more ambitious hike that we did with a group last year), and if you’re especially adventurous, it can take you all the way to Bocas Del Toro on Panama’s Caribbean coast. (CAUTION: no one should EVER go beyond the Continental Divide without an experienced guide. Just Google “Dutch Girls in Panama.”) Today we had something much more mellow in mind – we wanted to get to the “secret” waterfall that Susan and I had not seen yet, but the others in our group had been raving about. The trail begins at the Il Pianista Ristorante (outstanding Italian food, BTW) in the Alto Lino area just north of Boquete. You need to wade across the Rio Pianista after 200m, but then it’s a steady, leisurely incline for 2km before you start to climb a steeper, narrow path. Today, we were accompanied by two young guides, Jefferson and Miguel (as it happens, these cousins are nephews of our gardener, Sergio) – and it was a good thing, because finding the waterfall required us to get off the trail and take another cow path that leads into the cloud forest. We could not have found it on our own. Since we’re right in the middle of the rainy season, it was a pretty muddy slog – but not too bad." Source: blog Latitude Adjustment.












Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaThe missing photo #509 
Some of the last photos on the camera that were made during the afternoon of April 1st 2014 are a bit strange, I feel. Kris is looking back to the camera, standing on a stone in a small stream. She isn't posing or smiling now. Is her face already looking worried? Or just serious? At this spot, the girls were still close to the summit and on the way back to Boquete. It is preceded by two stranger photos, one taken shortly before the summit and the other one after the summit and close to the stream; in one she is standing with her legs crossed in a sea of green, before a dark spot and in another she bends backward awkwardly with what seems to be her arms crossed behind her back. Are her hands tied there or does she just goof around? Most likely the latter, with her hand shielding her eye, but it is a peculiar pose, now that we know what happened soon after this photo was taken. Her facial mimicking seems strained too in the last photos. These are the last photos for a long time, because for a whole week afterwards, no more photos were seemingly made with the digital camera. Until April 8th, when over 90 strange nighttime photos were shot between 01:00 am and 04:00 am, showing mostly all darkness and vague natural surroundings. They are mysterious and a bit ominous. Some people compare them to the Blair Witch Project, in terms of their spookiness. There are many missing person cases, but it is not often that we have such photos available.. More on those night photos in the next sub-chapter. But now it gets more eerie; there is one missing file, a photo (or a video), originally sitting just between the daytime photos and the mysterious and ominous nighttime photos made a week later. The camera automatically numbers the photos taken, and #509 is missing. Technically it could also be a video file, but we'll assume for now that it was a photo, as no videos were made overall with this digital camera during their holiday. Dutch specialist teams have tried everything to get that one deleted photo back, which normally is not a big problem when an image is manually deleted. Hackers and IT specialists have special software that can retrieve such photos, because pressing 'delete' does not usually mean the whole file is actually erased. Yet despite a professional team within the national prosecution working on it, they could not find the missing photo on the camera. In this TV program, in which the Dutch investigators from the Public Prosecution tell about their findings, the following is literally said about the missing file - presumably a photo file - #509:

"Photo 509 could give us a clue [as to what happened], but exactly that photo is missing in the sequence. That is exactly the photo in between the photos taken at the Pianista summit, and the photos that were taken in the dark. Yes.. and it is a real shame and really unfortunate that we have not been able to retrieve anything from this photo. We do not know when this photo was taken; whether on April 1st or at another moment in time [before April 8th]. And why it was deleted. We do not know that either." See the news program where Dutch police reveal the content of the found backpack below, I made English subtitles to go with it. 

These cameras (Canon powershot) are used by many and they are not known to skip a number by accident themselves when shooting photos. According to specialists, the most obvious thing that happened is that someone connected the camera to a computer and erased the photo that way; if that happens, it is irretrievable. But other people suggested that perhaps the girls themselves manually deleted this specific photo, and the subsequent 90-something photos they shot somehow have overwritten the deleted file permanently. Although the specialists I heard and read from - including the Dutch forensic and technical team investigating this case - seem not convinced about this: the camera had a memory card that had plenty of space, considering they were on holiday and seemed to have wanted to make plenty of photos. A new photo would also have taken this photo numbering (509) if the girls deleted the photo right after taking it and if that were the case, investigators would not have found an empty file number 509 on the memory card. Aside from the photo file's name, nothing else was retrieved. Even when a manually deleted photo is overwritten by new photos, there is often normally at least a fraction of the deleted photo retrieved. It may be as little as 50% or 20% even, but to find absolutely nothing of it back on the camera/photo card is something else entirely. When you delete something on a memory card, you only erase the part of the index which states on which sector that particular photo is stored. Only after formatting the memory card in depth, all sectors are erased.

So the prevailing theory from specialized investigators is that someone deliberately deleted it for some reason, and with the help of a computer; because manually deleting it would normally not have completely removed the file in its entirety from the card. But... the girls did not have access to a computer in the jungle. More details about this will follow, further down this blog post. Some people suggest that the girls ran into the wrong crowd, and may have taken a photo of someone who did not want to be identified. Or perhaps the missing photo showed a location and as such the evidence that Kris and Lisanne had decided to return to the start of the trail after all (and that they therefore didn't walk further into the jungle and did not 'get lost'). It is of course also possible that the Panamanian authorities took photo #509 off the camera themselves when they first investigated it, because something incriminating was on it. Something they wanted to hide from the world. And that they never updated the Dutch investigators of this fact. Others suggest that Kris and Lisanne themselves may just have removed an unsuccessful selfie and somehow it ended up completely erased. If so, why would they? Out of all the holiday photos they made in the weeks prior, investigators found that not a single photo had been deleted by the girls. Aside from the fact that manual deleting would not have erased the file permanently; when in a state of panic or at least restlessness would they really bother to delete a photo simply because they didn't like the way they looked in it or because it wasn't sharp, to name some possible motives? Or for 
any other reason? People have suggested online that one of the girls may have deleted this one photo to make more space for the 90-something dark nighttime flash photos. But the memory card had plenty of memory space and besides, why then only deleting that one photo #509, sitting in between so many normal day time hike photos? To create more space for those 90-something mostly black and repetitive night photos which followed? That theory makes little sense. Also, keep in mind that in all the photos that were retrieved from the digital camera's memory card, the girls only used the standard photo settings. They never even zoomed in for their photos, or changed the default settings. So considering that all they did was aim the camera and press the photo button, is it really that logical that now suddenly they would start deleting one single photo, pressing different buttons for it? How big are the chances of them going to and selecting a particular file, then deleting it with the trash bin using a different click wheel, while already preoccupied with getting back to Boquete? Close to (or after!) the time they started to call emergency services? In other words; when they had more pressing issues on their mind than how they looked in a selfie? -  Either way; it bugs investigators, because at this point in time the girls had perhaps already started their attempts of calling emergency services. So the position of this missing photo in between the normal daytime photos of April 1st on the one hand, and the mysterious night photos of April 8th on the other hand, means that #509 could be vital to understanding what happened that late afternoon of April 1st. 

[The second photo on the right here is an illustration of the Pianista area, not one taken by Kris and Lisanne; the photo above it does come from their camera] As I wrote: they didn't remove any of their other holiday photos either. None of the ones taken in Bocas del Toro for two weeks, while one can argue that in some of those photos from the previous weeks one of the girls may have considered her photo more or less charming. Yet they didn't delete photos. "If the photograph was deleted in the camera, that image would most likely still be on the memory card," wrote Keith Rosenthal, a U.S. court certified forensic photographer. Would the women have deleted this crucial picture themselves while out on the trail? "Probably not", wrote Rosenthal to The daily Beast by email. "I do believe deleting an image is inconsistent with the general way the camera was used during the vacation-type photographs," added Rosenthal, who reviewed all the images found on the camera. "There were a number of poorly made photographs that were not deleted so it seems unusual that a photograph would be deleted because they didn’t like the picture." It is mysterious. This missing photo could possibly be a missing link and give more insights into what happened to Kris and Lisanne. But we will probably never know what photo #509 looked like. **Update: The Travel Channel made a great episode of Lost in the Wild on the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne, and JJ and Kinga, the presenters, showed in a simple manner that if Kris and Lisanne had removed photo 509 manually, any time before the first nighttime photo was made, we would have never even known that it had been deleted because the next photo (aka; the first nighttime photo) would have automatically received photo number 509! You can check it out for yourself here. So the fact that an empty file 509 exists, tells us that it wasn't simply overwritten..












The nighttime photos
are still unexplained. And this is when things get really eerie. I have been haunted for some time by these photos and their possible implications. They were found on the digital camera of Kris and Lisanne. They were taken on April 8th, so at least a week after the girls got lost and a week after their last known photo was taken. And they were taken in the dead of night, between 01:00 and 04:00 am. So most of the 90 nighttime pictures were taken within a three hour time span. Meaning on average one picture was taken every two minutes, for the duration of 180 minutes. For years we have not seen all of the 90 photos. The families have only released a few of them. They and the investigators said that the remaining night photos show mostly nothing, or 'nothing but darkness'. Newspaper La Estrella for instance, who had access to the photo card, wrote"Just 3 of the 90 pictures taken on 8th April and retrieved from the memory card by the Dutch Forensic Medicine Institute show clear images. In the other photos, nothing can be clearly identified." But by now we know that this is not correct. The majority of the night photos were leaked in November of 2019 by an anonymous source and published by Juan. The photos show flash-lit jungle plantations and rocks. There are a couple of photos which show very clear things, and there are a lot of photos which show the same environment, with the same characteristic rocks and trees again and again, from a slightly changing perspective. Some suggest even the darkness of a ravine, although it may be nothing more than a suggestion. The first photo of this series that we know of, shows a nightly landscape with rocks and bushes. This photo has number 542. It was taken at 01:38 am. The person who took this photo seems to look down from the top of a rock into bushes and darkness.. Investigators used different brightness settings on it and enhanced this photo, and some people thought for quite some time that it shows the contours of a body, down below. But since all the night photos have been leaked recently, it has become clear that it is just the reflection of the flash on a plant or leaf. *A second photo shows red plastic attached to small sticks placed on a rock and with what looks to be two chewing gum or candy wrappers next to them. This photo has number 550 and was taken at 01:39 am. On the photo that shows the content of the backpack that was found months later, you see a similar looking wrapper lying above the black bra, possibly still closed with its content. Which would be very strange indeed after so many days and nights in the jungle. (You'd assume all food they carried would have been eaten by then). Some people suggested they may have waved with these red plastic thingies to sign a helicopter flying over. Although this certainly wouldn't have taken place in the dark of night of April 8th, as helicopters did not fly in that mountainous and cloudy terrain at night. I have no idea what the wrappers were for though, they seem too small to be seen from the sky by helicopter people, but may be intended to be some sign of life from Kris and Lisanne; some sort of marker of where they were. However it was raining a bit that night so I don't see how these things could have been staying in place for a long time.. Some people on forums think this twig/plastic thing looks like a way to catch water, or a grave marking. Soms believe that this photo was taken by a 3rd party. And Ad wrote to me that "there was a Reddit thread about crimes with eerie/gruesome photos and this case was mentioned. Someone described the twig with parts of the bag as kind of a squatter for bugs, mosquitos or flies. I asked where he got that from and he answered that some Redditor with latin american roots pointed that out back when these photos were released (in another Reddit thread). That’s how indigenous people there made them sometimes. Imo it’s unlikely that Lisanne (or Kris) knew about that. A hint that another person was present at the place where the night time photos were taken."

*The third and most alarming sight, is a picture of the back of Kris’ head (see photo on top of this paragraph, which is a screenshot from the TV episode). It was in fact the media who released this photo, not the family or the investigators... The Dutch TV program "Een Vandaag" showed it in December 2014, supposedly without the families agreement (but they received it from Dutch investigators, so these photos are legit), so a long time after the other handful of nighttime photos were made public. But only part of a screenshot of that photo was released, showing her red hair. Another photo was strategically placed over the right top of it, covering Kris' temple, which according to journalist Jeremy Kryt is showing blood (something which he confirms again in an interview with this Dutch newspaper).. Jeremy Kryt had written that he had anonymously received the full dossier on the case. But unfortunately he never printed the evidence of this head wound with blood. Now that many night photos have been leaked by an anonymous source (also unknown to me, I received them from Juan who was a middleman), it looks like the original photo does not show blood. You can see this for yourself a bit further down this section, or here. There is no clear blood or wound visible. Although I do not know what is exactly visible under her hair and if there is blood visible faintly there perhaps. But I'm inclined to say that no, there is no head wound visible. An important footnote here is that the authenticity of these leaked photos has not been confirmed by officials. They seem real, because when you compare the back of the head/hair photo for instance with the one from Een Vandaag, they match and overlap in detail. Only the right top part of the photo cannot be compared. But this source also leaked a couple of new Pianista ascend photos of Kris and Lisanne, which are most certainly the real deal, as well as a ton of nighttime photos, some which we already knew about. So for now I am presuming they are real. In the new hair photo we can also see that Kris' hair looks fairly clean; no fresh blood is seeping anywhere and no clotted blood can be seen in her hair. There is also no blood visible in any of the other photos; not on the rocks or the plants that were pictured. Kris' hair also looks dry. Many night photos show water drops falling down from the dark sky, but Kris must have been sheltered somewhere, because her hair isn't wet. This 3rd photo has number 580 and was taken at 01:49 am (despite the time on the polaroid saying differently). And then there is a 4th photo which  Lisanne's brother Martijn showed as a background photo in a talkshow, when he discussed the case on Dutch TV. This fourth photo shows the edge of what seems to be a rock or plateau, perhaps a cliff, and rain drops reflecting in the flash (although it may also be reflecting dust particles in the air instead; after all, the camera lens seems clear of any waterdrops). And finally there is a 5th photo. It surfaced years later, in 2016. It is a photo where the flash lights up pieces of paper scattered around, a mirror and a strap. They are all placed on a rock. It was Jeremy Kryt from the Daily Beast who first printed this photo in his online article on this case. He wrote that the 'toilet paper' was used to form some sort of SOS sign. It was a main selling feature of Kryts highly acclaimed publications on this disappearance. See all the photos taken by Kris and Lisanne in chronological order by the way in this blog post of mine or in this youtube video.

A few pressing questions can be posed about these freakish night shots:
*Who took these photos? 
*Why were they made and where? 
*Why were so many photos dark and of the same location?
*And what did the girls do out there, 8 days after having disappeared, if it were actually them who took those photos?

No fully satisfactory explanation has ever been given for these pictures, although there are many suggestions made. For instance, that Lisanne was trying to capture proof of Kris' body and its location in the middle of the night (debunked).
-The camera had an automatic shutter so we know there was no lens cap to get in the way or able to explain the dark shots.
-It was raining that night, which will have impacted the clarity and quality of the photos. You can see water drops in the background of these photos, but for some reason the rock itself doesn't look wet from rain, and the paper and plastic wrapper in separate photos neither. Perhaps they were in a cave? (Although speaking against the cave theory is that there is sediment/soil on the rock. The visible vegetation is therefore probably not overhanging, but standing upright). Or perhaps it was not rain in the air, but water mist from a nearby waterfall, or even dust particles.
-The only way the Canon powershot digital camera would flash, is by making a photo. But if you press the ON switch of the camera, the LCD screen is lit.. so they could use it in theory to navigate a bit in the dark, without using the flash.. When you scroll to an archive photo, the screen will stay lit up for some time, after which you need to press the picture button again to reactivate the screen. (Juan said that he tested this with the Canon SX270 HS digital camera that he possesses, the exact same model that the girls had, and it does work like that). Perhaps that can explain the ongoing picture-taking during those three nightly hours; perhaps a lot of those photos were taken unwantedly by pressing the button too hard; to prevent the LCD screen from turning black again, accidentally. That is also something I can see easily happening when under stress and a high level of anxiety. But then the question arises why all these photos have been taken in the same location. Even picturing the same v-shaped tree over and over again. These were not taken while on the go.
-Some people have speculated the girls used the camera flash to see better, but others familiar with walking trails at night debunk that, say that the flash causes momentary blindness and prevents one’s eyes from becoming accustomed to the dark. So if anything, using a camera flash will make you see less, not more. 
-It is also possible that someone flashed the camera to attract attention. Attention from search operations. But helicopters for a fact did not fly in the depth of night (too dangerous in mountainous jungle in the dark and too costly also), only a handful of times during the day. There is also no evidence whatsoever that search teams were active in the middle of the night. And the search operations were reported on in detail, so if they were out there after midnight, the media or politicians would have reported this I am sure. I added a photo of a time schedule on this blog, but have to say: do not take it as the Bible, because it was made by an online fan and these data are partially unverified (and could be partially incorrect in fact; especially the info about the evening searches - between a 23:00 - 00:00 time bracket - is not officially confirmed information and I myself could not find evidence that search teams actually searched the area in the evening, let alone in the dead of night. Which would be slow and dangerous in a dark jungle. I added the image here mainly for illustration purposes). 
-The girls may also have attempted to draw the attention of local people living in nearby farms or houses with the flash. But the light of the flash did not reach far in the dark night, as we can see in the night photos, so why continue with it for over three hours? And why wouldn't they have screamed? Voice reaches much further in the dead of night. 
-Also possible perhaps, is that the girls heard strange sounds in the vicinity and used the flashlight to see in the dark.. If there is an animal out there, you can see its eyes 'glowing' in the beam of your flashlight. But if they truly used the camera to scare off animals, then it would be a bit strange that they kept doing that for so long; for three consecutive hours. And then you'd also expect that some animal would appear on at least one of their pictures. Which it did not. 
-Or perhaps they were just trying to get away from something at night. The new published night shots seem to contradict this however; the photos were all taken at the same location and do not show them being on the run. Besides; why would they be on the run in the dark of night? In dangerous slippery terrain, in the rain? That would have been very dangerous, when you think about the possibility of injuring yourself. And if they were chased by someone that night, then why would they want to attract attention to themselves and their location in the dark jungle by flashing their camera for three whole hours? 
-Another possibility may be that the girls were hallucinating. Going against this is the sharp and precise manner in which that camera was used. Hardly any photos were blurry or had strange compositions.
-We know for a fact by the way that the flash was used in these photos, because some of them were shared by media channels TVN-2 and Nexpanama, and on these photos' EXIF data, there are fields found (in MakerNotes) stating: FlashBits: E-TTL, Built-in. FlashGuideNumber: 5.96875. Telling you for a fact that the flash was used.
-The head shot of Kris may have perhaps been a selfie of her, trying to see an injury at the back of her head (an injury of which we also have no evidence that it ever really existed). Or perhaps the back of her head was photographed while they were walking, for whatever reason.
-The camera itself measured - and recorded - a temperature of 24 degrees while these night photos were taken. Which coincides with the average recorded temperature that night. But after three hours of consequently using the camera, its temperature would be expected to rise over time.  -  Nothing makes real sense here and we do not have the full picture. Did the girls even take those photos themselves, I sometimes wonder? We have no proof that they did: no selfies were made.... We see nothing that identifies the person who made the photos: no distinguishable hands or hair hanging in front of the lens for instance. What we do have however, is Kris' strawberry red hair being pictured; so at least she must have been there that night... Right? That is, unless the photo times and dates were meddled with of course....

Ok I will drone on some more on this topic, but you can easily skip that and move to the next subtopic now. 

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I think that the fifth photothe SOS photo, is an odd duck, frankly. Kryt received it from someone else and the photo has been edited to some degree in photoshop to make it look sharper and with more contrast, as well as reshaping the composition. Strange, who did this? It also surfaced much later in the media than the other (first released) three night photos. Kryt apparently received it from someone in Boquete (word is that he received it from the sister-in-law of local tour guide F., after he got into a fight with her, whatever may be true of that strange story). Which in itself is already interesting.. It was raining that night according to some online weather programs, yet the paper looks mostly dry (same for Kris' hair).. Wouldn't the paper have been washed away in no time, if out in the open, considering it was raining? Laurie wrote me the following about this: "I personally think that someone else took those night time pictures. How did they travel with toilet paper without it getting dirty or wet.. and then they don't think to write SOS with it until one of their last days alive? When it rained? All of that seemed staged to me..to mislead people but I don't know." To which I replied: "Yes good point, when they brought that paper supposedly (not a trace of it found in the backpack btw!), why not use it on the earlier days when it was dry, to leave a trail? Very good point indeed." Why use it on day 8, and not on day 1-7? If they truly were lost, why not use the toilet paper early on to make a trail? Place it in tree branches, on the ground, to show themselves and possible search groups where they went? And where did they get that toilet paper from? Had they brought it from their room, or perhaps from a wooden shed/cabin in the jungle? I am not even sure to be honest that we are actually seeing bits of toilet paper in this photo. It may be scraps of regular paper; scraps of a brochure they had in their bag perhaps. And how do we know Kris or Lisanne put it there? It could have been anyone who put it out there for that odd photo. It may perhaps even have been put there and photographed by a 3rd party, to further 'sell' the story that they just got lost. 90 photos and only one with this sudden abundance of toilet-like paper on the ground? It's nowhere else in any of the photos and no remnants were found in the backpack of the girls or on their belongings. I just don't understand why Kris and Lisanne would hold onto all that material to show potential search teams where they got 'lost', only to save it for some night photo in the middle of nowhere seemingly and waste it on a rainy night. For a photo. Which does seem to have been taken that night, but we don't see who is the person who took those photos...

Regarding the third photo of the back of the head of Kris, RocksEm pointed out to me on youtube: perhaps this statement was poorly translated in that Dutch article, literally quoting Jeremy Kryt to say: "There is also a photo where you can see that Kris has a head wound. Another photo shows how they used pieces of toilet paper to make an SOS-signal on a rock. They also put a mirror with it, to reflect the sun's rays. It were signals for search teams in the air." And in one of the articles on this disappearance case Kryt literally writes: "If one of them was injured or deceased at that point, it was likely Kris. A single close-up appears to show a wound to the right side of her head in the temple area, and blood matting her distinctive strawberry blonde hair." But in his own series of articles in the Daily Beast, which were updated after the time of that Dutch interview, Kryt says: "If Kris is indeed suffering from a gash in the back of her head". If the injury is so clear, why would he be using the word "if"? RocksEm also pointed out that for someone with a head wound, Kris' hair was remarkably clean and dry; no fresh blood seeping anywhere and no clotted blood in the hair or scabbing of the wound. And thinking about it; then there is also the absence of any blood on the rocks photographed in the night photos, as well as the absence of blood on the backpack that was found, or their personal items, or the jeans shorts. And going by the way the hair falls, she seems it most likely that Kris is either standing or sitting upright in this photo, or even walking at the time of the shot. Would she be able to do that with an injury so bad it hindered their ability to move for days? But mostly I do not understand why Jeremy Kryt is speaking about a visible head wound and blood, also in this Dutch interview, when you can in fact see the original photo for yourself up here. There is no blood. Or is there perhaps another photo we don't know of?  If there really is blood visible in the photo version which Kryt saw, then why didn't he publish the evidence in his Daily Beast articles? Regarding the leaked version of the photo which I share on here: when I stare too long at the photo, I start to see the outlines of a nose and open mouth underneath the hair at the bottom of the photo... Brrrrr. It may just be my mind's eye which creates that impression. So I'm not sure what is going on here. All we can be certain of is that we are looking at hair which resembles the hair of Kris in terms of its structure and colour. Most people don't seem to see a head wound. Some people think they can see letters under the hair, a watermark of sorts, 'heaven' can be seen by some. Regardless: it is a really creepy and vague image, strangely cut and cropped seemingly, without any idea where the hair is exactly coming from or falling towards, or even where the top of the head is situated within the overall composition. Who takes such a photo in the first place? But the Dutch investigators and media were quick to publish this photo as legit. Update: Someone from reddit contacted Kryt and asked to clarify his blood comment, but as he does more often when people question him on this matter, he evaded the question (and sent a thumbs up in reply here). 

And I can't stop thinking (and rehashing) how matter of fact like the families and the press stated initially that only three of those nighttime photos showed anything. They told it in Dutch talk shows, it was printed in the press.. Then Lisanne's brother showed another nighttime photo as a background photo in a talk show when he discussed the case. It wasn't even further explained (in light of the '3 pics only' statements until then)... It was just shown as a background photo and eagle eyed forum members screen saved it right away. But there has never been a statement to explain these changing numbers. Not that they have to, by the way. The families don't owe the public anything. But due to their many TV interviews and requests for help, it is hard not to feel involved for a lot of people.. And Martijns decision to show another nighttime photo wouldn't be the last time the audience was surprised. Because Jeremy Kryt published the SOS photo as late as 2016. The families also never mentioned or described this 'SOS' photo, or confirmed its existence or authenticity in any way. By all accounts that photo is in fact real and part of the series of nighttime photos. And by 2016 it brought the count on five nighttime photos which actually show something. And now Juan has released mostly ALL the nighttime photos. Dozens of them, and hardly any of them show just darkness. These photos do show something, no matter how vague. Trees in darkness, more shots of rain falling down, more shots of that cliff-like thing they already pictured. I wonder why the family always insisted that there were only three photos that showed anything? And why was this SOS photo released later by Kryt himself, and Kryt alone? Shouldn't the Dutch forensic institute and prosecution have brought forward this important picture in 2014 already? Before Juan published them all, the families had
actually been asked to make all the night photos public and they wouldn't, for unknown reasons. Perhaps because they wanted to forget about this horrible ordeal. Maybe they just wanted to keep them private (very understandable). Or considered them useless for whatever reason. I also understand that it must be very difficult to have complete strangers being preoccupied with your deceased daughters' life and death. But after the long campaign of Finding Kris, some of the public find it hard to let go of this case. Nevertheless we in hindsight do have the highlights here with these five photos that were released by the family and Jeremy Kryt. Hans Kremers wouldn't have disagreed with the family of Lisanne about what happened if there was anything clear cut or incriminating on these night photos, we can rest assured about that (or check it out for ourselves). The fact the families for a long time didn't see eye to eye about what they think has happened, tells us that according to them there is nothing clear cut on these night photos. The mysterious picture 509 aside of course.

So these photos were apparently taken deep in the jungle, and in near-complete darkness, between 1 and 4 am, according to the family lawyer. Some investigators believe that they are all more or less taken near the same spot, close to a ravine of sorts. I think that the now leaked night photos confirm this. Here and here I show how they mostly all depict the exact same surroundings. Perhaps a deep riverbank. Other people see the backdrop of a waterfall or cables in the background, possibly corresponding with those of the famous monkey bridges over the Culebre river. Monkey bridges are dodgy and made out of a couple of wires, stretched over a river. The problem with this is that the monkey bridge that is most resembling the location of these night photos, lies on the main trail.. and is less than a day's worth of walking away from Boquete. Meaning that if the girls were holed up there on day 8, they couldn't have been desperately lost, as that same trail leads back to the Pianista summit. But if you follow it in the other direction, this road actually leads to Alto Romero and to the jungle ranch of the local tour guide F. who they planned the meet the day after they disappeared. It seems a stretch to imagine Kris and Lisanne being 'lost' on that spot next to the river and the cable bridge. Because it is a trail that is widely used and often travelled by people. The search teams or anyone else travelling there could, should, and most definitely WOULD have found them there. So the assumption by some that they had set camp there, literally waiting for days on end to be saved, slowly dying... seems a bit of a stretch. Assuming one of them got injured, then normally the other would have had the option to follow that nearby path back to Boquete in a two day's walk. I don't believe two smart girls would wait it out for over a week, together, because one was injured and the other refused to leave her. Mostly everyone knows that in such a situation, the non-injured one has to find help. In fact, if Lisanne made these photos herself and had she kept going downhill towards the native hamlet of Alto Romero, the trail would’ve become progressively easier to navigate according to Jeremy Kryt, who walked the exact same route. And the first occupied habitation Lisanne would have crossed then is none other than a ramshackle, two-story “ranch house” that locals say is owned by a tour guide F., the same one who was supposedly one of the last to see them and the one to find almost all their remains. In fact: The last known picture of the girls is well before the paddock and the first small stream crossing. All findings of their belongings and (few) bones were done between the second river crossing and the location of the backpack, much further down into the wilderness. If Kris and Lisanne followed the water and managed to do so for various days, they must have crossed the track twice. Why would they start to follow a rocky river instead of the main trail? And why, depending on the point where they got off tracks, would they even do that twice? It does not make sense to follow a river when you are exhausted and ignore a footbridge, and every clear sign of civilization.


So I like to re-emphasize that the nighttime photo location has never been officially or publicly and without a doubt linked to this 2nd monkey bridge river passing. No photo evidence, undeniably matching the two sites. All those rocks look alike there and not even local guides explicitly identified one location or another while looking at the nighttime photos. And it would also raise even more questions; what were the girls doing near a monkey bridge in the middle of the night of the 8th day of their disappearance? Or did a third party - their abductors? - take these photos, either setting up a fake trail or signalling their accomplices with the flashlight perhaps? Were there small shelters and huts in the vicinity of that cable bridge that could perhaps be of interest here? One more thing about these monkey/cable bridges: if the nighttime photos were truly made on that spot at the river near the 2nd cable bridges, then the girls were so close to habitation that it makes me seriously doubt the theory that they got lost. Like one commentator on Websleuths wrote"Don't underestimate the fact that the 2nd and 3rd river crossings are about 100m from permanently inhabited huts/fincas, either. At least one of these huts is visible from the camino near the 2nd bridge (50m-100m). And near the 2nd bridge there is a small banana plantation". So the chance of them staying unnoticed there, or for them not to approach these inhabited houses/huts, seems as good as impossible. I wouldn't be surprised myself if the location from the night photos eventually turns out to be somewhere else entirely. Nevertheless Jeremy Kryt was initially convinced these night photos were taken behind the Pianista Trail (later he did a u-turn and started to write about his conviction that the girls met foul play, after having been offered inside information). Quote: "And the spot makes the idea that they were abducted by kidnappers close to Boquete, as critics suggest, seem unlikely. “You can see from the round-bodied ferns, from the dominant algae on the rocks, and from the heavy pattern of leaf fall—that these pictures were made on the other side of the Continental Divide,” says environmental engineer Patricio Ortiz, who works as a conservation consultant in Boquete. “That kind of vegetation just isn’t found anywhere on the Boquete side,” Ortiz says. Another, more specific hint as to the women’s whereabouts comes in the form of well-worn areas in the moss-cover of the rocks in some of the close-ups. Photography expert Rosenthal says the worn spots indicate the area “sees a fairly high volume of foot traffic”—and was therefore "on or close to the trail." Reis also sees evidence of what appears to be a “man-made structure,” visible in the background of at least one of the photos. “You don’t see straight lines like that in nature,” says George Reis, an independent forensic imaging analyst, of the horizontal strands he spies in a light-enhanced version of the picture. According to survivalist Weil, the shape, angle, and placement of the converging lines look suspiciously like the notorious “monkey bridges” used by the indigenous Ngobe to ford local rivers.

About the search troops. Could the night photos have been taken by Kris and Lisanne to signal help troops? How realistic is this scenario? The Panamanian authorities had already spent over 88.000 dollars on those daytime helicopter searches during the first five days. They did not risk their pilots and material in a nighttime jungle search, as far as I read everywhere. But regarding the search teams by foot; I haven't found factual information about them doing nighttime jungle searches either, with the exception of this French investigation video, in which the presenter states that in the night of 7 to 8th of April, a search team on foot did do a nighttime search, using flares for light and sound. However, he also based himself as far as I know on this schedule I posted in my blog, a fan-made one which is not verified, especially not when it comes to these supposed night searches. I could find no independent source for this info and combed through all the local Panamanian newspaper articles of the time, as well as Lee Zeltzers extensive blog and comments to it... If by any chance SINAPROC searchers wére out during that night, then I'd love to find official verification of this. We can see in the night photos that the flash light never pierced deep into the night's sky. In a dense jungle the light of the flash gets blocked pretty much right away by plants. Screams would have carried much further. If there truly was a night team close by, why have Kris and Lisanne never been saved? But perhaps they heard cattle and hoped that there would be a house nearby. In that case they may have hoped that the light of the flash would travel far enough to notify someone (but why would inhabitants be up between 01:00 - 04:00?). The fact that flash photos were taken for hours on end also makes me doubt this theory. Three hours of flashing to attract attention seems a bit long. The saddest part of this theory is that in the night-photos we are able to see for ourselves that there wasn't much scattering of the light visible at all; it seems that it just disappeared straight up. The dark frames themselves show no significant reflections. Screaming would have reached further than the digital camera flash, that much is certain. Or even playing a video on your digital camera with the sound on loudest would have reached further into the jungle than that short flash. Although a jungle at night can be noisy.. How heartbreaking would it be if this is what they tried to achieve with those hours of flash photo taking, and it all failed... Gruesome.. But I just don't believe this theory myself. 

So, it is not sure what actually happened. What do other people think these photos show?  Some people see the round light of a torch in the background, or even a person's face with a cap on.. which I don't see myself to be honest. It's also very possible that by day 8, whomever took these photos was already hallucinating, and seeing things that weren't there. Although Jeremy Kryt is not buying that scenario, and says that the photos he was given show steady photos, taken systematically as if to clearly document the location the photographer was in. So: not taken by an unsteady or shaky hand, and not taken randomly he believes, but deliberately focusing on things. Kryt also wrote down the opinion of another specialist: “The camera is not being moved more than a few meters from shot to shot,” says Reis, who also dismisses speculation that the women were attempting to use the camera’s flash as a light source. Reis is likewise skeptical about the camera’s flash having been triggered to signal rescuers, as some have suggested, because “the images are made under close [foliage] cover,” where searchers would have been unlikely to see them. If the flash were intended to attract a search party in the area, they “would likely have tried to move out into the open”. Some of the images are “sharp and clear” in a way that Reis says could mark them as “deliberately intended to show a specific image.” If they had been taken at random, he says, it’s “unlikely they would be so crisp.” When reviewed chronologically, by timestamp, the “night pictures” turn out to reveal a strange but definite pattern—with most of the images being carefully grouped by content." Jeremy Kryt described the location of the night photos as: "A dozen or more long-range (quasi-dark) images show a rock outcropping, tree formations, and even individually identifiable plants. Then the shooter’s position changes, and we see one or more close-up, well-lit images. Afterward, the camera moves slightly and the pattern is repeated, with the exact same unique landscape features shot again from a different angle, followed by more close-up shots". Wilderness expert Weil also finds the oft-repeated imagery significant. “She might be trying to use the camera to tell us something she thinks is important,” he says. “Something that went down that night, and she wanted to record it for her loved ones or whoever else.” Independent Criminalist Dick Steffens, who worked on behalf of the families on this case, has said he believes the photos were made in a “deep, dark place….One explanation for the dark pictures could be that women have been locked up and using the flash on the camera tried to attract attention. He said: “When you put all the facts in perspective, it is certain this case is not a disappearance.

And Kryt wrote about what he thinks is the location of the nighttime photos: "After crossing several tributaries that form the headwaters of the Serpent River—and coming more than five grueling, trail-undulating hours from where images #507 and #508 were shot—we stagger down a steep embankment to a spot I recognize right away. This is the bridgehead over the Rio Culebre, featuring a three-cable span, or “monkey” bridge, that stretches across the river about 25 feet above the rapids. This is also the last identifiable site—shot at night as part of a series of more than 90 consecutive images—depicted on the women’s camera. After so many months of studying the originals, as well as day-time recreations shot by guides, standing here now feels as if I just stumbled out of the woods and onto some place I’ve known in a dream. The river shoots and boils through a natural dam of jumbled, moss-covered boulders below the cable bridge. Pushing through the bamboo at the water’s edge you come to a narrow spit of beach marked by an immense table rock, almost perfectly flat and big enough to park a car on top. I’ve seen several photos of this same lozenge-shaped slab, both on the Holandesas’ camera and in images shown to me back in Boquete. It’s one of the most unique features of the trail-side terrain—a distinctive landmark carefully cataloged on the resurrected Canon, complete with the bridge cables showing in the background."  - This online paper The Daily Beast also received the official case report and autopsy reports from a secret source, which I covered further down this blog post. And like I said before; the Daily Beast hasn't made them fully public.... But they did a great job with their investigative articles on this case.
N.B. Jeremy Kryt wrote about this location of the nighttime photos in one of his earlier Daily Beast articles on this case, before he made a u-turn and became convinced that the girls met foul play. But this info came from some local tour guides, who apparently told him after seeing the night photos that they were taken around the 2nd cable bridge. I personally think that without photo evidence to prove it, none of that can be necessarily trusted. Think about it; for over 6 years now has this disappearance case been in the media. Countless people have passed these monkey bridges and rivers, knowing about the mystery of Kris and Lisanne. Looking for the location of the night photos. And nobody ever published the photo evidence of this supposed spot at the monkey bridge. It's very easy: the rock where the plastic wrapper was placed on is quite specific in look and shape; the V-shaped tree above it is very distinctive. The rock wall too. So if it really lies straight on the trail to Boquete alongside one of the monkey bridges, then why is there nobody showing the proof? Answer: because it is most likely not the location of the night photos. That spot has not yet been identified and I haven't read any reports about the local Prosecutor actually looking for it. 

Last thing on this topic: it also makes little sense that the photos were shot at nighttime if they were supposed to document their location, and not at dawn when light would make the pictures a lot more clear. By the time the last photo was taken at 04:00 am, it would only take little more than 2 hours before the sun came up. It would have been much easier to take photos at the break of dawn, instead of wasting 86 out of 90 photos on dark scenery. And one more thing about the notion that they could have been up in order to move at night: unless they were actively chased by something or someone, I find it hard to believe that the girls would voluntarily and without a pressing reason decide to cross a river and wonky cable bridges in the dead of night. Here you can see how difficult these monkey bridges are to pass in daylight even. Tourists who walked the same trail described them as follows with a flair for drama: "But then there were the river crossings - Mom, close your eyes. When I first saw the “bridge” - a cable no wider than a thick rope for the feet, and one for each hand - I thought surely we didn’t have to cross there. Wrong. The cables weren’t very tight, so they wobbled and swayed. Some of the connections seemed as sturdy as a Lego bridge built by a 5-year-old. But there was no other option.

We crossed three rivers on these cable death-bridges. I inched across, terrified each time. On the first death-bridge I was so scared my shaking legs made the cables wobble. F. made fun of me for hours — and didn’t mention until later that a local had recently died on a crossing."

Aside from the fact that mostly everyone passes these 'dangerous' cable bridges in one piece and without any problems, it seems an unnecessary gamble to pass them in the rain, in the dark of night.... Especially considering the sun would be up around 6:30 again. As we can see in some of these photos, it is frighteningly pitch black dark in the jungle at night when there is no moon (visible), as the jungle closes off light, and there is also no light pollution from nearby cities. And on April 1st of 2014 (so the first night of their disappearance, not on the night of these night photos), there was a rare 'New Moon' situation and there was no moon visible at all, making the jungle even more dark... 

Oh and then there is the suggestion that the number 5 may have been written next to the red plastic bag wrappers on the sticks. The zoomed in photo details on the right here will show you what I mean. Is this a natural occurring stain or marking on the rock, and nothing more than that? Or did the girls, or someone else, perhaps write it down there? Some say it was written there with charcoal. If this is a purposely written 5, what could it mean? Or is it the letter S? Did someone try to write SOS? I think it looks more like a 5 than an S actually. The number 5 may (very far-fetched idea this!) refer to a local gang: La banda ‘Los ND5', or ‘Los niños de la quinta'. At the time that gang was still active in the region. Did they leave their mark here somehow? Were they involved in any of this? Or is the entire set up, including the plastic bags on the sticks, a ritual from other people? A fake trail, trying to make it look like the girls made it and got lost? I also wonder if local criminal youths could be behind it. Word is that they were with five young men originally and that one of them did not accidentally drown but was killed because he was involved in this disappearance. Another was killed in a hit and run. Perhaps they left a 5 scribbled behind, referring to their number. It's all speculation however. It may also be a natural occurring stain on the rock of course, which magically reads like a 5. But if these intelligent girls created it, in a desperate bid to communicate something, all they had to do was make a video recording on their digital camera. They could have explained perfectly well in Dutch and English what they were trying to portray with their markers and number 5 or S in that case. If they were making an SOS sign, then why do it in the middle of the pitch dark night? On a night when it was seemingly raining? Unless they were fleeing from something or someone, why not do all this during the daytime, when it would be actually visible? Wouldn't these markings be wiped away by the rain anyway by the time the sun came up? If they wanted to catch the attention of a possible helicopter (which didn't fly in the dark of night anyway), then why wouldn't they just stand in one of the many open fields there, waving the colourful garments they wore? Instead of hidden under the foliage of trees?  Or stand in the middle of the river on a rock to catch the helicopters attention? Instead of scribbling difficult to see SOS signs and miniature tiny plastic stick wrappers in between the many rocks, in the dark of night? The fact they didn't, makes me wonder if it were possibly others who later set up these things, to make it appear that the girls had been stuck there. The number 5 is another mystery however. 
Check out this close-up by the way. Kurt notified me that "I've seen the photos many times, BUT there's something I noticed when you showed the red bags tied to the twigs: just above the piece of paper, to the left, does that look like a cigarette butt?" Note here that neither Kris nor Lisanne were smokers. Neither was a package of cigarettes found in their backpack or belongings. 

And then there is another strange photo: Someone sent me a photo which was published on April 5th 2014 by a(nother) local guide in Panama. It was posted publicly on both his facebook and instagram account and stayed there for the past five years. No editing of the date visible, so we can be assured it was really published (and taken?) on that date. He went out to help looking for the girls during those days and posted a string of other pictures, also of the Pianista summit (Mirador), picturing the same landscape scenes as Kris and Lisanne had done with their camera on April 1st. But this photo is a peculiar one.. I really wonder what it is we are looking at. It was posted in between a series of pictures showing the same Pianista route that the girls took, also of the specific quebrada they passed right after the summit, when moving on the other side of the mountain. This photo shows what looks like a rock near a small waterfall, surrounded by green jungle forest, and the rock seems to be partially red and next to a river, in the region where the girls are thought to have gone missing. Some people see a red rock in it, others see a human body and a skull and a left arm in it? Of course, that can't be so, or else the guide would have reported it, or the police would have seen these public photos at the very least and gone after it. And on April 8th, so three days later, the back of Kris' head was photographed (if we can believe the time settings of their digital camera). So this photo can't depict a body/skull. But it is a strange photo: it is a bit of a Rorschach test almost; one person sees this in it and the other that. What do you see in this? A red rock? A specific sun pattern? The profile of a skull (hollow eyes, nose, left side of the mouth, chin, then a left arm visible)? Blood on rock? Natural pigmentation of the rock? I know rationally that it has to be a red stain on a rock, lit up by the sunlight. Either natural rock pigmentation, or perhaps blood. Although, after April 5th Kris' phone pin code was never entered correctly again... Making it also theoretically possible that she did die at that date and that the April 8th nighttime photo of her hair was taken after she died, or that its EXIF data was meddled with. But it is still a peculiar picture, taken during a frightening time with the girls missing in the jungle. Check this or this reddit users outline of the same photo if you also struggle to see anything other than a rock. Oh and someone sees a snake in this close-up (and some others made it into a cat.. Alas, it's just a piece of rock most likely). 

Comparison photo of (seemingly) the same location, both pictures 
are of another date, taken and posted by the same guide. 











The bones 
It was time for police to go out and explore the area where the backpack was found and search there again. With the help of six native Ngobe people, the local guide then found bone remains and two different shoes along the river Rio Culebre, shortly before June 19th, 2014. A jeans shorts was also found by a local guide called Laureano and local guide called 'Angel', aka: Angel Palacios. It was supposedly found on top of a rock on the opposite bank of this Culebre, River of the Serpent, at least 8 walking hours away from Boquete and several kilometers away from where Froon's backpack had been discovered. The guides themselves later claimed they found it floating in the river. This is frustrating, having these different versions of events out there, one from the officials and one from the local tour guides who found the jeans. Because such simple changes to the details of a story can make a lot of difference when it comes to finding out what actually happened. I will write more on this jeans short specifically further down this blog post. In this difficult terrain Dutch police estimated the distance between the jeans short and the backpack to be no less than 14 hours of walking distance. 

Then on to the bones: the bone remnants were found several walking hours away again as well, further up north. On June 19th, officer of Justice Betzaida Pitti confirmed that - indeed - human remains had been found in the search for Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. One of the shoes found contained human bones: a foot, still protected by its boot. The laces were still laced tightly and it also had a sock inside it, containing the foot which still had some skin and meat on it. (You can read more on forensic research on the skin found from Lisanne in this part 2 blog update post). This brown shoe with foot was found by local guide F. and local helpers "behind, and almost under a tree", in the vicinity of Alto Romero and away from the river... An extraordinary achievement. Forensics stated that the breaking line of the bone of the foot was surprisingly clean and that no blood was found on it. Also no signs of cutting, hacking, gunshots or teeth or claw markings were detected, not even when looked for under the microscope. According to the coroner who did the autopsy on these bones - which turned out to be from Lisanne - there were no microscopic signs of animal predation or "of taphonomic processes (the tracks left by animals and human actions)". Also "No [signs of] trauma caused by sharp objects, sharp objects, sharps and fire projectile." No evidence for bone trauma, with the coroner's remark that the most important bones, such as the skull, the thorax bones or pelvic girdle, were not found and "would possibly establish the cause of death of the victims." But.. these were only a couple of bones and mostly all of the skeletons are still missing; it sometimes only takes one of the bones of a body to show clear impact and violence, and to change the entire story. Over time, at least 33 widely scattered bones were discovered along the same river bank, of which most fragments (28 in total) came from Lisanne's foot. This location lies quite a few kilometers away from the cable bridge and dry river stones where some investigators think the nighttime photos may have been taken, and near a river stream. However, the remains were found on land. On one side of the mountain the water flows to the Pacific Ocean, on the other side of the mountain the water flows to the Caribbean Sea. This shoe with foot was found upstream. The bone remnants that were retrieved were found scattered around, sometimes kilometers apart from one another, but all following the course of the river. One half of a pelvic bone was also found; so part of a pelvis, that was broken in half. Local newspaper La Estrella de Panama reported: "According to medical examiners consulted by this journal, the remains should have been subjected to a fluid detection analysis. The Prosecution seems to have skipped these steps. Betzaida Pittí, prosecutor in charge of this case, also obviated to run DNA tests to the shoe. Nevertheless, investigators related the boot to the girls, because it was a shoe of the Dutch brand 'Wildebeast'. The blue boot should have belonged to Kris Kremers, so the Prosecution [thinks]. It was found by locals Ángel Palacio and Guide F., according to news reports. Even though there's no scientific proof that the shoe belonged to Kremers, it was added to the evidence of the case."

On June 20th 2014, the girls' families made a public statement, telling the public that they had strong reasons to believe that the girls had passed away. Up until then, they had always sounded hopeful that their daughters would eventually be found alive. The bones that were discovered had been investigated and forensic and DNA-specialists now positively linked a total of five fragmented remains to Kris and Lisanne; the foot bones were Lisanne’s and the broken in half pelvic bone belonged to Kris. In this local newspaper article it is stated that the pelvic bone was found together with a wallet. I never heard or read anything more about this wallet claim, however, so it may have been a false claim. Eventually a rib bone from Kris was also found on August 2nd of 2014; her right no. 10 rib. It was found together with bone remnants from an infant and an old woman. In this Dutch tv program Dutch forensic officers are interviewed, it is stated that a bone from the upper leg of Lisanne was also, additionally, found. This happened on August 29th of 2014. The officers first received a positive DNA match before revealing this info on Dutch TV. This Panamanian news article confirms that Lisanne's tibia and femur bone had been found, together with a ball of skin. That means that from Lisanne's left leg in fact the 3 main bones have ultimately been found: the foot, the femur (upper leg) bone and tibia (lower leg/ shin) bone. However, the other bone fragments were identified as belonging to approximately three other persons. To my knowledge there has never been further data given on the identity of these other bones by the authorities, although I read here and there that they were from deceased native people from the area. Apparently local natives sometimes have accidents on the treacherous terrain and the wonky monkey bridges. And not everyone declares this to police, which sounds like an accepted thing in this native area. The pathologist also found out that the bone marrow in the femur and tibia bone from Lisanne proved to be dry and was not decomposed. The bone marrow was intact and unaltered. It had therefore not been laying in water. The rolled up ball-shaped piece of tissue (skin) turned out to also match with Lisanne's DNA. Strangely enough, the forensic pathologist later found that the skin was still in an early state of decomposition when it was discovered at the end of August, five months after the girls went missing, with maggots still present... That is pretty sensational information. It appeared in stark contrast with Kris' fully bleached and clean bones. The forensic pathologist thinks also that the piece of skin was manipulated by someone and was stored in a dark cool place. Which makes you wonder how anyone could have found it. Betzaida Pitti did not offer the pathologist and his team the necessary details about who found it and where. I elaborate on this a few paragraphs further down this blog post.

The places where the rib, pelvic and foot bones were found, indicate that Kris and Lisanne must have passed at least two rivers to get in this region. The specialists said from the start that it remained to be seen if the remnants could prove a cause of death, because the temperature in which they had remained, as well as the general humidity, the composition of the ground, the rate of decomposition and whether or not they were found in water, would all play a role here. In the end no cause of death could be determined. There were not enough bones discovered and the ones that were found did not reveal a cause of death. Of course, the evidence and the 'crime scene' were contaminated at that point, with volunteers, the police and locals all walking uncoordinated through it and police not sealing off the places where remnants had been found. The foot from Lisanne showed to have been broken in many places (multiple fractures of the metatarsals, the long bones that connect the ankle to the toes), 'consistent with a fall from great height', investigators stated. "But not exclusively limited to a fall", according to Dutch Forensic Specialist Frank van de Goot (hired by the Panamanian Prosecutors in this case, no less). Here he also explains in a video that he believes the girls fell. He estimated that the specific bone injuries from Lisannes foot could only with 50% certainty be linked to a fall, leaving 50% of other possible causes. Someone using the name 'Unwelcomed' confirmed this in writing to me:

"The Panamanian authorities state that the broken metatarsal bones in Lisanne's foot "prove" a fall, but this type of foot injury isn't a falling injury at all: you only get this type of injury from blunt force impact to the top of the foot. So when it got hit by a weapon for instance, or a rock fell on the top of her foot... Falling injuries are nearly exclusively resulting in damage to the tibia or heel of your foot. And if they had fallen into the water from great height, they would have also broken half the bones in their bodies from the impact. But there were no injuries to the rib bone or the leg bones."

And the periosteum of Lisanne's foot showed signs of inflammation (officially called periostitis), something scientists linked to strenuous use or overexertion of the foot. Frank van de Goot explained that this type of injury can for instance be caused by very strenuous long distance walking, and is also seen with marathon walkers who haven't trained long enough. It makes walking very painful. However Lisanne was said to also have had a preexisting volleyball injury, that was severe enough for her to stop playing. So the inflammation may perhaps have resulted from the preexisting injury also. An autopsy report from September 19th, 2014 states about the pelvic and rib bones from Kris: “It is important to emphasize that the remains were dry, without tissue or fat, with deterioration not only of the compact bone, but also of the cancellous bone." 

Also coming straight from the autopsy report of the bones: Kris' bones all had a white discoloration, indicating that that they were either "exposed to the sun for a long time or that the burial site corresponded to an area of ​​very basic chemical elements, affecting the phosphates and calcium carbonates from each of the bone components, causing the whitish coloration." 

Unlike Lisanne's foot bones, Kris' bones were bare and bleached looking. The September autopsy report stated about them: "In turn, all of them had a white coloration that tells us about two facts: that they were exposed to the sun for a long time or that the burial site corresponded to the terrain of very basic chemical elements, affecting the phosphates and calcium carbonates of each one of the bony elements, waardoor of whitish coloration." Kris' two bones contained phosphates, which are also sometimes linked to chemical bleaching procedures. Newspaper La Estrelle de Panamá reported: "The forensic report prepared by the doctors and anthropologists of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (IMELF) of Chiriquí record traces of phosphorus, without having determined whether the substance was in the environment or came from human action." It reports also that lawyer Arrocha, working for the Kremers family, complained: "Within the file, he pointed out, the protocol says that Kris's remains were subjected to a phosphate chemical process, but it has not been determined whether this process is the work of nature or man-made, Arrocha said." It was also stated in black and white in a copy of Kris Kremers’ autopsy report that was leaked to aforementioned The Daily Beast. Go to part 2, subheading 'Insight into the general bone autopsy report from September 19th, 2014' for more details about this autopsy report.

Soil samples taken by Dutch investigators from the spot where the bones from Kris were found, showed that this phosphorus was not present in the soil naturally. There are no other known natural sources of phosphorus in the area. So where did it come from? Did it develop naturally on the bone remnants of Kris? Phosphorus is also used there by farmers as fertilizer. The Panamanian investigators however officially suggested the phosphates came perhaps from "stomach acids of large animals", who may have 'swallowed the bones and then expulsed them again'. Which seems a ludicrous suggestion, I think; a pelvic bone and a rib bone are large, and cannot be swallowed whole and pooped or barfed out whole by an animal. So how did this phosphorus found on Kris' bones only get there, if it didn't exist in the local soil? And why did it get only on her bones? While those from Lisanne were found in the same area? The full autopsy results have never been released to the public by Panamanian authorities, so we are left with excellent criminal journalists like Adelita Coriat and Jeremy Kryt who were tipped off and given versions of the reports by key players. And another interesting little detail here; the sunglasses which Kris wears on this photo seem brown in colour, whereas they look more purple'ish when pictured together with the bags content.. Were these sunglasses bleached too perhaps? Just like Kris' bones and her shoe, which turned from brown into blue? Or  is it just the effect from the sun and the elements. The sunglasses were found inside the backpack though.

Ok I will drone on some more on this topic, but you can easily skip that and move to the next subtopic now. 

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It's a mysterious element to the case: how come in the wet, high cloud forest and within two rainy spring months, the foot bones found of Lisanne showed a slow decomposition process and even had some skin attached still, whereas Kris' pelvic bone looked entirely bleached? The contrast between Froon's bones still having intact skin on them, but Kremers's bones being squeaky clean and without any body tissue remnants or even body fat, is a stark one. I mean, for a piece of skin to be found intact months after passing, while out in the animal-infested and humid open air jungle is peculiar. This was 2 months after the girls disappeared. Both sets of bones seem unnatural in their state of decomposition. First to decompose should normally be the soft tissues, including the skin. (In 1999 a Dutch woman perished for instance in a similar stretch of jungle 80 kilometers away in nearby Costa Rica, and her body was found severely decomposed after only about 3 weeks out there). Whereas Kris' bones looked like they had been decomposing for 2 years instead of just over 2 months. Her bones looked like they had been baking in the hot sun for a long long time. Not as one would expect from bones having been shielded from the sun in the cloud forest jungle, around ten weeks after their suspected death. Mind you, this cloud forest lies at an elevation of 800 meters and has mild temperatures. Chris wrote about this: "There are 5 stages of decomposition. In order: Fresh, Bloat, Active Decomposition, Advanced Decomposition and Skeletal Decay. Kris’s remains reached the fourth stage: advanced decomposition. This is because no flesh was present on the bones. Bizarrely, Lisanne’s remains were only between the first and the second stage. In fact, there were still insect larvae on her remains." And yet they supposedly died together, around the same time and in the same area.

There is no clear consensus yet about this baffling detail. Some people claim that the jungle can do this to bones quickly, especially in the rainy season (which it was by the time the bones were found) and with scavengers around, while others say that it is abnormal and that even the body of a missing hiker in the same region, found two years after his death (so having gone through two actual sunny summer periods, unlike the bones of the girls), still looked pretty intact and showed definitely no bleached bones. Scavengers also didn't seem involved here, going by the absence of microscopic markings of teeth or claws on the bones. And the other bones found in the search for Kris and Lisanne - which are said to have been from native people - were much older and had been in the jungle much much longer than those ten or so weeks in the girls' case, and not even these bones were bleached. In fact, some specialists said that in the cloud forest jungle, temperatures were cool at that time of year, or cool enough to not show this late stage of decomposition so soon after death. The victims’ highest-placed remains were found at about 2,300 feet above sea level, near the headwaters of the Serpent. The spot is in the upper cloud forest, as opposed to lowland jungle, as was previously thought. At that elevation temperatures are cool, average decomposition rates relatively slow, and large carnivores are uncommon here. This local Panamanian news article states that temperatures were "between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius". And then there are the unexplained phosphate traces on them.. The lawyer of the Kremers family, Enrique Arrocha, confirmed that no phosphorus/phosphates were found in the ground. He specifically said that their bones were not found in volcanic soil and that it did not contain this phosphate element. A Panamanian forensic anthropologist later claimed to the Daily Beast that after inspecting the bones carefully under the microscope:

"There are no discernible scratches of any kind on the bones, neither of natural nor cultural origin there are no marks on the bones at all" 

Regarding the absence of signs of violence: as I wrote above already, these were only a couple of bones and we are missing mostly all of the skeletons still; it only takes one of its bones to show clear impact and violence to change the entire story here. It seemed clear by now that the girls were dead, but how did their bones get dislodged and spread out over the area? Some people suggest that animals must have torn up the bodies and dragged bones around, others say that the bodies ended up in the river and were torn apart in the water. In fact, these two options were named later by Panamanian officials as the prevailing theory of what happened to them (together with a fall from great height).. But the forensic facts do not support this. A lot of the hard evidence points against it in fact. The IMELCF forensic anthropologist also stated: “There’s no evidence that animals scavenged the Holandesas”, directly contradicting the Accident scenario from Panama’s Public Ministry, the main government center for investigations and prosecution. "No claw marks, he says. No bite marks from the fangs of animals. No marks that would indicate they had been broken up on river rocks either. Even under magnification, there are no discernible scratches of any kind on the bones, neither of natural nor cultural origin; there are no marks on the bones at all" - something you would certainly expect to see if the bodies had bounced over rocks and swept through wild rivers. The same goes for the backpack and its delicate content by the way. Nevertheless, the official position is that the women were “dragged to death” in the Culebre river, after an unexplained hiking accident. Even without any microscopic evidence for this. But how can bones be potentially dragged by wild animals, yet no claw or tooth mark are showing up under the microscope? The local animals in that part of Panama are said to be unlikely to tear a body apart like that anyway, and even if they did; scientists would have found normal teeth or claw markings on the remains then. The IMELCF forensic anthropologist pulled up a detailed topographical map on his computer monitor, when talking with Jeremy Kryt, with the precise locations of the remains sites marked onscreen by color-coded circles. "The Holandesas bodies should not have broken up like that; not in just seven or eight weeks", he says, echoing other forensic sources Kryt had interviewed. "And we should have found more of their bones." Under the circumstances, “this kind of extreme fragmentation is very strange,” says that same member of Panama’s Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science (IMELCF). 

Why were the remains of the girls said to have been found partially upstream instead of downstream? The victims’ highest-placed remains were found at about 2,300 feet above sea level, near the headwaters of the Serpent river. This local criminal investigator underlines: "Betzaida Pitti, prosecutor in this case, charged with its investigation, supports the drowning theory, despite the fact that at the start of April the Culubre river was not strong enough to carry a body." In this local news article, Betzaida Pitti's conclusions are also repeated; the girls were dragged to their deaths by the river, and no further evidence was provided. Adding to this mystery is that some of the bone remnants were found only several kilometers from the dry river rocks and cable bridge where some investigators think the nighttime photos were taken. But others say that it is highly unlikely that two young adult human bodies are going to be broken up this badly after only such a short stretch of distance in a not that fast flowing river... Besides; we can assume that if they fell into the river and died, or ended up in the river dead, then one cannot keep up that this river was strong enough to tear their bodies apart YET also allowed the cheap lycra backpack to remain unharmed and its often delicate content fully dry. Which is exactly what investigators claimed that most likely happened, also regarding the backpack. The “Serpent” river is windy, relatively slow flowing, scattered with rocks and fairly shallow. Especially outside of the raining season. During early April, when the girls disappeared, the river was slow moving. I saw this video of the local river, but this is clearly shot in the heavy rain season, whereas in the first week of April the river was flowing even more slowly than usual for this time of year due to a drought, with less water content. Betzaida Pitti's (bare and not further explained in detail) conclusion that the girls were dragged to their deaths by the river is therefore not a satisfying explanation for the broken up and scattered state of the bodies. A Boquete local wrote this on a forum at the time (on July 2nd of 2014): "We must bare in mind that two months ago, there was a severe (fuerte) drought in the area, that affected the water levels in the whole cordillera of Talamanca." See for yourself just how small, winding and rock-littered this small river is. Fairly impossible that it dragged entire bodies away, never to be seen again.

Also: Lisanne's foot was broken in so many places that it is hard to imagine that she has walked many miles with this type of injury.  And the same goes for Kris; having your pelvic bone broken in half... (Although we do not know for certain if the pelvis did not come apart like this after she was deceased). It also seems unclear why exactly Lisanne's foot bone was broken off at her ankle the way it did; no signs of teeth, tools or damage were found on the bones. No blood even. But something must have broken off her foot. Panamanian police attributed it to 'natural decomposition processes'. There is something called disarticulation of soft tissue: "Disappearance of soft tissue and the disarticulation of human remains from aqueous environments. Disappearance of body parts followed the general sequence: bones of the hands and wrists, bones of the feet and ankles, and the mandible and cranium. The lower legs, forearms, and upper arms are the next units to separate from the body." [..] "As parts drop away from a floating carcass in large or current-driven bodies of water, they are often separated from the major body unit. This complicates recovery." But do bodies really decompose so thoroughly so quickly? Within 2 to 2,5 months, in a cloud forest of which some specialists have said that temperatures were cool at that time of year, or cool enough to not show this late stage of decomposition, 10- or so weeks after death. And even if they did; how come there was still skin on the foot, which was said to be in the first stages of decomposing? There were maggots found too on Lisanne's nearly intact skin, coming from the shin bone. How can Lisanne's ankle/foot bone decompose to the point of the joint being 
destroyed, while the skin on top is still partially untouched by decomposition? The director of the Colorado Wilderness Medicine School, Carl Weil, who is also a former Cadaver Lab Supervisor, researched the case and stated that most drowning victims or those who fall in rapids, are usually found in one piece downstream. Some don't even make it that far and get stuck between rocks or bushes etc along the water, sometimes staying there in one piece until more than a year later (!). It is also near impossible for  this to  happen in  less than two months, which is the amount of  time it took to find Kris and Lisanne's remains. He also commented on Kris' bones being found completely bare and stated:

"After 2 months the bone should not be bare, but still covered with significant amounts of flesh unless of course there was human intervention." 

Which..... could possibly point to foul play in this case. I also read that perhaps the boot protected the foot bones while the rest of the body and leg were decomposing rapidly, and that this may have somehow allowed the foot bone to break off at the ankle naturally. I don't know if this is a sound scientific explanation to be honest. And it still wouldn't explain the finding of a ball of skin in an early stage of decomposition, 5 months later.. 

And what made Kris' pelvic bone break off in two?
No information has been released by investigators about the nature of the breaking line of the pelvic bone, and what could have possibly caused that type of injury. Perhaps it is possible that the pelvis only came apart like this after she was deceased, although I haven't read anything about this really in the covering of this case. To break a young healthy person's pelvic bone when she is alive however, it normally almost needs to be smashed in a fall from a great height or in a serious car crash. Or have endured something equally drastic and violent. It would have made walking impossible for her. Making it doubtful all in all that she hurt herself already like this early on during the disappearance, considering how far away from the Pianista trail their few remains were found. But the only place where there are ravines deep enough to cause such an injury naturally, is around the summit of the Pianista Trail. Another mysterious element.. as those slopes were inspected, often with investigators scaling down on ropes and sniffer dogs also combed through the terrain of the Pianista Trail, without any result. Police solely gave the "explanation" of Kris and Lisanne having been dragged by wild animals or the river and this doesn't seem to properly explain these extreme fractures. And regarding the vague animal theory from Betzaida Pitti: the type of wild animals seen in Panama (jaguar, puma etc) don't gnaw on bones. Although they can drag their food into trees to eat it there. Besides, where are all the other body parts? The skulls, arms, collar bones, all of the rest? There are no large indigenous animals in the region where the girls' remains were found that would crush large bones. No crocodiles or other alpha predators.

Eventually Kris' rib bone was also found. Just like her partial pelvic bone, it was white, bleached looking and turned out to contain levels of phosphates, something police have never further explained. And which makes one think more of Lime or other corrosive man-handled treatment. Lime is a white powder that helps to speed up the dissolving of bodies, especially of the weak parts such as tissue, muscles and tendons, without leaving as much as a trace of them. After some time it also dissolves the bones, and it masks the odour of decomposition. It also prevents blood trails. Several forensic specialists have stated that the use of lime could explain the absence of any blood and markings on the few bones found in the case of the missing Dutch girls. Lime can make bones appear bleached and it can also erase any evidence of violence on the bones. It may also explain the absence of the rest of the girls' skeletons, as lime can pretty much destroy entire bodies. But Humberto Mas, director of IMELF, stated that calcium oxide can have the same effect on bodies; dissolving the ligaments and muscles and such, allowing body parts such as an entire foot to become dislodged from the body without as much as a trace of how this happened. This can be achieved within days, and may perhaps explain why on Lisanne's single foot in the boot, no signs of cutting or other marks were found. Lime is also widely used in Panama by farmers, for instance when burying dead animals or to balance soil acidity levels, allowing plant roots to absorb phosphorus more efficiently. (Update: it may not be lime but in fact lye which was used here. Further down this blog post I explain more about these two substances). The bone remains of Kris and Lisanne weren't found too far away from Alto Romero, which lies at an elevation of approxemately 800 meters. If we are supposed to believe that the girls died at different times, and one died in a river fall while the other moved on; how did their (very few) remains end up in the same location, so far away? Partially upstream instead of downstream? In addition, for two bones from different parts of the body from two different people to have been found, all on land and some distance from each other, makes it unlikely that both girls died in the river. It also makes it unlikely that one of the two died days before the other, was left behind in a gorge or a ravine while the other moved on, yet mysteriously bone remnants from both women ended up 14 walking hours up north from the cable bridges at the river? I think they either died together, further up north, or their bones were scattered there by someone else on purpose.

Alto Romero:


And there is more: in late August of 2014, more of Lisanne's remains were found; a rolled up piece of skin. 
In this article, as well as this article, published on October 20th, 2014, and translated from Spanish to English by me and partially since removed from the server (but no worries, I managed to save screenshots of the original article in time, before it was pulled offline suddenly after 5 years), you can read about a piece of rolled up skin being examined by a forensic examiner. I have published the full articles in my part 2 blog post on this case; here I will just summarize the most important findings. Interestingly and bafflingly, this rather important finding was as good as ignored in the mainstream media and in the Dutch press.. 

What this article from good local journalist Adelita Coriat details, is how a forensic specialist examined a piece of skin - as it turned out later belonging to Lisanne; "a soft, elongated piece of tissue that barely shows signs of decomposition" and that was found at the end of August, in the vicinity of a tibia and femur bone of Lisanne Froon. Both those two bone fragments and the rolled up piece of skin were found several months after Lisanne's foot was found in June. The article does not reveal who brought the skin in. The Laboratory of DNA Biomolecular Analysis, located in the City of Saber, positively identified it as Lisanne's skin. Adelita Coriat was present herself during the forensic examination of this rolled up piece of skin, and wrote in detail about it.  -   Summarized: previously, this same coroner had already analyzed other pieces of bone evidence, which were found by inhabitants of Alto Romero, on the banks of the Culubre River, in the province of Bocas del Toro, "a site located twelve hours by foot from El Pianista". The scientist now received an envelope, containing a rolled up ball of skin. In the same envelope were the femur - a long bone - placed and a shorter bone, similar to a tibia; all also from Lisanne. All three were found on August 29th, 2014. This package was sent by the Office of the Attorney of David, and contained a brief note, whose instructions are summarized in one line: 'These remains were found on the banks of the Culubre River, and are sent for analysis'. The note had the signature of Betzaida Pitti. Instantly the forensic scientist and the journalist establish that the document lacks "a detailed description of the chain of custody, information required in cases of controlled processes that seek to preserve the evidence". The data should have included where exactly the evidence was located and found, fixation, collection, packing and transfer at the scene. But none of all this info was provided by Betzaida Pitti. Coriat also wondered out loud how those who found and collected the bones could have even found this small, ball sized piece of skin? How could they even know that the ball covered with dirt was part of the evidence? Adelita Coriat also highlighted in her article that both (family lawyer) Enrique Arrocha, as well as Octavio Calderón, one of the criminologists consulted by La Estrella de Panamá, maintain that Kris and Lisanne were murdered. 

UNCOVERING THE SKIN
The laboratory where the tests were analyzed belongs to the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Panama (IMELCF), the only site in the country of Panama that performs this type of analysis. The coroner was surprised by the state of the rolled up ball of skin: when he unfolded the elongated piece of skin from Lisanne, about thirty centimeters in length, he also took several samples before starting the procedure. He noticed that the skin tissue was not uniform (the widest part measured between eight to fifteen centimeters wide, while other sides only reached three centimeters). Exams confirmed that the skin came from the shinbone, the femur. As Coriat wrote it: it was "covered by the first agents of decomposition and dust-witness of the dark corner where the rest of the body probably still lies". And she claimed that this piece of skin was "today part of the set of evidence of a possible homicide". Because the date of finding was known - August 29th 2014 - it would allow the coroner to establish with more certainty the moment of death, or the conditions in which the body remained afterwards, Adelita Coriat wrote. The skin had black circular spots on approximately one fifth of its surface, the largest of which measures seven millimeters in diameter. The coroner also found other red spots on the skin; products of muscle hemoglobin. In some parts of the skin there were holes, between eight and ten on the whole surface; signs of the presence of other types of insects. And here the first scientific problem arose: "If we start from the assumption that the girls died during the first week of April, today, five months after the event, the larvae should not be present. They have a whitish appearance and measure approximately one and a half centimeters. They do not reach a dozen. They are the first devourers of the corpse. This indicates to the coroner that the body remains, or remained, in a moist space, under shade, at low temperatures." So, the forensic pathologist stated that he has the impression that the found piece of skin had been buried underground. And he asked himself how this initially ball-like piece of skin could have been recognized by the people who found it as being human tissue/skin. The skin had not yet decomposed (and therefore was not emitting odour). Which in itself is also strange, as the first thing that should normally start to decompose, are the soft tissues including the skin.

CONSERVED BONES
When the coroner examined the tibia bone, he realized that it did not have bony alterations. When he cut the bone to the marrow, he detected that the inside of the bone was dry, well preserved and without traces of putrefaction. The bone marrow in the femur and tibia was not decomposed, intact and unaltered. Something very similar was seen with the femur bone; the marrow was almost intact.

BACK TO THE SKIN
Evidence may have been manipulated, concluded the forensic specialist. When the decomposition process begins, the skin tends to fray, but not embolize with dirt, said a forensic anthropologist, consulted by newspaper La Estrella de Panama, who preferred to not have his name published. At the discretion of the scientist, the state of conservation of the evidence (the rolled up ball of skin, the femur and tibia bone) can be a sign that: 

"they [these bodily remains] were kept in a cold, shady and humid place". According to the anthropologist specialist, the state in which this piece of skin was found, "does not seem to be part of the natural process of decomposition". The rounded shape, he said, could have been acquired by staying in a bag, hidden deposit or in a kind of container. The piece of skin seemed to have been manipulated, he said. "It seems that it had been stored in a clogged environment. Buried in the earth, the decomposition of soft tissues must have and should have been faster. 

The bone endures in the ground, but Panama's tropical climate accelerates decomposition", he added. With regard to the black spots that are seen in a fifth part of the piece of skin, the scientist explained that it can be the product of colonies of fungi or bacteria that settle on the skin. The holes, he explained, could be made by non-stationary predators or, perhaps, microorganisms, he specified. The presence of larvae is important because it helps determine the post-mortem interval, from the moment that death occurred until the corpse was found. Since this discovery, on August 29, no new evidence has been collected or collected."

So, to summarize 
Froon's bones still had some skin attached to them, but Kremers's bones were clean from any body tissue remnants and they also appeared to have been bleached. A piece of skin from Lisanne's leg was found five months after the girls disappeared, and it was for about 4/5th intact and in an early stage of decomposition. Which makes a contrast with the clean bones from Kris, which were already found in June 2014. Also, the piece of skin that was found was manipulated by someone, the forensic specialists thinks. Perhaps a 3rd party stored Lisanne's few bones and soft tissue somewhere else, cool and protected, and then placed them in the jungle much later. Or is it possible that Lisanne's bones and skin somehow naturally ended up in a spot which naturally preserved them? Such as... I don't know, maybe cool water? Could the river water have been so cold as to preserve the skin and marrow to that extent for up to 5 months? This seems no option, as the water would have washed away Lisanne's skin tissue and bone remnants a long time ago, as well as changed the look of the molecules of the skin, which was not witnessed or reported on by the coroner. And what's more: the dry bone marrow found by the examiner also points away from water and towards a dry and cool storage place of the bones. Maybe underground, or in a fridge. Unfortunately no specific location given of where the skin was found, nor for the majority of the bones.












Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaThis is a Dutch tv clip of the parents of both girls telling about their attempts to find Lisanne and Kris in Panama and this is their own search there.

At the start of August 2014, so 4 months after the girls went missing, the parents of Kris followed the exact same trail that the girls took, based on the evidence of their location from their photos. You can watch Kris' parents walk the route the girls took in this youtube video for which I made English subtitles. And after passing the top of the Il Pianista trail, they saw for themselves that there is simply one track you can follow. Kris' father says that he and his wife think there is no way you can get lost here, given that there are no exits. It leads you in about an hour walking time through a simple ongoing path from the Mirador, passing two quebrada gullies, forest and small streams, to an open stretch of meadow fields with some scattered small sheds. There are in fact two finca's located in that meadow; a finca is the equivalent of a Russian dacha; a small second house in the countryside, often no more than a wooden basic house or even a shed in Panama. So at about an hour's walk from this first small stream after the Pianista summit (the place where photos #507 and #508 were taken), there was in theory the opportunity for Kris and Lisanne to find shelter in one of such finca's. But when rescue workers started searching the area, they weren't there. What also stands out in this video is that the girls took tourist-style photos at the top of the Pianista trail (around 13:00 pm if we go by the digital camera's time settings), and also when they kept following the path downhill, passing the first small water stream, around 14:00 pm, but.. then there were around two more hours to go before the girls started to make their first emergency phone call attempt. In which only the missing photo 509 may have been taken. Where did they walk to during those next two hours? The parents say on camera that there is literally nowhere you can seriously fall on this trail, or where you can get lost. It's one trail, surrounded by mountain walls. Either you walk on, or you walk back. If you walk on, there is another water stream soon after, which is like a mini waterfall; Kris' father says on camera that he doesn't understand why the girls wouldn't have taken photos there, as it is a pretty sight. They also could have known about it beforehand because they had looked the trail up online the day prior. So why not take a photo here, like they had already done with some other pretty spots, Hans Kremers wonders out loud? And walking further, still on one clearly defined trail, the parents come up to a meadow of sorts, which would have had stunning views on April 1st 2014 when the girls were there, as it was nice cloudless weather. Yet here were no photos taken there either. Which Kris' father finds quite strange. And if the girls had thought initially that moving on from the Mirador, further down the jungle would bring them somehow back to Boquete or to civilization, then they would have known by now that this was not the case. The wide views make it clear that Boquete is not in this direction. And Kris' parents think that they would definitely have turned around at that point. The Kremers family lawyer Enrique Arrocha even hiked the trail himself and went all the way to where the bones were found, which is further up north. He also doesn’t believe the trail is poorly marked (or that the girls got lost). 

So, up until the meadow, the parents didn't see or pass any dangerous spot where you can slip, or fall, or injure yourself in any serious way. No ravines, no steep descents. The parents of Kris therefore think that between the river spot where the last picture was taken and the meadow, something strange must have happened. They hint at foul play here. Because the next 'contact' was made a week later, in the middle of the night ("the nighttime photos") in what Kris' parents think was some sort of a cave in which the girls were sitting. Or a path where they had ended up. And the orange red coloured rocks that are seen in some of the nighttime photos are only said to be found in that part of the jungle that descends near the Pianista trail, Hans Kremers says. Not following the trail beyond the spot of the last daytime photos. I am not sure he is correct about this however, and there are also possible spots with such orange tinted rocks away from the Pianista Trail and its hinterland. But Kris' parents are convinced the girls did not voluntarily walk on for days. They refuse to believe that Kris and Lisanne got lost, after seeing for themselves that after you reach the top of the Pianista trail, the path continues on for kilometers in a clearly visible and safe manner*. And by 16:00 pm the girls would have surely turned around and walked the same trail back normally, knowing how long the walk up until then had taken them. Kris' parents also do not believe that the girls would have ventured off the path. "They wouldn't be so stupid" they say and besides, there were no other roads to take and hardly any possibilities to leave the beaten path. "You'd really have to make an effort to get lost here", Kris' mother says in the video. Which maps of the area confirm and local guides agree with. And if one of them had broken something, they would "definitely have stayed on the path as well", the parents emphasize. And within three days the first local aide team went down this same path, finding nothing, not even foot prints of the girls. The guide F., who joined them in their reconstruction trek, told the parents during this video track that he didn't find them on this trail either when he went out looking for them on Thursday April 3rd. They weren't there. *On May 29th of 2014, the parents of Kris say to local newspaper La Prensa: "My daughter was kidnapped! I don't know by who, but I'm sure she was kidnapped."

Of course there are good arguments for another scenario. Some people say that when you notice that the sun is setting and you are still many hours away from home (host family in this case), that a certain panic will wash over you. Perhaps they thought that another settlement was close by, if only they kept walking on. Perhaps locals or the tour guide they had spoken with the day prior had told them that they could just walk on. Or perhaps someone heard about their disappointment regarding the delayed/cancelled school volunteer work and informed them that Alto Romero has a small school too, for the children of native people. Maybe they had been made interested in this place beyond the Pianista summit. But it makes no sense why neither of the girls told their parents or the boyfriend about this then beforehand. Or they may have walked on after the summit, passing the small stream (of photos 507 and 508) and mistakenly thinking they were the two rivers and that at the end of the path, at the meadows, Alto Romero already had to be? It's all speculation. But the girls were not dressed for a long jungle walk. They were more dressed for a short hike up and down a mountain, wearing shorts and tank tops and without provision or survival equipment. Not even a hat or sunscreen was brought along (aka: were found) and neither anti-mosquito spray, despite investigators announcing early in the investigation that the girls were seen buying large quantities of anti-mosquito spray in a local pharmacy on the day of their disappearance. Why wasn't any of that spray found in their backpack? So I don't believe that they planned to go too much further than the summit of the Pianista Trail. Other people wrote that this stretch of trail is also used by drug traffickers, trekking from Colombia to Costa Rica. That it is by no means just a safe quaint little rural road. But the jungle does close in on you quickly at that point and Kris and Lisanne didn't know the area, so it is difficult to imagine that in the late afternoon, the girls would suddenly decide to venture deeper into the jungle, after having made two failed emergency calls. I put English subtitles in this Dutch spoken video last night.
 

Where could the girls have factually ended up, in between the time of the last photo #508 and the time of their first emergency call that afternoon? Where could little more than 2,5 hours have brought them? Could they have walked all the way to the first big river with monkey bridge - in the time between 14:00 (last normal photo) and 16:39 (first emergency call)? Opinions differ, and unfortunately Kris' parents didn't walk further to the river to demonstrate just how far the girls could have walked until the moment of the first emergency call.... If they had kept walking onward after the first little stream (quebrada), then there are approximately 20 minutes walking time between the 1st and 2nd quebrada (small stream), where the little waterfall is. It is estimated that the girls would have been there around 14:20 and then around 15:00 at the little open field of grass, the paddock. Maybe ten minutes later if they got tired. And what if they thén kept on walking still? Some people say that at 16:30 pm they must have been able to pass the first river crossing, but not the 2nd cable bridge. The first river is a smaller river anyway; it's the second river that has a lot of water and is more dangerous to cross. And just past the river, next to the path, there is a small refugio. But The Travel Channel did send two reporters to walk the same route, and in this video they proved that it takes a lot more time to reach the first river crossing; you'd need to first make it through the night for this, or at least walk a significant amount of extra hours (lawyer Arrocha walked it himself and said it takes almost 12 hours on foot to reach the river from the Pianista Trail). Kris and Lisanne could not have reached it by the time they first called emergency numbers. So then they couldn't have fallen in the river then yet either (and have called for help for that reason).

And what if they turned around once they reached the meadow - or even sooner - and walked back? Walking back means they had no direct reason to photograph the same stretch of terrain again, which may explain the sudden stop of tourist-type photos after #508. And we know that they passed a very photogenic wall of moss, shortly after starting their descent, and they didn't photograph that part of the trail either... Those long moss grown stone walls, which you can see here in the video, were not pictured in any of the photos of the girls that we know about. Maybe they were scared there? In the video, Hans Kremer wonders about this scenario out loud, and counts the time while walking back from the first stream. IF the girls had turned around right after photo 508 was made, they would have ended up just below the Mirador summit by the time the first emergency call would have been made, by Hans Kremers' calculations. Is this where they slid and fell down the steep slopes? But if that were the case, sniffer dogs and local guides scaling down later that same week would have certainly found them. It would also contradict with the fact that their few remains were found more than 14 walking hours up north. Their backpack and belongings and clothes also showed no signs of a slip or a fall; no tearings, no damage, nothing. On the Boquete side of the mountain near the summit, there are some small wooden huts hidden and scattered around the area. Is it perhaps possible that the girls walked back and were then followed and waited upon here by someone? Did someone hide them perhaps in one of those huts, or transported them down the mountain by the red car (or truck) that is mentioned by multiple witnesses, coming off the mountain in the late afternoon of April 1st? This car has never been retraced nor was its drivers ever been identified, despite attempts from a private detective, Martín Ferrara O'Donnell, former PTJ, and police. And people noticed it, because it is not usual for cars or trucks to come off the Pianista trail. But in both scenarios there is the problem that their phones would then have made a connection with the cellphone network again.. And investigators never found a connection after approximately 13:40 pm on April 1st. Unless of course they had their phones switched off by then, for whatever reason, or set to flight mode, as they did more often according to reports

If one of them had a mild injury (think of an ankle strain for instance), they would have stayed on the path - or so the parents both stress with conviction in their video. There was fresh streaming water there also. And then they would have been found on day 3 already, when local guide F. walked this same trail to look for them, all the way to the meadow and further. But he did not see them, nor "any trace of them". So we can exclude this scenario most likely too. Another way to get out of that area is to wade through one of the small streams they had to cross. We see Kris crossing the first in photos #507 and #508. These streams were very shallow on April 1st, after a long dry spell and there is no reason whatsoever to assume that Kris and Lisanne willingly went into that water, getting wet feet and following the small stream. It would lead them through rough terrain, and to an unknown location... Why would they voluntarily wade through that water? Most likely scenarios here are probably that they either turned around and walked back to the Pianista Summit, or, that they for whatever reason walked onward, towards the meadow, and then further into the jungle...

Some other details taken from this video: At 05:18 guide F. (called by his pet name Chani) says: "Domingo, don’t say anything about … [film interrupted]". That makes me curious what the other guide Domingo was requested not to talk about. Kris' parents had travelled far to find answers regarding their daughter and her friend's disappearance. I'm sure that to them, any information would have been welcome. So why mention something should not be brought up? And what could it have been? Josefina, a native speaker, emailed me with the following translation: "I told you not to say anything." Another detail from this video is that at 08:50 Roelie Grit (Kris' mother) stands near a steep area and asks the tour guides about it being a visible third path. But F. says 'No no.. That it is only a steep area, not a path'. Unfortunately Hans Kremers did not go down there anyway to film it. I'm sure it is correct, but well... curiosity I suppose. A lot of people will also be curious what would have been passed if the group hadn't stopped at the grassland meadow. Also to get the best idea of where Kris and Lisanne could have ended up theoretically within the time limits of those approximately 2,5 hours between the last normal photo and the first phone call.. The most interesting place to visit would probably be that first river crossing and the monkey bridges... How far from the summit is that place? How much habitation can be found in its vicinity and did those people see or hear anything from the girls? How many people pass those monkey bridges on an average day? But such a trip would have required an overnight stay probably. And even if they didn't want to walk that far: if you go past the wooden fence surrounding the meadow they eventually reached on camera, you can actually cross that grass field and end up at a place that is marked as H13 on the map. There are at least two wooden sheds there, where the girls could have perhaps sheltered until the next day for their return walk to Boquete... Of course, we do not know if Kris and Lisanne actually reached the meadow themselves. And if so, if they even crossed the barbwire fence there (which in the video already shows faulty spots where you can just enter the meadow). Also, this spot at the meadow is a known resting place for the many people who walk this trail, so if they actually made it to there, they could have stayed put and found rescuers as early as April 2nd or 3rd, when guide F. went there to look for them (or so they all say in this video). But the parents of Kris seem to think about foul play at this point and I think this may be behind their choice not to investigate the route further. 

Other things I noticed specifically in the video: at the start of the recording the guides say in Spanish: "Under THESE circumstances?" They may have referred to the rainy circumstances in which this trek was taking place. Or they may have discussed at what pace they were going to climb up the Pianista perhaps? In the end they left at 5:30 am and were at the summit at 08:00 am, so they did about 2 hours and 30 minutes about their climb. About 30 to 45 minutes longer than Kris and Lisanne supposedly did. At 05:18 guide F. talks with guide Laureano B., who walks through the screen (he has featured in many Panamanian TV items on this case, pet name 'Master of the Mountain'). Guide F. is said to be nicknamed the 'Professor of the Mountain', because he knows most about it.
-"Domingo?"        (name)
-- "Si"                    (Yes, tell me) 
-"Te dije que no les digas nada sobre.."  (I tell you that I have nothing to say to you). Josefina, a native speaker, emailed me with the following translation: "I told you not to say anything." And Spanish speaking Manel confirmed this: "I told you not to tell them anything about ..."
-06:31 am: "Hola que tal", says F. to the man with the cap (Hello, how are you?). There is also a warning about the dog.
-07:35 "Cuidado" (Watch out)
-07:44 "Hola patron..." (Hello boss). Spanish speaking Manel told me that in fact "Hello Manuel" is said here.
At 08:13 you don't see the panorama, due to it being cloudy. The camera also seems to be held low, facing the trees. On photo 499 from Kris and Lisanne you see a lot more, and perhaps Kris stood on something to be higher up. She was smaller than Lisanne, quite a bit in fact (around 15 centimeters) which is also not visible in the photo. Shame that we do not see in this video what exactly they may have stood on. Because that would then almost completely exclude the possibility of a 3rd (larger) person (possibly) taking these photos. The photographer also must have stood fairly close in front of Lisanne here, because the girls did not use the zoom option on their camera. At 15:02 guide F. seems to have a disagreement with someone. The other person says that he 'doesn't believe it'. A Spanish speaker told me this is in fact said here: Dice que ellos no creen que ellas se fueron afuera del camino (He says they don't think they went off the trail). No cree? bueno... pa' mi yo no creía, la verdad, pero lo que pasa es que acá es difícil... (He does not believe? Well... for me I did not believe it either, the truth, but what happens is that here it is difficult...). It may have to do with what they point at, through the meadow. Could Kris and Lisanne at the time have walked there? Either way, despite the main message that there are no side paths, it seems here that straight onward through the meadow there is in fact an exit route possibility. You'd have to go past the barbed wire and leave the main path then though. At 19:33 F. talks about the dog. 19:44 "Recuerda la vez"... (Do you remember the time). At 19:46: Luciano, Moisés y el otro estaban...en el segundo paso del rio. (Luciano, Moisés and the other were ... at the second passing of the river). 19:49 "Laureano seguro paso el rio"; (Laureano, the other guide, the Master of the Mountain, sure passed the river). 21:24 "No creo que fuera ahi.. si llueva mañana me voy".. (I don't think it's far from here .. if it rains tomorrow, I'll go). And when the official search group passes them near the end of the video, there is hardly any interaction. Maybe the officials are very serious about their work and not up for pleasantries.

So, despite the path they had chosen after the summit being initially clear to follow and without obvious places where they could injure themselvesthere are also very steep, densely forested and treacherous parts of that jungle when you continue long enough on this path, with rivers, mudslides and dangerous animals. But you need to walk much further for that and actually go to the other side of the mountain. The families' lawyer said that no-one in their right mind would go near that side of the mountain. The Pianista summit (the overlook spot at the Continental Divide) forms part of the boundary between the Panamanian states of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro. The Bocas region is marked by heavy tree cover and is a lot more wild and hostile than the rolling hills around Boquete. So why didn’t the Holandesas notice what they were getting into? Some people think that the girls were chased to that side of the mountain, or were perhaps hallucinating and literally out of their right mind at that stage, running in the wrong direction. But their last daytime photos do seem to show that they did in fact cross the Divide and ended up on the 'wrong' side of the mountain. It is also on the 'wrong' side where their belongings and bones were found. But they started calling emergency services very early on, on day 1, when they could not have been very far away from the good side of the mountain. It's puzzling. If they were lost by then and had simply stayed put, the first small scale independent rescue teams and local guides going out would have found them on day three already. So it seems also unlikely that they got injured so severely that they couldn't go on while walking on that main track. So more mysterious circumstances, and more questions. No wonder this case has gathered huge international attention over the past few years... Had it been definitely known what happened to them, it may not have become such a well known mystery case, but since the known facts are limited and inexplicable - when taking everything into account - people from all over the world have been reflecting about what is the most logical thing that happened here... 

Palm_tree_dude wrote in January of 2020: "I was in Boquete in 2012 collecting seeds from palm trees and other rare exotics. While I was there, I ended up walking the Pianista trail myself. The same trail that these two girls supposedly disappeared on. The trail isn't as hard as you think and the path is well maintained and clearly visible. There aren't any other paths leading off from it, so you can only really go up towards the summit, or back down again; along the same path. You would have to be pretty stupid to wander off course into the jungle and lose sight of the trail. The girls may well have wandered off course, but I seriously doubt that. If you go off the path, the terrain suddenly becomes very difficult, which acts as a deterrent, so you stay on the trail. I passed maybe 100 people on my way up to the top and back down, which took around 5 hours in total as I was stopping to photo-document flora and to collect seeds. Out of the 100 or so people, there was around a 50:50 mix of tourists and natives. So plenty of activity on the trail. It wouldn't have been hard to spot people from a distance if you wandered off, or for those people to hear someone shout if you got lost, or in trouble. There are houses and people's back yards all along the trail, especially in the lower half. But even in the upper sections towards the summit, there are a few shacks and buildings, often with animals and people sitting outside. Say one shack every 150 yards. If a tourist was in trouble, or had an emergency, they could almost certainly reach one of these buildings, or find another tourist or native on the trail. Unless they had stupidly walked far away from the path and got lost (not likely). [..] I seriously doubt they would have gone much further beyond this point though, as I travelled maybe 200 yards past it and then remember saying "no fucking way" before turning back. Not because the trail isn't visible (you can still see the trail), but rather because of all the mud, running water, uneven terrain and weird voodoo shit hanging in the trees. I didn't get anywhere near the supposed monkey bridges where the Panama government claims the girls may have fallen off, into the Serpentine river. Nobody goes that way, especially two young girls in my opinion. I saw several other people turning back as well, quite quickly. There's no way the two girls would have carried on down that route, past the first stream due to the poor terrain and creepiness of the area. I'm talking animal skulls in trees and ceremonial bracelets and bones suspended from trees on string. I guess that's native land you don't want to be treading on. Although I saw a very friendly, smiling native walk past me on that part of the trail, but I wasn't prepared to hang about there. Neither was the group behind me. [..] I find it very hard to believe that they would have deliberately and carelessly wandered off the trail and got lost in this area. Again, common sense prevails. Two young girls wouldn't have wandered off trail, right into the jungle like that. There's photo's of them at that first stream, past the summit, but I reckon they would have turned back after that and got attacked and taken shortly after. The question is... who did it? And if they did genuinely get lost, they must have been crazy to travel that route I described, beyond the summit. Like completely fearless, naive and oblivious to the dangers." [This is just one person's report on the trail, I haven't read many other reports of animal skulls hanging in the trees behind the Mirador, although not many average tourists walk all too far beyond the summit].














Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaWhat had the girls been up to before they arrived in Boquete? 
Lisanne was a very sporty and intelligent girl with an older brother, Martijn. She played volleyball and was described by her friends and family as a very kind, sweet gentle person. In her youth she dealt with some insecurity issues but as a student she gained more confidence. When her dad was struck by a brain bleed she took as much care of him as she could. She followed a 6 month internship in Belgium while studying psychology. She was a thoughtful person who planned everything. Before leaving for Panama, she already arranged a student room for when she came back to Holland. She and Kris had long thought about what country to visit to celebrate their study graduations, and had first suggested to their parents that they wanted to go to Costa Rica. Lisanne's parents were relieved to hear the girls had changed their mind about this at some point.... only to come with the suggestion of Panama! Ai.... the parents were still worried about this country.. But trusted their daughter and her friend. When they said goodbye to their daughters at Amsterdam airport, nobody thought about it possibly being a final goodbye. Kris was 5 minutes late at the airport, which made Lisanne nervous; she was very punctual and rational according to her parents. The girls first travelled to the Panamanian island Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama, where they had a great holiday stay. Spanish language classes combined with sun, beach, excursions and evenings of drinks and dancing and socializing. They skyped with their family at home and told about what a great time they had. Everyone was happy and relieved to hear this. Lisanne wrote in her diary: "Cool experience; bounty islands, snorkeling, we're really detoxing from Dutch life. Taking it easy and lots of patience. Just everything is manana. We have seen a real dolphin and sloth, drank from a coconut and are getting a nice tan. It is very hot, even in the shade. But the sun is lovely and can make a person intensely happy. Going to the disco, Caribbean style. Dancing in a tropical downpour is such a special experience." Aside from learning Spanish, the girls hung out with two Dutch guys they met in Bocas and three other international young men; doing daytime excursions such as island hopping, deep boarding and starfish watching, and spending evenings together eating, playing cards and dancing. After their short holiday in Bocas del Toro, Kris and Lisanne took a (shuttle) bus to Boquete. A rustic mountain village where also many Americans and backpackers are staying. Both friends went there to learn better Spanish and to work in a children's daycare/school. Boquete thrives on tourism and has until this day many young backpackers visiting. Lisanne had enjoyed herself thoroughly during the first two weeks in Bocas del Toro, but once they arrived in Boquete, homesickness flared up for her. She wrote tearfully in her diary about doubting the whole undertaking and longing to be with her parents again. That she had initially felt that this trip would be an important experience for herself to take along with her during the rest of her young adult life, but that she now felt like she failed that test and just wasn't ready for the challenge of living everyday Panamanian life with a family she didn't know, speaking a language she hardly understood. But she tried to pull herself together again the next days.

The girls planned to start their volunteer work at the local children's care place, called Aura, right away on Monday (31st of March). But when they arrived there on time, the school staff were unfriendly and seemed not to know who they were and what they came to do there. They told the girls that they made a mistake with the dates, and that they could not start working there that week. If they wanted, they could come back a week later. Lisanne wrote about it in her diary: “There was not yet a place or work for us so we could not start.… The [Spanish] school thought it odd as it was all planned since months ago. Tomorrow they will try and get a hold of the head teacher… This was a real disappointment.” She also noted the staff they spoke with was "rude and not at all friendly". Lisanne also told her parents about this, saying that they had been sent away and that they were disappointed by it, but had pulled themselves together and were planning to do some nice things that week. Kris was also disappointed, to the point of no longer wanting to work for this school at all. That same Monday she asked the staff at the Spanish language school to please look for another work place as soon as possible. With a lot of free time on their hands suddenly that week, the two friends also looked for daytime excursions in the info files of the language school. According to statements later made by the staff, they wanted to climb the local volcano, but they also read at the language school about the Il Pianista walk; a "pleasant, half day hike. The hike is 2,5 hours to get to the Mirador, then the same way back down the trail". They apparently asked the teachers about this walk. A local guide was recommended to them and they were said to have made an appointment with him to climb the local volcan Baru on Saturday and a strawberry farm on Wednesday. (Juan uploaded this tourist video of the Baru climb; six hours up and down, through bad weather at times and you may end up seeng this at the summit). For some reason they made no appointment for the Tuesday. Some sources said they couldn't find a guide for that Tuesday, others that they wanted to save some money and that the Lonely Planet guide made it sound like it was an easy enough hike to do on their own.  -  So in her diary Lisanne wrote that she was feeling homesick. But she also reprimanded herself that yes, she missed her parents a lot, but that this was what she had wanted to do and so she wouldn't tell her parents how homesick she was, because she didn't want to worry them. "Why did I want to make this trip to Panama? I have tears in my eyes and over my cheeks as I write this. The mountains are beautiful and the [host] family friendly, and I am with Kris who is so familiar to me. But I want to go home. I had no problems for [the past]  two weeks, but now I suddenly am completely upset. I was naive to think that I could handle this. I felt that I had to do this, in order to finally be really happy with myself. But so far I have failed." But the next day she already sounded more upbeat in her writings: "Here I am again, and I think I am slowly getting adjusted here!" Her final log entry hints that she was already looking forward to putting such cares behind her.“Anyway,” she advises herself, in the diary’s last line, Another day tomorrow, hasta la mañana! And Kris also pepped herself up with the possibility of a new working project being offered soon: “Anyway, go with the Panamanian flow.”And then under April 1st, a big line is drawn in Lisanne's diary, and the diary then remains empty... I got a sinister feeling when hearing about these diary entries, and wonder if Lisanne thought back about it all during her ordeal in the jungle; should she have listened to her intuition and had she really not been in the right place here in Panama? Was it just homesickness or some subtle foreboding feeling she had? Brrrrr... I can't help but think just how different this holiday destination was from their home country in some respects. Ending fatally, causing a lot of grief. They wanted to make a difference, doing something for less fortunate children. But Latin America can also be a harsh place.

Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaKris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaI watched a long program about Lisanne's life, called Break Freewhere Lisanne's brother returned to Panama to walk the same route as the girls did. You can see the entire Dutch TV program they made about this here. I also translated the whole series and uploaded it in parts further down this blog post for you. So in the program, relatives also are interviewed. They tell that the very sweet and kind Lisanne "always said, she didn't have that many friends". And one or more relatives say that they feel while watching the photos of Lisanne, that she was literally "on top of the world" in Boquete. That she had overcome her insecurity and had gone out and achieved something on that summit of the Pianista trail.. I found that hard to watch to be honest. I don't even know these girls personally, but after reading so much about them, you feel almost connected to them. Especially knowing how restrained Lisanne herself was about the whole trip and how homesick she was once she arrived in Boquete, away from the beach and fun. These two girls had their whole lives ahead of them and the feeling I got from reading about Lisanne's diary entries is that she perhaps felt she 'had' to make such a trip, but actually found it kind of scary. It's such a hype among young (First World) people now, and for a good decade or more already, to have this gap year between studies or after studies and go far far far away. It's just... perhaps it becomes a form of pressure for some people. It may be a wonderful experience and a rite of passage of sorts, into adulthood. But being so far away from home is not for everybody. And social media often mainly shows the glossy highlights.. This is a trailer for the Break Free program about Lisanne, right with English subtitles. Like I said, if you are interested in viewing the entire program, scroll further down this post for an upload where I added English subtitles).


A week of delay, that is nothing really.. if only they hadn't felt pressed to go out and do all these daily tour things right away... As a reaction to the unexpected delay in the volunteer work. Despite Lisanne warning other young tourists from their group in Bocas del Toro not to go on excursions without a guide. I thought they were brave to happily climb up that trail by themselves. Seeing footage of the trail, I'd have probably turned around at the first frightening turn. That Pianista trail gets so creepy higher up. Did they perhaps run into someone that fateful day? Or felt so confident around new people after their successful two week stay in Bocas, that they were too trusting and relaxed around strangers in Boquete? Or did they feel energized after their successful ascend, and simply walked on too far?  -  A nice personal anecdote from the Break Free memorial program was that Lisanne made a little pact with her father before she left; they stood outside one evening before departure, and it was a full moon. Lisanne and her father made an agreement; when they would look at the moon, they would know about each other that the other was watching it too. At some point she was in Panama and sent her father an app message saying: "Well dad, I have looked at the moon a few times now since I've been here, and that way I know that you are with me."  

Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaKris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, Panama

Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaKris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, Panama













This is a very interesting and insightful short radio investigation in Panama on the case, by a Dutch criminal journalist. I added English subtitles: 
This is a very interesting video I invite you to watch. Well, listen to in fact, as it is a Dutch radio program (original source). But I added English subtitles to it as well as I could (clearly far from a pro haha). It aired on July 20th, 2014 but the program was made already in May of that year. A Dutch criminal investigator and journalist, Okke Ornstein, who lives in Panama and also writes about crime and corruption there, goes to Boquete in 2014 once the worst of the media storm has died down. He interviews several other Dutch people living there. One woman funded a private detective (Martín Ferrara O'Donnell, former PTJ) as soon as the 2nd day of the girls' disappearance, "out of loyalty and sympathy". The retired Dutch policeman who gets interviewed in this radio program, seems to insinuate that despite the showing off of large forces to look for the girls, in reality the investigation was poorly executed. This article in a local Panamanian article seems to confirm this, and explains that Sinaproc staff were well intending, but unwillingly messed up not just a possible crime scene in the jungle, but also the crime scene of the girls' bedroom for instance, by not entering it with criminal specialists or even the police. Interviews with witnesses were also said to have been potentially botched, as no official guidelines were followed. And they messed up all the fingerprint proof, according to the article. But Sinaprocs chef defended himself and his team and said that they did preliminary investigations early on in the case, when it wasn't even clear yet if the girls were missing or not. And that they made only photos of their room, without touching anything, and interviewed some people to establish where these girls had gone (in part 2 of this blog series you can see many photos of the girls' bedroom, and how everything was moved around in that room). I suppose that is a reasonable argument, given how long it took officials from the capital to make it to Boquete.. But in the Netherlands, law enforcers and search teams always start from a worst case scenario. So even if these girls could have just spent the night elsewhere and be back again the next day, their room would still have been treated as a potential crime scene. Just in case. The Dutch policeman also criticizes the Panamanian officials that stepped in later. A lot of camera teams were present and army-style dressed officials made it seem as if Panama did everything they could, he says, but vital steps were missed: fingerprints weren't investigated and checked - something which is normally extremely common in Latin America I have read -, nor taken from the volunteers and those who found the girls belongings and bones; the jungle cabin from one of the guides wasn't checked by sniffer dogs (who were trained to find living people) or for evidence of blood or DNA. They didn't go proactively after witness statements or interrogated potential suspects from the area

Camera footage showing the girls that day in Boquete was either never released or they were too late to prevent it from being overwritten. Local guides already went out for their own research before the large Sinaproc team arrived, in the first days after their disappearance. Uncoordinated and unchecked (from a police point of view; from a human point of view the sooner someone went looking for them, the better). And they said that they didn't find anything; not even traces of the girls. Ornstein also has some critical things to say about the state prosecutor on the case. Betzaida Pitti is the right hand of Ana Belfon he says, a person who used to work for the dictatorial regime of Noriega. You can hear the whole show in this video I add here; English subtitles were added.

Quote from Ornstein: "The fact that you hired a detective so soon, does that imply that you expected it to be a crime? Foul play?" - "Yes. Immediately. Right away yes. That risk was very high, yes. The chance that it was a crime. We estimated that chance right away at 80 to 90%. Of course it is possible that you get lost and stay away for a couple of days or so. That is possible.. But I also approach this from within my professional background (as an investigation and suspect search specialist)"

Conflicting times
By the way; initially the radio presenter and interviewed lady made a mistake in this radio airing, and assumed that the girls started their Pianista trail tour around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. And that they would have reached the summit by 19:00 pm, which would be near sunset in Panama at that month of the year. They made this show in May of 2014 however, before the backpacks and bones were found. Or the digital camera with the photos. So they could only go by suspicions and witness statements back then. The hired private investigator interviewed everyone living on the Pianista trail and came up with different eye witness statements. Witnesses all told him that they saw the girls climb the Pianista trail on April 1st around 14:00 pm. Which matches the statement of the (now dead) taxi driver at the time - more on him further down this blog post. This taxi driver stated to police that he picked them up around 13:30 pm and dropped them off at the start of the Pianista Trail around 13:45 pm. He died under suspicious circumstances aged 34 a year later, when he was found floating in a shallow pool of water during his work hours. One witness confirmed that he saw the girls waiting for the taxi at the side of the road close to 13:30 pm. Which was about the time that the taxi driver said to have picked them up. He already had two (unidentified) male passengers in his taxi then. And there are also the statements from the language school staff, who both saw the girls leave there around 13:00 pm, before they went to their guest house to get walking shoes, and then took a taxi to the Pianista trail [Update; later staff member Eileen withdrew that statement and said that the girls hadn't been at the language school at all that day.. Very confusing..]. Police also told the owner of the Spanish language school, Ingrid Lommers, that they had video footage, showing the girls in a shop in Boquete in the morning of April 1st. Nothing was ever heard again from that video footage, other than that it got accidentally overwritten. But I added Ingrid's social media statement about this further down below this blog post. I also added a video below of her declaring this on Dutch TV. Multiple witnesses on the Pianista trail stated that they saw Kris and Lisanne walk up the mountain later, around 14:00 pm in fact.
     












So, what might have happened? More about the many mysterious elements and discrepancies in this case
Neither Dutch nor Panamanian forensic teams could provide a cause of death. The Dutch felt it was likely an accident, whereas some Panamanians stated initially that it could also perhaps have been a criminal act. The case was first officially declared “a homicide and a crime against personal integrity,” by Panama’s attorney general in the Chiriquí Judicial State report. [La Prensa, April 22nd 2014; 'The disappearance of two young Dutch women tourists in Panama on April 1 has now become a homicide investigation']. And in October of 2014, two forms from the Panamanian State officials described the disappearance as a case of abduction. But when forensic teams failed to come to a definitive and official conclusion, and after Betzaida Pittí replaced the first prosecutor of the investigation, the case was closed and considered an accident after all: the girls had decided to continue past the tourist portion of the trail into the Continental Divide region, which is known to be extremely wild, treacherous terrain. They started their hike on a sunny, blue sky day, but endured some rain the second day, which may have turned the paths muddy and hard to walk perhaps. There was even an earthquake on April 2nd, south of the Panamanian town of David, although this played no role in this disappearance case according to investigators. According to Dutch officials, the girls perished due to a fall. They think that the girls may have both fallen down a ravine. Or perhaps Kris fell first, Lisanne tended to her, then photographed her remains in the dark and moved on alone; after which she also fell, broke her ankle and foot, before she fell into the river and died too. Or they may both have died from injury or infection. There are other theories, for instance that poisonous animals could have killed them. They may also have died from hunger, exertion and the elements. The girls were very lightly dressed so they may have suffered from hypothermia. I heard from an astronomer that on April 1st 2014 it was a new moon, meaning there was no moon to be seen in the night sky. So it was the worst moment to get lost in the jungle, because it must have been all dark out there. This would have been the case in the next few days also..

And no compass, no extra food and only one water bottle was brought along by Kris and Lisanne, so dehydration is also a risk factor. Although there was running natural water in that area, and a human body can last without food for quite some time (for the 10 days they are estimated to have survived food should not be the biggest problem directly). On June 29th 2019 for instance rescuers found a 73 year old man who had been missing for 10 days in a canyon in LA; he had survived after finding water in a creek. But he had not eaten. Nevertheless he was "walking and speaking". Despite not having eaten in at least five days. Showing that not everyone is weak and immobile after 5+ days of no food, as long as there is water available. There was food also to be found for the non-picky; worms, plants, small bugs and so on. Also an unopened sweets wrapper was found in their backpack; would starving girls leave it really unopened before dying? I don't know.. Although you do weaken rapidly without food. But without water, you won't last long, especially not in the humid jungle where you sweat out so much moisture. There were streams in the wilderness behind the Pianista Trail, but some of those are said to have contained giardia parasites and other diseases and once you catch that, the rate at which you lose water and dehydrate due to violent diarrhea makes you worse off than if you hadn't been drinking it at all. Although I am doubtful of this, looking back at this youtube video, where Kris' parents walk the same route as the girls did after the Pianista summit, a local guide drinks handfuls of water from the stream. Fast flowing, cold water; there is usually nothing wrong with that, unless it gets contaminated with pesticides or something at the source. It must be clean enough for the locals therefore. And some other streams are also considered drinkable. They had a plastic water bottle to collect water efficiently. There was also rain at some point. Someone wrote on Websleuths about this specific aspect of the case: "I've hiked over 3000 miles in my life, and I've done a lot of climbing and mountaineering in my life. Two things that have struck me in addition to the effects of malnutrition. One is that they almost obviously had access to water. Without food AND water, they would not have lasted until the 8th. I know that almost goes without saying, but it's an important point. If one of them was injured, they were close enough to water that the other could ferry enough water in their one small water bottle to keep them alive. The effects of having no water is much faster than starvation. I once ran low on water in the Sierras for a day and I barely had the strength to walk downhill and was almost stumbling like I was drunk. Aron Ralston's story of getting his arm stuck in a Utah canyon is a good example of this. He was probably hours from death after 6 days. At least one of the girls survived at least 10." I agree with this author. It seems likely that they had access to running water, if they were mobile: the stream that is visible on photo 507 and 508, another stream about 20 minutes further, and the big river with the multiple monkey bridges. Had they no access to water, then it was unthinkable that one of them (seemingly) still operated the iPhone on day 11 after their disappearance. And if they had issues with parasite infections and diarrhea then the jeans shorts from Kris would have shown microscopic evidence of that; which it did not. A chilling case, either way.

The girls are Dutch and in Holland life is very organized; cell phone reception mostly everywhere, the country is overall flat as a pancake, there is little wild nature to get lost in. Not many youngsters learn how to stay safe in the wilderness here, or join the scouts. So why not be more cautious of the unknown? Just imagine; you lost track, the dog has gone, it is getting dark, there are the sounds of a jungle which you are not familiar with; trees everywhere, no cell coverage and you didn't dress for the jungle or brought many supplies. Bare arms and legs, nothing to sleep in or under. You must be so afraid. And that for at least a week, going by the current evidence. It is imaginable that the girls simply walked too far on April 1st and realised too late that the sun was setting. At that day, sunset was around 18:40 pm (sunrise around 06:30 am). It sets relatively early in Panama and once it is dark, it gets really pitch black dark in the jungle often, especially when the moon is at its smallest, as was the case that night. Perhaps the girls panicked and instead of staying put on the road, waiting for the daylight to walk back, they tried to find their way back with the light of their mobile phone and slipped and injured themselves? They may simply have freaked out at the thought of spending a cold frightening night in the jungle alone, and decided to keep walking back, possibly getting turned around and walking in circles, and eventually in entirely the wrong direction?

Local tour guides in Boquete understand that not every tourist can afford 25-45 dollars for a guided tour, but are clear about it that tourists shouldn't be surprised then when they do get lost. They are walking in the wilderness here, not in some small well organized man-made piece of nature. The mountains know no mercy. In Panama they call it 'el horror nocturno': it gets cold at night, it rains, you don't see anything as it gets pitch dark and everywhere are the sounds of animals of the night. That is scary; your thoughts run wild. You don't know in advance how you will psychologically and physically react to such a situation. Despite the family saying it is an easy path that you cannot get lost on, this documentary on the case (a complete audio version of some of the first articles from Jeremy Kryt) shows that going over the path which the girls may have taken is no small feat once the rain starts to fall. The small monkey bridges over the river are so dangerous and unreliable when they are slippery that not even search dogs were allowed to pass them. The girls took off on a sunny day but several days later there was  rain. Which can limit your sight to just a few meters. I also saw a video on all this in which local guides describe what happens when even they get lost in that same jungle sometimes. One senior tour guide told about how a group of 8 guides on a training mission got disoriented and lost on the Bocas side of the Divide, the same area where Kris and Lisanne went missing. "First they got lost. Then they started to fight about which route to take. Until finally the group split up over it."

 "The feeling that comes over you when you are lost in the jungle is "a form of forest madness. Once you get lost up there you change. You are not the same person you are down below. Some people go crazy and start to sprint down the trail. It's like a nightmare to be lost in the jungle." 

Others mention the confusing set of trails down there. If one of them got injured or suffered a snake bite, then you'd expect the healthy one to hike on and try to find help. But if neither of them knew how to get out, they were less likely to separate. At some point the Dutch women would have had to pick an arbitrary direction and start walking. The further they would have gone without seeing something familiar, the more scared they would have been. If you don't have a map or a compass it is actually very easy to end up walking in circles. They had just come from a town and may have thought that there would be another town on the other side of the divide. They may have not understood that they were heading in a deep dark wilderness. And all the locals you see on these jungle trails carry huge machetes.. It seems risky really that the girls ventured out so deep into the wild alone, without even as much as a knife. Another important detail: in this blog post, a local writes that there is a particular strange phenomenon going on in Panama that makes it extra important to carry a compass, when going out for a hike: "Here’s why: The tiny, narrow country of Panama runs in an East-West direction, almost doubling back on itself, serpent-like. Owing to a peculiar optical illusion, the sun here appears to rise in the West, not the East. If the women were not aware of this peculiarity, they would be pulled in the wrong direction, away from town, further into the jungle. This alone is a powerful, potentially tragic story element." Nevertheless: the video made by Kris' parents shows us that simply getting lost on day one, around 16:30 pm was unlikely. The video shows also that the road is used frequently by locals and their cattle and is by no means desolate. And that falling down beyond the Mirador in ravines or anything of the sort is as good as impossible; the path is surrounded by rock walls or trees. In the area behind the stream of photo 508, they could have at worst suffered a dislocated ankle or something like that, or perhaps an asthma-related attack for Lisanne. The girls were responsible and smart, they had read online about the Pianista Trail that they had to return on the same path. It seems therefore illogical that they would voluntarily leave the path, knowing how flimsy they were dressed and what light package they brought along. Even if they mistakenly assumed that walking on after the summit would somehow bring them back to Boquete in a loop (and there is no evidence that they did and no official information would have told them to). Even then they would have realized after a while that the road only brings you further into the jungle. Logic is not always easy to fare on, but logic would normally dictate then to stop, find a place to spend the night and return on the same road the day after. It may explain them calling 911 the first times; realizing they wouldn't make it back home before dark. But in such a situation they would have stayed on the path in all logic. And if one had been injured, the other could have walked back to Boquete the next day. It also seems unlikely that Kris was mortally injured early on, because her iPhone received the right PIN codes for five more days, and her head and healthy looking hair (as far as you can tell this from a photo; the hair looked clean at least) were pictured on a nighttime photo of April 8th.

Several other tourists have gone missing in this same region, but they were in fact found by search teams. For instance, the Colombian 33 year old tourist Natalia Zurruaga (also called Zuluaga in other news articles) also got lost on the Il Pianista trail in Boquete in 2016, but she was found safely by rescue teams, and quickly too; she was reported missing on the Friday and as soon as rescue teams headed out to look for her on the Saturday, they found her very quickly that same day. In another situation, two female teachers were found and rescued by Sinaproc and police in the Nürüm district of Comarca Ngöbe Buglé. They were lost in the wild and phoned 911 at 17.30 pm. Rescue teams found them at 03.00 am (in darkness!), after 7 hours of searching. The teachers suffered from dehydration, bruises, hypothermia and exhaustion. And in September 2013 a young German couple in their late 20's also got lost in the jungle north of Boquete, according to Miguel Angel Gonzalez from Hostal Mamallena. From what I understand they were also found soon after. 

The Dutch verdict: the girls most likely fell, got injured and died. The most prominent Dutch theory of what happened to them, is that they moved further into the jungle for unknown reasons, tried to pass a river on the treacherous monkey bridges, accidentally slid off a slippery slope, injuring themselves, and got stuck in a river bedding or ditch of some sort of which they could not climb back out of. And where they had no cell phone reach. The slope may have been too steep for them to climb back up on without any gear (some encountered by the forensic team on location were up to 30 or 40 meters deep), and they were stuck. The river beds were surrounded by steep rocks which were not easy to climb up to. However, the place where some steep edges are, lie close to the summit of the Pianista trail, and if they had fallen there then rescue teams and (dog) searchers had definitely found them. In this Dutch TV program, a local guide explains this. The region in which Kris and Lisanne seem to have wandered around is not all that large, and people searched for them for weeks, months, yet nobody found them. Sinaproc were certain the girls weren't there. Also, the girls were for many days to come capable of using their phones. If it were truly Kris and Lisanne who handled the phones, then they were conscious and had heard the rescue teams, dogs and all other searchers if they had fallen close to the main trail or in that jungle at all; there was a big reward for the person who found them, so there was extra incentive to find them. Yet, nobody did.. As this author puts it: "One of the perplexing parts is that the Reward wasn’t enough incentive to locate the women. By Panama’s standards, $30,000 is a lot of money. It’s equivalent to $500,000 in a developed country. With $30,000, a local person can buy land, build a house and start a small business in Panama." Kris and Lisanne would also have had mobile phone reception around the Pianista Trail, as long as they were still on the Boquete side. And wouldn't their entire bodily remains then have been found there? Near the place where they made such a deadly fall? Instead, hardly any remains were found and the few bones that did show up were found at least 14 walking hours up north, not near a ravine.. With a severely broken foot and a pelvic bone broken in half, you don't normally walk that far yourself... Which makes the fall theory seem wobbly.

The verdict of the Panamanians: On November 2014, Attorney General Betzaida Pitti publicly declared the cause of death of the women to be a hiking accident, having been “dragged to death” in the river. The official report classifying the case as a homicide was updated, but the new verdict was not backed up by proof. Initially she tried to circumvent this by stating that "it is essential to maintain the confidentiality of the summary to clarify this case.” By then several different case explanations had already passed by. Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon most likely drowned in a river, but they could also have been killed by wild animals according to her report, or they could have fallen into a ravine. Even some of the countries' own journalists criticized the authorities for not providing any forensic evidence. In fact, we already know that the existing science contradicts all three of these theories. The prosecutor (Pitti) also referred to a report prepared by the National Environmental Authority where the presence of wild animals was established in the area that Kris and Lisanne explored. However, in no line of the Dutch case report was any evidence of an attack by a wild animal detected. Not on the remains, not on the clothes and belongings, nowhere. And there are other problems with the drowning theory. For instance, not all the bone remnants were found downstream; some were found upstream (from the Continental Divide, you have rivers streaming down to the Pacific Ocean on one side, and down to the Caribbean Sea on the other, so flowing in different directions). The victims’ highest-placed remains were found at about 2,300 feet above sea level, near the headwaters of the Serpent river, in the upper cloud forest. How could a river have carried the bodies there? Octavio Calderón, one of the criminologists consulted by La Estrella de Panamá, maintains that Kris and Lisanne were murdered. He stated about the body parts found together near the river: 

“Two bones from different parts of the body, from two people, never end up together on a sandbar. This shows that someone placed them there. There is no other reason.” 

It doesn’t make sense that these bones washed-up on the same small riverbank, alongside a river that moves on for many kilometers. Bodies can float due to gases, but bones do not float. They sink. Also, if one or both of the girls had drowned in the slow floating river - as it was at the time - it would have carried the whole body, and most likely would have made them stagnate somewhere in a river bend; not break them up. Several specialists on the matter declared this too; a river like that does not break up a body, not even after a full year in a river, let alone after a month or two. So the entire skeleton should have been found then. Why were only a couple of bones retrieved (on land! Behind and half under a tree! Without any microscopic signs of having bounced off the rocks in the river), and where are the rest of the two skeletons? And how did Kris' pelvic break in half? A river drowning also does not explain why Kris' bones contained phosphates, nor why her once brown shoe ended up on land, bleached into a blue colour. 

Dr. Frank van de Goot, the head of the Dutch team, has initially communicated that he does believe that Kris and Lisanne fell in a ravineand he said at the time: “You can’t really exclude a crime, but I remain [of the opinion] it was an accident scenario.[..]  I can’t completely exclude a crime, but I have nothing to prove that. With an accident, there are a few possibilities, but I can’t prove it.” Van de Goot’s accident theory was met with some skepticism however, in part because of a lack of specifics, such as GPS coordinates or suggestions of where that fall would have exactly taken place. John Tornblom, 32, a guide with more than 10 years of experience in the cloud forests above Boquete, said about it: “If it was really an accident why couldn’t they find more remains? Where are all the big bones? Where are the skulls? There are no animals up there that would eat a skull.” Criminologist Octavio Calderón confirms this and also rules out that the girls have been attacked by wild animals. The assumption is perhaps based on the report presented by the National Environmental Authority, which establishes that there are vipers, pumas and tigers in the area. But, says noted criminologist Sr. Octavio Calderón also, "if the beasts had attacked them, where are the skulls?" These animals do not swallow a skull. Cougars, the criminologist adds, are solitary animals, who avoid interacting with humans. And if a snake had been the cause, it would attack one person, not two at the same time. According to Calderón it’s “strange” for a foot to be broken off at the ankle, remaining in its boot. He finds it also peculiar that most of Lisanne’s bones had tissue attached, while none of Kris’ did. And perhaps the biggest oddity of all; as we've read in a previous subtopic, Kris’ bones – but not Lisanne’s — were hyper-bleached and contained phosphorus, a substance missing from the local non-volcanic soil. This gave rise to the following startling statement by Sr. Calderón: “…the match could indicate the use of fertilizers or chemicals on the remains. Desperation may have led to the attacker to use such substance to ‘disappear’ the evidence. (sic)” The lawyer of the Kremers family, Enrique Arrocha, thinks the same. "If the girls were attacked by wild animals, why are their clothes found intact?" If this aggression had occurred, the blood and tear marks would be clearly visible on the clothes, and this is not the case. So effectively, everything that officials claimed to have caused the girls' demise is a vague assumption in their opinion: one of them may have been injured early on, there could have been a possible fatal injury, some of the nighttime photos appear to have been made pointing upwards with the camera, IF one of them got a snake bite, the river could have dragged them to death and then crashed the bodies apart. Even though their badly injured foot and broken pelvic bone were found on land, 14 walking hours away from said ravines. Frank van de Goot also was interviewed by the Travel Channel's Lost in the Wild episode on this disappearance case by the way. Here you can see summarized how he by 2019 seems to no longer discard a foul play theory entirely, nor mention his ravine fall theory. 

And let's not forget the missing photo #509 and the fact that according to other reports as many as two dozen tourists -mostly women- have 'disappeared' in the area between Boquete and the coast. Not just tourists. When Kinga Philipps from the Travel Channel mentioned to Frank van de Goot that "this area has a bit of a reputation", he replied: "Yes, I know". Kinga: "There are other people who have gone missing here." Frank: "Yes, correct." And criminologist Octavio Calderón said to her about this: "There's hundreds of cases like that." One British traveller has never been found, Alex Humphrey. More on him a bit later in this blog.

And this area... it's not like they were in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, or the Darien Gap... People actually live here and local native people have settlements here. Photos and telephone data suggest that at least one of the girls was alive on April 11th, so how is it possible that in 11 days time, they didn't run into anyone? Not one settlement? Not one native person or search team member crossed their path? It seems very unlikely to me. 

There are trails there, and you can walk in several days to the coast in the north, which is about 66 kilometers away.... There are villages along the way and open spots where farmers let their cattle graze (not 100's of kilometers of impenetrable rainforest such as in Brazil for instance). Or as Juan puts it: "Nobody keeps cows in a jungle! This is a forest at best, not a jungle." Kris and Lisanne were not in a completely uninhabited area. Based on the location where their few bone remains were found, they must have at least crossed the 1st cable bridge (unless you believe they were murdered and a handful of selected and cleaned bones were simply spread out in parts by someone else). And there are inhabited and uninhabited fincas between the 1st and 3rd river crossing.. They are visible within 50-100 meters of distance. There is also deforestation in this area; grassland (paddocks), cattle, domesticated animals and human presence. Especially animals have distinct smells and sounds that are often hard to miss. You can normally notice these inhabited fincas from a distance; their sounds, the smells of their fireplace and their surrounding deforestation and human-made trails which all indicate human presence. When you are in an unknown surrounding, you stick to the path, any path as a hiker. Unless you are hiding from someone, that is. And paths always lead to somewhere, may it be habitation, a plantation, water or even a road. But had Kris and Lisanne spent any decent time near the river, then it seems quite a feat not to bump into anyone, eventually. Not considering the amount of people who live in that area, who pass through it and the scores of people looking for Kris and Lisanne soon after they disappeared. Why has Sinaproc not been able to find the girls between the 4th -12th of April? 

Sinaprocs director Alvarado goes as far as to say to a Dutch newspaper that he does not believe the two girls got lost. But that something else must have happened. Arturo Alvarado, who led the search teams, stated to the media that nobody had EVER stayed lost on the Pianista trail. They had always found them until then. In this newspaper article Sinaproc's chef Arturo Alvarado said on April 8th 2014, that his teams had by then combed through "every zone" where the girls may have ended up. In fact, they covered over 25 different routes in the jungle near Boquete and found nothing. These girls were actively looked for by specialist guides, locals, search dogs, helicopters, SINAPROC, the army, volunteers, local natives, farmers, tourists and at least one of them supposedly lived for a staggering eleven days after disappearing (last time the iPhone was switched on and off). Yet nobody found them? Or their entire skeletons? Despite their bones being found close to the small and permanently inhabited village of Alto Romero and despite a 30.000 dollar reward on their heads? Like the head of Sinaproc declared; perhaps the girls weren't out in the jungle at all during these search parties. In this newspaper Alvarado defended Sinaproc's search operations: "Alvarado stressed that Sinaproc has done everything possible to find Kris and Lisanne in and around Boquete. His people have traveled nearly 1,000 kilometers "by land, in the air and by sea" in searches." [Alvarado was shot twice in 2017 by the way]

In this local newspaper article, a local called Burak said that he was "surprised that these two Dutch youngsters would have reached this area where the indigenous found the backpack with their belongings, they would have had to walk for many hours, in spite of the fact that on the way there are settlements of cattle breeders who would have been able to help them." And bloggers and tourists and hikers all write the same thing; not a day went by when they walked in this area without running into someone. May it be a local, a farmer, another tourist or a tour guide. So how come nobody saw these super tall European women, lost in a relatively small area, with quite some open spaces, while it was in their interest to be found. They would - rationally speaking - have tried to get attention, and everybody was looking for them.. They would have heard the helicopters approaching and flying over; they could have tried to get the pilots' attention, as so many lost tourists in the jungle did before them. Lisanne was incredibly tall, especially for Panamanian standards. Yet, the helicopter found and saw nothing. Local mountain guide David Miranda got the question how many people use the rugged mountain path from Boquete to the Ngobe village of Alto Romero and pass over the Serpent River where the girls got lost, and he answered:“Fifteen or 20 people a week. Sometimes more.” Given the mostly beautiful sunny clear weather in the first week of April, there may have been even more people on those trails behind the Pianista in 2014. He added: If the Holandesas were out on the trail “for more than a few days, then they probably weren’t out here alone”. If you go to part 2 of this blog series, you can read a blog entry from a weathered traveller who walked the entire route from Boquete to the coast of Panama, passing the region where Kris and Lisanne disappeared in and where parts of their remains were found. As you can see in the added photos, this place is not one impenetrable dense jungle. It has many open spaces, rivers, bridges where locals daily pass, small settlements and huts to find shelter in. 

Although on this local Boquete site the terrain behind the Mirador is described as follows: "If you are out of shape and not actively fit, an inexperienced hiker, and unaccustomed to hiking off the beaten path, then you should not be helping out in the search. The terrain is not easy for the inexperienced, it is rocky, straight up, and rough with as many as 22 trails in that area. These are not regular trails meaning that they are not travelled on daily like the popular El Pianista Trail." Alternatively, since Lisanne was said to be an adventurer and very sporty, she may have been confident that she knew what she was doing when they kept moving on, and that she could easily backtrack. But viewing the day time photos of them off-track, I do get a feeling of them being less exuberant than in the first photos; it feels like they are worried. Why? The fact they tried calling emergency services as early as 16:39 pm when it was still light also underlines that early on something went wrong. Did they call because they went the wrong way and realised it early on? Or because something frightened them? But what? 

And why did they only try to call emergency services twice on the first day and then decided to not only switch their phones off, but to also wait a whopping 14 hours (!) to try calling emergency services again? Trying to spare your phones' battery is one thing, but with two mobile phones available, and knowing that the first 24 hours of a disappearance/lost case are vital, it beats me why the girls, being in a state of panic most likely, would switch off their phones for so long after two meager emergency call attempts. Two young girls who use their mobile phones most of the day normally; would they really think so early on already about the possible prospect of staying a long long time alone in that jungle and thus showing the discipline to keep those phones switched off most of the time and severely limit their call attempts? It seems not even a wise decision tactically. Because after four emergency number calls on day two (all before 14:00 pm), they switched their phones off again and waited for no less than 19 hours, before trying to call again. Girls who were normally attached to their phones and used them all the time? It makes no sense, especially not if you believe they got lost, because that would have meant they were constantly changing position as they moved on, trying to find their way back. And wouldn't you then more often at least check for a phone signal? What's more: after they made an actual connection to 112, which only lasted between 1 and 2 seconds... they didn't try to call again right away after that, but instead switched the phone off entirely after 30-something seconds. They switched off the phone, and let an hour go by before trying to again find a connection. That seems very illogical also. You finally get that longed for connection, and instead of trying to call again right away, you switch off your phone? We also don't know why that connection was broken off; if it was due to poor signal or because the handler of the phone got spooked and ended the call themselves.. (It would then more likely not have been Kris or Lisanne who called). And if something urgent was going on and they were in danger, wouldn't they have tried calling again much sooner? More often? And to more and different numbers? Or walk to a high spot to try again (if they were able to)? And why did they not try to call their parents, or to send a text message to anyone, hoping that any next short burst of connection would send this pending draft? None of all that... The night must have been terrifying, and their parents all the way over in the Netherlands would have been awake already by then; wouldn't you at least once try to call your loved ones when out alone in a dark hostile jungle for the first night? The parents were never called, the boyfriend was never called and their entrusted host family in Boquete wasn't called either. Is that because 112 and 911 were the only numbers you cán factually call with a locked phone of which you do not have the PIN codes? Mystifying, because on days 1-5, the iPhone did get the correct entrance codes.. 











I listed a bunch of questions about this case below:


*The backpack was made of cheap fabric and found on the riverbank, yet everything inside was dry. 
And in good shape, including both the mobile phones, the camera, the dollar bills and the passport. Even the electronics in the backpacks in fact survived what is said to be a float in the river. And despite having been in the humid, muddy rainy jungle for ten weeks, the backpack looked clean and dry to police. It had no dragging marks or damage whatsoever. Local tour guide Laureano Bejerano who has worked for many decades in this region, said about this:“I never could understand that about the backpack. To me that part just doesn’t make any sense.” I also don't believe that a cheap lycra non-waterproof backpack could have survived a significant trip down a supposedly wild river. U.S.-based forensic consultant Carl Weil, who has given his analysis in more than 300 court cases, also finds it very suspicious that the victims’ inexpensive nylon backpack spent six weeks awash in the nearby Serpent River, floating around in the same stretch of water that supposedly - going by Betzaida Pitti's verdict - reduced the victims to tiny fragments, and with the functioning phones and camera inside it all that time. After reviewing a photo of Lisanne Froon’s recovered pack, Weil said that a lightly built, civilian pack of that kind would likely have become “saturated within minutes” of falling in the river, and the “electronics inside it fried.” It wouldn't have floated around but sunk. There wasn't even a hint of mold on it. Could the rucksack have reached the site near the settlement of Alto Romero some other way, instead of taking a month and a half to wind through the Serpent’s rapids? The Holandesas’ backpack was discovered by an Ngobe family on June 11, 2014—around the same time that the search for Kris and Lisanne was heating up, with the Costa Rican Red Cross and Dutch dog teams joining in the hunt. “If the suspect was clever and crafty,” Weil said, “he might not have wanted related items found in his house during a search.” “They probably weren’t out here alone.” Small detail; the man who found the backpack together with his wife, was pictured working for tour guide F. on his ranch.

This criminologist, Octavio Calderon, is also critical about the Accident-in-River theory:  "It is a supposition without any scientific basis or proof". He continues: "Nothing indicates that the girls were close to water." So it is theoretically possible that the backpack, which was found in a rice paddy directly next to the river, was taken by someone and placed there. Either a criminal involved, or perhaps simply a local farmer for instance, who found the bag, kept it in his home for some time but then placed it out there once the media storm and hype got too much. But if that were the case, why wouldn't such an innocent person just hand the bag in to the police and ask for the reward dollars? It is also possible that local authorities found the backpack during door to door searches and were dead-set on covering up the case to protect their tourism industry, and placed it themselves in the jungle to let some local farmers 'find' it the next day. If the girls themselves made it to the place where the backpack was found, then wouldn't they have been rescued or found considering how many people live and work there? The local native woman who discovered the backpacks also stressed to police that the backpack had definitely not been there the day prior. Soil remnants found on the backpack are said to have not been compared by Panamanian prosecutors and investigators with soil samples of the spot where the backpack was found. It would have been Betzaida Pitti who had to order for those tests and she didn't, according to local news. There is even talk that the native woman who found the bag called in guide F. for help and that they washed the outside of the bag clean before handing it to the police. Ai... Everything in the backpack was neatly folded up; the bras for instance, and the other items also weren't thrown on a pile but orderly placed in it. Also, those sunglasses.. Why did the girls put them in their backpack, just like the bras? Did they not need them? I have not come across much attention for this detail so far, but it raises some questions also, considering it was good weather during the week of their disappearance. Some people have suggested that the person who lived the longest could have already been nearing madness by April 6th-11th, when the iPhone from Kris was switched on and off a lot with wrong or no PIN code enterings. But would anyone hallucinating and on the verge of insanity then neatly wrap up their stuff in a backpack and leave it behind? Btw; why were Lisanne and Kris' other shoes never found? Only one from both have been found. Either way, the fact the backpack was found near the river more or less discredits the official version that both could have fallen off a cliff and died. Then their backpacks would have been with them in that ravine. Which wasn't the case. Unless of course someone found their bodies, took their backpack, and for some inexplicable reason took nothing out of it, told police nothing about it, and placed the bag with all its belongings near the village and the river.... This sounds incredibly far-fetched, especially when you remember that there was a small fortune up for grabs in reward money. If the local indigenous people were involved in the girls' death, it seems illogical also that they would draw attention to their own village by planting the bag at the river right near their village. And the fact that no body-grease from their corpses was found on the backpack, also means that it wasn't worn by one of them after they died.


*Also strange; both the girls' bras were found neatly folded in the backpack.
How come they took their bras off, which are the same ones they are seen wearing on April 1st? You can see them under and through their clothes in the day time photos, for instance in this picture. Forgive my amateurish collage that is added here by the way, circling the (obvious) coloured flower patterns on Lisanne's bra (which may theoretically also have been a bikini, as the straps could be taken off, but I'd say myself that it looks more like a bra). In Kris' case you can only see the black strap of her black bra in one Mirador summit photo, but you do also see the general shape of her balconette-style bra back in a close up of her chest area with her sleeveless shirt worn over it. Aside from the fact that these type of bras usually have underwire (which can irritate or feel uncomfortable in the long run), the shape matches in my opinion the shape of the cups of the bra shown with the backpack, because what this type of bra does is lift the breasts and shape them in a certain way, just as seems the case in Kris' daytime photos. OK, enough on that now. So the bras were found, although not on the girls. But none of their other clothes have been found, bar the jeans shorts from Kris (more on that one in a minute). The turquoise coloured top from Lisanne and especially the red and white striped top from Kris would stand out in the jungle normally. So where did they end up and why weren't they found together with the bone remnants? The girls had not brought any special or extra clothing on their day trip. They wore shorts and tank tops, but did not bring a hat for instance. They also did not seem to bring extra bras; the ones they were wearing in the photos were the same ones which were found folded up in the backpack. No other bras (or bikinis for that matter) were seen, photographed, or found in their backpack and it is safe to assume they did not bring an extra set. Besides, if they had made the effort to bring extra things along, you'd normally sooner expect that they would have picked a flashlight or notebook and pen to bring into the jungle - which they didn't, by all accounts - before bothering bringing another set of bras. The bras were therefore with near certainty worn by them on the day they took off, and then taken off at some point. Bringing us back to the core question: why did they take them off and put them in their backpack? 

Some women say that in a rainy, humid cloud forest, wet bras may have been uncomfortable to wear. Or that the girls may have lost weight during their ordeal and found the bra's ill-fitted and unpleasant to wear at some point. However, bras can be adjusted both in the shoulder straps and on the back, so even weight loss is no real urgent reason for a bra to suddenly not fit at all anymore. And Kris had decent sized breasts: wearing a bra then gives more comfort than not, especially when walking or in a humid wet climate. Although there are literally METERS worth of side debates to be found on this exact topic online. Women mostly, debating whether or not they do or do not like to walk around braless, and whether or not they would have taken theirs off when lost in the jungle, like Kris and Lisanne's, yes or no. But we need to keep in mind here the size of someone's breasts, the conditions in which they are walking and moving around, the climate but also their general sense of (un)safety. But you won't find consensus on this particular topic; some women will declare it's obvious they voluntarily took their bras off due to comfort and others will say the polar opposite; aka, highly subjective opinions that do not tell us anything about Kris and Lisanne's personal preferences and considerations. (To me though, hiking with wobbling breasts seems tedious more than anything else). Lisanne's singlet was on the teeny side and Kris' was going to be partially transparent as soon as the fabric got wet. The simple singlets they were wearing wouldn't give much protection; you'd feel almost bare in them without a bra. And a bra underneath gives more protection. Kris' father was unsettled by this detail and asked several young women if they would take off their bra in the jungle in a situation where they were lost? And they all said that they wouldn't. Because you never know who you will run into there and then a bra does feel like a layer of protection. With cool nights in the cloud forest and the girls not bringing any other garments as far as we know, they must have been chilly; one more reason to keep your bra on, you would think... And Kris' shorts were also found in the jungle, so are we to believe that this girl voluntarily walked through a mosquito infested jungle in only her bottom underwear and a see through tank top? And if they didn't take them off willingly, does this then point towards a 3rd party who forced them to take them off? Having a possible sexual motive? And if they truly got lost; why were those bras not left in the jungle and used as markers or tools, just like the jeans shorts 'seemingly'? What actually makes most sense to me personally, is that they went for a swim. Perhaps during or after the Pianista hike. They then willingly took the bras off and folded them up themselves and stored them in their bag. They willingly took their sunglasses off too. There are hot springs nearby in a place called Caldera, and local media reported early on that Kris and Lisanne had been seen there by witnesses at some point during their stay. This was also written on a local Boquete online forum. A source close to the Kremers family with insight in the case file made a detailed theory, which you can read in part 2 of this blog series, and he claims that the girls went for a swim with some local men and this is where they never came back from. A new swimming photo of the girls also was leaked, which you can also read about in part 2. 


*Kris' jeans shorts had been left folded on a rock.
The Ngobe who recovered the shorts claimed to have found them zipped and folded and placed on a rock, high above the water line. At least, that is one account. Another account reported them having actually been discovered floating in the river.. A local guide called Laureano told The Daily Beast: “Her clothing wasn’t found on any trail! We found those shorts down there in the river”. (We = at the least him and local guide 'Angel', aka: Angel Palacios, here you can see him talk about his find). He was pointing to the bank of the Culebre river some 50 or 60 feet away, downstream. This place is only reachable by passing a three cabled monkey bridge (I read it was found in the vicinity of the 2nd cable bridge). “Her shorts weren’t used as any kind of trail marker,” Laureano insists. “And they weren’t put there on purpose.” This raises the question how a piece of clothing could float in the river for as long as it did, considering it was noticed around June 19th? Wouldn't it sink at some point? And how does someone fall in the river and lose her shorts within just a few hundred meters anyway? “Sí,” Laureano says, “Nunca habia otro caso como asi.” There’s never been another case like this. The last time a person drowned in the Serpent was more than 25 years ago, by Laureano’s count. During the dry season, he says, you don’t even need to use the high and potentially dangerous cable bridge. There’s an easier crossing just upstream. Nevertheless the official version of events is that Kris' jeans shorts were found near the river, on a stone, and neatly folded. Which means that Kris’ shorts were removed, either by her own choice or otherwise. Despite Laureano thinking otherwise, the mainstream accepted conclusion is that the shorts had been left there deliberately on the small land piece in the river as a marker of her presence in that spot, or as a reminder of this specific spot. But why was it found on such a different location than Kris' pelvic and rib bone and Lisanne's foot, leg bone and boot and their backpack? There were many kilometers between the locations where those were all found - this Dutch police detective who was closely involved with the families and investigation says that there were as many as 14 walking hours between the location where the backpack was found and the location where the jeans shorts from Kris was found (he thinks that they were murdered by the way). He also thinks, like me, that the jeans shorts and the backpack were most likely placed along the riverbed on purpose, instead of it floating around the river for days or weeks. But why was this pair of jeans shorts found so far away from the backpack, the pelvic bone and rib bone found from Kris? Is this because a third party threw it away or placed it as a fake sign of the girls being 'lost'? Or did Kris or Lisanne purposely place it there? Animals would not drag a piece of clothing around if there were no human remains in it, and the lack of any blood or tearings of the jeans material makes it easy to exclude an animal factor here. No stains from diarrhea either by the way, a popular suggested cause for the jeans shorts to have been taken off to wash. Not a trace or smudge found on those jeans however, so that theory can be binned too in my opinion. 

So she must have taken them off herself, or with help, one way or another. But would Kris really take her rather tight shorts off and hike the rest of the way in her underwear? In that harsh environment, with mosquitoes, stingy animals, bigger praying animals, criminals perhaps even? In your underwear? I don't buy this. It is hard to imagine someone voluntarily walking in their underwear briefs through the jungle. If I had to choose, I would definitely take off my bra before my shorts. Brian messaged me and suggested that the short jeans may have chaffed and chapped Kris' thighs at some point, making her decide to take them off. Going by Kris' figure, I think thigh chafing could also be happening with bare legs unfortunately, when out hiking for a long time and sweating. Another possibility could be that the jeans had to come off due to an injury. But again, no blood was found on the shorts, or other signs that the person wearing it fell or got injured. And why not put them simply in your backpack and bring it along? And if Kris died early on and Lisanne left her behind, she surely wouldn't have stripped her dead friend of her jeans shorts, just to put it a few 100 meters further on a rock? (This is an implausible scenario anyway, as Kris' rib and pelvic bone were found 14 walking hours up north; not at the location of the jeans shorts). And the shorts showed no signs of bodily fluids; normally a decomposing body turns partially into grease, which penetrates whatever is worn by the person and which is impossible to just wash off. Nothing was found on the jeans shorts that were retrieved however. Of course, the most obvious possible reasons springing to mind (especially combined with the found bras) is that either Kris took them off at some point to swim, or that someone else wanted those pants to come off, and to link it to a sexual offense. But somehow that option is as good as completely discarded by Dutch papers and quite a few investigators ('they fell off a cliff', is their credo). If they did fall off a cliff or a bridge, did they do so nakedly then? Another strange element to this, is that IF they actually placed that jeans shorts there on that river rock to mark a certain spot, then why did they not just keep their protective clothing on and instead use something else to mark this spot? Tear of a piece of the colourful tops for instance. Anica Wu and E. Kinskey made this video and walked the same route as Kris and Lisanne as early as late April-early May 2014. So before the backpack or remains had been found, but after the suspected date of their deaths. Their disappearance was still hot news at that time. They passed the cable bridges, yet they didn't see anything on the rocks there, despite looking for signs of the girls. No jeans shorts on those rocks, no toilet paper signs, no red plastic wrappers on sticks. They also stated that over 150.000 (!) rural local native people and Ngobe people use these cable bridges and these routes. How come Kris and Lisanne were supposedly stranded near one, yet weren't found by anyone?


Backpack of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, Panama*How about the water bottle?
Why wasn't it further investigated? Or if they did, why haven't we heard about tests done on the water remnants inside it? Nobody who had insight into the report mentioned it, not local newspapers, no investigators, no journalists, nobody. If we knew for certain there were no water drop remnants from supermarket water left in the bottle, but water from the stream instead, then we knew with some certainty that they were unlikely to have died from thirst. Because there was water everywhere; the rivers, the streams, the waterfall, the rain water. They had a bottle to collect it in. Or if there was local tap water in it, it could be a clue that they were (held?) somewhere in a place or house that had a normal kitchen with a water source. Or if in fact only remnants of the commercial water was left in it, which was originally in the bottle.... then the chance is much higher that something happened to them already on April 1st... So why not just do a simple water test on the remnants? Who wouldn't have wanted to know where they filled their last bottle of water? Was it supermarket water? Tap water? River water from behind the Pianista? River water from ANOTHER location? Priceless info, potentially. And what about DNA on the bottle? Wah wah waaaahhhhhh, too bad, anyone could have instead just rinsed the bottle out at home and chucked the thing in some cabinet closet. All these lost opportunities in this investigation. The Dutch stood by, saw it happening and could do nothing, apparently.


*Why were the 83 dollars still in the backpack?
That is a significant amount of money in Panama to bring for one free hike in nature. Had they plans for later in the day for which they needed cash? Or was it a general precaution for them to carry some money when out and about? And isn't the money in the bag proof that it really was an accident, going by Betzaida Pittí's reasoning? In case of foul play, most people would argue that the money would have been taken and the camera's and phones made to disappear. Which criminal leaves so much money in the backpack, considering that in some Latin American countries you are said to get killed for less? Unless someone made a calculated attempt to make it all seem like a hike-gone wrong and the girls getting lost and dying from the elements or from an accident. Within this scenario, criminals had the bag with the belongings for some time, but realised there was such a witch hunt going on and so much media attention, that they wouldn't be able to sell the phones or the camera anywhere in Panama (or beyond) without raising suspicion or risking to be caught doing so. So they dumped it on a strategic spot where they knew it would be quickly found (clean, dry, despite all those weeks in the rainy humid jungle and river), possibly in a state of panic. Or to make the case truly look like the girls got lost and perished, and take the heat off their own back. Or to make the parents back off.. Only after the backpack, the phones and camera and the few bones were found, did the families stop sending professional search teams out in the jungle. Locals may have gotten restless, fearing there would be house searches up on the menu unless the parents found enough to know their girls were dead.. 
Defenders of the Lost/ Accident scenario - such as state prosecutor Betzaida Pittí, who handled this case - do claim that finding the backpack with phones and a camera still inside is absolute “proof” of a twice-fatal accident. But U.S.-based forensic consultant Carl Weil says such behavior is “not at all unusual.” If the motive is not robbery, but assault or rape, it’s fairly common “for the criminal to discard personal items and even valuables,” Weil says. In fact, victims’ valuables have also been found abandoned in the aftermath of other disappearances in the Boquete area. In this case for instance, the victim had sufficient cash left in his pockets. Chris wrote by the way that by Panama’s standards, in the Boquete region of Panama, $83 is equivalent to approximately one weeks pay for a standard local. To indigenous tribe members $83 is significantly more money considering that they often earn less than $300 for the entire year. Unfortunately we have no insight in the bank accounts of Kris and Lisanne; we do not know how much money they generally withdrew from cash machines, when holidaying in Panama. Or how much they used to spend a day. But we do know they were frugal with their money, in general. No big spenders. -  And Brian messaged me and asked if there were no coins found in the backpack? Nope. He found this strange, because when traveling in Latin American countries you can quickly get a lot of coins in change. Considering the girls had gone to the local pharmacy that morning, he considered it peculiar that no coins were found on them. "This could be more indication that the backpack was staged. Basically if people harmed the girls, whoever decided to put the backpack in a findable location wanted it to look like an accident so they gathered up some cash to include but may not have thought to add any coins."


*And then there is the dog Blue, who is from a family running a restaurant at the start of the Pianista trail.
He is named Azul, in Spanish, but we'll call him Blue now as this name is used in most articles and posts on the Kris and Lisanne case. Although there is also information that contradicts that Blue was the dog from the local restaurant owners, stating that Blue was the dog from the local host family that the girls stayed with. Wikipedia also claims this, but quotes mostlymystery, which offers no proof or back up links for this claim*. There is no other info as far as I know that it was the host families dog, or that they even have a dog. In fact, mostly all the reliable info points towards Blue being the dog from the owners of Il Pianista restaurant, living at the start of the trail. Many blogging tourists named and pictured Blue during their hikes and linked him to the pizzeria. Local Lee Seltzer went to the restaurant owners Doris and Giovanni Santoro and interviewed them, and Doris confirmed they are Blues owners and that her husband saw the girls. She also said that Kris and Lisanne talked shortly with him at the start of their walk. His wife Doris is said to have given them their dog Blue as a guide. And on this local Boquete message board, the same is confirmed. On April 7th, 2014, Lee Zeltzer had a word with one of the volunteers searching for the two missing Dutch women in Boquete. "Phil [..] said the owner of Il Pianista, Giovanni, had spoken to the women on April 1 and told them where to catch a bus back to Boquete. This along with other rumors drove me to drive to Il Pianista. (Il Pianista at the road to the trail). Giovanni was not at the restaurant but his wife Doris was. This is what she said: Giovanni saw the women on 1 April near Don Pedro hitching toward Il Pianista. An employee at Il Pianista saw them start-up the trail between 15:00 and 15:30 PM. Blue, their dog who often follows hikers, went with them. No one can remember seeing them return. Blue did return and Doris believes because of the hour they could not have gone far. She and Giovanni believe that they did return or the dog would have stayed with them. All of this information has been provided directly by them to the DIJ investigators and Sinproc."  (Doris pictured below). 

A commentator to Lee's blog post mentioned a time in the mid to later afternoon for the dogs return (this is not confirmed). According to accounts, Giovanni explained to them where to take a bus back to Boquete. And he saw them near Casa Pedro. Pedro of Casa Pedro also said that he told Kris and Lisanne where to take a bus (or taxi) back to Boquete and advised them to hike the Alto Lino (Piedra de Lino) instead of the Pianista Trail. Ingrid Lommers also posted about this on facebook. According to different witnesses, they were seen walking and sweating, so could this mean that they had already returned from their Pianista hike at that point? And because of language problems it was perhaps thought that they were looking for the Pianista, whereas they had already hiked that trail? Who knows. But not all witness statements proved to add up in terms of times and dates given, so we will have to take that into account. Giovanni is Sicilian but his wife Doris is from Panama by the way, and they have several children. Their dog Blue is also accompanying Kris Kremers parents and local guides in this youtube video, and is following them the entire long route that day. Blue stayed close to the people he was with over the course of the video. Blue regularly is said to have walked with tourists along the trail, and several tourists accounted for this online. But then the next problem: we have no proof of any dog being with the girls, no indisputable proof I mean, because the dog was never pictured by the girls! Not a single photo of Blue among those many summit selfies, or any of the other photos that we know of that were taken by the girls on Tuesday April 1st. Not even a hint of a dog's tail. He looks cute and loyal so surely they would have wanted at least one souvenir photo of their walking buddy? Was there actually even a dog accompanying them? Or perhaps only shortly? And could the dog have been sent away by a 3rd party at some point, and was that then the reason why he abandoned Kris and Lisanne? It's all making me wonder if this entire detail of Blue the dog could have been made up? And if so, why? But alright, let's just go with the prevailing story regarding the dog Blue for a minute; the dog is said to have gone along with the girls, but arrived back home in the evening without them. At that point Kris and Lisanne had already tried to call emergency services. Why didn't they follow the dog back home if they simply were lost? I find this a spooky detail to be honest. And when the dog turned up on its own in the early evening, without the girls, it didn't instantly prompt the owners to call for help. Just like Miriam, their host, wasn't initially worried when Kris and Lisanne didn't arrive home that Tusday evening, and assumed they were just out having fun. Is it possible that Giovanni and Doris made up the whole story about having Blue join the Dutch girls? They have sons and one of these sons was said to have been questioned by the Panamanian police over the disappearance. Although this in itself says nothing. Did the parents cover up for him, by pretending they saw Kris and Lisanne and gave them their dog to take along? Providing some sort of an alibi for their son? Trying to prove that the girls went out and never came back and should therefore be searched behind the Pianista Trail? All theories.. Or maybe Blue was given along with the girls, but turned around and went home very soon afterwards already? It is also possible that the dog owners had the timeline incorrect; in some articles I read them mentioning 15:00 pm as the moment they saw the girls pass by. Which seems impossible in retrospect, knowing the details we do now. But even if they mixed times up, that does not mean that they invented the entire meeting and lied about giving them their dog. There is no factual evidence that that dog did join then, but neither evidence that he did not join. 

Regarding Casa Pedro. Ingrid Lommers wrote on April 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm about Pedro, from Casa Pedro: "It is NOT that they were going to meet a guide at the trail and the guide never showed up. They were going to hike a bit (just going a bit up and a bit down for the time they would like it… and making sure to be only hiking in daylight)…. that is what we recommended. And actually, from what Pedro from Casa Pedro says, we should not discard that they never made it to the Pianista Trail and after Casa Pedro wanted to go back home and that we don’t know what happened from that moment. It is also possible that Pedro saw some other girls and that our girls never started ANY hike."  Here you can see a video of the Alto Lino hike and you can even see that the trail starts right next to Casa Pedro. And in this blog you can see photos of the hike. And in this video, Ingrid Lommers is interviewed and shows the Dutch TV presenter exactly where Pedro saw the girls. Ingrid Lommer says "They wanted to learn Spanish and they really wanted to work with children. They had really good intentions, for themselves and for the local population. And it is so unbelievable that something like this happened to two girls, who came here with such good intentions. Why did this happen to them? Why on this moment and in this place?" Presenter: 'Ingrid takes us to Casa Pedro. Probably the last place where Kris and Lisanne were seen.' Ingrid Lommer: "One of the two girls has sat here, the other stood here. And they had the intention to return to Boquete. And they sat here for a little while. The mister from Casa de Pedro has seen them here. And at some point they were gone." - Update:  Someone wrote to me in a comment that Blue has passed away by now after a long and fulfilling life.


*Regarding the missing photo; it was the missing link between the daytime photos and the eerie nighttime photos
IMPORTANT: please keep in mind that the first photo, the schedule of the search operations, is a FAN-MADE image. Made by a forum user who was not in Boquete at the time and this schedule is not confirmed to be completely correct by official investigators on the case. I emphasize this, as I notice that its data has been leading its own life on different forums by now and is taken as a gospel by some people. Especially the info about the evening searches - between a 23:00 - 00:00 time bracket - is not officially confirmed information. I have searched extensively for credible info but found no evidence that search teams actually searched the area in the evening, let alone in the dead of night. The volunteers and even sinaproc know that the jungle in the pitch black darkness is 'suicide', as the spokesperson for sinaproc called it. Tour guides say the same, you just do not move around in a dark jungle. They would have set up camp most likely. And helicopters didn't fly there in the evening or night with 100% certainty. I add the image here mainly for illustration purposes.  - By the time Kris and Lisanne shot the last daytime photos, they were already off the main trail. They no longer made happy smiling selfies by then either. In fact, in photos 505 and 508 I'd say Kris looks either annoyed or perhaps slightly worried, compared to her smiles on the summit, shortly before. Her body language is also different in these last few photos I think. Strained. But this is a subjective interpretation. After photo 508, no more photos were taken for over a week. Only photo (or video-) file 509, of which we only know that it existed and was removed; not at what day and time it was shot. Did the girls take that photo soon after photo 508? Possibly. And why would they want to delete this important photo #509 which is situated between the daytime photos and those eerie nighttime photos? And why could Dutch specialist teams not get that one deleted photo back? Something that is normally not a big problem when an image is manually deleted, and which they therefore linked to the use of a computer to fully remove this photo from the memory card and digital camera. Was the missing photo #509 really deleted by a computer then, and if so, who did this and why? Did the Panamanian investigators do it, by accident or on purpose? Because they covered something up and wanted to push the Accident supposition? Or did the tour guide perhaps remove that photo because he had the opportunity to take the girls' phone cables from their room when he inspected it on April 2nd?  Or is there another explanation for the file being overwritten? "If the photograph was deleted in the camera, that image would most likely still be on the memory card," wrote Keith Rosenthal. There is more than one way to recover a deleted photo, so it is peculiar this one was not retrieved by Dutch technical specialists, despite doing all they could. Someone wrote me about this case: "I think that image 509 is the single piece of evidence that completely proves the abduction-murder theory. My theory is that image 509 was the last image that Lisanne was able to snap before the camera was removed from her. Whatever 3rd party that showed up was most likely caught in image 509 which is why 508 is the last somewhat "normal" image that exists. It's possible that the 3rd party showed up around image 507-508 which would explain the strange demeanor of Kris. Whatever occurred after image 508 was never meant to to be seen. Then days later a bunch of nonsensical nighttime photos show up starting with 510. Clearly the camera and phones had already been compromised. I personally think the Panamanian government feared how much this could affect tourism so they assigned one of their own shills to persuade everyone it was simply an accident."  -  Online there have been people who claimed that memory cards can reclaim unused space when you first delete a file and then take new photos and that this action can overwrite the section of the card that contained the deleted data. I don't believe this, because IT specialists from the Dutch Public Prosecution came to the conclusion that the photo could mainly have been removed like this with the help of a computer (or by formatting the memory card). People who have the same camera have also done experiments and nobody I know of found this type of overwriting evidence. The people from Lost in the Wild tested it too and also did not find such evidence... They found that if you deleted a photo (like #509) and then continued taking more photos, that a new photo will then overwrite the old file. And if this is the case, then we wouldn't have found an empty file 509 on the girl's memory card. Then file 509 would just have contained the first night photo and we'd never even knew there once was another photo in its place.  


Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, Panama*Something else about these daytime photos, taken on April 1st, and the changing facial expressions of Kris  
I have been brainstorming a bit with Juan, a fellow Dutch hobby searcher, about why the girls may have continued to walk past the Pianista summit. And why the facial expressions of Kris seemed to change beyond the Mirador. Although this is just an interpretation and overall there seems little wrong with Kris' facial expressions in the last photos, aside from her not broadly smiling in them. It could simply be a context-coloured retrospect interpretation of us, to think she could look worried in them. But I want to explore all possible theories here; what if the girls had some words between themselves? Let's go on a thought experiment: we know that Lisanne was not feeling entirely well. Her host family stated that she had been dealing with asthma-type of symptoms the days prior and also had a sore throat. The girls were seen in a pharmacy in Boquete on April 1st. Lisanne was also upset about not being able to start working in the local children's school already, as planned. The girls seemed hell-bend on making every day count during the rest of the week. Lisanne and her parents were no globetrotters; the furthest she had travelled was the Schwarzwald in southern Germany. But Kris was the exuberant of the two and had already visited Peru with her parents. It is not difficult to imagine that she was the firecracker of the two, and that Lisanne didn't want to let her friend down and agreed on a string of excursions that week. Now, the local man who spoke with the girls before they got themselves a taxi to the Pianista trail, has declared that Lisanne had told him she wasn't feeling well physically that day. And that it surprised him that the girls decided to climb the Pianista trail nevertheless. As we know, their host Miriam Guerra also 
stated to a well known Dutch newspaper that the girls were very quiet when theywere with her, and had "no plans whatsoever to make long walks outside of Boquete". Neither did they have plans to climb the local volcan Baru. Miriam Guerra also said also that Lisanne had been dealing with "asthma" in the days she was with her. So it is fair to assume that Lisanne was not feeling 100% on April 1st. Yet, she looks radiating in the photos made that day on the Pianista summit. When you suffer from asthma, a climate with high humidity as Panama has - I read on average about 80% which is significant - can make you feel more out of breath. As will exercise. So considering all this, it is already wonderful of her to motivate herself to climb this mountain, with a smile. Yet, for some reason this achievement was not enough. One of the two girls had most likely more of a say and a push in the decision to walk onwards. And knowing that Lisanne was a quiet girl, more introverted and more shy, I imagine myself (which is totally subjective) that Kris may have been the one to push for making some more meters and exploring some more. Her parents also said in the media about Kris that she was outspoken and that you never had to guess about how she felt or what she thought of something.. She was the one who had been in Latin America before already and she had no health issues as far as we know. What also strikes us both is the changing facial expressions on Kris' face in all the photos taken after the summit. She also started to walk further ahead of Lisanne. The distance between them had increased literally. Could Kris have pushed Lisanne to go on? May the practical and preparation-savvy Lisanne have felt that she needed to compromise some more and please her friend by not turning around on a beautiful sunny day? If any of these two would have been the risk taker, my bet is that it was Kris. Lisanne had written in her diary (read out loud on camera by her brother on Dutch TV) that she felt homesick and had doubted the entire Panama trip since arriving in Boquete. But she made the effort to have some fun anyway on the day of their Pianista hike.

Juan said about this: "Yes such psychological insights are all that are left at this stage, with the case as good as closed. Online forums will ridicule you over such statements, but I think you may have described the situation well here. Online people like to make a daredevil out of Lisanne because she was the athletic one of the two, and apparently jumped out of a plane with a parachute once, but it was Kris who had travelled through the Andes before. The Froon family never made it further than that Schwarzwald. They seem cautious people. Her dad also suffered a stroke in the past, which may have made them more cautious in general. I imagine myself that they must have been so on edge about the whole Panama trip of their daughter. They must have probably told her 110 times to take good care of herself and to be careful. Kris was the extroverted one, who loved music festivals. Lisanne was sweet, thoughtful. Like the host Miriam told the papers: Kris was reading in their bedroom while Lisanne kept Miriam company. Out of politeness perhaps. I wouldn't be surprised either if Kris was the driving force behind the excursions and activities that week. Even on the photos of March 31, when they are out in Boquete to eat chips and toast on that balcony, Lisanne already looks subdued. The fact that Kris walked so far ahead in the end photos, it is very well possible that she wanted to walk on and Lisanne was cautious and wanted to return. Lisanne may also have struggled at that point with her asthma. If I was walking with someone who had a painful throat and asthma symptoms, I would have let her decide how far to go. Lisanne may have put her own issues aside to be a good friend to Kris. I wished that the disappointment about the children's school hadn't pushed them to do these extreme walks; why didn't they just make a short tour in the valley there or something?" 

Me: "I agree actually. The vibe in those last daytime photos seems to have changed after the summit. The girls seemed to have very different personalities and energies. You also notice it when you hear their respective parents on TV; one very sweet, soft spoken, with a subdued demeanor, whereas Kris' parents are combative and outspoken and full of energy. (My own parents are just like that by the way). Lisanne is not feeling well, and I know from experience that when you don't feel entirely chipper, it is easy to feel like a log on someone's back; a millstone around the neck of whomever you are out with. They also had another 4 weeks left together, so keeping the peace was important. Kris' own parents called her direct and outspoken about what she thought and felt of things. In such a dynamic between friends, the shy and introverted one of the two can be prone to compromise sooner to keep the peace. I actually feel bad for Lisanne, as she wrote in her diary how homesick she was and how hard the trip was for her. Yet she got herself together. She must have felt so terrible after April 1st.. So many 'signs' she seems to have felt that this trip didn't feel good for her.. How awful must she have felt in the next few days. Kris too of course. But the one who pleased the other and went further along may have felt a particular grudge perhaps? Lisanne studied to become a psychologist, yet may have had to teach herself to put her foot down and do what she believed had to be done? It's all speculation, of course. But this is the feeling I get. What if Lisanne wanted to walk back to Boquete but Kris wanted to see some more down the trail, and this caused her to no longer smile warmly but instead walk ahead of Lisanne and look so stern? Especially in the photo where she holds the water bottle in front of her, you see a strange grimace when you zoom in."

Juan: "I also get a bad feeling about this. Those photos after the summit are pretty horrible actually, when you look more closely at them. (Also when you zoom into Kris' expression; her mouth is one horizontal unhappy line in this photo). I walk in nature so often, also with other people, but I would never walk so far ahead of the person I'm with. It's not good for morale and the mutual atmosphere to walk more than a few meters ahead, I think. And where these girls were, it may not have been the safest option either. They kept walking further away from civilization there. And then comes photo #505, where Kris stands in the distance, turning around with a surprised look on her face. Or is it boredom? Lisanne may have called her, because the woods close in on you quickly there and Kris is quite far ahead already, despite the road moving upwards. Perhaps Lisanne struggled to keep up? She may have been athletic but asthma is no small feat. Or perhaps they had quarreled and the careful Lisanne had encountered a petulant Kris who had lost her patience and walked faster ahead, so that Lisanne simply had to follow? When you are angry, it is a natural urge to walk faster and further away from the other. Perhaps Lisanne had become grumpy? Did she not feel good due to her asthma and leg injury (she was said to have one from her volleyball sport**). Such a state of mind also brings extra risks when out in the wilderness; when you are relying on sound decision making. Being upset or miffed or angry can cloud your general judgement capacities. Maybe Kris felt rowdy and took more risks than she should? Even in the last photos in the small river stream, Kris had walked quite a bit ahead of Lisanne. It may be for the photo, but I am not so sure that was all it was about. The jungle is no longer quaint and lovely here either, in fact with those narrow trenches and thick vegetation it looks rather hostile to me here. Like one big ambush. Or perhaps there was in fact a 3rd person with them already at this stage, and thát explains the strange looks from Kris. We just don't know with certainty. But I would put my money sooner on some animosity between the two girls at this point. Which may have made them more reckless, or an easier prey to a 3rd person perhaps even with bad intentions. Yes demonic is actually a good description I think. I read that people on forums compare her posture to the Spider Walk from the Exorcist even.. On photo 491 that small water bottle was stuffed in the pocket of Kris' tight shorts; that picture was taken an hour before they reached the summit, and already it seems near empty there. They must have been thirsty. On photo 507, in the small stream, you can see some mud on the calf of Kris and on the back of her shorts. She must have slipped already prior, perhaps because she had a temper, or wasn't paying close attention. And then... in trouble, but only calling emergency numbers twice? All afternoon and evening? I don't know... if that were me I would have called hundreds of times and would have tried sending text messages to my parents right away.. Not decisively only make 2 call attempts." **See this close-up from Lisanne's left foot for instance; a photo taken the week prior to their Pianista hike. She seems to have a red swelling on the bridge of her right foot. In her diary Lisanne confirmed also to have suffered from circulation problems due to the heat: "I have such thick legs. It must be from the heat that my feet look like rhino legs".


And Paul M. wrote about it: "I get the vibe that the photos with them not smiling, someone or some other people are there with them or close by on the trail behind them. Like, maybe they are walking behind them and walking along with them pretending to be nice, or maybe they are bugging them. Kris and Lisanne are uncomfortable and scared to take a picture of the strangers because they don't want to alert them that they are considered suspicious, being that there is no way of getting help. They probably weren't 100% positive that the people meant them harm, but the people wouldn't leave them alone. They eventually got spooked and ran off trail to lose them and hide and then got lost. You can tell something is making them uncomfortable, unnaturally. If they were just tired and uninterested they would have turned around and gone back. They were probably followed to the trail and didn't know it until they were into the jungle where they were out of sight from any witnesses."

Me: "And Lisanne was not only reluctant most likely, but she was also complaining of asthma-like symptoms in the two days prior to her host family. She was coughing, she also told another witness that she wasn't feeling well that day or the previous day. They went to the pharmacy on the morning of April 1st. Lisanne also had a known volleyball injury at the time of their Panama trip. Overall she was the most athletic of the two, but with these health issues playing up she may indeed have been the weakest link that day. And the one unwilling to push herself even further after reaching the summit. It's unthinkable to me that a friend would dismiss such health issues and just push forward anyway, but we don't know what exactly happened there and why Lisanne went along to the point of photo 508. We don't see her face, but going by that of Kris, the jubilant mood from an hour before seems gone.." 

Update: Juan also made this video and he highlights in it that Kris and Lisanne most of all seem to have known each other from work. Kris had a group of close friends who were not Lisanne's friends. They were no longterm childhood friends and Lisanne had not yet moved into the student apartment she planned to share with Kris - this would happen after returning from Panama. Their parents met each other for the first time at the airport, waving their respective kids goodbye. In an interview, Lisanne's brother Martijn also said that he does not rule out the possibility that Kris and Lisanne got into an argument at the point of photo 508. Or that they even split up physically by then, as a result. He thought that Lisanne would not have enjoyed a jungle hike, knowing her as a homely person who liked security. Juan also emphasizes in his video that Lisanne went through some sort of mini-breakdown, the days before the girls went missing. She did not feel good in Boquete, she was in tears and wrote in her diary that she thought she made the wrong decision in going to Panama. "I want to go home. I had no problems for two weeks and suddenly I went completely crazy. The transition from two weeks of lively holiday to stepping into the life of a real Panamanian family is just too much for me. I cannot make myself understood and this is real life, not a vacation anymore. I was way too naive to think that I could handle this. Because this is exactly the type of situation that I just can't handle. Not even now that I'm 22 and living on my own. I'm in way over my head. I want mom and dad to hold me tight and tell me that everything will be alright. But I can't let them know how I feel now, because I don't want them to worry. It is precisely because I am 22 that I think I have to solve this myself. Still, I now feel like a small child of 2 yelling for her mother who is 2 meters away. I didn't really want this, but I went anyway. I thought I should be able to do this, the final test before I can be really happy with myself. So far I have failed badly. Shit." Juan mentions in his video that throughout her diary entries, Lisanne wrote explicitly about Kris. What Kris did or said or how she was feeling. But in Kris' diary, she does not refer to Lisanne in a similar way. (And as reddit member Power-Pixie comments here, neither did she mention her boyfriend at home or her parents). The day of sadness and anxiety of Lisanne seems to have passed unnoticed by Kris, or at least she never refers to it in her diary. Juan finds this noteworthy (although there is no malice in any of that I am sure; just someone with a different personality, intensely enjoying her travel experience more likely). Just like Lisanne was really upset about the cancelled volunteer work, while Kris was more matter of fact like; 'oh well, we'll find something else'. And in a fiery manner she wrote that she had no interest in returning to Aura anyway, after the way they were treated there. A very different way or responding to this setback. Back to this Pianista hike; Miriam was surprised that the girls went out for a hike at all. because Lisanne had not been feeling good the day(s) prior. They had visited the pharmacy that morning of April 1st. But nevertheless Lisanne went up the mountain for a hike and smiles.

 

*The so-called "Night Photos"
Many people have suggested that one of them - and it seems largely agreed that it was Lisanne as some evidence 'may' suggests that Kris had been injured early on - took these night photos as a way of communicating some message. Perhaps they wanted to document some landmarks in the hopes of being found. If Lisanne was taking the night photos to use the flash to find her way, wouldn't more of them be of the trail ahead or of the ground, instead of eye-level greenery and cliff-faces or aiming upward? It seems almost like she was looking for something. Perhaps she heard something and was trying to capture it on film, or tried to see it. Which is a haunting thought, accompanied with these eerie photos. And why were these photos all taken at night when the visibility is nearly zero Wouldn't it make sense to wait until daylight to show clear and accurate images? And how do we even know that Lisanne took these photos? None of the photos were a selfie or something of the likes. No hair hanging in front of the lens, no hand visible either. Jeremy Kryt from The Daily Beast writes however that in some of the nighttime photos the hair of Lisanne can in fact be seen: 

"A few of the shots include locks of hair hanging into the frame that match her ash-blond color, while another carefully composed and well-lit image (the clearest of the whole series) seems to show red-haired Kris with what looks like a head wound—a possible indication that she was badly hurt or even already deceased when that picture was taken." 

But I haven't seen Lisanne's hair in any of the nighttime photos. Shame Kryt didn't publish the photo to prove his statement.. We have long been hampered here anyway, because as the public we didn't have access to all these nighttime photos until very recently. Why is there not a single “help me” marker found closer by the Pianista Trail? No initials scraped into a tree, no arrows made with branches on the ground? A Hansel and Gretel sort of trick any child would know to use once lost in the woods... And that (toilet) paper that suddenly turned up in the photo Jeremy Kryt published: how come it is nowhere else seen, or used? In no other photo is there sight of this paper, and searchers found no paper in the backpack. But then again, they could have been in a state of intense panic. Little sleep, no food, little water and horrible panic and fear might have messed with their clearance of thinking..  Jeremy Kryt said however that the night photos of April 8th were taken with a steady hand, decisively, and seemingly not during a shaky panic attack. Yet I can't shake the thought that when out staring death in the face for 8 days, they normally would have wanted to send a message to the outside world. Unfortunately we lack data: it would be great if all the photos would be released by officials of the families, in high resolution if possible to avoid 'seeing' men with capes and what not.  -  And something else: This site claims: "Froon's parents requested authorities refrain from releasing all the photos from the camera to the public. Allegedly, some pictures depicted Kremers and Froon in a rough state." I don't know if this is correct information however! No footnote or source is mentioned, which would have been useful with such a serious statement. I am leaning towards fake news, because A. not even insiders with access to all these files have ever mentioned the existence of such photos, and B. until this day the two families of the girls don't see eye to eye about what they think happened; Lisanne's family think they got lost and died as an accident, and Kris' family suspect they ran into foul play and hired a lawyer, Arrocha, to try to force the officials to further investigate this. By 2019 their spokesperson said that the family is still full of doubts and questions. So if any such 'rough state' pictures of the girls really exist, surely the parents would have then known what happened and not been so divided? Not to mention the Daily Beast, who would have surely exposed this important photo - or info - if it were in fact on the memory card.


Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaKris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, Panama*But IF there was a 3rd party involved, why would he/they allow the girls to make so many emergency call attempts with their phones?
By some accounts up to 77? Like I wrote and tried to explain all the way at the top; it is up to you to decide what to believe in this respect. It is agreed upon by most that after April 5th, someone other than Kris used her iPhone. This could have been Lisanne, but why then did she not know the PIN codes of her friends' phone? Wouldn't you have memorized or scribbled down those four numbers somehow if your life depended on it? And with the back of Kris' head being pictured still on April 8th, why didn't she give Lisanne her PIN code herself by then? Or was there a 3rd person trying to get access? That is what some investigators think. If we go by the Lost scenario, it must have dawned on Kris and Lisanne at some point that the situation was dire and they were maybe not going to get rescued. Leaving some message behind, some explanation for loved ones, seems logical to do. Especially when you are so far from home and alone in the jungle for as long as they seemingly did. You may even decide to only record your voice, if you fear your parents will be shocked from seeing your face.. Kris had a boyfriend in the Netherlands and she and Stephan did have contact (by phone, it is not specified if this was a phone call or a text over the phone) on Tuesday April 1st at 14:00 pm local Panamanian time. Here Kris' parents recall this fact, very early into the disappearance. This is a problem with the new timeline, because by 14:00 pm the girls were already at the stream of photos 507 and 508, and there is no mobile reception there. So how come they managed to have contact at that time? This was never further mentioned by investigators, let alone explained. But anyway, after the girls went missing, after April 1st, Kris didn't try to contact Stephan through messaging or phone once... Never. Very strange. They could have left a Dutch draft message or any personal message, but they didn't. Yet they could shoot 90-something photos over three hours in the middle of the night, a week later. None taken in daylight (which came up only 2 hrs after the last photo was taken that night). All of the same location. Nothing in the photos to make it possible to identify this place easily. If the girls could do that, they could also have found a way to give off a clear message in a direct manner (text draft/selfie/video/clear photo), not through abstract pieces of plastic on a branch. That is the sort of stuff you can also expect from a third party, who cannot leave Dutch messages in the phones, who cannot make selfies of the girls, who cannot do anything but the most vague of vagueness to make it look like Kris and Lisanne were out there, alone, on the 8th night of their disappearance. Aside from it not being logical that no photo was taken during daylight, it is also something that would most benefit a 3rd party who wants to create a fake trail with reliable photo evidence of a 'lost' narrative. You can even wonder if those night photos suddenly stopped after 04:10 am because whomever took them had to be somewhere again in the early morning. If it were the girls who took them, stuck, then there is no reason why they wouldn't have also taken a couple of photos after 6:30 am, when the sun came up. The daily call attempts and checks for a signal also all took place more or less within office hours, and never in the evening or night.. Almost perfectly timed. I have gone through the night photos again and again, have put them through photoshop, but there is just no proof in any of them that the girls themselves took them, or even that the girls were alive at the time. Even the hair photo of Kris may technically speaking have been taken after her death. As David M. put it in the comment section: "After April 1st all we have is two ghosts - ghosts working the phones, and working the camera. Are these two still alive after the first day or two? It's very debatable whether they were...".  -  So, no photos or videos were made on their phones and camera for over a week. With a fully functioning and battery-filled camera. Even 9/11 victims in the burning Twin Towers tried usually to make a last call home, or leave a voice message to their loved ones.. I found this video of a man lost on the same Pianista trail. When he suspected he took a wrong turn, he instantly started to make a video, documenting what was going on. That's the common sense approach these days, with all the recording options we carry around with us. 

Many people who comment on this case online, bring up the valid question why any villain would let the girls use their cellphones? Instead of disabling them and destroying them. Phones with no cell service can sometimes still text and have data services; no reason to risk it. I'd say to that: unless it was a set up and a 3rd party knew there was no cell phone connection wherever they were holed up, allowing them to try in vain. They could even have taken the phone card out of the devices.. Then the phone still registers call attempts, but they will never get through. Maybe someone handed Kris and Lisanne their phones at set times to make mock call attempts, knowing the calls wouldn't go through. Setting a trail for police, insinuating the girls were lost. Or a 3rd party could just stage all those calls themselves: many different fingerprints not belonging to the girls were found on the phones and camera after all, but they never led to a suspect. All this sounds a bit far-fetched for some people, and I understand why. But the facts in this case are that it was the discovery of the backpack, of the phones and of the camera, that swayed the opinions of investigators and the public from a crime to an accident. Without the phone logs and the day and night photos, the evaporating of these western tourists into smoke, just like English tourist Alex Humphrey already did in 2009, would actually make people suspect they fell in the hands of cartels. Planting these personal belongings of Kris and Lisanne redirected public opinion towards an accident. That is why I personally think the phones show this call pattern and why the night photos were taken and why the bag and some bones were planted in a spot where they simply had to be found. In this video, Lisanne's father Peter Froon literally says: "Dear Lisanne and Kris. Please know that we will stay here in Panama until you have been found. We will wait as long as it takes, until you are found. And we will not give up! Really, we won't. Have faith in us, we will keep looking for you, for as long as it takes, we will stay here." And: "There are plans from us to constantly have one of our families present here from now on. We will stay present here, until this is solved. We don't want to leave them alone." I believe that it is proven that the parents of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon were not going anywhere, as long as the fate of their daughters wasn't found out. They would never give up or leave, until something was found that gave them closure. Hence why I believe that the backpack and bones were planted mid June; to ensure that the parents would finally leave.


*Also only ringing the Dutch and Panamanian services seems strange; 
why not also ring the host family who was so close by and tell them that they had an accident? They didn't even try their number, or the numbers of their parents. It were just the emergency services. Is that because those were the only numbers you can in fact call when you cannot enter the phones with a correct PIN code? Given that one of their emergency calls made a connection for a meager 1 to 2 seconds before disconnecting, that small amount of connection should normally have been enough to send out a pending text message. Why didn't they try to send out text messages, telling loved ones what was going on? Why did they instead switch their phone off within a minute after having made that short connection? Like I wrote before: The girls were said to have been avid mobile phone users and eager to stay in touch through it with their family. Although the benefit of potentially reaching the emergency numbers 911 and 112 is that the police have the equipment to 'read' your location then, even with a very short connection... Something which the families would not have. -  Footnote: I don't trust the local authorities, automatically. The 1-2 second connection which Lisanne's phone made with 112 on day two, for instance, was never traced. Even though this cell tower connection would have normally provided at least a rough prediction of where they were, and which cell tower(s) pinged to make that connection. But no.... investigators couldn't provide anyone with that info, then blamed it on the cell phone company being shoddy and incompetent. So it is not a Bible Verse to me that their phones supposedly never connected to the cell network again after they went up the trail. The information may simply not have been provided, or even have been altered. In theory. Another factor may be that Kris and Lisanne may have switched their mobile phones off when they theoretically returned down the mountain again. Their phones' batteries were already 50% empty when they started the day, at 11:00 am. They also wanted to avoid unnecessary roaming costs and were known to at times use flight mode to ensure no extra telephone costs. Perhaps they wanted to avoid wifi from people living along the trail on the Boquete side of the mountain. So it is not a given to me that they never returned from the mountain, based on these phones not making connection again that day. Brian also messaged me that when he was in Costa Rica, people would sometimes toggle airplane mode on and off when mobile phone reception was poor. The theory was that mobile phones tried harder for a connection afterwards. This was most commonly used trying to get a text to send, not make a call. Also, people with the same iPhone found out that you can change the time and date in this phone and make calls in the future or the past, so to speak. And that after changing the time and date back again, these incorrect call data will stay untouched by this. So theoretically, it is possible with these phones to set a false trail of usage, for future or past dates and times. 


Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaKris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, Panama*In a strange twist, one of the last people to see the women alive, a local tour guide, was also the person who led the search party that found all their fragmented bones, as well as the shorts and shoes - hero or suspicious?
On Wednesday April 2nd the girls are said to have an appointment with local guide F. for a tour in the area. He goes to the local Spanish language school, where they are supposed to meet at 08:00. But the girls aren't there. They also don't show up on the arranged time. A German coworker called Eileen goes to the host family to see if the girls are there, together with the guide. The girls are nowhere to be seen and they don't respond to knocks on their bedroom door. Subsequently, the guide spends some time in their room, also accompanied by Eileen, after Miriam tells him on the phone that he can find a spare key hidden in the backgarden. Miriam is at work and left breakfast for the girls on the table, which they never touched. This detail also returns in an article called A Fatal Hike in Dutch quality newspaper De Volkskrant of June 28th 2014, acknowledging that Miriam told the guide about a key hidden in her backyard. She is alarmed when the tour guide calls her: "I have a spare key in the backyard. So I said to the guide: take that key and go to their room. Knock on the door and when you hear no response, you can open the door." (Imagine by the way the possibility at that moment that the girls were in there, sleeping after a night out, and this strange man would wake them up by standing by their bed...). The guide says later to police and the media that he felt instantly that nobody slept in that room the past night and that it gave him goosebumps. And that all sorts of personal items were laying on the beds. The tour guide and Eileen are said to spend about half an hour in the bedroom, alone, without police or Miriam present. Eileen then calls with the head of the language school in Bocal del Toro; Ingrid Lommers. (Although locals stated here that Lommers was stationed in Boquete in fact, and other info details how she was in Costa Rica at that time). She is Dutch herself and already knew Kris and Lisanne from their weeks in Bocas del Toro, where they attended 'Spanish by the Sea'. Ingrid is initially not very worried, but instructs Eileen to inform the girls' families about the fact they didn't come back from their hike. During the afternoon Eileen goes with guide F. to his private ranch in the jungle. It is said that the guide and the host family then make calls to the police and go there around 19:00 pm that day. Although this local news article says that they went to the police together around 21:30 pm. One can wonder at this point why they were searching the room in the morning, but didn't report the girls missing to the police until the evening. And what is more; why did a guide who never met these girls reported them missing at the police station? Why not Miriam, who had the girls under her roof for days and nights already and who saw them every day? Apparently the police then want identification papers of the girls, and F. and Eileen (or he alone, that is unclear) are said to have gone back to the host family again that evening, to gather a passport and possibly also a diary of one the girls to take back to the police station. 
  
Eileen also calls the girls' family in Holland. Lisanne Froons mother Diny stated in a Dutch talkshow that she was called in the middle of the night by Eileen ("just after midnight"). With a 7 hour time difference in April between Panama and the Netherlands, this means that Eileen called her around 17:00 pm Panamanian time. Eileen asks Diny Froon: "Do I speak with Lisanne?". "No", answers Lisanne's mother, "Lisanne is in Panama." She hangs up, confused. Then she calls back and hears the terrible news that her daughter has not come back from a hike. When Kris' father is told the news by phone, Kris' mother screams in the background: "Oh no, it can't be true!". The girls' worried parents say they normally receive daily messages from the girls, but that this stopped on April 1st. Both Lisanne and Kris' parents head that same night to the Dutch police, to report the disappearance. The Daily Beast leaked a police report, in which guide F. is accused by Panamanian authorities of searching their room without a police escort, and they accused him also of "potentially tampering with evidence". Although he says he was just worried and simply checked if the girls were there, or not, and whether or not they had slept there that night or were truly missing.. Don't forget that nobody even knew they had disappeared at that stage, let alone that it could potentially be a criminal case... Guide F. also helps look for them during the next few days. And eventually he finds most of the girls' bone remains; overall just a few miles from his ranch near Alto Romero. His son is also said to have a house there. As far as the 
public knows, sniffer dogs never made it there. And the place has also never been stripped and investigated by officials. I even heard and read that the local native woman who found Kris and Lisanne's backpack, gave it first to him, before it was later handed over to police. If you scroll down in this follow up post I made on this case, you can see the photos of the girls' room, and how things were moved around. Interestingly, people have suggested that for this guide to enter the girls' room by his own initiative before police came to the scene, may have possibly enabled him to retrieve an adapter or cord for the digital camera of the girls and their phones. The iPhone 4 from Kris for instance needed a specific charger with 30-pins connector to usb-a cable. A cable which Kris certainly left in her room. Thinking about the missing vital photo #509, a special cord would have been needed to erase it with the help of a computer. A charger from their room would also have allowed the iPhone from Kris to still have battery life by April 11th, despite police having shown that its battery was already 50% empty by the time they started their Pianista hike on April 1st.

Also, very prominently in the photos that were later made by police of the girls' room, is a business card with the guide's name on it. I always wondered if it may have been planted there by him to show the police; 'See? They had an appointment with me. They used my services. I have a reason for being so involved in this case. Was this business card checked for fingerprints from Kris or Lisanne? Or is it clear from forensics that someone else handled it exclusively and planted it there? My bet is that no forensic investigation was done in that respect (considering the many fingerprints from the backpack were also not compared with those from the people who found the bag). But ultimately we do not even know for certain that Kris and Lisanne would really have used his services on April 2nd. We have never seen in black and white that those supposed day trip bookings were made with guide F. - or made for them through coworker Eileen. No payment details, no handwritten notes in the girls' diary or agenda confirmation of these appointments (check this detailed schedule of their diary stataments about their last days if you are interested in this). For all we know the girls had expected to work at another children's school all days of the week, after some inquiries that Monday afternoon. After all, they asked the help of staff of the Spanish school on Monday March 31st to try and find replacement volunteer work for them asap. So if they really wanted to work all week and were hoping to find replacement work; why would they book 3 different tours for the rest of that week? Maybe because they wanted to have something to do in case no replacement work was ever found? (Good find of this old AD article, Juan, thanks). 

Hans Kremers, Kris' father, stated in one of the earliest newspaper interviews, on April 14th of 2014, that it is not true that Kris and Lisanne had an appointment with the guide for that day; he said that they only had a guided tour planned with him for the upcoming Saturday. 

And Lisanne's mother Diny said in one of the Dutch late night show interviews, that Kris' boyfriend Stefan got a message in which Kris said that they would go for a walk that Tuesday and then planned to see the Volcano on Saturday.. Nobody heard anything about three planned tours, and nothing about guide F. either. Kris' mother Roelie said she understood that they would go on an excursion to the Lost Waterfalls. Nothing was really specified about it in their diaries. Which doesn't mean they didn't book the Wednesday tour. Just that there is no confirmation of it by their parents. Eileen did the bookings and communicated later about these supposed appointments the girls had. And Ingrid Lommers first told police that the scheduled trip from the girls with this guide was to her knowledge going to "a ranch in Alto Quiel", the same place where a plastic bag, long hair and a fuchsia red shoe sole were found later on, which some people linked to the shoe of Lisanne; see a video on the matter here. Alto Quiel is in the opposite direction of the Pianista Trail, however. The girls didn't tell their host family 'mother' Miriam about these specific appointments, who I quoted several times in this blog post already saying she was surprised the girls even went up the Pianista trail, as they had told them to have no such plans. Miriam Guerra confirmed to the Dutch newspaper that the girls were very quiet when they were with her and had "no plans whatsoever to make long walks outside of Boquete". Miriam said also that they weren't dressed for a long tour on April 1st, as everything was still in their room: their coats, wallets, Kris' passport. We have to believe the tour guide on his words therefore, as well as Eileen, who only worked for about a week at this Boquete location at that point and was about to move away again soon after the disappearance. But Lisanne's mother did know through her daughter about general plans for guided tours. So maybe the girls only told their parents about initial plans and never gave them any specifics later on. Also uncertain is how these appointments were exactly made? Did the girls speak with the guide himself or did Eileen or colleague Marjolein book it for them 'blindly', so to speak? The guide is rumoured to have hung around places like the language school sometimes to pick up new clients. But there is conflicting information about whether or not the girls met him personally, or if the language school arranged a guided tour with him for them. Most information I found confirms that the girls did talk to him. Guide F. said in the interview that he saw them lounging in a hammock at the school "shortly before they disappeared", but that the girls had declined his service offer to take them for the Pianista walk with an overnight stay at his isolated ranch in the jungle. This fleeting meeting may have been on Monday afternoon, or even on Tuesday morning. In this interview with a Dutch newspaper he literally said:

"I remember well that I saw the girls for the last time. One was laying in a hammock at the Spanish language school, and the other was standing in front of a map of Panama and was looking where she wanted to go. Hola! I greeted them. That was shortly before they went missing." 

However in this Dutch newspaper article from March 2019, the tour guide is interviewed again and flat out says: "I still have contact with the girls' parents and I don't want to make them sad. I only wanted to help. I have never seen the girls."  And in this local Panamanian news article, it is written that: "On Tuesday afternoon F., who for many years has provided his services as a tour guide, received a call from the Spanish by the River school, where the manager informed him that two young people were interested in obtaining their tour guide services." But in one of Kryts articles, it is reported that: "According to a police report leaked to The Daily Beast, this tour leader told authorities he had met with Dutch tourists Kris and Lisanne the same day they disappeared from Boquete, on April 1, 2014. He claimed to have scheduled a hike with them for the following day, and that he went looking when they never showed up". The tour guide also tells the interviewer in this Dutch news article that Kris and Lisanne had plans to see a strawberry farm with him on Wednesday April 2nd, and were supposed to visit the local volcano Baru with him on Saturday the 6th. It’s published on sites like Trip Advisor that this guide is specialized (like many other local guides there) in long, three-day treks from Boquete out to the Bocas coast via the Pianista trail; the same route where Kris and Lisanne walked toward and where their remains were approximately found. Guide F. also ushered the police to go "check empty houses near Boquete, where people can be hidden by those with bad intentions". Although Jeremy Kryt declares that after having access to police reports on this case, he can confirm that Ingrid Lommers apparently reported to police that the women had booked a trip to a “ranch in Alto Quiel” with this guide. So there is some confusion about what they booked exactly and whether or not they actually did so themselves or not. And not even F. meeting them personally is 100% certain, because there are also articles such as this article, which states that this entire meeting at the language school never took place, and that in fact this same tour guide got a call on Wednesday April 2nd from the same worker of the language school, Eileen, to ask over the phone for his services that day for the two girls. They were already missing at that stage, but the school aide did not know this yet. He never met them personally, in this scenario. And in this local newspaper article it is also stated that the girls booked their trip with this guide through the language school, and that F. never met them. So it is one or the other. The guide himself seemingly also gave different answers to different newspapers. And not only about the bookings. 

Here the guide for instance stated that he wasn't allowed to search on his own before Sinaproc arrived, but in this video it is explicitly said that he was the first to go out looking, already walked this path on April 3rd (so day 3), looking for them. All the way over the Pianista, past the two small streams and to the meadow with the small wooden houses scattered around. But that he found no trace of them, "Not even footprints." This is reported elsewhere too. And here he stated then that he started looking for them on day 5. So what is it? Day 3, day 5, or after Sinaproc went in.. Here the guide is interviewed and says: "I do not think that it is possible that people leave the trail and go into the forest.. Hikers have no choice but to follow the trail. What is possible, and what is a risk, is that you forget the time and that you keep walking that trail on and on. But it is not possible to lose track of the trail and to wander into the forest without noticing." Tour guide F. also made another statement on national TV: "A mountain guide told us that if he saw vultures circling above the jungle. That would be less good news." And in this interview he says on camera; "With those search operations, they would have been found by now. In my opinion it would have taken no more than a week to find them, if they had an accient., regardless of problems. Because those girls could have had an accident,, or been attacked by wild animals, and then you would have seen the presence of black vultures circling, and then we would have found them. Or part of their belongings. But we would have found them. I think it is suspicious, people must have participated in something that is not good." 

David M. made a very good comment about this: "He is a very experienced guide, he might even be the most experienced and knowledgeable man to be found in that area of Panama, as he has walked it extensively all his life. [Regarding this] comment he made at the time (he makes it twice actually) about Black Vultures circling the area. This hasn't been picked up on. The fact that the Panamanian wilderness has vultures is an interesting detail, it tells us guide F is familiar with the significance of their sightings when in a pack and so would have a very good idea if there were bodies out there... What is particularly significant here however is that it does tell us that if the two friends really do come to disaster at a cable bridge, and eventually pass away there, then that spot becomes a target for Vultures - if Guide F's experience is correct. Given its significance and landmark status in the area a cable bridge that is suddenly regularly swooped on by a flock of vultures would escape no ones notice. People would see, people would know what it means. So what it does lend significant weight to (for me) is the idea that in fact the two friends final resting place was never below a cable bridge at all. Indeed it might not even be on the river... Black Vultures. I wonder how common they are in Panama and its forests?" - I also think that if locals had seen vultures in April or May of 2014, they would have noticed it right away and people would have traced whatever attracted those birds. Because there was a 30.000 dollar reward on the line at some point for whomever found the girls. So is this a clue that the girls did not in fact die behind the mountain, out in the wilderness there?

And well spotted by Vicious-Vixen, but in this Dutch interview, Guide F. also says something else that is peculiar. Translated: "When the manager of the language school said that the girls were gone, I was convinced they were lost. All their belongings were still with the host family where they stayed. I saw it myself, I went with them when their room was checked. I saw the bags, ID cards, the cell phone. And they were last seen at the Pianista Trail, where you can hike."  -  So he is saying he saw their bags and 'the cell phone' in their room. However they had their mobile phones with them. What mobile phone is he talking about? Was there a third phone perhaps? Besides, he went in their bedroom himself with Eileen, so who is he referring to with "them" when he echecked their room? 

Eileen  
I am by now grossly assuming here; but the fact that a business card was clearly visible on one of the girls' beds means nothing definitive either, as Eileen could have also given it to the girls, for all we (don't) know. Or the guide himself, who was the first to enter their room after they went missing, could have planted it on the bed. No-one there to see it happening. No checks were ever done for fingerprints of the girls on this business card, so we simply don't know. So, this guide spent some time in their room after they had gone missing and before police arrived, with the German woman from the language school. She also went with him to his mountain house that afternoon of April 2nd, and later to the police station to report the girls missing. A coworker of the travel agency the girls used, Judith, later said that Eileen really freaked out over the girls' disappearance at this point. Judith was called by the girls' parents once they found out about their daughters' disappearance. So Eileen freaked out, was hysterical some say, and soon after left Boquete. She is said to have only been at the school for a some days at that point - two weeks in total by her own admission - and she soon after left Panama again, five days after the girls went missing. Before arriving in Boquete, Eileen also spent time in Bocas del Toro, around the same time as Kris and Lisanne and also went to Spanish by the Sea there. And this Dutch newspaper stated in an article called (freely translated, idem for the quote) A fatal hike, on June 28th 2014: "What happens after the girls are declared missing to the Police is unknown. But they are expected the next day by local guide F. and the German girl Eileen for a coffee tour. At a quarter past eight they are still not there. Strange, thinks F. 'We knocked on the door of their host family', he says. 'But there was nobody home.' Guest mother Guerra is at work. The previous evening she had waited in vain with dinner, although she was not yet worried: students have gone out for the night more often. But when she received a phone call from the guide, she is alarmed. 'I have an extra key hidden in the backyard. SO I told the guide: go inside the house with this key and knock on their bedroom. When you don't hear anything, you just have to open that door.' The guide: 'When we entered that room I just felt it; nobody had slept there the past night. There were all sorts of items laying on the beds. It gave me goose bumps.'What should they do? They hesitate. 'Eileen said that in Germany, officials only start acting after someone has been missing for 24 hours', says the guide. We decided to go to the farm.' When they return in the afternoon, there is still no trace of Lisanne and Kris. Together they go to the police office to report the missing persons case." 

So on top of leaving her job that Wednesday to accompany guide F. to the girls' bedroom, Eileen also agreed to go along with F. to his jungle 'farm' afterwards. This was reported as a quote from her in the same article of June 28th 2014, 'Een Fatale Wandeling' (A fatal hike). Now, the 'farm' mentioned in the article may have either been the guides' remote jungle farm in Alto Romero where later in a radius of mere miles the girls' scattered remains were found by himself and some other locals. There is also a road near Boquete that goes to Bocas del Toro, allowing you to divert at some point to a dirt road of sorts to Alto Romero, bypassing the entire Pianista trail. Or perhaps she referred to a coffee farm he is said to have, according to Okke Ornsteins radio program, where he speaks with F. and compliments him on air with the delicious coffee he makes. But either way: Eileen spent quite some time together with the guide, sorting this out. Instead of going back to her job. She must have been away from her desk most of the day on April 2nd 2014. And on top of all that, Eileen also went briefly back to the office of Spanish by the River that day, to get more official data on the girls. And then 5 days later, Eileen left Boquete. She asked for a transfer to Panama City. The news is not confirmed in black and white in newspapers unfortunately, but widely circulating on all the specialist forums on this case and she also admitted as much herself when contacted by some forum members. It was also mentioned on Ingrid Lommers' facebook page. A coworker called Tim switched places with her and moved to the language school in Boquete; giving her his work spot in Panama City instead. In a telephone call Eileen is said to have stated that she wanted to leave Boquete right away. So yeh... that is all very peculiar, if true. Why did Eileen leave so soon and did she feel afraid? She had only worked in Boquete for over a week. What went on behind closed doors? Did she get dragged in this disappearance case too deep? Was she evading police interrogations? Or was she emotionally impacted by the disappearance of these two young women, around the same age as herself, and the media circus that was starting to heat up? Eileen was never questioned by police investigators before she left, as far as anyone knows, except by two internet detectives/vigilantes. She told them that she worked in the language school that Tuesday April 1st, but that she never saw Kris and Lisanne there. Of course, she could have told the internet sleuths anything, but she was never officially interrogated by Dutch or German police before or after returning to Germany as far as it's publicly known. Nothing is known therefore about what they precisely did in the girls' bedroom, how exactly she made his bookings with Kris and Lisanne, what they did that afternoon of April 2nd. And despite it being reported that she said that the girls wanted to hike the Pianista Trail, local Boquete resident and interviewer Lee Zeltzer, who did his own research early on in this case (you can read all about it in blogpart 4) noted the following from Eileen on April 4, 2014: "I spoke with Eileen at Spanish by the River in Boquete who confirmed that the girls are missing. That they told no one where they were going but they think from brochures and the internet sites they are reading they were heading toward the Quezal trail or someplace in that region of the mountains. For those not familiar with the area that is a very remote mountainous area north of the pueblo." 


The tour guide F. is at times discussed online by tourists who used his services and some say that he has been pushy sometimes. Some tourists claimed online that he was known to only take females on tours (preferably European) and having been touchy with other tourists. Some declared he tried to go skinny dipping with them, or frolicking with them in the hot springs for instance. One tourist has testified that when she refused his attempts, he switched like a leaf on a tree, in a split second and turned from friendly into aggressive, and how frightened she was. No idea if this is true of course. John Tornblom, 32, a guide with more than 10 years of experience in the surrounding cloud forests, said: "Some of our female clients have complained of him harassing them." There are also claims that he had a habit of bathing in hot springs with his female clients. "He ought to at least be interrogated the right way. If this happened in the States or in Europe the investigation would’ve been taken to a whole different level."   -   Sophie J. wrote around July 22nd 2019: "Great guide, but not for women travelling alone. - It took me almost a year to finally post this review. I strongly recommend women to not hire F as your guide if you’re by yourself. It’s a big contrast if you look at the other reviews, where F. is described as a very nice person, which he probably is for many people. I have to say, he’s very charming, funny and you can probably, as you will read in the other reviews, have a great day with him. Did a walking tour with him. He’s the guide that knows the area by heart. Not long after we left he subtly started to flirt with me and also touching me, first my hand, but also my arms, shoulder and legs, even after telling him many times to stop doing that. He wears a big machete and suggested to chop off my legs (this of course was a joke but still...). He has an obsession for Northern European women and I felt very unsafe. It’s a personal story, but google his name and you’ll unfortunately find more stories like this about him." Sophie's review received so far 234 upvotes. But mostly all other reviews of this guide are very positive on that site. A German tourist wrote this about him: "I was there 2 x weeks and will not go there again. I just do not like the weather and the rainforest. El Pianista is not difficult to walk if you stay on the road. But I would never go without a guide! We went to F. twice and spent the night with him. It is also completely inexplicable to him what the girls should have moved to go beyond the Mirador without a guide .. there are no remarkable gorges on the trail itself. I honestly have no idea what to think and believe. There are also extremely many inconsistencies in the behavior of the two :/ F. is totally trustworthy ... and if you say so, he may have something to do with their disappearance: on April 1st, he was about 20 km from Boquete, among others. at a doctor".  -- So, there is conflicting information out there, as so often the case in life. And even if he is pushy with women, that does not automatically make him involved in this disappearance case. By now, he is said to have withdrawn entirely from cooperating, and the Daily Beast reporter who went to Panama for quite some time to cover this case, Jeremy Kryt, called and called but kept getting his answering machine, and was refused an interview. 

Quote from his article "Murderous Vacations: Serial Killers Stalking the Panama Highlands" [not my words, I am quoting the author here] from May 14th, 2017: "I tried to track down a local guide—a well-known and controversial figure in Boquete with close ties to the case. It’s been almost a full year now, yet this source remains a gossip-clouded enigma. Some call him the “best guide in town,” while others suggest he might be Panama’s most-wanted serial killer. I’d like to sit down with him, give him the benefit of every doubt, and get his side of the story. But it seems he doesn’t want to talk; or at least not to me, as I’ve been trying to contact him since last summer. [..] In a strange twist, one of the last people to see the women alive, was also the man who led the search party that found their fragmented bones. That alone makes him one of the most important sources in this case. A contact close to the victims’ families in Holland has indicated they’re still [anno 2017] searching for answers or new clues. The uncovered police record gives some fresh insights, such as the assertion that the cause of death was considered a “crime,” as opposed to an accident. But a palaver with the guide could help break new ground in this investigation, and perhaps give some measure of closure to grieving loved ones. Since my return to town I’ve been hunting him again, but his phone keeps rolling straight to voicemail. I’m told he hasn’t been seen for days in any of the tour shops or hotels where guides often hang around, hoping to drum up clients. Multiple media outlets have linked this guide to the case, although the exact role he played remains unclear. What we do know, based on the leaked police report and the guide’s own account therein, is that he was scheduled to take the Holandesas—as they’ve come to be known throughout Panama—to visit a nearby farm on April 2, the day after they vanished. He’s also been accused by Panamanian prosecutors of entering the room where the women stayed ahead of authorities, and possibly tampering with evidence. Based on the original maps made by the searchers, and interviews with team members, we now know the victims’ fragmented remains were discovered just a few miles from this same guide’s ranch house. Conflicting reports in the Dutch and Panamanian press offer wildly different perspectives on these events. Some accounts name him as complicit in a crime against the women—but other sources describe his own attempts to find the lost tourists and assist authorities in the search. So who’s to be believed?  Kryt also added: "There’s another mention of that guide in the leaked police archive, which again puts him at the center of the action. The reference makes clear the criminal investigation was initiated because of “information,” he provided “about the disappearance [of Kremers and Froon] in the mountains of the Pianista.” But since since the Holandesas’ scheduled tour with him was for Alto Quiel, which is in the opposite direction, how did the guide know the Dutch women were missing in the Pianista region when officials first questioned him?  In the end Kryt did not get an interview with the tour guide, but he did talk with some tourists who stayed in F's finca. You can read the full quotes further down this blog post, in a subtopic dedicated to Kryt's articles.

A Panamanian reporter, Adelita Coriat, said that "If a crime was involved, he would have to be the top suspect. He has a son who lives up near there too. As I understand it they were both seen in the area when the holandesas disappeared – but I don’t think the police ever looked too closely into any of that."  - In this local article from 2017 it is insinuated that there may be a most wanted serial killer in Panama. Freely translated: "Now there are reports that American investigators found indications that a serial killer exists in western Panama, and attacks from time to time in the region, especially during the dry season and the summer. Our source declared that the FBI suspects that this is the same person who may have killed Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, who went missing in the area on April 1st, 2014 (confirmation of this FBI suspicion in this news article, in which journalists also complain about the excessive secrecy from Panamanian officials about these deaths in their country). This case was never solved, and authorities confirmed nor denied foul play. It is a mystery why the girls managed to end up 18 kilometers away from the Pianista trail, in the area of Alto Romero, without knowing the terrain or the difficult route to this place. International journalists and organizations have accused Panama since of secrecy and covering up evidence in the case of the murdered American tourist Catherine Johannet in 2017, close by. They link her murder to the missing case of the Dutch girls."

Below are some photos of the beautiful American Catherine Johannet who was found beaten and strangled to death in Bocas del Toro, Panama in 2017. She had suffered blunt-force trauma to the back of her head, and been strangled with her own beach wrap. Her body appeared to have been dragged a few hundred meters from the trail and left in heavy brush. She had also gone on a short hike, alone, leaving most of her personal belongings behind in her hostel room. And she was also a young, attractive, slim and tall foreign woman in her early twenties. Her case is further discussed a couple of paragraphs below.  -  Reports also mention that this guide almost immediately spoke of the location where Kris and Lisanne's remains were eventually found. Months before those remains were in fact found. And despite them being only missing persons at that point, who did not leave a note about their whereabouts. Yet according to Jeremy Kryt, who has possession of the official police report, guide F. described the precise location immediately following the disappearance. I do like to add here that Kris and Lisanne did show interest in this Pianista trail at the language school the day prior; Eileen or another coworker found online searches on the computers there for the Pianista hike. And guide F. was by most accounts either contacted by them or for them to discuss the possibilities of a guided tour. So he may simply have heard from themselves or from Eileen about their interest for this Pianista trail. The fact that they went on that hike alone in the end, may be because they perhaps did not want to spend the money on it, 25 dollars (or more) per person per trip. Or because they opted for the strawberry tour with him the day of the 2nd of April, and instead thought they could easily walk this Pianista trail alone, without a guide. It was marketed as a relatively uncomplicated walk after all, and in Holland women are all pretty independent and proactive. Or.... perhaps they went alone because they met him but declined his offer kindly but decisively. Which.... a normal person takes well, but some other people may take very badly. What if - theoretically - the guide did not take this (theoretical) rejection well at all? And knew about their location plans. Decided to follow them there, or meet them beyond the summit. Told them perhaps some free of charge tips; that you could walk further than the summit for instance. That there are some wonderful things to see beyond the summit. Who knows.. It's all speculation of course. None of this may bear even a shred of truth! But we're just going past the most popular theories in this disappearance case. The difficult thing is that there is no confirmation of precisely where the girls were at any given point, so it could be highly unlikely he was anywhere near the spot of the night photos. The fact that he found so many remains and belongings could simply be due to the fact that he lived nearby and was sincerely doing everything he could, looking to help out. I find it hard to match it all together, given that this tour guide is also said to have raised the alarm and contacted their host family on April 2nd. If truly involved, as some people suggest, wouldn't he be in the jungle at that time, calling with their phones or keeping them hostage? He can't be at two places at the same time, so that may exclude him from the whole case. Unless more people were involved.... Or covered up for someone. His son is said by some locals to have been linked to a small gang, which they say also comprised of a relative of the owner of the restaurant who spoke to the girls and lent them their dog. These youth have been named by several locals as possible suspects in all this who were interviewed by police. I wouldn't know really if there is any truth to that, there is no written evidence for it. One of the youth group was however described by his mother as anxious for days after the girls went missing and then was found dead on April 4th of 2014; drowned just like the taxi driver. With all those fingerprints found on all their remains, it would have been interesting to see how many were from any of these youth gang people. Alas, those fingerprints led to nothing. Of course, the guide being the one to have found all the remains, thanks to long and arduous searching, has an alibi. But normally researchers always pay extra attention to pivotal figures who want to stay close to investigations. Just in case. But what is truth and what is mere gossip?

Authorities officially excluded guide F., although for some people that in itself also says nothing really as his ranch was never forensically searched. And, people wonder; why was he in such a rush to go looking for the girls at their host families place, the moment they didn't show up for their appointment with him on April 2nd? And looking through the window to see that they were not in their room was apparently not enough, because he and Eileen insisted on looking inside their room. Isn't this .... peculiar? But perhaps in a small town like Boquete, it is very normal indeed to personally go looking for your paying clients. Miriam's house was practically next to the language school, after all. But why wait till the evening then to report the disappearance to the police? This tour guide also states in this short interview with the Dutch newspaper Algemeen dagblad (I translated it in English): "Because he had walked the trails as a guide countless times, and during the first track [trying to find them] he had brought a lot of fruit in his backpack. 'The girls will be hungry, I thought.' But in next searches he no longer did that. Now his searches for them are not as coordinated anymore as in the beginning. He doesn't know where to look and does not believe that the girls are in the jungle. because it has already been searched."

"They can be everywhere, also here in Boquete. I think there is a chance of that." There are many new built houses that are empty in Boquete. "None of those empty houses have been searched by police. Nobody knows who lives there. You can easily hide two girls there.", he said to reporters. 

 Locals commenting on this local Boquete site however, wrote that they looked into some of them: "We also searched some abandoned buildings in the alleged area the girls were last seen." Lee Zeltzer confirmed this on the same site: "We walked the beginning on the trail to Bocas and checked out the abandoned cabins and no sign of anyone on that overgrown trail." This tour guide also said that he hoped that police would soon check those empty houses near Boquete. But he knew that as more time went by, the chance of them being found diminished. But this guide kept looking, the newspaper article emphasized.

Interviewed in June 25th 2014 by the Netherlands leading news channel (NOS news), F. explained that after finding the backpack and the two separate shoes and having a positive DNA match for Kris and Lisanne, he gave the advice to stop the searches. "I think that you shouldn't take any risks. With what we had found at that point, we knew that nobody was alive anymore." - [Quote] "When he heard that the backpack was found, he organized a search immediately. With a group of six male native inhabitants he combed through the shores of the river, for three kilometers upstream where the backpack was found. After two days, they had found two different shoes and two bones. These findings turned out to be pivotal. Earlier this week, forensics confirmed that its DNA matched that of Kris and Lisanne. The families now want the searches to continue as soon as possible. And for them to continue until all the remaining questions about the death of Kris and Lisanne have been answered. But F. is wondering out loud what another search can still deliver: "These searches are very dangerous. It is difficult to cross the river. There are cables crossing it and they swing when you walk over them." The boys who accompanied him did dare to cross the cable bridges. "But imagine that someone dies during these searches. When you fall into the water, the current pulls you down and you cannot get up again. You are lost then." If it's up to F, the search operations are over now. "I think that you shouldn't take any risks anymore. With what we have found now, we know that nobody is alive anymore."  -   These cable bridges sound like horrendous death traps in this article. But we know that guides pass them regularly, also with many tourists. Why would they do that if they are so dangerous? I came across different blog posts from his clients, showing him crossing these monkey bridges with a big smile. Yet when it came to finding more bones form Kris and Lisanne, these bridges were bringing the local search teams into danger? I do want to emphasize though that this man has spent a lot of free time in joining search operations and looking for Kris and Lisanne, by all accounts. He lost his wife in later years and seems to have suffered under the negative press. He sounded demoralized and even depressed in a later interview.

Interviewed by a Dutch newspaper in March 2019, F. stated that in the past he would walk the path from Boquete all the way to Bocas del Torro at times, - the same one Kris and Lisanne disappeared on - but that he didn't do this anymore the past five years. [Quote] "I don't do it anymore. I don't want to be remembered of the case so much anymore. It happened five years ago, but it feels like it were only three or two years ago. But I am very happy with the nice Dutch people I met. Tomorrow I have again another group of six Dutch people [to guide around]". In front of him, on the table, lies a notebook full with thank you messages from Dutch backpackers who he took on the Pianista trail or other trails in the area. They approach him through whatsapp. Last year it were about two hundred. "I have four of such note books. Full. Some backpackers want me to tell them something about the disappearance case, others just want to make a beautiful trek." The article continues to tell that many rumours are swirling in Boquete and Panama about his possible involvement in the case. Considering he was so involved in many facets of the investigation and Jeremy Kryts investigation articles who implicate him have also left their marks. "The small Panamanian with white hair and light brown eyes works as a guide for twenty years now. But since the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne he suffers from depression.

"I have never been through something like this: the allegations. Even my wife received hate messages, and shortly after she passed away." He wants nothing more to say about the investigation and the accusations. "I still have contact with the girls'  parents and I don't want to make them sad. I only wanted to help. I have never seen the girls." 

I find it so sad that he lost his wife and deals with depression :(  Of course, it is most likely that this guide was simply helping out; doing all that was within his power to help look for the girls. In this interview on tv he seems genuinely sad, tearful and distressed about their ordeal. He is also very critical about the officials by then.  There is something very unjust about the notion that someone could genuinely try to help, in vain. Only to be pointed out as a person of interest afterwards. But a lot has been written about him and he features in a lot of tv interviews and reports. I report here what is said and written about this case in the public domain. Detectives and police are also usually not distracted or diverted by pity or personal sympathies. They look at the facts and the facts are that this guide was involved in many aspects of this case as it unfolded. And so people look into his actions.. He spoke to the girls about their plans, he booked them apparently for tours, he was the person who discovered they had gone missing, he went to their room (with Eileen from the language school) to weed through their belongings, before notifying the police... His business card was prominently placed on Kris' bed. He was one of the very first to go out looking for them, even though Sinaproc told locals not to do so on their own accord (of course, this can easily be explained by his frustration with the slow start-up of the searches). He pointed searchers to the Pianista Trail, while Sinaproc had no idea yet where the girls went and were inspecting the Baru region. Guide F. himself was behind the Pianista trail on April 1st according to journalist Adelita Coriat, tending to his cattle. He was also called by the Alto Romero locals who found the backpack, he handed the bag to the police. F also was the one who found mostly all the bone remains (incl the foot and shoe) with the help of some locals, not far from his jungle ranch. And he was the one who took it upon himself to show the parents of Kris and Lisanne around.  -  But for all we know he is just a cautious and caring person. His services were used by both the families of the girls, after all. Or perhaps he was involved in their disappearance. Or perhaps he was covering up for someone else, pushing this Lost behind the Pianista Trail scenario, Or perhaps he was blackmailed and threatened by someone else to do this and channel the attention to this Pianista area. All sorts of perhapses, and no answers. No proper investigation into his comings and goings (or that of other locals) was conducted by Panamanian officials however and no known investigation of his mobile phone use for instance. His houses were not inspected for hairs or DNA traces and his fingerprints may have been on their belongings but he had an alibi, as the main finder. But therefore he hasn't been scientifically excluded as a potential suspect either. Unfortunately for him. So keep in mind that everyone is in principle innocent, until proven guilty. But in every normal police investigation, someone who is at the forefront like this is always at the very least looked closer at by investigators. 

Another local guide - P. - also stated to a well known and quality Dutch newspaper (De Volkskrant) to have most likely passed the girls on the Pianista path, but he recalled to have seen them around midday. He stated that the two women said "Good morning", but he wasn't sure it were Kris and Lisanne as 'all Europeans look alike'. "They said 'Good morning' with an European accent'. They looked like Kris and Lisanne, but he wasn't sure. "Sorry, but you all look alike: tall, white, light hair and the same clothes. And always in pairs of two. We really cannot keep all those tourists apart." Which could perhaps be seen as a bit of a strange comment, considering he probably passed Kris who had striking red hair and a figure hugging red and white striped mini shirt: her clothes that day were rather noticeable. Of course, nobody involved in their disappearance would admit to having passed the girls on the mountain that day, so it does not make this guide suspicious in my opinion. In their photos taken on the Mirador summit, the girls make several photos showing their thumbs up*; a universal sign, but this tour guide made it his trademark sign. There are endless photos of him online making this same thumbs up sign, as well as the people he gets photographed with, but no other known photos of the girls making this sign, ever. Is it possible perhaps that he did meet them in passing. But that it was not on his way down the Pianista, but instead that he met them further up the mountain? Possibly even accompanied them on the summit? Many bloggers and travellers have stated all over the net that it is not that easy to find the right road up the Pianista. (Whereas following the road down the Pianista, on the 'wrong side' is supposed to be very easy again). There is nothing wrong with making photos with tourists on top of a mountain. It means nothing if he was there. I have to also add that this guide helped the volunteers comb through the jungle for 17 days in search for Kris and Lisanne, just like guide F. who has also spent a huge amount of time on these searches. By all accounts, these guides have done a lot to help find the girls. Later Websleuths member and inhabitant of Panama wrote about him: "Okay, now to my revelation. My husband and I returned from Panama City a few days ago and the man who was sent to drive us from the David airport back to Boquete was P., one of the community of local guides who works for a company called "Boquete Tree Trek." He told me he walks all over Panama all the time, taking the trail back and forth to Bocas, a several days' trek, as we know, frequently. He had already conducted a couple on a multi-hour hike before he collected us. We were definitely the easy part of his day. Now P. is not just any guide; he's the man who's been deputized to run the task force that's setting forth the new regulations for Panama's trails and guides. A reminder: tourism is BIG in Panama and this is an important task force. That makes P. a pretty credible source, in my book. So, as we spoke, the conversation gravitated to the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne (well, duh, I wasn't about to let that chance slip by), and right off the bat P. said he believed they were murdered." P. also told Jeremy Kryt about the dangers of monkey bridges: “You’re always afraid to cross them,” he says. “The top cables move and throw you off balance. Even the indigenous sometimes die on those bridges.” When I show some of the leaked night photos to the guides around Boquete, they each independently identify the same spot on the map. That site is about three miles from Boquete, on the western bank of a powerful tributary that helps form the headwaters of the Serpent River. From the Continental Divide, where the last tourist photos were made, the spot is straight downhill all the way." 

*Lisanne's mother said in a RTL Late Night interview that she thought the girls made thumbs up photos on the summit, because she herself had burnt her thumb previously and the girls wanted to refer to this with their gesture... It does not strike me as the most logical explanation because why would they make fun of Lisanne's mothers oven accident, not once but multiple times? As Juan puts it; that is the sort of prank you'd perhaps expect from tough guys. But well, maybe that was their type of humour, hard to say. Her mother will know better in this. It does tell us that the gesture was an unusual one for the girls to make, or else Lisanne's mother wouldn't have come up with an incident like this one to try to explain it.  


*La Estrella reports about a person from Alto Romero who reported that villagers tried to take the girls into a house 
This house was in Alto Romero, the same location where the backpack was found and in which vicinity the bone remains were found


*Another strange twist: the taxi driver's death 
The taxi driver who brought Kris and Lisanne to the Pianista trail on the morning of April 1st, claimed that he picked the girls up at 13:30 pm in Boquete, and that he dropped them off around 13:40 at the start of the Pianista trail. These times don't match with the time on the camera, which places them at the top of the Pianista around 13:00. But many other witnesses also placed the girls around that time at the start of the Pianista trail, which is a bit strange. And staff at the language school declared to have seen the girls leave the school that day shortly after 13:00 pm. When the girls got in the taxi, there were already two other men inside the car. They heard the girls tell the taxi driver where they wanted to go. One of them told him in Spanish: "A la entrada del Pianista." After that, the other two Panamese passengers were dropped off first at their destination and then the taxi driver brought the girls to the start of the El Pianista shortly after. Witnesses have stated that they saw the two young women get out of the taxi at this point. Could the two men in the taxi, knowing the girls' destination, have somehow followed their tracks? Underway the taxi driver received a lot of phone calls while he was underway and therefore he didn't talk much with the Chicas Holandesas. After paying him 5 dollars* the girls asked him where the trail begins exactly and the taxi driver gave them some instructions. (*Here it is stated that a cab ride usually costs you 1-3 dollars. However perhaps this was calculated from the nearby Boquete town, and not from the further away Alto Boquete where the girls stayed and were picked up). - The taxi driver turned up dead almost exactly a year later, on March 2nd 2015 (see his gravestone here), under officially “unexplained” circumstances. Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu (34) drownedapparently. “It’s a strange thing,” says César Castillo, a rock-climbing instructor who was teaching clients nearby when Gonzalez’s body was pulled from the water in a shallow stretch of the mini-canyon the locals call Gualaca. “It’s easy to swim there, with no strong current,” says Castillo, who frequently takes his climbing students for a dip in the same spot. “And we never heard any cries for help, or splashing around like he was in trouble. We know he didn’t hit his head on a rock, because there was no blood or bruising,” says Castillo, who helped pull Gonzalez from the water and tried to perform CPR. Castillo also reports the presence of other cars parked near the mini-canyon that day, although he admits he can’t be sure the death was not an accident. “Leo was a good kid,” says a fellow taxi driver in town, when I ask about Gonzalez. “Always responsible. Always on time. If he got killed over the Holandesas, it could’ve been because he saw something he shouldn’t have near the Pianista,” the driver says, referring to the trail where the young women disappeared. “Not because he did anything wrong himself.” 
Although Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reports that Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu's body was found at a lake in the Panamese province of Chiriquí. This source specifies it as the tourist spot of Los Cangilones, in the district Gualaca (province Chiriquí). On this Boquete forum his death is also discussed. Did this taxi driver tip off someone that he had just dropped the girls off at the Pianista trail? He is said to have talked to police, and got killed for it, according to many Panamanian commentators on social media and discussion forums. One local stated in Spanish that "The girls were very friendly; the same taxi driver who dropped them off came back with another man to trace them and they raped and killed them." Others suggest that he came back to pick the girls up later that day, and may have seen them being taken by a third party. Or that he simply knew what happened to them and was killed for that. Not many locals believe that Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu could just slump over like that while sitting on a stone, at the age of 34, while waiting for his customers to be ready for their return trip in his taxi, and magically end up drowning in the shallow water in front of him. In this local news video, it is stated that the taxi driver died from suicide. A very unique and peculiar way to commit suicide, as drowning yourself in shallow water without tying yourself or weighing yourself down is no small feat, considering the human survival reflex while under water. In part 2 of this blog series, a new photo is mentioned which shows Kris and Lisanne (although this is disputed) bathing in a local river with two young men from (Alto) Boquete. The young men have been identified and both died within a year. Could these two locals have been the ones who people saw earlier talking to the girls, either in the local restaurant, or in the street, or in the taxi? 


*One wonders why the local government didn't get searchers in more quickly (during the first and most important days, no professional searches were organized) or even set up emergency cell coverage in the area; some sort of mobile network range extender, which is technically do-able with a helicopter, portable tower, or drone, from what I understand. And why were no thermal cameras used? (I guess these days with drones that would have been easier perhaps than in 2014). And have authorities tried to call the girls' phones, while they were missing? Have they used the help of psychics? Did they drop survival packages in the area where the girls were thought to have gone missing?


*Dehydration 
In a curious turn of events, First Superior Prosecutor Betzaida Pittí, who had been assigned to the investigation into the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne, actually travelled personally from Panama City by helicopter to a more remote part of the jungle to collect the initial evidence that was discovered. She only spent 4 hours in this part of the jungle, and brought water, but nevertheless had to be hospitalized (!) on her return to Panama City for severe dehydration. Four hours! It was aired on Dutch TV at the time and also captured in writing here. Apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence in the jungle, because you lose so much water by perspiration that you can’t replenish it quickly enough. But she brought water and yet, these girls seemed to have stayed alive without any extra water for 11 grueling days at least. It does make you wonder; how can four hours of jungle walking make someone so violently sick (dehydrated)? Or was Pitti making a circus show spectacle out of her supposed dangerous trip? With the media cameras invited along to document her 'ordeal'. Of course, by the time Pitti entered the jungle it was at least mid June. And perhaps it was by then warmer in the Panamanian jungle than during the first week of April. Although situated close to the equator, the climate is much more stable in Panama than in good old Northern Europe. And Mrs Pitti was already walking on crutches then and also... no offense .. but she doesn't look even half as fit as Kris and Lisanne did. I wouldn't be surprised if she had staged the hospitalization, just to show the world that Yes, this jungle here is a Killer.


*Other strange claims; the red car 
Also, there is mention of a sighting by several witnesses of a red car going down the Pianista trail, later in the afternoon of April 1st and around the time the girls should have been on their way back. This Dutch newspaper mentions: "Witnesses living on the trail saw a red terrain car coming off the Pianista Trail; a pick-up type with large wheels, possibly a Mitsubishi with a double cabin or a Toyota Highlander." These witnesses had seen the girls heading up the trail around 14:30 pm, but never saw them come down again. Instead, they saw this red pick-up come down the mountain at the end of the afternoon. A rarity on the Pianista Trail. And this local reporter on the scene also mentions here that there are at least two testimonies he knows of people who declare they saw an off-road vehicle come down the mountain when the girls were hiking there. Police never traced this car or its driver, although they did ask residents if they owned a red car or knew someone who owned a red car. (Photos on the right are of different red cars which were driving around in the area back in April of 2014). But given that the request to come forward with more information on this red truck was on a fully voluntary basis, not much was discovered and there was no information about suspects being selected or interviewed. In this Dutch newspaper former detective Erik Westra, who lives in the area, says that this unknown red pickup truck that was seen driving down the path at the end of the afternoon of April 1st, can play an important role in the disappearance of the two Dutch tourists. “They knew they had to walk two hours there and two hours back and that they had to be back in the village before seven in the evening because it would get dark then. If no one saw them return, it could well have gotten into the driver (s) of the red vehicle." Until now, however, nobody knew who and where the red car is. Incomprehensible, Westra concluded. "The police asked local residents last week whether they own a red car or know someone with such a car, but the answer was always negative. Then you go and investigate that vehicle, right?" (Here you can see an interview with Erik Westra about crime in Boquete). Some Dutch websleuths have attributed that red car to a Dutchman living over there, who apparently sold his red Toyota truck three days after Kris and Lisanne went missing. All circumstantial info however, nobody was ever identified as THE owner of the seen red truck, and many may have had a red truck in that area. Although driving it down the narrow Pianista trail was considered noteworthy. Local Dutch detectives criticized this "slack" investigation method (slack by our own standards here). And there is also information that in fact some witnesses saw the girls return by foot from their walk on April 1st. Meaning, if true, that they went missing somewhere else, and not beyond the Mirador on the Pianista Trail. It is not sure if this information is correct; there have been many false witness statements, placing the girls in town and in cafes even, when police knew for a fact they were at the Pianista Trail thanks to their camera photos. But a certain Pedro Capon is said to have declared that he saw the girls return down the mountain at the end of the afternoon of April 1st, and asking for instructions on how to get back to town, and a place to get a taxi. Jose Morales claimed the same: Morales, owner of a hostel nearby, saw and spoke with Kris and Lisanne on the day they disappeared. "They looked tired and hungry, I advised them to take a taxi." 

Problem here is that the girls' mobile phones would have made contact with the nearest cell tower again then.. And their phones never regained that contact. Or so officials from Panama claimed. Although I wouldn't stare yourself blind on that info; it may have been sloppy investigation; it may have been false information or it could be that the girls simply switched their phones off that afternoon because the battery was running low, or to avoid unwanted roaming costs from nearby wifi. It was reported by John van den Heuvel, a renowned crime investigation journalist who went to Panama to investigate the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, here that the girls set their phones to flight mode to avoid roaming costs. Hans Kremers said in October 1st of 2014 however that the Dutch NFI report stated that the girls had their phones not set to flight mode during their first weeks in Panama. Others stated that witnesses must have seen them on March 31st instead, including the same witness again: "Pedro Capon of Casa Pedro. [Giovanni] saw them walking to the beginning of the trail, but Pedro showed the Tierra Lino hiking route to the girls and saw the girls shortly after walking back. So probably the girls never really started the Pianista trail that day, but walked a part of the Tierra Lino hiking route." However, Lisanne wrote nothing in her diary entry from March 31st about a hike at or around the Pianista Trail, and neither did she mention it to her mother while communicating with her that day. Maybe she was way too preoccupied with the disappointment of having been sent away from their volunteer schoolwork that morning.. We know they had a full day on Monday, discussing other volunteer work options at the Spanish school, going for a long massage later in the afternoon with Sigrid.. There is also a theory that says that these digital camera times and date could all be faked entirely. That Kris and Lisanne did indeed go on the Pianista hike, but on March 31st instead of April 1st. And that on April 1st they were in fact taken to another place, to swim, by the taxi driver and fell into bad hands. And this third party only had to simply change the date setting on the digital camera, and on the mobile phones, to make it seem like Kris and Lisanne went up the mountain that day and never made it back down. Some faked emergency calls for the next few days and voila. We wouldn't be able to discover any of this; not without access to all the original photos on the memory card from the Canon digital camera... which are kept private by the families unfortunately. Besides, whatever theory you believe in, there will always be contradicting witness statements. Not one scenario fits entirely with the facts and all the witness statements available. In this video several witnesses recall in Spanish what they saw. 

And there is another eerie statement found: Two French tourists (Boris and Edith) from the region Aude walked the same trail on April 6th, so five days after the girls went missing, and they declared that a local told them not to get into the woods as he had heard someone scream the day before; screams coming from the jungle. None of these people have been questioned however by authorities. This is their blog. Important passages translated from French: "The day after our arrival [in Boquete] we explore the place. We are desperately searching for an information office which does not exist, at least not in the center. We grab information in the tourist agencies, who each time recommend us a guide, but we know very well that the hikes in the area are quite feasible alone. The problem at the moment is that two 23-year-old Dutch girls have been "lost" for the past four days, and they put this argument forward to discourage us from hiking without a guide. On April 6 we leave early by taxi to do the Quetzal trail [which is west of the Pianista Trail, Scarlet]. The hike begins with a track that goes down. We cross the Rio Caldera and then we enter a path that sinks into the beautiful rainforest. The path is flat at first and then climbs up to another guard post, which we reach after 3h30 of walking and more than 1200m of elevation. It is then possible to go down on the other side, towards the village of Cerro Punto and to take buses to return, but it takes 3h of transport. 

At the guardhouse, we meet a guy who, the day before, heard frightened screams from two 
girls, then a loud crash, and then saw three guys on the trail. This explains the presence 
today of many cops and rescuers on the trail in search of the girls.

After the picnic we go down the same path, a little troubled by this story and the possibility that the two Dutch had a bad meeting in the area. In fact, it is almost impossible to get lost on these well marked trails, and it seems even less possible to stay lost here for the duration of 4 days ... This hike, which is announced as one of the most beautiful in Panama, did not really dazzle us. We left very early to try to observe the wildlife but we did not see much, only some birds and cows, sheep, cats, dogs and hens not really shy and not really wild .. Although others stated to have walked the Pianista Trail in the night (!) of 1 to 2 April 2014, and they heard or saw nothing unusual. So, the screams were heard on April 5th. The last correct PIN code was entered in Kris' iPhone on day 5 as well, at 10:50 am. Then a few hours later, at 13:37 pm it no longer received the correct PIN codes. Could there be a correlation between the screams heard that day, and the sudden stop of correct PIN code entries in the phone? 


*The head of the language school says that the girls were last seen in the school in the early afternoon
The Dutch teacher at the language school where Kris and Lisanne regularly went, said on camera here: "The last moment that they were seen by a female teacher here was really 13:10 pm; an employer of us in the office also saw them walk away then." And this is strange because by that time their camera data placed them on the top of the Pianista trail. How could not one but two school teachers get the time so wrong? They made this information public on April 2nd: the day when news of the girls' disappearance broke. So very early, when their memories should still be sharp. Were they correct or mistaken? In theory it is possible to manually change the time settings on these digital cameras, and with 30+ different fingerprints found on the camera and the backpack, who is to say if someone hasn't messed with these time settings? It remains strange that several witnesses declared to have seen the girls walking by that day, ascend and even descent apparently at such different times, clashing entirely with the time stamps on the photos. I delve much deeper into this matter further down this blog post, for those of you who are interested in the nitty-gritty of it.
     


*The girls were also said to be having breakfast with two young men 
shortly before their disappearance, in restaurant Nelvis in Boquete, a catering establishment recommended by the Spanish school where the friends were taking courses. Police tried to track down their identity but didn't succeed. At some point word got round that the two young men were Dutch, which was later excluded as potential lead because it turned out that the girls met these young Dutch men in Bocal de Toro. They never were in Boquete at all. But police also revealed that they were still looking for the two young men who wére seen with the girls in Nelvis restaurant. They were by all likelihood locals. In another scenario, Kris and Lisanne were seen having brunch and not breakfast with two young men, before embarking on the trail. Another witness stated (s)he saw that the girls were approached by two local men while they had a cup of coffee. A traveller wrote about two other men that the girls had met on her blog"In April my Spanish teacher told me that two young women had gone missing from the sister school in Boquete, Panama. They had left all of their belongings, and not told anyone where they were going that day. The last anyone saw of them they were talking to two strange men, making plans to see the waterfall." None of these leads led to anything. The mysterious young men were never found as far as I know and nobody came forward either. Below are
pictures from the two young Dutch men who Kris and Lisanne befriended in Bocas del Toro around March 21st; Bas van Lieshout and Edwin Cornelis. They were not in Boquete at the time of the girls' disappearance and have been cleared from involvement. Juan found this old newspaper article, it says that Edwin Cornelis states that he got a Whatsapp message from Lisanne on April 1st, the day of the disappearance. Lisanne had heard a hostel burned to the ground in Panama City and she was worried. Edwin and Bas travelled to Panama City after they left Bocas. But they stayed in a different hostel. Then Edwin asked Lisanne how the host family was, yet Lisanne never answered. And another Dutchman has also talked to the media about Kris and Lisanne. Mart Huisman was traveling solo in Latin America when he met the girls in Bocas, before he left the place again on March 22nd. He shared some good times with them and described the girls as "normal intelligence, nice, friendly, careful, and not interested in doing crazy things". Mart had never seen them do drugs, or heard of anything out of the ordinary about them. After he left for Panama City and Curacao, he kept in touch with Kris and Lisanne. Mart Huisman stated to the media: "These girls weren't adventurous. Lisanne told me, it was a big deal to her, swimming in the ocean."



*There was talk that the girls had an appointment on the Pianista trail On this local Boquete message board, the disappearance of the girls and the progression of the search operations were discussed by members from the community. A certain Lux wrote on April 5th, 2014: "According to a friend of the girls, they had a 2pm appointment at the Pianista trail head, but they never showed up. Is this common knowledge? Do we have any actual evidence they went hiking anywhere at all?" Bonnie Williams replied on October 12th, 2014: "This is old news [..]. I understand the lead was followed up by the authorities." Unfortunately nothing has been officially released about this supposed appointment at the Pianista trail, and we also do not know who the two men in the taxi from Leonardo were, or whether they knew the girls. -  There have also been statements made by locals about how Kris and Lisanne were seen with two young men from Costa Rica, while in Boquete: "A person who preferred to reserve his name approached and said that the girls looked like good people and that the friendship they established with two boys from Costa Rica was remarkable. "Hopefully and they have run away with the boys and that nothing bad has happened to them," he said."


*There is also info about several bones of at least 3 other humans being found No idea who they were, but local natives are said to sometimes fall and die from the unreliable monkey bridges. But there are also at least 20 missing persons declared in that same area, apparently. Also regarding those bones: the bone remnants of Lisanne were flown back to the Netherlands on September 23rd/24th, and buried in October. Some local investigators in Panama criticized this decision, because the investigation into the girls' disappearance was still ongoing at that point. They feared the case will never be solved now, because further investigation of the bone remnants is now impossible. We don't even have an estimation of the rough time of death of either of the girls. 


*The rabbits, local cannibals, are also named as possible perpetrators
given that some of the bones were found relatively close to other bone fragments from animals (cows). It could be that this area was a dumping ground for used bones. One theory is that these 'cannibals' found the girls, caught them and ate them, dumping their bones and tossing their backpack along the river, where it was found by other locals. It is purely speculation however. And primitive cannibals, you would expect, wouldn't bother with lime or lye and just cut the bones off, which markings scientists would have had detected under the microscope (and they didn't). And if the local indigenous people were involved in the girls' death, it seems illogical that they would draw attention to their own village by planting the bag at the river right near their village. But native people from the jungle are also said to have a protected status in Panama, and use their own local law. There has also been talk online, well for what that is worth, of a native serial killer roaming around. I honestly don't know anything about this, no official information at least supports this, so it could just be hear-say or make-belief. Oh and in this excellent youtube video on the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne, the maker of Top Mysteries says something interesting about the native Ngobe people. He says literally: "The Ngobe people also use these trails, and they are situated about 12 hours away from the dividing stream. While the Ngobe people do tend to live in seclusion from modern society, they are friendly. I'm not sure if the Ngobe people knew of this disappearance, or even said anything about it, but I thought it was interesting to have a quick look at their folklore. Similar to legends that span across the southern Americas, the Ngobe people seem to believe that the Duende reside in the forest. This is similar to a disappearance I wrote about a while ago, in the Bolivian rainforest, where many of the local natives and tour guides actually blamed the Duende. Which was just a fascinating thing to come across. The Ngobe people think that the duende are spirits that lurk hidden in the forests and caves. They believe that they like to lure people away, especially smaller people, and hide them in the forest. And after a while, people would find the body of the missing. Now obviously I'm not making the claim that any of that is true, but I do find folklore interesting, especially when it is spread across various cultures who talk about the same thing." Alexandra Cubilla wrote: "Well I am from Panama, from Chiriquí, and most people here believe that the Indian 'rabbits' who live in the forests of Boquete got the girls and killed them. [..] This theory is widely supported by the people living in the vicinity of the Pianista Trail, and it is said that the local 'rabbits' eat humans."


*For context; there are other cases of missing tourists 
and even murders in that region. Crime occurs here, like in most other places in the world. There is for instance the case of an American girl called Catherine Johannet being beaten and strangled to death in Bocas del Toro, Panama in 2017. This happened just 35 miles from where Kris and Lisanne's remains were found. It turns out that she had suffered blunt-force trauma to the back of her head, and been strangled with her own beach wrap by a young man from the area. Or let's put it this way: a young man confessed to the murder. Her body appeared to have been dragged a few hundred meters from the trail and left in heavy brush. She had also gone on a short hike that day, alone, leaving most of her personal belongings behind in her hostel room. And she was also a young, attractive, slim and tall foreign woman in her early twenties. Her photos are posted a few paragraphs above from here. Also in Aug. 2009, a British backpacker, care worker and poet named Alex Humphrey went missing while hiking the same Pianista trail, one week into a three week holiday. Here is a facebook memorial page for him. Alex vanished from Boquete in August 2009, aged 29, after checking into a local hostel. He also hadn't been long in Boquete yet. Alex left his hostel on August 14th 2009, for a hike towards what this newspaper details as the Balneario Majagua waterfall, approximately 4 kilometers away. He has never been seen again since. An experienced hiker, his family believes he was a victim of a crime. Despite several police searches, a Panamanian media campaign and the offer of a $5,000 reward, no clues to his whereabouts have emerged. Just like Kris and Lisanne, he just vanished into thin air apparently. Not even a single bone of Alex has ever been brought back until this date. Which makes some people think he may have run into a criminal gang of sorts, used for his organs perhaps, but most certainly made to disappear for good. No body, no murder case, after all. Dutch Ambassador in Panama Wiebe de Boer made the shocking comment that 'Alex was autistic most likely, so well' ... there you go. His mother confirmed that Alex had high functioning Asperger Syndrome, and that he had travelled solo since his teens. Previously he had also backpacked through Europe and the United States without any problems, so his parents were not worried about their son's 3 week Panama backpack holiday. This is an excellent article and it's horrible these poor relatives have nothing to go on. No body, no bones, no witnesses really, nothing. Alex' mother said about this: "It is very difficult because all possible hypotheses have been investigated. If Alex had been abducted, ransom would have been requested. In a wrong robbery, his body should have been found a long time ago already, because the perpetrators are not going to drag with a corpse, or so the Panamanian organization that coordinated the search told us at least." His parents consider an accident along the way the most likely scenario, but Sinaproc told them this is not an option for them, because they would have found Alex then during their many extensive search operations. And they did not.. So all that is left for the family is that Alex was at the wrong place at the wrong time, or got into the wrong type of adventure (aka: foul play).   -   In the press and in Panama, journalists long referred to his mild Aspergers (autism), as if that would be the reason why he just left off, never to be seen again. But it seems that he just went for a hike: all his belongings were still in his hostel, and his parents know that Alex would never just leave them behind. Some shocking passages from that article stand out for me: "The Humphrey family then turned to Greater Manchester Police but officers were blocked from travelling to Panama by authorities in the country. “I think permission was refused on the basis that no crime had been committed, that it was just a missing persons report,” Denver said. The Panamanians didn’t want to admit a crime could have been committed in case it killed tourism.” The Humphreys now rely on quarterly checks made by the Foreign Office on their behalf to see if there is new information on Alex’s whereabouts. There hasn’t been any." - Alex will always remain that 'missing person' now..  :( If you scroll down in this post or go to part 2 of this blog series, I added a few more testimonials from people who went to Boquete or who lost someone near Boquete due to foul play. A friend of his made this poem for Alex. Some quotes from it:

"Departing Panama only a few days. 
After you arrived at your hostel. 
Like a river crossing warrior in your sandals. 
Your smile hiding a welcome escape. 
For what awaited when you came home. 
Of course, however, you never came back. 
Disappearing after only a few days. 
Leaving clues all over your room. 
Your wardrobe and your bed
Devoured in an unsolved mystery. 
Breaking your neck. Rumours unofficially claim.
Falling off a van a few miles out. 
Plaited in tragedy in seconds. 
And the panic of a terrified driver. 
Casting out a shaken plea. 
All the way down to the ocean. 
Sundered alone in the dawning grey. 
Dead within seconds of falling off that van. 
And laid into the waves like a feather. 
Leaving the truth as a matter of rumours.

Alex' mother, Gill Humphrey, wrote in August 2016: "Tomorrow is Alex's birthday. It is now seven years since he disappeared, and I promise you that not one day has gone by when we have not thought about him with love and with pride. The authorities in Panama are no longer supplying the Foreign Office with any information.  I do not know if they still compare my DNA with that of any unidentified bodies they find, but I doubt it.  There is no more we can do. And so it is time to draw some sort of line. Andrew and I are going to begin proceedings for a Declaration of Presumption of Death - which is like losing him all over again. And I don't think I will write on this site again unless a miracle happens. I want to thank every one of you both here and in Panama for the support you have given us over the past seven years.  But especially, I want to thank Matt Searle of the charity Missing Abroad who has been with us every step of the way. For one last time, please raise a glass tonight and wish Alex 'Happy Birthday'. Love and best wishes to all Gill and Denver." 
And Gill updated in November 2016: "We believe we now know how Alex died.  He was riding on a flat-bed truck, fell off and received fatal head injuries. The driver panicked and drove down to the coast and left Alex where the ocean could take him. No space here to tell you how we know: there is no proof, but in my heart I believe it is so. Not the outcome we all hoped for but better than some we had imagined. We will love and miss him every day of our lives, but we must all move forward.  It's what Alex would have wanted. Thank you for your support and God bless you all, Gill"  -  This was not an official end verdict in Alex' disappearance and the person claiming this remains anonymous. As Gill says: it is just something someone said to her and no evidence was provided. And Alex' mother wrote in August 2018: "I don't know if there is still anyone out there, but if there is, this is just to tell you that Andrew and  I went to Court in Leeds last Tuesday and we have obtained a declaration of presumption of death. So that really is the last stage. I was going to take this site down, but yesterday I was reading through all the messages you sent over the past nine years, and I have to keep them. It's Alex's birthday on Wednesday.  Please raise one final glass to him. Please don't trouble to respond to this.  I just wanted to round things off." - Going by the comments, Alex was a much loved person. 

And here are photos and stories from local women in the Boquete region (province of Chiriqui) who were murdered or who disappeared. This local newspaper quotes a report from the Public Prosecution Service, stating that in 2014 alone, no less than 51 people disappeared in the province of Chiriqui.

This is a very important case I believe: In the same region, a German tourist was kidnapped and raped by three local rescue members in 2017
Interesting detail: this German tourist had gotten lost in the jungle of the Panamanian province of Veraguas near the El Bermejo waterfall, roughly 140 kilometers east of Boquete, and the three locals who abused her were part of the rescue operation. And they were said to have been drinking heavily when out looking for her. When they found her, they hid her in one of the wooden sheds in the jungle and managed to keep her hidden there from the other searchers for three days. In which she was raped and abused... One of her attackers ended up in hospital due to the wounds she gave him while trying to defend herself with a broken rum bottle. If one of the three thugs hadn't been bleeding so heavily in the arm, belly and thigh that he was at risk of bleeding to death, she may never have lived to tell the tale. The others fled with him and rushed him to hospital to save his life (and indirectly hers I believe). Things may have ended very differently for this brave young woman otherwise. So not that unheard of eh? Same region, same jungle, near same scenario. And she was not found by the larger search teams. Just goes to show someone can actually disappear in such places, despite scores of people looking for her. And that a lone woman is never just safe, out there on her own. Makes you wonder if such type of gems also helped in the search actions for Kris and Lisanne.. And very recently an American tourist was found dead in a hostel in Boquete.

And in another part of Panama, Guna Yala, 'pirates' have attacked a family from New Zealand - Alan en Derryn Culverwell and their two twin children - on their boat, approached them on their boat, killed the father (apparently shot him, although there is also mentioning in other newspapers that he was stabbed) and seriously injured the mother and one of the children with a machete, early May 2019. Three local Guna indians have been arrested now. The local media were quick to state that Guna indians were never before linked to a crime like this, but forgot to mention that a 28 year old female Italian tourist was killed by Guna indians, in the province of Chiriqui again. Her name was Lidia Santoni. She was violently beaten and strangled and then dumped in the sea, trying to make it look like she accidentally drowned. During autopsy it was found that she was hit savagely on the head and body with a blunt object before she died. Not all Panamanians are said to be equally happy with the influx of tourists, foreign volunteers and expats in their region. Foreigners buying their land, putting dams in the water and taking away their local jobs. Alcoholism is apparently also a problem in the country. But local girls have also gone missing in Panama of course (like in any country). Here you can read for instance about the disappearance of Rosa María Robles Martínez (16 years old), who left her family's house in Pedregal, David to go to family in Dolega. All that is known is that a taxi passed her by and after that, nothing was seen or heard from her. Her body was later found near a private property near Alanje. And Connie Madeleine Cianca Córdoba (15 years) left her family home on the 12th of November 2017 in David to go to Boquete to meet someone she met through social media, but she never arrived there and nothing has been found of her. And in 2018, Panama had a recorded (so not total) amount of 172 murders in a whopping 5 month (!) time span.

The Italian Cristiano Zeviani was declared missing on May 10th, 2016, in a place very close to Boquete, namely David in the (same) province of Chiriqui. 
His empty car was found, but there was no trace of the wealthy businessman (and said to be a record producer on some sites) and heir from a rich family from Turin ever since. He had been living and working in real estate in the Chiriqui region for several years, and left his house on May 10th to show clients some houses in the area that were for sale. In this article from 2018, updates are given on the case. The Panamanian police have been investigating whether or not he was murdered, but no breakthrough has come and some people speculate that the 51-year old is still alive. His wife Marcella (a singer from Milan) is now pleading with the Italian government to bring more evidence in this case. The article also reveals some known details of this case: Cristiano's SUV car was found with its doors closed and all four tires slashed. Blood spores were found on the door handle. Cristiano is also said to have acted strangely in the days before his disappearance, according to his wife. He seemed more on edge, angry and to give signs that he felt his life was in danger. In the days prior he had increased the security of his villa with camera surveillance and dogs. She didn't know who he was afraid of, specifically, however... And the journalist of the article states that two years after Cristiano's disappearance, several strange things have taken place. Two anonymous phone calls (a female voice) have been received by Panamanian police about the place where his body is said to be buried. He was claimed to have been buried "on an open spot close to his home; you dig and you will find him." Nothing was found however. A self proclaimed friend of Cristiano emptied -absurdly enough - one of his apartments and took all his belongings out, claiming to have gotten the task from his mother to look after Cristiano. And a Sicilian convict called the family to say that Cristiano was taken hostage by people with whom Cristiano had been in the real estate business (including a Panamanian lawyer), after their cooperation turned out to be a swindle, which didn't end well for him. People wanted money from him. The inmate-friend could tell that Cristiano had had an appointment with a woman on the day he disappeared, regarding a big business deal. Also real estate has been sold in his name. His wife found falsified documents, dated after the day her husband disappeared, trying to sell her husband's land illegally. Not only Cristiano's (falsified) handwriting was under it, but also that of a notary. Yet upon questioning this notary said that he knew nothing about the document and never gave his handwriting for it. Of course, those who supposedly were buying the missing mans property were interrogated by Panamanian officials. Nothing came out of it. We only know that someone has pretended to be Cristiano and tried to sell his property after he went missing. And when his wife went to Panama to check on the property that was her own by now, she was welcomed by gun shots from local farmers, the article states. Obviously she thinks her husband's disappearance is linked to foul play, and that someone is trying to snatch his property. After all, a woman pretending to be a Panamanian lawyer had already extracted several thousands of dollars from Cristiano's family, promising information in return. That never came, and the woman disappeared without a trace after cashing in.
On the other hand there are people who think that Cristiano voluntarily went off radar, and is hiding for someone. But Panamanian investigators are convinced that he was murdered. Nevertheless not a single breakthrough has been made in this case in over three years. Interestingly, in the Kris and Lisanne case people regularly came with the argument that the girls could not have run into foul play 'because their phones and wallet weren't taken off of them'. In this case, the victim Cristiano didn't get his SUV car stolen either. Whomever made him disappear had therefore no interest in his car... Showing us that criminals can have other motives. Lust to name one, rape and abuse cravings. Revenge possibly. Or interest in someones real estate and lands, instead of a meager car. And leaving the stranded car out there (just like leaving the backpack and phones and wallet out there) then helps to create a vague trail away from a crime motive. Cristiano may have encountered flat tires and taken a lift.... he may have continued on foot. None of that can be excluded after the third party responsible for his disappearance allowed it to stay there. Fingerprints and DNA samples are thrown out the window by police anyway in the Chiriqui district. Another returning thing in both cases; his wife also deems Panamanian officials "useless" in the investigation, and thinks they wasted two years of precious time with their investigation which left her with no news. This is a particularly dirty case. It took place relatively close 'to Boquete and it also never got solved. Panamanian officials are also said to have been 'useless' here, despite having so many things to latch onto: a car with slashed tires, a falsified sales document, a person who signed it illegally, a person who officially wanted to buy this missing man's land, a notary who was involved. Yet, nothing came out of it. And the diplomatic powers of the victims homeland (Italy here, The Netherlands in our story) are left frustrated yet powerless to change anything. Sounds familiar. Another case in "peaceful Boquete" that is not getting solved. And there are many, many manymany more.. An American engineer (24) found murdered in Boquete. (I mean, he slipped of course.. Can happen.. Or maybe suicide, at best), sparking local expats in Boquete to wonder out loud on message boards: "Another murder? Do we have a serial killer in or around Boquete? How many times now has this happened? And what has been the outcome? Nobody caught, nobody in jail except the gringo nutcase WildBill who was caught by the NIca military after he passed untouched all the way thru milksop Costa Rica.........." And one Dutch traveller went to Boquete also, about a month after Kris and Lisanne had gone missing, and wrote: "May 4th 2014, just found paradise: Bocas del Toro in Panama! Complete with tropical fish (and private service!). May 6th 2014, arrived in Boquete. And then you see the desperation everywhere.... Sad.. Trekking in the surroundings of Boquete was cancelled; appears too dangerous after all, because of secret drugs laboratories in the jungle... May 7th 2014, bizarre; everybody here in Boquete avoids discussing the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. May 8th 2014, we're getting out of here! The past years severeal children and tourists have been murdered here in Boquete for the organ crime trade. And this is the travel advice the UK gives about Boquete: "If you’re hiking in the hills of the town of Boquete in the Province of Chiriqui, you should do so with an experienced guide. Don’t go hiking without taking the necessary precautions."

Slashed tires and subsequent crime is something you read more often about in Latin American countries. For instance in the case of the murdered Venezuelan beauty queen Monica Spear, who also died in 2014. "Former Miss Venezuela and her ex-husband were shot and killed and their 5-year-old daughter wounded when they resisted robbers by locking themselves inside their car after tire punctures disabled it on an isolated stretch of highway. The slaying of Monica Spear, 29, a popular soap-opera actress, and Thomas Henry Berry, a 39-year-old British citizen, was the latest high-profile crime in a country where killings are common in armed robberies and where rampant kidnapping has ensnared even foreign ambassadors and professional baseball players. Monday's killings followed a pattern in Venezuela of late-night assaults carried out by disabling cars with obstacles placed on roadways or by removing sewer covers. Spear and Berry were returning from vacation to Caracas on a badly maintained stretch of highway that is lightly travelled at that hour. Their four-door sedan hit "a sharp object that had been placed on the highway" which punctured at least two of its tires, the director of the country's investigative police, Jose Gregorio Sierralta, told reporters. Two tow trucks arrived almost immediately afterward, said Sierralta, and the attack occurred after the car had been lifted onto one of the trucks. Seeing the assailants coming, the travellers locked themselves inside and the assailants fired at least six shots, he said. "They fired with viciousness," President Nicolas Maduro said of the attackers in comments to state TV. Police in Puerto Cabello arrested five suspects, some under the age of 18, Sierralta added. It could not immediately be determined if Spear and Berry had called the tow trucks, or if any of the drivers were among those arrested for suspected involvement in the killings."

And this is a rather chilling blog entry from a tourist who encountered a rapist in Bocas del Toro in 2016, and describes what atrocious police treatment she got and how she was sabotaged consistently. Part 2 of her story can be read here.
"The two sides of the dubious paradise called "Bocas del Toro". I wanted to like Bocas del Toro. I was sure it was going to be a simple task. Who would not be fooled by those long beaches of fine sand delineated by coconut trees on one side and a blue Caribbean Sea on the other? [..] But, sometimes, the place is not the physical space itself, but what happens to you in it. And what happened to me in Bocas del Toro ruined everything. [..] It's so hard for me to separate Bocas del Toro, as a beautiful tourist space with palm trees, fine sand beaches and postcard islands, with the dark, shameful and horrible experience I had. I am going to tell you the two faces of Bocas del Toro according to my two impressions in those 6 days I spent there." This blogger then goes on to describe how she met two German sisters, aged 21 and 23, that noon in her hostel. They don't speak English very well, but it becomes quickly clear that one of them, Ruth, is in a bad state. "For the first time Ruth leaves her mummy posture on the bed and turns on her side, almost in a fetal position, and looks into the eyes of her older sister. Julianne confesses: "They raped Ruth last night." My breathing stopped. I looked at Julianne and seconds later at Ruth. "Where? Who?" Ruth told her in very basic English the bare minimum, without going into details. It turns out that a certain Diego from Venezuela who worked in the Coconut hostel had done it. It had happened the night before in the room she shared with five other people. Ruth had gone to sleep after chatting and drinking a bit with a group of travellers on the terrace of the hostel. When she lay down on the bed, there was no one else in the room. She didn't know how much time passed until she woke up suddenly and very confused. There was a person on top of her, penetrating her. She tried to push the man away forcefully. She saw his face and recognized him. He was one of the Venezuelan guys who were helping out in the hostel: he painted in exchange for bed and breakfast. She managed to get up and flee to 
another part of the hostel, crying. Then this blogger goes on to tell how she could not stay passive like the sisters, but felt a burning drive to confront the local police, who had in fact been called for the German girl, but who had only noted down Ruths story, without sending her to a medical facility for evidence and general inspection. Secondly, the rapist was still free to move in the hostel and she feared he would attack another innocent girl again the next nights if police didn't arrest him. So she goes to the police herself.. But she ran into a lot of walls of unwillingness, ranging from the hostel staff who were afraid and who wanted her to forget about the whole thing, right up until the local police, who played mind games with her. She was told by the hostel staff to lower her voice and not to scare the hostel guests. They said the police was involved and that was all that could be done. And asked her to leave. Then she calls the police agent who talked to Ruth prior, a certain Antonio. She calls him and tells him that she knows who is the rapist and where he is, and to please come to pick him up. Antonio the police agent in return tells her to stay out of this and that it is none of her business. Then before he cuts off the line, he tells her to come to the police station. When she arrives there, she is mocked by other policemen: they tell her Antonio is not present. He knows nothing, he cannot refer her to anyone and he does nothing with her story. When she gets emotional and asks him if he has no sister of mother and that a rapist is walking the street freely, he laughs in her face. Antonio himself knows of no crime whatsoever and another policeman tells her that Diego is a friend of him and a 'good kid'. When she speaks to locals, it becomes clear to her that police do nothing with these crimes, especially not when it involves tourists. Young female tourists who don't speak Spanish properly and who are about to leave the country again are preferred targets for sexual crimes. And everyone she speaks knows about these things; knew about men like Diego. Nobody did (or could do) a thing. Police apparently protected the locals and everybody there knew about it, but kept their mouths shut due to the risks of speaking out. Although Diego the Venezuelan does get jailed eventually.

And local Boquete expat Lee Zeltzer, who did a lot of early interviews with people, trying to find out more about the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne, wrote an ominous and telling blog post on April 3rs 2014, one day before posting about the disappearance, in which he states that: "Panama has an old Civil Code,  under the criminal law you are presumed guilty unless proven innocent. This very concept when correctly employed means that police and prosecutors should have a very strong case to arrest anyone. In Panama this seems to have gone to extremes that unless the police witness a crime it is virtually impossible to have someone arrested. This scores a lot of points for the criminals, particularly white-collar crime, which is seemingly beyond comprehension in Panama. I want to focus on what seems to be a growing issue in all of Panama, violent crime. This past week there was an armed robbery at Fletes Chevales in Boquete, something unheard of in the past. There was one more murder in David, this one of an eighty year old radio reporter who recently denounced gang violence on his program. Gangs are growing in Panama, gang violence is growing and there are reasons; immunity with impunity. The governor of the Province of Chiriqui has announced a curfew for minors in an effort to curtail increasing problems. [..] One reason to try prevention is that minors are almost never prosecuted under the law in Panama. A minor can kill and will too often walk away. Politically connected people are virtually free of prosecution in Panama. Those who threaten prosecutors can escape prosecution. Here, too often the Criminal is more powerful than the law; reminiscent of Al Capone is old Chicago. Many might remember the armed robbery near Coronado that prompted the creation of an organization, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, (NHN) in the beach area. In that robbery people were beaten and robbed in a hotel. Despite a photo of one of the perpetrators taken with a stolen Iphone and sent up to iCloud, the prosecutor refused to do anything. Later the NHN group involved the National government. Meetings were held and the community and was told action would be taken. They were told the prosecutor would be fired and replaced, they arrested the alleged perpetrators and then… Here is a quote from a recent email from the NHN group, bolding is from the email, not me. “The icing on the cake for NHN members was the announcement that despite the Attorney General’s promises of serious action – and our filing of a lawsuit against him – the prosecutor in San Carlos was not fired or removed from his post – his punishment was three days suspension without pay! [..] The DIJ often does not show up when called, or if they do show up, they perform a perfunctory investigation, and any evidence taken at the scene is either lost or discarded by the prosecutor – as in the case of two Canadians attacked and robbed at gunpoint in their home in Coronado – they had to walk to the police, then to the DIJ as the robbers stole their car – and then the fingerprints they insisted the DIJ take were mysteriously lost and the case closed by the prosecutor in San Carlos without any investigation. You can read all of Lee's blog posts about this disappearance of Kris and Lisanne in my blog post 4

And Suzanne Miller Moreno wrote on April 8, 2014 (so a week after Kris and Lisanne went missing) about local gangs murdering a young lad in Boquete. She also refers to 4 youth held in jail, which may be the same 4 who were at that time interrogated and held in jail by Boquete police over the Kris and Lisanne disappearance: "I am unhappy to report the death of a young man Friday who was robbed of $300 by gang members here. I will be able to tell more about this after the forensic report which the policia will give tomorrow. He was beaten to death with rocks and died a horrible deathThis is all I can say as I knew him when he was 14 and had always been a great help to me with bathing and rough housing with Tigger who loved him very much as I did. I will add more information when I am up to it as I am very upset right now. He was a good boy who loved his mother and worked hard to help her. This was a local gang known to the police here. Perhaps someone should have a talk with the four who are in jail, plus the other two girls involved."

And this is a gruesome statement from forum member Skidawayme from Boquete, about the deranged cruelty of some local young men in Boquete: (Quote) "I've debated whether to mention this or not. [..] There have been references every now and then to a possible psycho killing Kris and Lisanne, but usually to debunk the notion. I work with a Boquete animal welfare group and there have been 2 instances of severe animal cruelty here in the last 6 months or so. Both times it involved dogs and both times they were horrendously mutilated. One dog had to be put to sleep; the other was saved after intensive medical intervention. In both instances, the conclusions of the vet, the rescuers and, I believe though I'm not certain, the police, were that more than one person had to have been involved in order to hold down the dog while the other person used the machete. In the States, this kind of behavior is a marker for later violence against people. Certainly, it takes psychopathic behavior to disembowel one dog and horribly cut another. We do have in Boquete two young men capable of unimaginable violence against helpless animals. So -- how likely is it that there is a sick psychopath here? Answer for yourselves. sk" -  So.. who are these two young men? Is one the son of the tour guide, described by some other locals as pretty deranged? He has posted some provocative stuff on his social media accounts, from a video of someone hacking off his penis, to pictures of himself posing behind a knocked out/sleeping woman covered in ashes from a fireplace, mimicking to hack her head off with a stick. Skidawayma also replied: "I only told the story to address the question of how likely it would be for our small town and surrounding area to have a psychopath in residence. I think I've answered that. We have at least one and probably two. [..] Actually, if there were a crime in the girls' case, I'd think it highly unlikely they'd use machetes, at least initially. Too unwieldy. I can see rape, beating, strangulation, THEN I can see using the machetes to dismember the bodies. Remember, 28 bones have been found out of a total of 412 (206 per human adult) and none of them, I believe, are where you might cut apart a body. [..]  I asked my surgeon husband how the foot could have separated from the rest of the body and he said there's no way except cutting or severe abrasion (the river scenario). I grilled him a bit more and he did say later that an explosion might do it, too. :bombshell:"


******



Next video is an interview with the father of  Kris, which aired on July 25th, 2014. He has doubts about the theory that his daughter got lost. I added subtitles in English:

       








What was the weather like during the first week of their disappearance?
Here you can see stats of the weather in the first weeks of April 2014 in Boquete, Panama. It was warm in the first week of April, 2014 in Boquete Panama. During the day temperatures rose to an average of 33 degrees Celsius (91 F.) according to this weather site, and at night it would drop to around 24 degrees (75 F.), sometimes higher. However, these temperatures are for Boquete, the little town. In the cloud forest higher up, where the girls climbed to, the temperatures are cooler. Sometimes as much as 12 to 14 degrees cooler, this article states. But usually the temperatures are only about 4 to 5 degrees cooler up on the Divide than in Boquete. In the jungle north of Boquete the weather also quickly changes and there is often quite a bit of wind, making it potentially cold at night and in higher parts. On websleuths, a local says that these weather forecasts are often incorrect and that in Boquete temperatures rarely exceed 26 degrees Celsius/80 Fahrenheit. And that normal temperatures there are 21C/70F during the day and 15,5C/60F at night. So it won't be as warm as indicated by the weather station archives likely, although the first week of April 2014 was said to be a week with extraordinarily nice weather, something we also see back on the photos taken by Kris and Lisanne. Now, the site I checked when I wrote this blog post indicated more detailed info, but it is no longer accessible now and the only other info I can find is here. But I first wrote this paragraph down based on the info from the initial site: On April 3rd, around 17:00, first light rain is said to have started, going by the data, then turning into heavy rain the next day which lasted throughout the evening/night of April 4th. On April 8th, there was more rain with some thunder, but that lasted only a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening. But the photos taken on the night of April 8th also show rain drops, something that's not reflected in the weather forecast. In the Dutch media, Lisanne's brother stated that it already started to rain heavily on April 2nd, so the day after the girls started their walk and didn't return to their host family. But this appears to be incorrect. And overall it was dry weather with warm temperatures this first week of April 2014. It had been unusually dry in Boquete for a long time already, certainly for weeks, making the rivers shallow and calm and the trail dry and without mud.







And in this interesting hitchhike post, the unnamed author spoke to some people in Boquete and came with interesting information 
January 23rd, 2018: "The Lost Girls of Panama were two Dutch women who went for a hike up the Pianista Trail in 2014 and never came back to Boquete. Their scattered remains were found many weeks later. Reading the available literature online, you would conclude that they got lost in the jungle, perhaps injured from a fall, and never emerged from the thick mountainous jungle. But foul play is suspected. And according to one expat who gave me a ride, investigators discovered some bone fragments that had clearly been sawed into pieces and doused with bleach. He claimed that a group of 5 or 6 indigenous Panamanians was likely to blame, and that they have all been forced to leave Panama in the years since the incident. It may seem like a conspiracy theory, but this is a fact: weeks after the bones were found, one of the girls’ backpacks appeared miraculously in one of the nearby indigenous villages – and the woman who found it swore it had not been there the previous day. The backpack had the girls’ phone, passport, wallet, etc. So yes, clearly someone who had possession of the backpack had decided to return it anonymously. Or simply consider the extreme negative impact that the Lost Dutch Girls had on Panamanian tourism. And my experience with Panamanian tourism and government officials is that they will lie in order to maintain a positive image of Panama. Is it possible that the medical examiner lied in his report on the bones, omitting the part about bleach and sawed-off edges? Regardless, Boqueteños today continue to handle this tragedy in a childish manner. They discourage anyone from even hiking the first few miles of the Pianista Trail, which is the most beautiful trail in all of Boquete, Volcano Trail included."







So.. there also are many problems with the Crime scenario.. as well as with the Lost scenario!
Following the Foul Play theory, it would mean that kidnappers, rapists, murderers, had to set up an intricate scheme for at least 10 days. Assuming they then planted the backpack with the belongings and some non-incriminating bones on purpose, allowing police to close the case and rule it an accident. But they would have also had to stay in the jungle themselves for a long time, or otherwise go back into the jungle day in and day out, to make the systematic emergency calls at a spot where no cell phone reach was. Or make them in a basement or cellar perhaps... Someone may also have removed the small phone cards that are needed to actually make a connection. They would have had to go to the dark of the jungle on day 8 to shoot 90 nighttime shots over the space of three full hours. It sounds far-fetched and quite a hassle to create such an extensive fake trail. Because the chance that murderers allow their victims to keep using their phones is quite small. Unless the aggressors knew 100% certain that there is no reception in the area, so no risk in allowing them to keep their phone and setting out their own Lost Tourist trail for the police. But then there is also the risk of the girls secretly writing draft messages, or storing hidden notes somewhere in their phone. But at the end of the day, we have zero certainty that after the April 1st photos, any of the calls were made by the girls themselves. Never was a location pinned down of their call attempts. And never did they leave anything that identified them, such as voice messages or draft messages in Dutch, or photos. We don't even know with certainty if the call logs are reliable and not tampered with. Seven days of no more digital camera use, no videos or photos of where they were or what they looked like. Then the eerie 90 night time photos which, again, do not prove any of the girls took them. The only proof we have is that Kris was pictured (either a selfie or by someone else) with relatively clean and dry looking hair and what some assume may be a head wound which we cannot clearly see. And we also know for a fact that photo #509 was removed, most likely (according to technology crime specialists) manually with the help of a computer..

Defenders of the Lost/Accident scenario - such as Betzaida Pittí, the state prosecutor at the time - believe the the fact that the girls' backpack was found with cash, phones and a camera still inside, is absolute “proof” of a twice-fatal accident, because if it was a crime, why wouldn’t the suspect have stolen their electronics and other gear? Or destroyed "the evidence"? But U.S.-based forensic consultant Carl Weil says that such behavior is “not at all unusual.” I repeat the most important things he has said on this matter here, after already referring to them earlier in this blog post:

If the motive is not robbery, but assault or rape, it’s fairly common for the criminal to discard personal items and even valuables,” Weil says.

Some killers have been known to “take a memento” of the victim, as a symbol or trophy, but even in such cases other belongings are often left behind. In fact, victims’ valuables have also been found abandoned in the aftermath of other disappearances in the Boquete area. Weil, a court-certified forensics expert who has given his analysis in more than 300 court cases, is also suspicious of how and where Kremers’ and Froon’s personal belongings were found. The accident hypothesis contends that the victims’ inexpensive nylon backpack spent six weeks awash in the nearby Serpent River—floating around in the same stretch of water that supposedly reduced the victims to tiny fragments, and with the phones and camera inside it all that time. After reviewing a photo of Lisanne Froon’s recovered pack, Weil said that a lightly built, civilian pack of that kind would likely have become “saturated within minutes” of falling in the river, and the “electronics inside it fried.” Could the rucksack have reached the site near the settlement of Alto Romero some other way, instead of taking a month and a half to wind through the Serpent’s rapids? The Holandesas’ backpack was discovered by an Ngobe family on June 11, 2014—around the same time that the search for Kris and Lisanne was heating up, with the Costa Rican Red Cross and Dutch dog teams joining in the hunt. I repeat an important quote in this regard:

“If the suspect was clever and crafty”, says Weil, “he might not have wanted related items found in his house during a search.” “They probably weren't out here alone.”

For the “accident theory” to be true, at least one of the victims must have still been alive as late as the afternoon of April 11—the day after the police reached the spot seen in the final images found on the camera, and 10 days since the hikers left Boquete. That date marks the final time Kris’s iPhone was powered on, according to its call log. As quoted before; mountain lead guide David Miranda says that quite a few people use the rugged mountain path from Boquete to the Ngobe village of Alto Romero—and thus pass over the Serpent River bridgehead seen on the camera—he says, “Fifteen or 20 people a week. Sometimes more.” (Especially during the mostly sunny and dry weather of the first days of April 2014). If the Holandesas were out on the trail “for more than a few days, then they probably weren’t out here alone,” echoes guide Miranda, who specializes in cloud forest safaris on the Pianista trail. The Panamanian examiner agrees that any third party involved likely had extensive knowledge of the local terrain. “If there is a criminal on the loose up around Boquete,” says the source within the national lab, “it must be someone who knows those mountains very well.” It is also in theory possible that the girls ran into foul play early on, got captured, managed to escape and hid in the jungle. Thén made the nighttime photos themselves, trying to get the attention of search teams they may have hoped were around. I have not managed to find any evidence of this however. Or maybe they were trying to see what was stalking them in the dead of night... 

IGNORANCE OR DESIGN? CRITICISM ON PITTI
In this article, published on October 20th, 2014, Panamanian journalist Adelita Coriat spoke with coroners and specialists on the case. One of them was criminologist Calderón, who said to her that the forensic tests on the remains from Kris and Lisanne, should have been handled with extreme care. But Calderón heavily criticized the actions from the prosecutor (Betzaida Pitti). "This has been the habit of Pitti, from the moment the remains appear on the banks of the Culubre river. She has not even called criminalistics or followed the basic principles of the chain of custody, he says. This is a valid reason to disqualify the prosecutor", concluded the criminologist. Calderón wondered how this person was in charge of investigations in the Public Ministry. "All the evidence that could give information about the cause of death was ignored, in clear violation of the investigative protocol. "We do not know if it was out of ignorance or design, but every opportunity to get to the truth was spoiled," said Calderón. And he added, "If it is out of ignorance, the question is the same: how can a person with zero knowledge in investigations be the authority that an MP represents?". The criminologist continued: "And if it is by design, what are the reasons for not doing a professional investigation?". Eventually prosecutor Pitti shared that the forensic reports had not been able to determine the causes of death of Kris and Lisanne, and that the bone remains did not show evidence of sharp weapons used on them, or mutilations. Adelita Coriat also highlights in her article that both (family lawyer) Enrique Arrocha, as well as criminologist Octavio Calderón maintain that Kris and Lisanne were murdered. 

Pitti's errors were also highlighted in this article from October 30th, 2014, detailing how family lawyer Enrique Arrocha filed several appeals of controversy against Betzaida Pitti. He claimed that she had denied him various important legal proceedings. Among the requests that were denied by the Prosecutor's Office was a 'request for new expert testing of phones and clothes of the girls, which was negative in DNA, blood and biological fluids', Arrocha said. [Later turned out to be positive for DNA and fingerprints]. He also put a request to Pittí that a tour should be made on the path to check the length of time that the girls would need to reach the location where their belongings appeared: backpack, camera, cell, etc. All denied. Arrocha then hiked from the Mirador of El Pianista himself, a location that appears on the camera of the girls, to the mountains, towards the river Culebre, and assured that in the time between the call for help and the time that girls took pictures on top of the trail, "they could never have reached the river, because the distance in the dry season is almost 12 hours on foot." 

Octavio Calderón also stated in this article, another interview with Adelita Coriat, that he is convinced that Kris and Lisanne did not die due to an accident, but were murdered. Calderón says that the phosphorus found on the remains could point towards the use of fertilizers or chemicals on the remains. Desperation may have led the attacker to use such a substance to make the evidence ‘disappear’, he said. He didn't dare to draw a profile of the murderer. ‘The way in which the ankle and the bones have been found, could indicate that he is a young person who is inexperienced in these types of situations. An amateur improvising once presented with obstacles’. This could explain the presence of a pelvis and a wallet in the same place, he said. "Nothing indicates that they were near water; besides: two bones from different parts of the body of two different people never just end up washed on the same sandbank, together. This shows that someone placed them there. There is no other possible reason." You can read the entire articles in part 2 of this blog series. And the father of Kris Kremers appeared in Dutch late night show 'RTL Late Night' on October 1st 2014, saying that DNA of an unknown person had been found on the backpack of Kris and Lisanne and highlighting that he and his wife did not believe that their daughter and her friend Lisanne got lost in the jungle of Panama. According to them, two forms from the Panamanian authorities state that Kris and Lisanne were kidnapped. Newspaper La Estrella wrote meanwhile that one of the fingerprints on the smartphones of the women had been found in the Panamanian database. No further details were provided.

Also interesting to read is just how scathing and strong the coroner speaks out against prosecutor Betzaida Pitti. She ruined the case according to some key people and professionals. Took no fingerprints from those involved with the search and findings of these belongings and body parts of Kris and Lisanne; the crime scene was ruined, shoddy or no full checks of DNA found on the belongings, ignored or messed with soil from the places where these bones were found, and the list goes on. She is suspected by some to be either incompetent or corrupt and installed on that position to bring this case and the search operations to a swift closure. Not long after she was put on the case, and 10 weeks into intense searches (and within two weeks of the reward money being increased from $2500 to $30.000), miraculously the backpack turned up in a perfect dry and clean condition. Which may just be coincidental of course.. And not long after, these very few and dubious looking bone and skin remnants were found. A clean dry shoe, that was later photographed looking suddenly wet and less clean. The forensic coroner said: it is unbelievable that someone as incapable as her was placed there and then messed the investigation up on so many levels.  -  Back to the interviewed coroner. When asked by crew from The Travel Channel if he was the one who actually, physically, worked with the bone fragments from Kris and Lisanne, he answered: "That's correct. I'm an expert in the study of human remains. I figured out that the bones were fragments from the right rib, a left pelvis, the tibia, femur and a right foot" [Scarlet: photos of the found boot show a left foot and a left boot..]. Kinga asks if the fragments found are consistent with the story of bodies being broken up by a river. The anonymous forensic pathologist answers: "No. The state of the remains do not indicate that the victims fell in the river. When a human falls in a turbulent body of water, several breaks [fractures] immediately occur. Especially in the pelvis, the cranium [part of the skull] and the long bones." Kinga: "And you didn't observe that in the remains?" The answer: "No." About the official's statements that these girls fell from a bridge ("nothing more than a hypothesis") being unfound and never having been actually proved whatsoever, he says: "That's correct. In my opinion there is a murderer still out there. This information is based on my experience living in Mexico. When I worked in Mexico, part of my job involved closing down several labs associated with organ trafficking. I recently believe these girls were drained [all vital organs were removed], then later their bodies were dismembered and disposed of." He also states that it is correct that it is in the interest of Panamanian officials to keep this crime quiet, in order to protect tourism.  


Going by the general attorney's theory, the question is then why there were no markings on the few bones that were found. 
And also (aside from where most of their bodies have gone, including their skulls, which have never been found) how their bodies got so badly broken up. During the investigation, inside information and official pathology reports were leaked to private investigators on the case that revealed that the bone remnants found showed no signs of cutting, blunt trauma or bullet marks. No physical trauma at all was actually found. The IMELF forensic anthropologist also stated:

“There’s no evidence that animals scavenged the Holandesas”, directly contradicting the accident theory from Panama’s Public Ministry, the main government center for investigations and prosecution. No claw marks, he says. No bite marks from the fangs of animals. No marks that would indicate they had been broken up on river rocks, either. 

This local news article states the same conclusions: "The forensic report prepared by the doctors and anthropologists of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (IMELF) of Chiriqui indicates that on the bones of the Dutch Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon there are no signs of trauma caused by sharp objects, sharp, puncturing, projectiles or firearms. The forensic report also reveals that no evidence of dismemberment was found." Nevertheless, the official position is that the women were “dragged to death” in a river called the Culebre, the Serpent, after an unexplained hiking accident. Even under magnification, “there are no discernible scratches of any kind on the bones, neither of natural nor cultural origin—there are no marks on the bones at all.” The coroner who worked on the bones said that they could not clarify the situation. So with no marks found on the few bones, no animal claws and teeth could have torn Lisanne's foot off. Also no human action was found, so no markings corresponding to sawing, cutting or hacking it off. But also no signs of the river and rocks breaking up the bodies. Something you would certainly expect to see if the bodies had bounced over rocks and swept through wild rivers. The same goes for the backpack and its delicate content. This is part of the mystery, and at that time in April 2014 the rivers were said to be relatively small streams and not strong enough to tear these decomposing bodies apart. “The Holandesas bodies should not have broken up like that—not in just seven or eight weeks,” he says, echoing other forensic sources. “And we should have found more of their bones”. Besides, the bones were partially found upstream, as I wrote above, and no river carries bodies against its current. But only a small number of bones have been found, so no definite conclusion can be made here of the cause of death. If there was a killer involved who had used a knife or gun for instance, the killer(s) could have purposely hidden the bones which showed these markings, or made them disappear on purpose. They found only 30-something fragments of bones of the two girls; small ones mainly and many coming from the same foot. A human body contains 206 bones so between the two women there would've been no less than 412 bones. Only finding 30-something, of which the longest one was a femur, means there is still about 85% of the bones missing. How can anyone conclude on the basis of only 15% of the bones found, that it wasn't a murder?   -  The IMELCF forensic anthropologist has a detailed topographical computer map in his possession, with the precise locations of the remains sites marked onscreen by color-coded circles. “Then there is the question of the bleaching. Total fragmentation of two human bodies is unlikely within such a short time frame. Especially in the cool, high-elevation environment where the bone fragments were found", he says. But the extreme desiccation observed in the autopsy is “bien raro”—even stranger and more rare. According to multiple forensic experts, taken together these environmental factors could indicate the small-sized, scant, and scattered bone fragments found in the Kremers-Froon case are not the result of natural causes—but instead point to a crime.

Another forensic expert is more precise: “There shouldn’t be bleaching on these bones,” Dr. Georgina Pacheco, who heads up the Legal Medicine Department in neighboring Costa Rica, stated to journalist Jeremy Kryt. She agreed to review a copy of Kris Kremers’ autopsy, which was leaked to The Daily Beast. Dr. Pacheco is an expert in how the specific micro-climates and ecosystems in this region can impact taphonomic patterns—the effects of burial, decay, preservation—meaning she’s uniquely qualified to help analyze the Kremers-Froon findings. As an analogy, Pacheco cites a similar high-profile investigation she worked on recently in Costa Rica. That incident involved an American hiker named Cody Dial, who was lost in the same cordillera as Kremers and Froon, just across the border from Boquete in the Corcovado National Park. “In the Dial case the skeleton was more than ninety percent intact after about two years in the forest,” Pacheco says, “and there was no bone bleaching present.” Based on the new evidence regarding location and duration of exposure, world-famous forensic anthropologist and best-selling author Dr. Kathy Reichs agrees with Pacheco about the anomalous bleaching—and the smooth, unmarked nature of the bones.

I always found it odd that there was no evidence of animal scavenging observed,” said Dr. Reichs in an email to Kryt. From the description of the environment and the probable timing of death, and “given water transport and exposure in a forest-riverine micro-climate, I would expect to see scoring, abrasion, or scavenging”

Both Reichs and Pacheco lament the lack of transparency on the part of Panamanian authorities, and their ongoing refusal to release the full set of autopsies in the Holandesas case. For example, some press reports claim that Lisanne Froon’s foot bones had been broken in such a way that could “only” result from a fall. But without access for independent review, Dr. Reichs says she can’t be sure: “I would have to know more or see the bones. Or the boot [found with Lisanne’s foot in it]. So many causes of fracture are possible,” she says, including a “crush fracture” as opposed to a fall. But on the other hand Dr reichs has also said in an email to Jeremy Kryt: “In my opinion accidental death is the most probable considering all the factors and findings.” Exposed regions on sandbars or along the banks also receive more sunlight, which could account for the observed bone bleaching after the soft tissue is sloughed off. Dr. Reichs said however also that some forensic mysteries surrounding the case do still warrant further investigation—such as the fact that Panama’s national coroner reported that he failed to detect any abrasions or trauma during a microscopic examination of the remains. “I would expect to see damage due to animal scavenging,” repeated Reichs, But why would any criminal or criminals “leave cash, a passport, and electronics in the back pack?

Regarding these broken foot bones, in this youtube video, Peaked Interest discusses the specific fracture of Lisanne's foot, around 28 small bones were found to be broken, and he beliefs the following [full quote]: "The official report states that the broken metatarsal is evidence and consistent with deth by falling into the river. Except, broken metatarsals don't happen when you fall. You can sometimes get a slight abrasion of the fifth metatarsal, which is your little toe, because there is a strong tendon attached to the base of that toe and the ankle and when you roll your ankle, that little corner gets pulled off because the tendon is too strong. This is referred to as a base of fifth metatarsal fracture. But that's not what we saw in the reports. The reports state that it was an oblique fracture of a middle metatarsal. That doesn't happen with a fall. Metatarsal fractures in the center of the foot happen when you get crushing damage to the top. That's how metatarsal fractures happen. Just like when you fall over on your hands [while stretching out your arms to break a fall], you don't break the hand itself. You break where the force stops. So the force hits your hand, travels up to your wrist, where it meets resistance and your wrist breaks. Or, you sometimes get a broken forearm. But more often than not it's the wrist. The same thing happens with a leg. If you get impact damage to the bottom of your foot, then that force travels up to the foot and to where you usually get a fracture of the ankle. Or more than likely you'll get a fracture at the bottom of your tibia and fibula bones. (The bone kind of buckles into what's called the torus fracture). That's what would happen if you had a fall onto your feet.   -   Now if you rolled your foot, which would be consistent with a fall in my opinion. Then you would expect to see a malleolus fracture. Which is just to a little bit of the side of your ankles, where the balls of your ankles come out. Those tend to break when you roll your ankle. But the report doesn't state that. It states 'broken metatarsals', which to me is just absolutely inconsistent with an accidental fall hypothesis."

Peaked Interests view mirrors what someone calling himself  'Unwelcomed' wrote me, also already mentioned earlier in this blog post: "The Panamanian authorities state that the broken metatarsal bones in Lisanne's foot "prove" a fall, but this type of foot injury isn't a falling injury at all: you only get this type of injury from blunt force impact to the top of the foot. So when it got hit by a weapon for instance, or a rock fell on the top of her foot... Falling injuries are nearly exclusively resulting in damage to the tibia or heel of your foot. And if they had fallen into the water from great height, they would have also broken half the bones in their bodies from the impact. But there were no injuries to the rib bone or the leg bones."


Lime or corrosive substances 
The director of the Institute of Legal medicine (IMELCF) who ran the forensics of this case, Humberto Mas, stated that he came up with a theory that can explain the manner in which the (few) remains were found. He stated that there is a possibility that the bodies were found cut up and dismembered, due to the use of Lime treatment. "Much depends on the quantity and quality of the lime used, but the action can be a matter of days". Lime is typically a mixture of calcium hydroxide and sodium or potassium hydroxide. All corrosive materials. If the bodies had been covered in Lime, its corrosive actions would cause the limbs and extremities to separate from the rest of the body, and fall off. Lime can dissolve human remains quickly, leaving no traces. This could perhaps help explain the separated foot that was found, which showed no sign of having been physically cut off with a knife, or been torn by an animal. The process of decomposing a body in lime would only take several days, this doctor stated. But there would be a fine time balance, because lime can dissolve bones in no time into unrecognizable small fragments. The bones that were found were not affected like that. They were intact and upon microscopic inspection did not seem to be dissected or shot or knifed, nor gnarled on by animals. An autopsy report from September 19th, 2014 states about the bones: "In turn, all of them had a white coloration that tells us about two facts: that they were exposed to the sun for a long time or that the burial site corresponded to the terrain of very basic chemical elements, affecting the phosphates and calcium carbonates of each one of the bony elements, waardoor of whitish coloration." Forensic investigators hint both directly and indirectly at the process of "bleaching", and link it to the discovery of traces of phosphorus found all over Kris' bones and to the (intentional) use of chemicals. 
Nevertheless, the cause of the chemical treatment of the bones from Kris has never been officially explained. There was not enough sun to bleach them at the time (rain season and they were in the cloud forest) and there was no natural potassium found in the soil where they were discovered. So, the autopsy specialist in this case (a Panamanian) stated at the time that Lime or another corrosive means was an acceptable explanation, as it quickly dissolves ligaments and such, and this is in fact a method where one can find severed foots or limbs without signs of damage on the bone. Of course, that isn't definitive proof either. But bacteria and mosquitoes and such don't sever a whole foot from a corpse.. And like I wrote already earlier, there is also a small chance that the feet and hands and heads came off due to disarticulation of soft tissueBut the very short time frame of their deaths may make this scenario less likely.. The IMELCF forensic anthropologist said that there’s a good reason why the Public Ministry is being so secretive about the autopsies: “The low number of bones, the lack of marks on them, and the presence of bleaching—all of those could suggest the use of lime, or a similar chemical, to speed up decomposition.” And he’s seen this done before, in cases involving Mexican cartels. “Their sicarios [hitmen] will use lime to break down corpses in a hurry,” he explains. The Holandesas' remains “present similar characteristics” he says, to those of cartel victims he’s examined. Although farmers in the region have access to corrosive substances such as lime or comparable substances (who use it for instance when burying dead animals or to balance soil acidity levels, allowing plant roots to absorb phosphorus more efficiently). “Findings like these are often due to human processing [of the corpses],” said also Carl Weil. “Lime or even lye,” could have been used in the Kremers-Froon case, based on the “limited remains and their condition”. Search teams hunting for Kris and Lisanne also hoovered up other human remains found in the area, likely from a “washed-out indigenous cemetery,” according to the IMELCF source. However, not even these older bones showed signs of bleaching, says the medical examiner, who personally studied all the related bone fragments in the case. “I just can’t tell you it was an accident,” he says of the Holandesas, “because the science does not support that conclusion.” Adela Coriat, a good and truth-seeking reporter from one of Panama’s largest newspapers, has investigated the possible use of quicklime in the Holandesas case in detail. “If I could get that far on my own, surely the authorities could have taken things to the next level. They could’ve subpoenaed sales records, and cross referenced [lime] buyers with known suspects. But they didn’t seem to care.” She has interviewed investigators who stated that the few bone remains of the girls that were brought back contained inorganic fertilizer or calcium compounds.

Footnote about lime however...
I received some interesting emails from someone who did more intense reading up on Lime (calcium oxide), named Shark. And he linked me to relatively recent scientific research, which shows that when pig cadavers were buried with lime, they actually decomposed slower than normal. The researchers used both hydrated lime and quicklime, both with the same slowing effects on the decay of the carcasses. This made us both scratch our heads; how can specialists in this Kris and Lisanne case then state that lime would have helped speed up the decomposition of a human body? When all it does effectively that could be useful in this case, is mask the smell of decomposition? It seems that when you use lime improperly, it can actually preserve bones and tissue (by dehydrating soft tissue and reducing the decay process, mummifying the remains). I also found conflicting information btw, here it is stated for instance that: "Corpses were cut into pieces and then cleaned and curated using the quicklime, which was procured by heating limestone. The quicklime, when exposed to air, covered the bones in calcium carbonate, or lime plaster. By boiling body parts in pots of quicklime, the flesh and fat became easier to remove from the bones." But this may be merely relevant information when you want to boil bones... and it contradicts this information. And what's worse, it washes phosphates away.  -  Shark suggested to look into lye. And yes, lye (or sodium hydroxide) does seem to speed up decomposition. Assassins apparently "typically use sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, strong bases commonly known as lye. Heated to 300 degrees, a lye solution can turn a body into tan liquid with the consistency of mineral oil in just three hours. If your kettle isn’t pressurized, you won’t be able to heat the solution much above the boiling point of water, 212 degrees, and it might take an additional hour or two to complete the process. Narco-hit men did not pioneer this technique. Adolph Luetgert, known in his day as the “Sausage King of Chicago,” dumped his wife into a boiling vat of lye in 1897, then burned what was left. Police eventually found bone fragments in the factory’s furnace." And here is a Mexican cartel case where lye was used to get rid of 300 bodies. So lye transforms bodies in some sort of liquid and turns the bones into calcium phosphate. Problem is that lye can turn even bones into liquid if you use it hot and long enough, something which clearly didn't take place with the few bones found of Kris and Lisanne.. I also never heard anyone about the autopsy report mentioning 'softened bones' in this case. But the phosphates found on the bleached bones from Kris could theoretically point towards a method used to speed up the decomposition of said bones. Lye was not found in the soil samples, taken during the investigation of this case. Aside from one of the girls possibly having been alive quite a bit longer than the other, it is also possible that a 3rd party was in the process of dissolving the girls' bodies with chemicals, but that they were interrupted in the process and had to move the remains. Searches were relentless at the time. Hence the different states of decomposition in both girls' bones. 

Chris, a blogger/writer on ImperfectPlandedicated a whole post on the analysis of the state of Kris' (bleached) pelvic bone. He concluded that there should have been microscopic scratches found if the bones had been dragged by the river and that bleaching by the sun did not really occur on the scale it should have, if the bones had been exposed for a long period of time, as claimed. "Sunshine doesn’t bleach bones evenly. Sunshine radiation typically torches the upward facing part of the bone." Sun bleaching would have made the bone more brittle also, something that was not seen by the coroner. About the presence of lyme (where the phosphorus may have come from) on Kris' bones, Kris concluded: "This also tells us something unexpected: If the perpetrator was educated enough to use farming fertilizer to dispose of the bones, they didn’t do it “properly”. So, why didn’t they do it properly? This opens a lot of doors for speculation. Perhaps they were trying to do it conspicuously while search teams were in the area? Maybe they had curious neighbors or family members that they were trying to hide it from? Perhaps they did utilize a caustic soda solution on Kris’s remains but then realized they wouldn’t have enough time to perform the same process on Lisanne’s remains. Many questions come from this." On the bones being found in/near the river he commented: "The fact that there were no scratches is perplexing. If Kris’s bones had endured enough time in the water to be free of all tissue, then the bones equally should have shown visible signs of abrasions and scratching." About the effect of sunshine on the bones, he wrote: "If Kris’s bones were exposed to sunlight, the evidence shows that they certainly were not exposed for enough time to cause bleaching. In fact, it looks more like it has an earthy olive green tint. And of course, all of this ignores the fact that chemical traces were also found on the bones. [..] Observing the photo of Kris Kremers pelvis bone, there is no visible surface cracking or flaking present. Any “grease” or oil from fat has been removed by chemicals."  -  Other conclusions from Chris: "There are no other known natural sources of phosphorus or 
lime that could contribute to the rapid decomposition of Kris’s remains. Therefore, unless another unknown source of chemicals is available naturally, we can confidently assume that chemicals, likely from fertilizer, were utilized by humans." "The person that attempted to utilize chemicals to chemically destroy Kris’s bones was likely a novice or amateur to the process. The soft tissue experienced rapid decomposition, the bones experienced mild chemical alteration, then later the bone decomposition process was abruptly halted." "Decomposition studies suggest that if they had died naturally their remains would have a clear presence of abrasions and scratches in the river. It’s impossible for bones to travel many kilometers downstream without displaying visible micro-abrasions." Chris also concluded about the pelvic bone of Kris Kremers: "Five considerably strong joints and ligaments that somehow managed to completely disconnect from Kris Kremers pelvis. [..] The two most likely scenarios remain: Either Kris Kremers suffered a catastrophic fall that decimated her pelvis, or someone intentionally attempted to destroy her bones. All other theories are too far fetched." And about Lisanne's bones he concluded: " Given that Lisanne’s skin was in an early stage of decomposition, yet her remains were clearly dis-articulated, we can confidently conclude that her remains went through an unnatural process." 


Regarding dangerous animals and fast flowing rivers
The black panther and the puma are very rare sightings in Panama and usually stay away from humans. Although I ran into this review of guide F's tourist tours, and in 2009 a guy named Alex went out with F. and saw... a puma. But he also added that in all his years of hiking in the area, F. had never before seen a puma. So this was a very lucky sighting. As for puma's attacking humans, that's even more rare. And at that time the rivers were rather shallow and not wildly fast flowing yet; the girls could swim well, and even if they fell in a deadly manner or drowned, even then the river at the time may not have been strong enough to carry dead bodies and tear them apart. And these monkey bridges are feeble, you don't cross them together at the same time; only one person can go at a time, so the chance that both girls fell into the river there is also very small, logically speaking. Besides, then their backpack would have gotten wet, not to say soaked, and instead it was found dry, with dry content. We can assume that if they fell into the river and died, or ended up in the river dead, then one cannot keep up that this river was strong enough to tear their bodies apart, yet allowed the cheap lycra backpack to remain unharmed and its content dry.. Which is just what investigators claimed most likely happened. This local criminal investigator also underlines this (quote): "Betzaida Pitti, prosecutor in this case, charged with its investigation, supports the drowning theory, despite the fact that at the start of April the Culubre river was not strong enough to carry a body." Adding to this mystery is that the bone remnants were found only about 2 kilometers away (when following the river directly) from the dry river rocks and cable bridge where some investigators think the nighttime photos were taken. It is highly unlikely that two adult human bodies are going to be broken up this bad after only such a short stretch of distance in a river... Also, along the river near the monkey bridges are houses situated, and are native people living; why wouldn't they go to them for help, instead of passing a monkey bridge and river, moving even further away from the Boquete region where they had to go? And if the river dragged the girls to their death, ánd also tore their bodies to pieces, how come the few clothes found and the backpack showed no signs of blood under the microscope, no bodily tissues at all? No tears or damage to the fabric either. The IMELF Institute for Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences declared this; no blood was found on the recovered clothes and backpack. Were they not wearing clothes at all then when they both -supposedly - fell in the river? And a wild animal like a panther, a puma or a big snake such as the Bushmaster would have left marks on the clothes as well. Although they can drag their food into trees to eat it there, which may "perhaps" (small chance I think) explain the lack of bones and skeletal remains found. But none of those animals can crack big bones or eat and digest a skull for instance. And the last registered puma or panther attack in that region dates back 20 years, and involved the attack of a cow (they kept data on this for the past twenty years straight). To repeat the words of this criminologist - Octavio Calderón; "if the beasts had attacked them, where are the skulls?" These animals do not swallow a skull. Cougars are solitary animals, who avoid interaction with humans and if a snake had been the cause, it would attack one person, not two at the same time. And to repeat the words of the lawyer of the Kremers family, Enrique Arrocha: "If the girls were attacked by wild animals, why are their clothes found intact?" If this aggression had occurred, the blood and tear marks would be clearly visible on the clothes, and this is not the case, the lawyer said.

No blood traces.. Family lawyer Arrocha hit out hard at the official statement, which wasn't well received 
The families' lawyer blasted the official reading and the lack of explanation for the chemical treatment and the visible bleaching of Kris' bones. In fact, the bleaching was completely ignored in the official report, despite the coroner finding phosphates on them. There was also no mentioning of the lack of bodily (fat) tissues on the clothes, backpack or any other things found by the search party. Normally if a body decomposes, fat dissolves and soaks the clothes, in such a manner that is impossible to wash off by a stream or river. But the official case report did state in black and white that no blood was found on the few clothes that were retrieved (which you would assume rules then out an attack by a wild animal). But nothing about bodily fats. The lawyer also commented on Kris' bones being found completely bare: "After 2 months the bone should not be bare, but still covered with significant amounts of flesh unless of course there was human intervention." Kris' parents and Enrique Arrocha made it clear that in their view, a third party had to be involved and that foul play was to blame.

Tourists are warned about robberies on the Pianista trail in the Lonely Planet guide and drug cartels also operate in these regions, although Lonely Planet also describes the Pianista trail walk as "a pleasant day hike". In 2014 the full Lonely Planet description was: "This pleasant day hike winds through dairy land and into humid cloud forest. You need to wade across a small river after 200m, but then it’s a steady, leisurely incline for 2km before you start to climb a steeper, narrow path. The path winds deep into the forest, though you can turn back at any time. To access the trailhead, take the first right fork out of Boquete (heading north) and cross over two bridges. Immediately before the third bridge, about 4km out of town, a track leads off to the left between a couple of buildings. Don't go alone and exercise caution as robberies have been reported here."  -  So, the reader was warned that the path winds deep into the forest but that you can 'turn back' at any time. No word about the trail being a loop. And a warning to be cautious and not go there alone due to robberies in the past.. 

In 2020 the text was adjusted a bit in the Lonely Planet and it now reads: "This day-hike wends its way through dairy land and into humid cloud forest. You need to wade across a small river after 200m, but then it’s a steady, leisurely incline for 2km before you start to climb a steeper, narrow path. Using a guide is highly recommended. The path leads deep into the forest, but you can turn back at any time. To access the trailhead from Boquete, head north on the right bank of the river and cross over two bridges. Immediately before the third bridge, about 4km out of town, a track leads off to the left between a couple of buildings. The trail is not especially difficult, but it isn't always well maintained. In April 2014 two Dutch nationals died while hiking here, though the cause of their deaths remains a mystery. Don't go alone and always let the people at your hostel or hotel know your plans."

A local called El Hedonista wrote on this local information board on April 6th, 2014: "I have read reports of at least two different robberies on that Pianista trail. The last I read was that two known criminals were arrested and identified by the victims but were not kept after the victims did not show up for the trial (they were tourists and had returned to their home country). I'm quite certain I read that on this forum but it has been a while." With Lee Zeltzer replying: "Your information is correct and the authorities do have that information including names of the Perps."

Jungle expert Rick Morales (38), who is from that region and has been a jungle survival specialist for many years, trekking through the entire Panamanian jungle from north to south in 2011, also stated that he considers the chance that they got lost very slim. The Pianista path is clear to follow, and even íf they actually had gotten lost, they would have been found in due time, he agrees. Many other tourists endured the same thing near Boquete and they were found by rescue teams. In this area, you do run into other people within a day or two, if not sooner. He also thinks it is unlikely that they had an accident. If one of them had fallen or hurt herself, the other would have been able to get help relatively quickly. Even if they had gotten lost, you normally survive multiple days in this jungle. Rick has never seen one of the big cats in the jungle of Panama, which he has walked regularly since the age of 13, and he also says they aren't to be found in the region near Boquete. Rick Morales thinks that Kris and Lisanne were the victims of a criminal act. Otherwise, the girls would have been long found, he stated, either dead or alive. By the way, check out Rock Morales awesome video on the (in)famous Darien Gap. And here is another good video of a hike through the Darien Gap. It is an often deadly jungle trek: IOM’s Missing Migrants Project recorded 27 deaths in 2016 in South America, compared to only 2 deaths recorded in 2015. Of these deaths, 89 per cent occurred in Colombia, most of which occurred on the Colombia– Panama border in the Darién Gap and the Urabá Gulf. But the true number of deaths is likely to be much higher. The Darién Gap is notoriously inaccessible, and illegal armed groups are present in the area. Migrants who have travelled through the gap have reported the presence of heavily decomposed bodies. Jan Philip Braunish (a Swede) also died in this part of the Panamanian jungle. A local Panamanian man says about the jungle trek in the video: "I helped a lot of people, particularly women with children. A lot of people think we [smugglers] are bad. Because many have passed through here and not made it. They have fall. They have fallen and died. The same with the river. Because they don't know what the river is like. They'll enter it and then bam, bam, bam bam. Goodbye. And that's why a person like that needs someone to guide them. And guide them well. Because alone, it's difficult."

 

And Jp Borges wrote last year under this youtube video (translated from Portuguese): "I have "worked" on this case with the staff of "The Daily Beast." I think it is opportune to talk about it and to inform them better. A hypothesis released by the Panamanian authorities says "accident", however, such a hypothesis has NEVER been confirmed. After Kris Kremers' study, we concluded that there are no wild animals in the area, that Kris Kremers bone had an anomalous whitening, something that is not in accordance with the period of decomposition (we consulted Florentine researchers), and the place where they were had a great unity, something that would make the decomposition even more difficult. Researching more, we found that a specific acid, used a lot by drug cartels to decompose a body quickly, ends up giving this excessive bleaching of the bone. A photo was erased from the camera and HD, something that would be impossible to do without a computer. Unfortunately I can not talk about the main suspicion of the case, however, it is being analyzed carefully."

"One thing that he wanted to point out, Panamanian police in his investigation concluded that it was "homicide", but the government of the country did not release such information for fear of affecting local tourism, is one of the things that strengthen Panama's economy and tourism, mainly of Europeans. Incidentally, this case will have no answers any time soon, but there is an analysis of 3 homicides that occurred the same way in the region in 2016." 

This blogger and mystery writer, living in Panama (near Boquete actually in the mountains), wrote: "While most believed the girls had simply stepped off a trail and became lost, as others certainly have before them, Panama has also seen its share of terrible crimes, including human trafficking, gruesome serial murders, machete decapitations, and lots more to fuel the imagination. On top of this, our particular locale suffers from a persistent, ugly urban legend that casts healthy young adults and children as victims of a vicious Central American organ harvesting scheme. I’ve always maintained that by moving to Panama, I’ve happened upon a treasure-trove of potential plot lines. This is one time I didn’t want to think about all the different possibilities. Unfortunately, as news of the girls’ disappearance spread throughout our community, there were several awful “what if” scenarios that lent special energy to the developing hunt. It didn’t take long for that hunt to come together, and, when it did, it was huge: Coordinating it was Panama’s Policia Nacional, along with the Directorate of Judicial Investigation and the National Civil Protection System, a mouthful collectively known as SINAPROC." And below Spanish youtube videos, many people leave stories and anecdotes about crime cases in their areas. For instance one person wrote in Spanish that in Manaus (Brazil) a tourist who went on an Amazon rainforest tour was raped, killed and had her arms and legs cut off. And this British young woman, Emma Kelty, who made a canoe travel through the Amazon also made a distress call.... never to be seen again alive. Turns out she was most likely robbed and killed by local criminals, or 'river pirates'. Just one of many such cases. The world is becoming smaller due to all our affordable travelling and the internet, but that doesn't mean you should not prepare yourself for culture shocks and possible danger. (And this definitely also applies to close to home situations).

But for all theories of what could have happened are inconsistencies and strange aspects to be named. And with so much uncertainty and lack of firm conclusions, with so few bone remnants also found, it is no wonder that message boards and comment sections have since exploded with discussions and alternative theories. After all; two beautiful young foreign girls on a desolate walking trail; what could go wrong? Some support the accident theory while others think that there are simply too many strange details in this case to come to one definite conclusion. Some blame the deaths of Kris and Lisanne on kidnapping and rape, crime or a suspicious acting tour guide. Others are convinced that Kris and Lisanne simply made the wrong decisions, got lost in a hostile jungle while scarcely dressed, and died from thirst, hunger or a deadly accident in the river or a ravine. It also depends what sites you read. I noticed that Spanish videos and discussion boards seem to lean more towards crime and not many commentators attack others there for saying this out loud. But on American, European or Russian sites, people seem to lean more towards the accident theory. And discussions can get heated, as those defending a crime scenario are sometimes attacked or ridiculed. But at the end of the day, all we do is play wannabe detective, juggling with the facts and information that we have, to come up with our own version of events. Yet it means nothing ultimately, as we simply don't have all the facts, and not even sufficient info to come to a solid conclusion of what happened. I lean towards a crime because to me, there are too many inconsistencies and irrational strange things to believe that they got lost and fell to their deaths. But others say exactly the opposite and state that there is not enough evidence to assume a crime took place. Which is also true. There is something to say for many theories. It won't change the outcome of this case most likely though, as it is locked and even the girls' parents seem to have accepted the status quo; the case is relatively old, and without any new facts emerging, it won't be reopened I think. But it is interesting for many people (me included) to ponder about all the aspects of this story and come up with our own theories.


**Please note that this map is a snapshot of the operations at some point during the 
searches. This is not an end shot of all the terrain which Sinaproc has searched. 
They eventually searched through the whole area behind the Mirador, and also all 
the terrain off the beaten paths. Sinaprocs spokesperson concluded at the end that 
the girls were not there. By August of 2014 they were still searching the area. 
This map is not conclusive therefore and only added here as an illustration of 
their operation.

And a better image, found by Juan, "With icons, where the dogs searched, where 
helicopters flew, and where there are cows in the meadows.."












What does getting lost in the wilderness do to your brain and psychological state?  
I was curious what getting lost in the jungle or wilderness does to someone's psyche, and I have read up on this phenomenon. Summarizing, and going by the info available now, it seems that Kris and Lisanne may have chosen the least successful strategies if they did in fact simply got lost. They may have done so under the pressure of stress and anxiety, but nevertheless avoided the most successful strategies of staying put the moment they realized that they were lost. And they most likely also didn't backtrack; travelling back by the same route that had brought them there. Which at the time of their first emergency phone call was most likely still possible, as they couldn't have strayed too far from the main trail yet by then. The fact they were together and not alone was also playing to their advantage psychologically. Despite their rational and disciplined structural use of their phones, the girls didn't seem to have marked their trail; no broken branches were found by search troops, no red plastic attached to trees, no markings or indications of their route otherwise. Which is quite surprising to me.   -   Anyway, this is the information I found on this topic, an interesting read I thought. Out of all the factors related to wilderness endurance, your brain can most impact your chances of survival in the wild, both positively and negatively. When people's minds become overwhelmed with the task of staying alive, they can fail at doing just that. And out of all the factors that can make your brain go in overdrive with panic... getting lost in the wilderness is in the top regions of causes. Ideally, your mind helps you remember survival skills you may have been taught once, or read or heard about; it helps you strategize the importance of making a shelter for yourself, make fire and find food. Your intuition and rational judgement can help you find the right spot for a shelter or a fire, or tell you when to stay put or move on. But when your brain puts you under intense stress and anxiety, all motor functions can get warped and this can actually decrease your survival chances. Although there is a physical component to getting lost, it remains mostly a state of mind. Typically, it unfolds slowly over time until the evidence finally builds up to the point where it is undeniable. How is it possible to go from knowing where you are one moment to being totally disoriented the next? In most cases this is an unlikely scenario, unless a kidnapping, sudden blow to the head or a case of sleepwalking is involved. Getting lost is much easier for traditional hikers, since any straying from the trail is a prime opportunity to get into trouble. On the other hand, competent bushwhackers are almost continuously focused on their location, and by their very nature they're much more skilled with route finding. Panic is a typical reaction when suddenly finding oneself in totally unfamiliar surroundings, often followed by frantic wandering about. This reaction is the result of the body’s natural defense system, commonly called the “flight or fight” response. Without any physical threat, flight becomes the only logical alternative and your brain screams “RUN.” It would not lie to you, would it?

Studies have shown that people universally feel agitated, upset and anxious when they find out they are lost. The heart quickens in the chest. A thin sheen of sweat covers the skin, producing a clammy feeling and chills. Breathing becomes labored. A frantic feeling overcomes you, as if mortal danger is imminent. You instantly get a sense of impending doom. Every rock, tree, bird and chipmunk looks threatening. Lost is a cognitive state. Your internal map has become detached from the external world, and nothing in your spatial memory matches what you see. You are stricken with fear and you also lose your ability to reason. Neuroscientists call it a "hostile takeover of consciousness by emotion." 90 percent of people make things a lot worse for themselves when they realize they are lost—by running, for instance, because they are afraid. They fail to notice landmarks, or fail to remember them. They lose track of how far they’ve travelled. They feel claustrophobic, as if their surroundings are closing in on them. You feel like you’re separating from reality, like you’re going crazy. Once our brains recognize that we face a threatening circumstance, the hypothalamus starts producing a fight-or-flight response. It sits in the mid-region of the brain base and triggers the adrenal glands to release hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. When in a situation of intense stress, adrenaline boosts your heart rate and blood pressure, causes the liver to release stored energy in the form of glucose and sends blood to your large muscle groups. Cortisol tempers the bodily functions that aren't necessary when you're in a seriously dangerous and stressful situation, such as digestion and growth. During fight-or-flight situations, your pupils dilate, and your visual scope focuses in, decreasing the number of things you notice. It impairs fine and complex motor skills as well, giving more energy to larger movement, such as lifting or running. People actually function at peak performance under the right amount of stress because of these physiological effects. For a little while.. Because too much stress sends us sliding down a slippery slope that can end in a mental and physical freeze-up. Continual release of stress hormones leaves you physically and mentally exhausted when you should be conserving energy. After the initial stress eases, your parasympathetic nervous system kicks back in to regulate those functions that the cortisol constricted. This entire process saps your strength, especially when it happens over and over again. Prolonged cortisol exposure can also promote depression. Once your mental state deteriorates, so goes your will to live. In some life or death survival conditions, that determination can save you. So fear does funny things to our bodies. It is one of the most primal instincts embedded deep into our evolutionary DNA, but fear and adrenaline also make you revert back to instinctual behavior. Fight, flight or freeze — it comes down to those simple reactions. There can be no question that becoming lost is normally accompanied by high emotional arousal, and almost every lost person has confessed to having been upset during their ordeal, some (particularly with children) to the point of nausea and stomach pain. What are the effects of general arousal and fear on the lost person's behavior? Arousal causes sweaty palms and a rush of adrenaline. Not enough arousal and the person feels drowsy and has diffuse and unfocused thought processes. But when arousal is too intense, thoughts tend to scatter in irrelevant directions, making the person unable to concentrate on solving even simple problems. Also, too much arousal can interfere with the recognition of familiar objects, people, or places. Fear stimulates a heightened concern for self preservation, mobilizing the body for flight through the secretion of adrenaline and increased blood supply to the legs. It's no wonder, therefore, that the lost person's impulse is to move rather than stay put — this is exactly what his body is telling him to do. Fear interferes with higher mental functioning, such as concentration and problem solving, and may cause a regression to more “primitive” modes of thought. 

Ralph Bagnold, a pioneer of desert exploration in North Africa during the 1930s and 1940s and founder of the British Army’s Long Range Desert Group, recalled being seized by "an extraordinarily powerful impulse" to carry on driving, in any direction, after losing his way in the Western Desert in Egypt. He considered it a kind of madness. "This psychological effect … has been the cause of nearly every desert disaster of recent years," he wrote. "If one can stay still even for half an hour and have a meal or smoke a pipe, reason returns to work out the problem of location." When you’re lost, fight (or rather, freeze) is better than flight, at least until you’ve made a plan.

Dr. Holly Parker, a practicing clinical psychologist at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, MA said about this: “Feeling flooded with anxiety and fear can certainly happen if someone gets lost hiking, and there are ways that fear can work against people. Anxiety and fear narrow the focus of attention, meaning that a lot of details can be missed. They can also bias how people come to understand what's happening.” Parker says that research shows that fear and anxiety can lead people to interpret a situation in a negative, threatening and anxiety-provoking way, causing them to assume the worst case scenario. “This can create a situation in which the complete picture of the person's situation or problem isn't seen, and so the full range of decision making options may not be available to them. Panic can cause people to forget the survival lessons they were taught, so trying to remain calm and allow time to more fully think through lessons taught and the options available is key, rather than reacting,” she said.

Dr. Cynthia Divino, executive director for the Boulder Institute for Psychotherapy and Researchsaid the brain reverts back to a primitive response when flooded with adrenaline. The primeval brain takes over, and the logical brain slows down. “When we encounter a situation that we perceive as life threatening, our fight, flight or freeze response ignites. When this happens, most of the blood flow from our brain goes to the hindbrain and midbrain (or emotional brain). The part of our brain that can think logically (our frontal lobe) essentially turns off as the blood flow shifts to our hind-brain,” Divino said. “We find that we can't think clearly and are consumed by fear. With our fight, flight and freeze response taking over, we revert to primitive instinctual responses which are often very poor choices in that particular situation.”
-Fear of getting lost. One of the oldest studies of fears, reported a century ago by G. Stanley Hall, revealed that the “dread of getting lost is common” in children and adults alike (Hall, 1897). The author described many examples of such fear, such as one woman who was “haunted by the thought of losing the points of the compass in some wood. . . accompanied by a sickening sensation.” More recent studies confirm that many people fear getting lost, especially in wooded environments. It is common for lost children to hide from searchers, to ignore their calls, and to stand petrified at the approach of a helicopter — not simply because they've been taught to avoid strangers, as is often believed, but because every strange stimulus under such conditions is a source of terror.
-Woods shock. There are various reports of high arousal having detrimental effects on the mental processes of lost persons, going back more than a century. For example, a comment in the 1873 volume of Nature mentions a kind of woods “shock” experienced by West Virginia hunters who become disoriented, apparently affecting their reasoning capacity and causing them to “lose their heads”. Similarly, one anthropologist observed members of an African tribe who, having become disoriented, were “stricken with panic, and plunged wildly into the bush”. A popular theme in search and rescue lore is seen in stories of lost persons who, in a state of shock, have walked trance-like past search parties, or had to be chased down and tackled by their rescuers. Such observations confirm that it is not only the child or the inexperienced outdoorsman who is vulnerable to the adverse effects of emotional arousal. Indeed, the extent of one's outdoor experience is not always a very good indicator as to how rational someone will behave upon becoming lost
-Strength in Numbers. One of the least studied aspects of lost person behavior is the possibility that people act differently when they're lost in the company of one or more human companions than when they're alone. As anywhere from one-third to one-half of lost person incidents are multiple-subject searches, it should be important indeed to know whether the number of persons in the party should affect the search plan. In research done on people who got themselves lost in Nova Scotia, the researcher found that the lost persons stayed together in all instances, and that they traveled about the same distance as comparable people who were lost alone. Unfortunately, there was no basis in this study from which to draw conclusions about differing emotional reactions to the experience of being lost. Nevertheless, it is the researchers strong impression, from interviewing scores of lost persons soon after rescue, that people lost with companions are much less scared and considerably more rational during their ordeal than are people lost by themselves. This seems to be especially true for children of school age, who almost never show the same panic reaction when in groups than when alone.


What happens when you're really cut off from the world - when you're totally alone?  

Dr. Tina Maschi, licensed mental health professional and associate professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, explains what goes down in the human brain under prolonged periods of social isolation. Being alone goes fundamentally against how we're wired. Humans are social beings and herd driven. There is a hunch that the very size of the neocortex, the part of our brain that controls things like language and empathy and general social cognition, is directly proportional to how social a species is. Our brains are basically built to socialize. When your brain isn't doing what it was fundamentally built to do, you put the mind under unnatural stress, and bad things can happen. Being alone for longer times, in the jungle in our case of Lisanne and Kris, might cause you to hallucinate. Hallucinations can be triggered by a traumatic event. If you take a healthy person with no history of mental health disorders and put them under great stress, their cortisol levels (the stress hormone) would be astronomical, affecting their ability to psychologically interpret stimuli. Basically, you’re not reading what’s actually happening correctly and are just reacting to your trauma with forms, visions, or sounds that are a projection of yourself. Being alone might also cause you to anthropomorphize objects. Just like in Castaway, you might start talking to a volleyball. Ascribing human characteristics to inanimate objects is a real phenomenon seen in completely isolated people. “If you’re used to a world full of objects and you no longer see them, you begin looking for some sense of comfort,” says Dr. Maschi. “Just based on these primal emotions of anxiety and fear of death, you could create things; you could see something that’s not there.” You start to see human characteristics superimposed on the vocalizations of animals, for instance. People lost in the wilderness may also rely on a defense mechanism called compartmentalization, when one stores away emotions like anxieties and fears to focus energy on all the things that need to be done to ensure survival. Another, intellectualization, is demonstrated when rational thinking is used during times of stress to remove oneself emotionally from a situation. Instead of looking at all of the challenges and all of the things that could potentially go wrong, the girls would hopefully be able to just focus on their most pressing needs. The more internal resources, problem solving skills, and ability to not let emotions get the best of them, the more chance they had to psychologically be able to withstand the anxiety of being alone in a foreign jungle. Kris and Lisanne had each other (Strength in Numbers), but most likely one of them survived longer than the other. Making Lisanne most likely the one who had to endure the terrors of the jungle all alone in the end (if they in fact got lost, I lean more towards foul play myself but I investigate all options here). Kris was pictured with a head wound on April 8, after all (which may have shown her dead or alive, we do not know). Kris' phone also received quite a few wrong PIN codes after April 5th, meaning most likely - again, going by the Getting Lost theory - that Kris was either in a bad state, rendering Lisanne more or less alone, or possibly dead. So Lisanne must have had days where she literally was all alone in the Panamanian jungle.


The mistakes people make when they get lost
In Kenneth Hill’s 1998 “Lost Person Behavior,” studies show that hikers choose to do a number of things when they find themselves lost; many times, these behaviors only cause you to become even more lost. Anyone who spends enough time in the woods will, sooner or later, become lost. Nearly all of the experienced outdoorsmen that were interviewed for a large scale study, admitted to having been significantly lost or “turned around” at least once. Generally, persons who become disoriented will use at least one of these 9 methods, some of which are considerably more effective than others, and most lost people will try more than one.
-Random Travelling — the person moves randomly and confused in the woods with no particular motivation except to find safety. They usually experience high emotional arousal and follow the path of least resistance, with no apparent purpose other than to find something or some place that looks familiar. People usually don't keep this strategy up for long and eventually sit down to come up with more structured methods.
-Route travelling —  the lost person decides to travel on some trail, path, drainage, or other travel aid. The route is unknown to them and they are uncertain regarding the direction they're headed, but they hope that eventually they will come upon something familiar. When this hope is quashed, as it often is, they rarely reverse their direction on the route to go the other way. If the trail peters out, for example, they may revert to random travelling, as described above. This is usually an ineffective method of reorientation.
-Directional Travelling — the person travels in a specific direction, regardless of the terrain. Certain that safety lies in one particular direction, the lost person makes his way cross country, often ignoring trails and paths leading the “wrong” direction. Sometimes, in fact, a person will cross railroad tracks, power lines, highways and even backyards in their conviction that they're headed the right way. Unfortunately, this strategy (which is rarely effective) often gets them into the thickest part of the woods, making them especially difficult to find. Most typically, it is seen in some hunters who have come to exaggerate their outdoor skills to others and to themselves, believing there is some sort of shame in becoming lost.  
-Route sampling — the person tries out several routes from an intersection. Here, the person uses an intersection of trails as a “base,” proceeding to travel some distance down each trail in search of something familiar. After “sampling” a particular route without success, they return to the intersection and try another path, repeating the process until all routes at that intersection have been sampled. Three possibilities then arise: (1) they may repeat the sampling procedure, but now travelling farther distances on each route; (2) they may choose instead to proceed down the likeliest trail until they come to another intersection, where they can repeat the strategy; or (3) they may decide to try another tactic altogether. It can be effective when combined with backtracking (see below).
-Directional sampling — the person samples short distances in various directions leading away from a landmark. This is similar to route sampling, except that the lost person does not have the advantage provided by an intersection of trails. Rather, the person selects some identifiable landmark as a “base,” such as a large tree or outcropping. From there, they go in selected directions, always keeping the base in view, looking for something that will help them figure out where they are. When they're just about to lose sight of the base, they return to it and sample another direction, repeating the process until all possible directions seem to have been tried. Often, however, they do lose their base before the sampling procedure can be completed. At that point they tend to move around in the woods somewhat randomly until they find a landmark suitable for serving as a new base, and the directional sampling strategy may be started anew. (This method is recommended by Brown, 1983, and Fleming, 1994.)
-View enhancing — the person climbs a tree or hill in order to see landmarks. Unable to find anything familiar after travelling around in the woods, the lost person attempts to gain a position of height in order to view landmarks in the distance. The person attempts to enhance his view by climbing a hill, ridge, or tree. A knowledgeable adult with a topo map or at least some survey knowledge of the area, surrounded by dense vegetation, might attempt to reorient himself by climbing a hill (sometimes a tree, if this can be done safely) and matching visible terrain features with those on his map. Indeed, many experienced outdoorsmen report view enhancement as a favored method of reorientation.
-Backtracking — the person follows his town tracks back to safety. Once they got lost, the person reverses himself and attempts to follow the exact route that brought them into the woods. This can be a very effective method if the lost person has the skills and patience to employ it. Unfortunately, lost persons seem reluctant to reverse their direction of travel without good reason, believing perhaps that it would just be a waste of time and safety might be over the next hill or around the next bend in the trail. If a person becomes confused on a route that has numerous branches, he can backtrack to each intersection and employ a route sampling tactic to determine the correct fork. If the person is in the bush — and competent at reading tracks — he should be able to follow his own sign back. However, this can sometimes be a very difficult task.
-Staying put — the hiker stays in one place until help arrives. Every woods safety program stresses the importance of “staying where you are” when becoming lost, which can be considered an excellent — if somewhat passive — strategy for reorientation, so long as the lost person can reasonably expect a search to be organized on his behalf in the very near future.
-Folk wisdom — relying on adages like following streams downhill or orienting oneself by using the North Star. The most common of these is the advice that “all streams lead to civilization,” a principle that, if followed in Nova Scotia, will more than likely lead the lost person to a remote and bug-infested swamp. Local residents rarely have much survey knowledge of the regions with which they're familiar, but they often have excellent route knowledge obtained from their travels. That is, they are familiar with routes, trails, or pathways connecting one location to another. In particular, they know what to expect to see as they traverse a particular pathway and, more importantly, they know which direction to turn when a route branches or intersects with another. They know what to expect to be seen along the route, in a serial fashion, rather than some abstract “map” that can be perceived at one glance.


Backtracking and staying put are the most successful ways to deal with being lost, but so few hikers actually stay put or backtrack. 
Sadly, very few people apply this method of getting out of the woods safely. While it is true that most lost persons are found in a stationary position (especially after the first 24 hours of the search), this is usually because they are fatigued, asleep, or unconscious. In my review of over 800 Nova Scotia lost person reports, I found only two cases in which the subjects had intentionally stayed in one place in order for searchers to find them more easily. One was an 11-year-old boy who had received Hug-a-Tree training at school, while the other was an 80-year old apple picker who settled down comfortably within 5 minutes of being lost, just 100 meters from where she had entered the woods. Survey of experienced outdoorsmen revealed that they are aware that staying put is the recommended course of action, but in reality they don't want to stay in one place for any length of time, especially during the day. Instead they rather climbed on a hill or in a tree for a better view of where they were. Interestingly, people who had experienced several or more occasions of having been lost were significantly less likely to “follow a stream to civilization” as a useful strategy, possibly because this advice had already proven false in their previous Lost situations. So interestingly, matching this to the case of Kris and Lisanne, it looks (going by the Lost theory and the facts available) that:
-The girls didn't stay put.
-The girls most likely didn't backtrack: by the time they made their 16:39 first call, they were in all logic still on the one ongoing route past the small waterfalls: simply turning around and walking the route back - ideally in daylight - would have brought them back to the Pianista top and after that Boquete. 
-The girls didn't leave many trail markers for search teams to follow: no broken branches to follow their trail, no pieces of red plastic (as seen in a nighttime photo on day 8) marking their actual route. No signs carved in trees or on the ground. 

When you are trying to find your way back, you should be tracking the information you have available to you that is useful for finding your way back to home or camp. Do you know which way to turn at all of these intersecting trails you're travelling? If this question occurs to you, you will more likely take steps to memorize the sequence of turns than the person who merely enjoys the scenery, and to look back over your shoulder as you exit each intersection. “When I got lost, I thought, ‘Oh my god, I have become that guy,” said Troth. “The first instinct is to run back, run up a hill or just go anywhere. I think this is worse for guys — it’s the same reason we won’t stop and ask directions. If you stop and stay put, you have to admit you are lost.” Embarrassment - especially for experienced hikers - also keeps them from staying in one spot to wait for rescuers. “I think it is embarrassing to get lost, but it happens to everyone whether you are a beginner or an expert,” said Jennifer. “At our hiking company, we plead with the people who take our classes to stay put if they get lost. But, it’s a pride thing. We want to prove we can survive, and it’s a hard thing to admit when you are lost and need help.” And not carrying a compass is also a big error. Always carry a compass and map, and know how to use them when you go out walking in the wild. Every member of a hiking party should have these essentials, and all should be involved in the navigation, whether sticking to the trails, or going beyond them. In no circumstances should you be without your compass in the wild. It should be the first thing you put on in the morning, even before your underwear, and the last thing you take off in the evening. And do not forget to take it with you when taking an emergency midnight toilet stop too. People think often that they can rely on their inner sense of direction, but in reality it often fails them. especially when they get disorientated. 

Circling happens where there are no prominent landmarks (a cell phone mast or a tall tree, for example) or spatial boundaries (a fence or a line of hills), and where all the vistas look similar. Without a fixed reference point, we drift. And scientists even think that there is not even an innate “sense of direction.” In 2009, Jan Souman tracked volunteers using GPS monitors as they attempted to walk in a straight line through the Sahara Desert and Germany’s Bienwald forest. When the sun wasn’t visible, none of them managed it: Errors quickly accumulated, small deviations became large ones, and they ended up walking in circles. Souman concluded that with no external cues to help them, people will not travel more than around 100 meters from their starting position, regardless of how long they walk for. All of the “sense of direction” you get from having experience with the environment you are in, or by having a map or compass to rely on. In the absence of landmarks and boundaries (this includes the desert landscape, forests and walking in the fog) our head-direction cells and grid cells, which normally do an excellent job at keeping us on track, can’t compute direction and distance, and leave us flailing in space. This knowledge won’t help you if you’re lost, but it might persuade you to pack a compass or a GPS tracker before you set out, and above all to pay careful attention—the wayfinder’s golden rule—when you go into the woods. Orientation is a learnt skill by the way and not some untaught intuition thing. Those who are best at finding their way back in the wild, are the ones who pay closest attention to environmental clues, such as landmarks indicating a change of direction along a route, and the ability to remember the course of the routes one has traveled. On the one hand you can have Survey knowledge, which is map-like in that the person is able to accurately determine the relative positions of landmarks and connecting routes within the terrain. Such knowledge is sometimes referred to as a “mental map.” On the other hand, route knowledge comes from having experience with specific roads, trails, or other pathways and being able to use such knowledge to travel between locations. Such knowledge does not require knowledge of direction or even distance between locations, but rather that the person merely stays on the correct route. People sometimes overestimate their knowledge of the spatial layout of an environment, perhaps mistaking route knowledge for accurate survey knowledge, which may make them vulnerable to becoming “turned around” (lost). Trying to find a short cut is one of the most frequent causes of getting lost in the wild, by the way. Read this New York Post article on ; wood shock' and getting lost in the woods if you haven;t got enough of this topic yet. 


What to do when you get lost
Most experts agree that hikers should above all stay calm and stay put. By acting on adrenaline only, hikers can make their situations spiral into dangerous waters. “Our minds often take their cue from our bodies, so if we can calm the body, we can calm the mind,” said Dr. Parker. “Grounding exercises take advantage of that by essentially grounding you back into the present, rather than getting pulled away mentally by overwhelming emotions.” Parker suggested trying to ground the mind by naming as many states, as many colors, sports teams, holidays, movie titles, spices, types of trees, etc., as you can. “Try this for a few minutes and notice how your anxiety goes down. Then when you feel more centered and calm, return to thinking about possible solutions for your situation,” she said. Dr. Divino agrees. Even a simple deep breathing exercise can help reduce the panic or emotional response. “What people can do is start taking slow, deep breaths. This shuts off the fight, flight, or freeze response and blood flow will return to the part of our brain that is most likely to get us out of the situation quickly,” Dr. Divino said. “It helps if people have knowledge of what to do in these situations beforehand because they can more confidently return to what they know or have read.” Survival expert Annie Aggens, director of Polar Expeditions with Northwest Passage and Polar Explorers says sometimes lost means “LOST.” If you’ve run out of options and no plan seems to be working, she said the best thing you can do is help searchers find you. “I’ve been lost, and it is hard to keep the panic down,” she said. “You need to keep a really cool head. If you can’t think your way out of a situation, then stop, think, organize and plan. Start making markers in the direction you are travelling to help searchers find you.” Strips of cloth and arrows made from wood or rock can be placed in visible areas. If an aerial search is ongoing, take a belt and shake a tree branch. “A weirdly shaking tree branch will be noticeable if they are searching from the air,” Annie said. “Doing these things not only makes you feel like you are doing something constructive, but it helps you maintain hope. If you lose hope, you go to a very dark place. Find a place to settle down and make it homey. Make it comfortable, and if it’s safe, make a fire. “Above all, don’t give in to panic and go running off into any direction. The most important thing to do is keep a cool head.”
Unfortunately, our natural physical reactions are not always the best course of action. Fleeing from your initial position can simply lead to getting even farther away from your last known position, which can get you REALLY lost, plus uselessly depleting any energy reserves that just might come in handy while trying to stay warm under a tree. The most obvious take home message about getting lost in the wild is “Do not panic.” This can be easier said than done sometimes. Immediately stopping upon realizing you are not where you think you ought to be is the most important thing you can do to make sure that a bad situation does not get worse. This leaves you as close as to the last point where you were not lost, giving you the best chance of retracing your steps. After stopping, the second thing to do is drop your backpack and sit down. Take time to reflect on your predicament. Look at your map. Think. This is often the most difficult step, especially these days since we live in a culture where always doing something is the norm. Research revealed a link between positive thinking and emotions and successful survival. That's because it opens up global thinking capacities in the brain, allowing for more innovation and creativity. In the wilderness, once your initial needs are met, you will require new ideas and prioritization of tasks to keep yourself alive for the longer term. But how can you think positively when you're in such a jam? Among the many tips offered, here are some from survival handbooks: Stay busy to keep your mind occupied. Repeat to yourself affirming statements about surviving. Recognize your negative emotions and address them. Do not blame yourself for getting into the situation. And before heading out, check some tips on what to bring along, in order to be prepared for the unexpected.
 
IF Kris and Lisanne really got lost and kept walking in the wrong direction, backtracking and stopping to assess their situation would have helped them. Staying put the moment they realized they got lost could have saved them, as research operations started on day 3 of their ordeal. They could have also made markers where they walked; tear off branches, take a stone and hit parts of the bark of the trees that you pass in a visible manner; make signs on the ground or in the trees, leave bits of that red plastic bag they had. Stack up stones along the road! None of those marks were found however by research teams :( Becoming lost is normally accompanied by high emotional arousal and fear, which, if intense enough, tends to interfere with mental functioning, specifically the application of rational thought processes toward solving the problem of getting reoriented. It is very possible that Kris and Lisanne were overcome with fear and started making a string of bad decisions: moving forward instead of staying put or backtracking; moving uncoordinated instead of thinking of the best way to make it back. Fear of the jungle and wood and especially fear of being lost will have paralyzed them most likely. Even experienced outdoorsmen may sometimes react to being lost with an extreme form of fear termed “woods shock,” evidenced as a nearly complete loss of rational thought accompanied by an apparent inability to recognize scenes or landmarks normally familiar to them. However, there are indications that when people are lost in groups of two or more, their arousal levels may be somewhat lower and they may behave in a much more rational manner than when lost alone. If they did get lost, I really hope the girls had comfort from each other and it is very well possible that it enabled them to make up strategies, such as the coordinated strict time span in which they powered on their phones to try to call emergency services and their track towards the river most likely, perhaps trying to follow it downstream in the hope of finding civilization. Perhaps one died before the other; perhaps Lisanne spent days alone in the jungle. However, like I wrote before, I personally think there was more going on with their case than simply getting lost. Given the time span in which their phones were used and their camera too, and also the location in which their belongings and some bones were found and the state of the bones, I find it hard to believe that the ongoing stream of search teams didn't find them. Or that they didn't run into someone on these routes, especially near the river where native people live and houses can be found. I also can't believe that given their strategic thinking about their phone use, they didn't simply return and walk back while still on this one ongoing road down from the Pianista lookout point. I feel they ran into the wrong people and were forced further into the jungle, or were moved elsewhere. But there is a very strong camp online who shoots down anything and anyone questioning the official version of events. Not that this bothers me personally, but it makes it difficult to openly discuss the inconsistencies of the They Got Lost theory. 

Power-pixie also shared a good article on getting lost It explains that getting lost appeals to a deep, ancient fear in us humans. It is a recurrent motive in folklore and fairytales and links to the grim reality that getting lost in nature often was a death sentence throughout human history. "During the 18th and 19th centuries, getting lost was one of the most common causes of death among the children of European settlers in the North American wilderness. "Scarcely a summer passes over the colonists in Canada without losses of children from the families of settlers occurring in the vast forests of the backwoods," the Canadian writer Susanna Moodie noted in 1852." One 19th century description of a wood that takes children reads: "The utter loneliness of the path, the grotesque shadows of the trees that stretched in long array across the steep banks on either side, taking now this, now that wild and fanciful shape, awakened strange feelings of dread in the mind of these poor forlorn wanderers." And even in these modern times, with cell phones, GPS and digital compasses, surveys find that many people steer clear of forests because they feel vulnerable and worry that they won’t be able to find their way out again. Staying put is textbook rule one, but people are often seized by "an extraordinarily powerful impulse" to carry on moving, in any direction, after losing their way. But when you’re lost, fight (or rather, freeze) is better than flight, at 
least until you’ve made a plan. The compulsion to move, no matter what, is likely an evolutionary adaptation: In prehistoric times, hanging around in a place you didn’t know would probably have ensured you were eaten by predators. Hugo Spiers, who studies how animals and humans navigate space, inadvertently became his own test subject during an expedition to the Amazon basin in Peru. He asked the guards at his camp if he could go for a walk in the jungle. Don’t go too far, they told him: "So I didn’t go far, but it’s the jungle, and ten metres into the jungle is enough to be completely disorientated. I was lost in this jungle for two hours. They sent a dog out to find me. I wasn’t the first person to have a dog sent out. It was terrifying. My brain just wanted me to run. Just run. Just keep moving. I was very aware that that was not the right strategy. Keeping moving in the jungle is not going to save your life. So I tried to calm down and think carefully and not react at high speed and look at my environment, and I realized I was going in circles, exactly like in the movies. I was using a machete to mark big trees, laying down a thread, to know if I’d come that way before. That was starting to work. I’d mark a tree with three slashes and if I ended up back at that tree I knew I’d gone in a circle. I was nearly back at the camp when they sent the dog out, but it was a huge relief. It just made me very aware that being really, really lost is quite terrifying. It’s not a normal thing."











JEREMY KRYT wrote more about the tour guide and about other crime cases in the region
Jeremy Kryt from The Daily Beast wrote more than a handful of articles about the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. You can read some of them here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. When I wrote this blog, the articles were still free to view and in the public domain. In his first batch of articles, Kryt made a very compelling case for the Lost scenario. But then suddenly, in 2017, he came with three more articles: after being given insight in the police reports and autopsy data through an anonymous source, he found out that there is more than meets the eye here. He made a 180 turn if you will, changing his mind entirely about this case, now believing Kris and Lisanne met foul play based on the new information he was given. 

In the articles "Did a Serial Killer Stalk the Lost Girls of Panama" and "Murderous Vacations: Serial Killers Stalking the Panama Highlands" Kryt writes for instance about tour guide F.: "According to a police report leaked to The Daily Beast, this (specific) tour guide told authorities he had met with Dutch tourists Kris and Lisanne the same day they disappeared from Boquete, on April 1, 2014. He claimed to have scheduled a hike with them for the following day, and that he went looking when they never showed up." As for the women, their fragmented remains were found about two months later, near a trail called the Pianista—victims of what the same report refers to as “homicidio.” Guide F. is officially mentioned as one of the last people to see the women alive, as well as the one who led the search party that found their fragmented bones. The uncovered police record gives some fresh insights, such as the assertion that the cause of death was considered a “crime,” as opposed to an accident." The Bocas region is also where U.S. citizen Catherine Johannet and others have turned up dead or gone missing.—including at least six victims in the last two years, according to reports. There’s another mentioning of this guide in the leaked police archive, which makes clear that the criminal investigation was initiated because of “information” he provided “about the disappearance [of Kremers and Froon] in the mountains of the Pianista.” But without any specifics. (The case was first officially declared “a homicide” and “a crime against personal integrity” by Panama’s attorney general in the Chiriquí Judicial State report. And in October of 2014, two forms from the Panamanian State officials described the disappearance as a case of abduction. It was also declared a criminal investigation in June of 2014). Jeremy Kryt writes that this guide has also been accused by Panamanian prosecutors of unlawful entering the room where the women stayed ahead of authorities, and possibly tampering with evidence. Based on the original maps made by the searchers, and interviews with team members, we now know the victims’ fragmented remains were discovered just a few miles from this same guide’s ranch house. Multiple media outlets have linked this guide to the case, although the exact role he played remains unclear. "The guiding community itself seems split on his reputation. In the past I’ve heard from some guides that he was AWOL when the other outfitters went up into the high country above Boquete to hunt for Kremers and Froon—yet another local trailmaster I speak to describes him as “a hero” who has “inspired many of us.” Conflicting reports in the Dutch and Panamanian press offer wildly different perspectives on these events. The tour guide did tell Kryt over the phone this: “Those girls could’ve been saved, if the SINAPROC people knew how to do their jobs.” Later he also told Kryt: “I met the holandesas in town but never saw them after that. I spent many days helping SINAPROC search for those poor ones. I even met with their families when they came to Boquete. I did everything I could!” Which could very well be true and simply as far as this entire 'guide theory' reaches. 

Some accounts name him as complicit in a crime against the women—but other sources describe his attempts to find the lost tourists and assist authorities in the search as altruistic. Since The Daily Beast profiled this tour guide in Part Two of their first series, other former clients have come forward to say they felt threatened by him. Which does not make him automatically guilty to the disappearance of the Dutch girls, may I add. Jeremy Kryt brings up witness Nina von Rönne, a photographer is in her mid-twenties who lives in Paris and recently rented a vacation property from this tour guide contacted Jeremy Kryt, sent him a picture of herself with her former landlord and told Kryt: “We always saw him with women.” “He works only with female tourists … from Europe and a little bit from Canada. He has a preference for German, Dutch, and all people coming from northern and eastern Europe,” but he “doesn’t like Americans.” Ms. von Rönne described the man as about 65, although she “never dared ask him” how old he was. “He is physically very strong for his age,” she says. “I saw him carry super heavy bags of coffee beans and fruit from his garden, as if it were absolutely nothing. He is a true force of nature. He is able to walk quickly and for long distances in the mountains and without getting tired.” After renting a small cottage on his isolated farm for several weeks, she began to feel trapped, as if “he was spying on me.” When von Rönne spurned his romantic advances, she claims, he became “like a panther. He literally jumped on my neck . . . He even tried to lift me up as if to see how much I weighed. It really bothered me because although we had been living there for two months, [yet] I still had so many difficulties with his physical relationship being too close.” Asking around Boquete turns up other, similar accounts. “[This guide] is not allowed on our property,” says a receptionist at one of the largest hostels in town. “The owner doesn’t let us book tours with him anymore,” the receptionist says, because of his “impertinent” habits with female clients. Kryt cements the story by stating that he has spoken with another traveler who was with this Sorbonne grad in Panama, and who confirmed her story. And Corinna Epp, a German citizen who lives half the year in Panama and who works as a tour organizer, says the aforementioned guide is “hated” for “sexually harassing” clients. “I’ve never seen our owner react to any of the other guides like that,” Epp adds. “He has a double face”.. Epp finally left Boquete out of fear for her own safety. “There is one aspect of his personality that can be very nice, but another that’s a real demon.”

“There is one aspect of his personality that can be very nice, but another that’s a real demon.” “If a crime was involved” Adelita Coriat, a reporter who covered the Kremers-Froon investigation for Panama City’s La Estrella newspaper, told The Daily Beast, he “would have to be the top suspect.” “He has a son who lives up near there [Alto Romero], too,” Coriat says. “As I understand it they were both seen in the area when the holandesas disappeared—but I don’t think the police ever looked too closely into any of that.” “I always said the facts didn’t add up,” Coriat added.. “I always said there was more to this story than the Public Ministry wanted to admit.” 

“Whoever did this is very smart. He didn’t leave much evidence. And he won’t be easy to catch.” 

Kryt asked the forensics expert in the morgue in Boquete what he thinks the Public Ministry might have done differently during the investigation. To which the forensics expert stomps his foot hard on the concrete floor:The show they put on at Alto Romero was just a distraction. Look at the map,” he swings back to the computer screen and enlarges the interactive display around the Ngobe settlement near the winding trail calle La Pianista where Kris and Lisanne disappeared. “They need to investigate near the Pianista. Talk to the guides. And question them with a psychological anthropologist present, which they never did before. The crime scene was never handled the right way,” he says. “Whoever did this is very smart. He didn’t leave much evidence. And he won’t be easy to catch,” the IMELCF scientist adds. In his view, Panamanian prosecutors have given up on the case—despite their own investigators’ suspicions of foul play—in order to save face. “It’s much easier for them to ignore it all,” he says.

Jeremy Kryt also mentions other possible suspects; 
After all, the FBI is also investigating the possibility of a serial killer responsible for not just the deaths of Kris and Lisanne, but also of the American Catherine Johannet, and thinks it has found evidence that these cases are in fact related. Even the FBI is said to have uncovered a relationship between the deaths of Johannet and Kremers and Froon at some point. (Confirmation of this FBI suspicion in this news article, in which journalists also complain about the excessive secrecy from Panamanian officials about these deaths in their country). But later not only Catherines body was found, but a Panamanian teen was also convicted of her murder. A high-ranking forensic anthropologist examiner with Panama’s Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science (IMELCF) told The Daily Beast under the condition of anonymity: “That [Bocas] area is swarming with sicarios” - cartel smuggling routes that link Panama’s porous eastern coastline with Colombia and Venezuela to the south, and Mexico to the north. “There ought to be a national red alert for foreigners, and especially women,” he says. “But of course that would be bad for tourism.” [..] “The lesson, unfortunately, is that women still can’t walk safely alone in the campo in Latin America”. This IMELCF worker has received death threats in the past for discussing sensitive investigations. “Panama is a commercial port for the Sinaloa cartel and others,” he says, and goes on to mention both forced prostitution and organ trafficking as other threats posed by organized crime operating on the isthmus.

Who are some other usual Suspects, according to The Daily Beast? An escaped convict who broke out of a Panamanian prison in March of 2013 with a past in the vicinity. A former sicario, or assassin, with the Mexican cartels, who was convicted of the “Satanic” murder of a woman in 1996, who showed signs of torture. He has been known to frequent the northern Chiriqui area around Boquete, and remains at large. Then there is the so-called “Hannibal Lecter of Bugaba,” who was arrested back in March of 2017 for hacking up a 27-year-old woman he’d met on Facebook, then bon-firing her body in his own backyard, not 20 minutes from Boquete proper. When police caught up with him, he was carrying unidentified raw meat around in a suitcase. Press reports indicate he’s still under investigation for possible links to other missing persons in the area. And then there’s the taxi driver who brought Kris and Lisanne to the Pianista trailhead on the morning they went missing. He turned up dead almost exactly a year later, under officially “unexplained” circumstances. Gossip in Boquete paints Leo Gonzalez’s death as a “drowning,” but eye witnesses say questions remain. And back in the fall of 2012, a young woman was found dead and partly burned near a highway just north of Boquete, near the Costa Rican border. At first it was thought to be a case of domestic violence, and her boyfriend was promptly arrested. He said that he had picked Aira up with his car from university in David, but that they had a fight and that he had left her at the parking lot of a supermarket. In the meantime the parents received a strange text message about Aira going to Costa Rica and everything being fine. Then some of her clothes and an identity card are found in the village of San Carlos. But a day later, her semi-naked and partially burned body was found along the side of the road in the community of Ojo de Agua. She had been stabbed on the right side of her body too. Prosecutor Luis Martínez was responsible for the forensic investigation of the body. Soon widely circulated reports claimed that 18-year-old college student Aira Guerra was missing all of her vital organs. These were said to have been removed in a surgical manner via a Y-shaped incision from her shoulders to the pubic bone. Because two other victims supposedly were found in a similar condition in the Chiriquí region, organ trafficking has also been hypothesized as a motive in the Kremers-Froon case. At least four people were arrested for Aira’s murder. Links to a proven organ-trafficking ring operating just across the border in Costa Rica were touted in local news accounts. Panamanian prosecutors “suspiciously” allowed some of those arrested for Aira’s death to walk before thorough questioning could take place. (The trial is apparently still pending, as court cases keep being postponed.) And the evidence in the Aira Guerra case does seem to have gone missing under shady circumstances, including 7 mobile phone chips with evidence, which got 'lost' under the guidance of prosecutor Luis Martínez. So we've got another Panamanian case here of messing with the evidence here under the guidance and control of the Panamanian Public Prosecutor. Corruption investigations were set up against him and he was replaced by.... the already known to us Betzaida Pitti. The parents and relatives of Aira Guerra were refused to see and identify their dead daughter, and as a result they blocked the mortuary in protest and prevented staff from exiting. 

However given the remote location where the girls went missing and the unfavourable jungle conditions, many don't believe Kris and Lisanne's missing case can be related to organ trafficking: "Organ theft is one of the oldest urban legends in the books,” says Dr. Kathy Reichs. “I would be very skeptical of this. How could their organs have been properly removed, preserved, or transported? Sold how? Implanted where?” And US-based forensics consultant Carl Weil, concurs with Reichs. “If it was a crime it was more likely one of opportunity,” as opposed to a black-market operation conducted “out there in the wilderness,” says the former Marine and police officer who’s served as an adviser in over 300 U.S. court cases. The report on Kris and Lisanne makes it clear that case officers found suspicious elements, including the bleached bone remnants and the lack of bones, but they didn’t have enough physical evidence to make an arrest at the time—although prosecutors say the case could be reopened in the event of a breakthrough. And lets not forget that unlike what the flashy tourist guides want to tell you about quaint Boquete, it is also a place that was given 'code red' by English government sites, and is known for its (drug related) crime. It lies on the route from Colombia to Costa Rica and Mexico, and has for years been dealing with drugs traffic, crime and murders. And around that time that Kris and Lisanne were in Boquete, about 15 local gangs were active in the region. And police dealt with 1 to 2 drug related - and often gruesome - murders a week on average.

In one of his last articles on this disappearance, Jeremy Kryt wrote for the Daily Beast: "Multiple forensic sources have expressed suspicion about the condition of the remains, especially documented signs of bone bleaching. An original police report leaked to The Daily Beast during this investigation also explicitly refers to the crime as homicide. The report makes clear that case officers didn’t have enough physical evidence to make an arrest at the time—although prosecutors say the case could be reopened in the event of a breakthrough." The forensic anthropologist says the search for “paradise” can work as a touristic bait-and-switch—designed to keep foreign dollars rolling in at all costs, no matter the risks. “Panama is a commercial port for the Sinaloa cartel and others,” he says, and goes on to mention both forced prostitution and organ trafficking as other threats posed by organized crime operating on the isthmus. Part of the problem is that publicizing such dangers could weaken the crucial influx of tourist money, which makes up almost 20 percent of Panama’s GDP. But the problem goes beyond a lack of will, the forensic scientist says. It’s also a lack of skill. “Without competent [law enforcement] officials,” he asks rhetorically, “how can you hope to control crime?” Charges of a serial killer operating in the area have circulated in the Panamanian press since Johannet’s death was announced, including a controversial and unconfirmed report that the FBI has uncovered evidence linking the three deaths. An original police report leaked to The Daily Beast during this investigation also explicitly refers to the crime as homicide. The report makes clear that case officers didn’t have enough physical evidence to make an arrest at the time—although prosecutors say the case could be reopened in the event of a breakthrough. A major pillar of the controversial mishap hypothesis is that a backpack belonging to the victims was found on the banks of a river in the high cloud forest around Boquete. The pack was turned in by members of the indigenous Ngobe tribe, who had heard about the “Holandesas,” as they’re called on the local news. The items in it—including two cell phones and a camera, both in good condition—were covered with fingerprints that didn’t belong to the Dutch hikers; but no prints were ever taken in the case for comparison. Despite these factors, proponents of the accident version—such as Bethsaida Pittí, the state prosecutor at the time—claim the pack is absolute “proof” of a twice-fatal accident, because the women’s phones and cameras were inside. If it was a crime, Pittí has said, why wouldn’t the suspect have stolen their electronics and other gear? The indigenous Ngobe around Boquete speak of the Holandesas in hushed voices, and one sing-song version they tell is that Alguien les hizo malo en el camino. “Someone did evil to them on the trail.” On long nights when the big rains come, the tale often told is that the killer tried to hide their bones in the forest. Those are only campfire stories, of course; yet in some ways they also mirror the doubts of expert witnesses. An interview with this guide could clear up many issues. Conflicting accounts of his role in events make it hard to discern what his involvement might have been. He may have been tarred by a toxic combination of small-town backbiting and macho prosecutors frustrated at their own lack of progress with a difficult case. He could help put an end to the confusion by going on the record. But despite repeated entreaties by The Daily Beast, he refuses to talk. Until a new, concrete lead emerges—a confession is made, or a witness comes forward—Kris and Lisanne’s case will likely remain unsolved, like that of so many other victims in this part of Panama."














Break Free, the full program and I added English subtitles
In order to be able to upload the series (in parts) with English subtitles on here, the video had to be small enough in size, as blogger does not support video uploads that are bigger than 100 MB. Hence, one 40-ish minute TV program has been cut into 8 separate parts on here. Unfortunately I had to cut down on the video quality there too due to limited (free) size options. Click on the white 'play' triangle twice for the vidoeo to start. I also uploaded the entire program on my vimeo account, in two parts.

   

   

  

  

A search team member, a woman, later declared to Lisanne's father (shown in the Dutch TV program 'Break Free') that at this day, some of her dogs acted dubiously in the jungle; she wasn't sure if they had caught sense of something or not, and decided to move on. Later she regretted this and stated that she thinks they may have passed the girls unknowingly at that moment, and that they were still alive back then (also based on the camera and phone data found later). And that she regrets till this day that she didn't double check. However, Kris' brother reported to the press soon after the TV program aired, that this was nonsense, as the woman's search operation was taking place weeks after the girls went missing, at a time when they were most certainly long deceased.















Issues with the time settings, mobile connections and witnesses

Conflicting times of witnesses
Now some paragraphs will follow about the conflicting times and the Old versus the New timeline. I will summarize the most important info about it and analyse things further. Of course you can skip this subchapter and scroll down now. A private investigator interviewed everyone living on the Pianista trail in the days following April 1st and came up with different eye witness statements, who mostly all saw the girls either get out of the taxi, or climb the Pianista trail on April 1st around 14:00 pm. Which matches with the statement of the (now dead) taxi driver, who declared that he picked Kris and Lisanne up around 13:30 pm and dropped them off at the start of the trail around 13:45 pm. A witness also confirmed this and saw the girls waiting for the taxi at the side of the road close to 13:30 pm. Ingrid Lommers reported that a woman named Maru saw the girls on the main road outside of the trail at 13:30pm. Maru also wrote on local Boquete Lee Zeltzer's blog on April 7, 2014 at 11:39 am: "I saw the same girls minutes before walking by Il Piansta and yes, they looked pretty tired and sweaty." And there are also the statements from the language school staff, who both saw the girls there around 13:00 pm, before they went to their (very close by) guest house to get walking shoes and take a taxi to the Pianista trail. Although some also thought they saw them much later that day: ''Giovanni saw the women on 1 April near Don Pedro hitching toward Il Pianista. An employee at Il Pianista saw them start-up the trail between 15:00 and 15:30 pm. Blue their dog, who often follows hikers went with them." And shop owner Frank Abdiel Rosas, who runs a grocery store on the side of the road near the entrance to the "Piedra de Lino" and "El Pianista" trails, declared to the Panamanian media that he saw the girls pass by around 14:30-15:00 pm that day. He added that Lisanne was looking sickly: "I had customers in the shop at that moment. I saw the chunkiest of the two girls wore black lycra, and I saw them walking in that direction. I saw them turnaround one more time from my shop, and then I didn’t see them anymore. But they looked tired. Like they had already walked a fair bit." He said he thought the girls took a taxi back to Boquete, but he did not know this for sure, they could have also walked back to Boquete. Local hostel owner Jose Morales has stated to police and Dutch journalists that he spoke with the girls on April 1st in the late afternoon, when they supposedly saw them make their way back down from the mountain, and spoke to him again, asking his advice on how to get back to Boquete. He said he advised them to take a taxi, but that he didn't see whether they actually did or not, or what way they went after that. Local witness Oliva de Kam, who lives halfway up the Pianista trail, also saw the girls on the Pianista trail and talked about the time of 16:15 pm She declared to a local reporter: "I only saw them for a few seconds. They were quiet. Then I was struck by the short pants they wore and the amount of bare legs. They will get sunburn that way without skin protection, I thought. And I thought about how they were going to get scratches on their legs once they got up." She also declared to the media that she warned the girls not to go up the mountain alone anymore, but that she didn't think they spoke Spanish, and she herself speaks no English, so they may not have understood her. She added that the girls wore shorts and were clearly not dressed for this path. Then there is a witness called Martina, who lives halfway up the Pianista Trail also. She was working in her garden when she saw Kris and Lisanne pass by, walking up the mountain, on Tuesday. She also thought she picked something up about 4 PM. "I only saw their faces. They walked by. I didn’t think much of it because this is a touristic trail and many people walk by. They were alone." She later also saw them get into a car, she said to the interviewer of Telemetro. And 2 days later tour guide F. came by to ask her about what she saw, while he went up to look for the girls. Martina, who is a Ngöbe native, claims that she saw them pass by because she recognized them in a photo that the guide F. showed her on the third day of their disappea- 
rance. Lasaro lives further up the trail and saw the girls for just a moment resting at the shack. See more witness statements here. Local guide P. also stated to have passed what  he thought were the girls on the Pianista trail,but he recalled to have seen them around midday. He stated that the two women said "Good morning", but he wasn't sure it were Kris and Lisanne as 'all Europeans look alike' apparently: "Sorry but you all look alike: tall, white, light hair and the same type of clothes. And always moving in duo's." Which is a bit of a strange comment I think, considering he probably passed Kris who had striking red hair. And her clothes that day were rather striking too. It was also claimed he drove the shuttle bus between Bocas del Toro and Boquete at that time, and if true, that would have offered a good possibility that he had already spoken to Kris and Lisanne on the day of their transfer, Saturday March 29th. Guide P. also partook in the searches by the way and posted photos on his social media of the same Mirador spot where Kris and Lisanne took their selfies. His friend even made a photo there with the same pose as Kris in one of her summit pictures.. Which was either a coincidence, or rather peculiar.. Police also told the owner of the Spanish language school that they had video footage, showing the girls in Boquete shortly after 11:00 PM on April 1st. Nothing was ever heard again from that video footage, but I added the social media statement about this further down below. I also added a video of this school owner (Lommers) declaring on Dutch TV that her staff members saw Kris and Lisanne leave the Spanish language school on April 1st shortly after 13:00 pm. 

The times are an issue, in every respect. And it is difficult to weed through multiple witness statements and decide which are valid and which are erroneous.. It is possible that some witnesses were confused with the afternoon of March 31st, when Kris and Lisanne may have also walked around the area, possibly making a short exploration tour at the start of the Pianista trail. The girls are said to have also posted a facebook update at some point on Monday, announcing that they would walk around Boquete a bit that day (although Boquete is not the same as the Pianista Trail..). This has not been officially confirmed, but it seems to match their mentioning of 'going for a walk' that day, as well as the restaurant owner Giovanni's statements about showing them the trail behind his house, making a short tour of about an hour. However, he stated this was all on April 1st. Perhaps he had the times/dates mixed up? But regarding the day of their disappearance, Tuesday April 1st, there are quite a few witnesses who do stick to the 13:40 - 14:00 pm start of the mountain time frame. But the photos that were later found on the girls' digital camera placed them much earlier on the trail as you know by now, supposedly around 11:00 am and on the summit around 13:00 pm. This was also confirmed by a Dutch investigation team, based on the angle of the sun on the photos of the summit. This is very interesting of course, considering the whole time table. It would mean that the taxi driver may have lied about his times. As well as the school staff... And no official has ever given any explanation of how the girls would have made it to the Pianista trail in the 11:00 am starting case. No taxi driver claimed to have taken them there that early, and no one claimed to have seen them walk from Boquete up there at that time. And it's a significant walk from their host families place to the start of the Pianista Trail.. If the time set on their digital camera was correct, then this has also implications for the rest of the time table of that day. But note that it didn't even have the year (2014) set correctly; it was set to 01-04-2013. This is the default year and fabric setting, reflecting the release date of this specific camera. Now, please keep in mind that the current consensus is that the old timeline of a hiking start around 14:00 pm is incorrect, based on the photo times and that angle of the sun. So this is the official version of events now. But I feel that despite all that, there is some room for doubt still. I'll try to explain now why.

Wrong time stamp:
The last daytime photo #508 for instance has the official time stamp of 19:54, 2013. Investigators recalculated that time to 13:54 2014. I understand that they assumed the camera settings may have been set to a default London (GMT) time, hence the 6 hours time difference instead of the 7 hours time difference with the Netherlands. Investigators based the new time also on the angle of the sun in the photographs from the girls. And they may be right. But looking at this summit photo of Lisanne, the sun does not seem to be coming from straight above, as you'd expect at 13:00 pm, but more from the right, as if the sun already started its downwards motion, later in the afternoon. Besides, a photo on the same spot, taken only minutes apart, shows a very different shade and lighting pattern on Kris' face and body. And when the sun shines bright in the middle of the day, it is really not that easy to make out if it is 13:00 pm or 14:00 pm or even 15:00 pm in some parts of the world. I mean, you cannot see the sun itself directly in those photos (nor the possible clouds surrounding it) and we know nothing about the argumentation of these investigators, as virtually nothing has made public. So we don't know how they came to their specific conclusion. We already read a local blogger mention the peculiar light in Panama, which is so close to the equator. Did investigators take into account that there can be this optical effect in Panama, that makes some afternoons look like late-morning? We don't know.. As a local writer put it, there is something strange about the light in Panama. "The tiny, narrow country of Panama runs in an East-West direction, almost doubling back on itself, serpent-like. Owing to a peculiar optical illusion, the sun here appears to rise in the West, not the East. If the women were not aware of this peculiarity, they would be pulled in the wrong direction, away from town, further into the jungle. This alone is a powerful, potentially tragic story element." Perhaps this special optical illusion also messes with the way the afternoon sunlight reflects, for all we know. So how reliable are those sun analyses? If the sun sets around 19:00 pm, then the angle of the sun at 13:00 pm or 15:00 pm must look significantly different however.  -  Perhaps the camera time settings were recalculated wrongly? Kris and Lisanne used their digital Canon camera in a straightforward manner; no settings were changed throughout their entire Panama stay, not even a zoom was used. They just clicked away at standard settings, without changing the factory settings. Only exception is that they díd switch between portrait and landscape mode when shooting form photos. So it is not that far-fetched to imagine that they didn't work their way through the manual of many setting options to adjust the time. They had their mobile phones for normal, everyday use; I am certain that they used their phones normally to check what the time was. Not their digital camera. By all accounts, the camera was only for shooting photos.

What are the implications when the Old Timeline is followed, versus the New Timeline?
If it is true that the digital camera times were in fact correct, then this places the girls much earlier beyond the Pianista summit, and leaves over two and a half hours between the last photo taken during the day, photo #508 (13:55 pm), and their first emergency call attempt (16:39 pm). Meaning they could have wandered much further into all possible directions in theory, before running into trouble and calling emergency services. This significantly widens the scope of possibilities in regards to what may have happened to them; they may have reached disorientating wilderness by then, if they had just kept walking on and on. Seriously drifting away from the trail, for whatever reason. Or they could have ended up in terrain where you cán in fact fall or injure yourself seriously. But, if the witnesses and taxi driver have it correct and the digital camera times were incorrect, then the girls would have in fact tried to call emergency services fairly soon after photo #508 was taken. Meaning that some options then become less likely. For instance, around the time of photo #508 Kris didn't seem injured, and on the easy accessible and embedded trail they were on, it was very difficult to seriously injure yourself. There also was not a lot of time or opportunity then to get desperately lost, and no chance for sure for them to get anywhere near the river. Meaning to me that only two realistic options are left then: either they called emergency services because they feared that they wouldn't make it back to Boquete in time before dark, or they called because they ran into the wrong person. The old timeline is favorable when you believe, or want to claim that Kris and Lisanne would have gotten afraid of the approaching sunset, or got lost in the dark, or that they ran into the wrong person. They were way beyond the Mirador then and had only about two hours of daytime left, they wouldn't make it back to Boquete before dusk. They needed about two to two and a half hours to walk back to Boquete from the point of the last photo 508. With the sun setting around 18:40 that day, this means that Kris and Lisanne should have turned around to walk back to Boquete around 16:15 pm at the latest. Although that would have been already risky, and 15:30 would have been a better time in fact. The Old Timeline would increase the likelihood that the girls just got overwhelmed by panic because they realized they walked on for too long and too far in order to make it back home in time. And regarding meeting foul play; because the emergency call attempts were then made fairly quickly after photo 508 was taken, it leaves the possibility wide open that something acute or unexpected happened.  However, what if the New Timeline is correct? Then I'd say it's more likely that the girls walked on for too long and got disorientated or lost. Or that they ran into (a) 3rd person(s). The new timeline shows just the opposite: Kris and Lisanne started their exploration of the area behind the Mirador in the early afternoon daylight and had plenty of time to return by the time they had made photo #508 (around 14:00 pm). They would have been back in Boquete before 16:30 pm (and well before sunset) if they had just returned after taking photo 508, walking straight back down the Pianista Trail. It is therefore unlikely that the direct reason for calling the emergency services would then have been out of fear of not making it home before dark. The New Timeline would allow for a lot of grey area, because anything could then have happened to those girls in 2,5 hours; it statistically increases the chance that they got lost or had an accident in another part of the jungle. This all distracts from the possibility of foul play, but it does not exclude that possibility. And if the New Timeline is correct then I'd say that the most likely reason for the emergency calls would be either that they got lost, had an injury at some point, or (again) that they ran into the wrong person or people and were afraid. But then this encounter would have either taken place further away from the summit, or closer by if the girls had already turned around to walk back at that point. The New Timeline ALSO allows for the girls to get safely back off the mountain again and go for a swim, which one source who is close to one of the girls' families claims (more on that in part 2 of this blog). 

Out of these two, I think the New Timeline would benefit a criminal involved in the disappearance of the girls best. Because the new timeline leaves the most room for an error on the part of the girls. (Walking too far, getting lost). I also think the New Timeline would 'benefit' Betzaida Pitti and her team the most. It provides them with two and a half "empty" hours between the last photo #508 and the first 112 phone call. Allowing them to hang up their never proven scenario that the girls could have ended up in a river or a ravine in the meantime. Mind you: a river which they couldn't have reached physically yet in that short timeframe. And of course it most of all allows for them to claim that Kris and Lisanne got lost in the meantime. Whereas with the Old Timeline it is almost impossible to keep up that the girls got lost between the last photo #508 (estimated to have been taken around 16:30 if the girls left the Pianista Mirador after 15:00 pm) and the first emergency phone call at 16:39. The options are then limited to late realization of the impending sunset, or an injury. Which has been rejected as a possibility by Kris' parents (who believe they would have stayed close to the trail then and resumed their hike back the next morning). So now that we have established this, could it be possible that authorities or a 3rd party could have manipulated the camera time settings, to create the New Timeline themselves?

Dutch investigators estimated that the time between the first photo the girls took at the start of their hike, and the last photo #508 near the creek beyond the summit, was around 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Which matches perfectly with the Old Timeline: the girls were dropped off at the start of the Pianista Trail around 13:40 and started their hike around 13:50 pm. It places them near the creek/first quebrada of photo #508 at around 16:35 pm. Four minutes before the emergency call was made. Like a local from Boquete who followed the case from close by just wrote me: "It was pretty much just considered fact that they went up at around 13:00 or later to the trail head, at least to us locals. The earlier timeline was barely ever discussed because witnesses refuted it. The photo time stamping is the only thing that ever made anyone question that. The Panamanian authorities most definitely had a motive to make this go away, labeling it an accident. Tourism is a huge deal here, and is Boquete's lifeline to income for many months of the year (high season from December-mid-April, but also other months), as are expats and visitors seeking to retire here." This also matches the foul play views of Kris' father Hans Kremers, who does not believe they would have walked much further, passing a pretty waterfall a little bit further down the road, without taking a photo of it. On June 20th, Hans Kremers stated in a Dutch newspaper

"There is no question that they got lost, so they were deliberately taken by someone, we know that now." 

And if Kris and Lisanne had continued to walk for an hour on this ongoing and easy to follow trail, then they would have ended up near a meadow of sorts (the paddock), with beautiful views on a clear day like April 1st was. And they would have most definitely wanted to take a photo of that view too, Hans Kremers said. Yet they didn't. Why would they suddenly have stopped taking photos if all was OK with them? Kris' facial expressions are also not happy anymore in the end (although this is a subjective interpretation iof me). Something may have been wrong already there already. Maybe they ran into another person or group of people by then, who had bad intentions. Because what else could have realistically gone wrong within 5 or 10 minutes of the situation that was immortalized in photo #508? Lisanne may have had an asthma attack, Kris may have injured her ankle perhaps or they may have ran into someone who frightened them. They were only about 2,5 hours away from Boquete at this point; they were still on the main road and had around two hours of sunlight left. Enough time to turn around and walk back before sunset. Yet we have no proof whatsoever that they did, in fact the facts we do have seem to speak against this: if they really walked back and made it past the Mirador summit, further down in the direction of Boquete, then the girls' mobile phones would have made contact with the nearest cell tower again then.. And their phones never regained that contact.. That is.. unless they had switched their phones off, to save battery life for instance. Unfortunately we have no proof of anything really, as the investigation was bungled, the telecom data was non-existent and officials may not be trusted.

Video and witness evidence
CCTV recorded the girls somewhere in the morning of Tuesday April 1st in Boquete, in a supermarket and a pharmacy. In this Dutch newspaper it is stated that police confirmed that the girls have been caught on CCTV camera in Boquete, nearby a supermarket* and shortly before they started their hike. Correspondent Marc Bessems also told Dutch news that Kris and Lisanne were seen in a local supermarket on the day of their disappearance. Witnesses also saw the women walking there. Police announced this to Ingrid Lommers, who then posted it on facebook (I added screenshots of this in this blog). Only later did Ingrid post an update, informing her followers that unfortunately, the CCTV was accidentally overwritten. Gone, poof. What a shame.. Unfortunately no specific details such as a time have been mentioned or confirmed by local police, and the video which Lommers refers to in her facebook message was never released or copied or transcripted even before it magically disappeared again. Sloppy of local police to not make more work of this rather crucial bit of information? If the camera image indeed places them there around 11:00 am, as is said on some forums, then Kris and Lisanne could not have been at the Pianista trail at that time. And if they were in fact on the Pianista trail as early as 11:00 am, then the footage of the shops must have captured them... very early, around 09:00 am most likely, considering they had to go to the host family still to put on their mountain shoes and grab the few things they brought along on their hike. And thén they would have hailed a taxi still. It is strange that police confirmed the existence of this video, but never released it, nor the time stamp on it. But we know that the girls were in Boquete at some point in the morning. Police also announced that they used the computer from the Spanish Language school that day around 10:00 am. (*Eileen later denied this in a private conversation and remembered that the girls were last at that school the day prior, in the afternoon of Monday March 31st). And not a single taxi driver has come forward to declare that he took Kris and Lisanne to the start of the Pianista Trail between 10:00 and 10:45 am. No official has ever explained how Kris and Lisanne exactly made it to the trailhead that morning, if it wasn't with Leonardo in the afternoon. And it seems highly unlikely to me that the girls would walk to the trail by themselves, all the way; their host family and the language school are located in Alto Boquete and a fair distance away from this Pianista Trail. But yet, according to the New Timeline they would have started the Pianista hike around 11:00... What we do have instead, is a taxi driver coming forward and declaring that he picked the girls up that day around 13:30 pm however, and that he dropped them off at 13:40. This matches the Old Timeline. Although he may have been either mistaken, or lying... (No idea why). And as you know by now, other witness statements confirm this. Even a hired private detective went round the Pianista area, interviewing witnesses right after the girls were declared missing, so on day 2-5 of their disappearance already. They all declared to have seen the girls on the Pianista in the afternoon, not the late morning. But nobody seems to have seen anything that confirms the 11:00 am start, which the investigators changed their story into once the camera was found and investigated. So yeh... I think that leaves some room for doubt. No proof though. Just reasonable doubt, depending on whether you blindly believe camera settings and an analysis of the angle of the sun, or instead believe some specific witness statements. Like so many little and big parts of this story, there is conflicting information and uncertainty about trivial and very important aspects alike. I read a lot of comments from people who follow this case in the order of 'Eye witness testimonies aren't the smoking gun they was once considered to be/our memories aren't as reliable as we would like to believe they are'. Sure, some witness statements will always be off. But for everybody to be incorrect, when someone like Kris absolutely stood out there with her red hair and red and white stripped top? No, I cannot believe that myself. Either witnesses were told to tell a certain story, or at least some of them are telling the truth I think. 

Update: when specific online software is used to determine the time of day with the help of shadows in photo (sites such as this one), then it indicates (when adding all the right data for April 1st 2014 in Panama) that the pre-summit photos were taken between 11:00 and 11:30 am. This indicates that the times on the camera were, in fact, correct. I am not sure however just how reliable such sites are. 


In part 4 of this blog, you can read a series of blog posts and the comment sections of a local Boquete man named Lee Zeltzer. Lee was one of the first in Boquete to go out and interview people living at the Il Pianista trail, trying to gather evidence. I have incorporated his findings throughout this blog, when relevant. But in the comment section of his blog, which was frequented for a large part by Boquete locals, an image arises of the way the people there experienced this disappearance case as it unfolded. There is a lot of mention of the witnesses, who placed Kris and Lisanne down the trail around 16:00. As Dave M. summarized it below that blog post: "Various witnesses claim to see Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon on their trip to the Pianista starting point and beyond, all are fairly accurate and consistent in their timings of their seeing them, but all are swept aside as irrelevant once the backpack is found and the Camera examined as that becomes the last word on where and when the two friends were on that day... I don't know what to say. One version is right and one is wrong clearly. But the 'official' timeline has the two on the Mirador at 1pm exactly (EXACTLY 1pm! What timing.) Meaning that when Ingrid Lommers saw them at her place it would have been around 10am and they set off and are seen at the Supermarket just after, meaning.... Ingrid Lohmers and others can't tell the time? They mix up 10am with 1pm? It hardly seems credible. I do wonder if these people still stay with their timings, or are they now uncertain and admit to being mistaken? Supermarket camera footage (evidence) that would have settled the matter goes instantly missing - an aspect that becomes a familiar occurrence in this search and investigation, and we are left with the official narrative of two tourists who went on an ill-informed hike and got themselves lost. I don't know what to think, on the one hand it seems strange to start a walk to the Mirador at 1pm thereabouts, but if all they had intended is to get to the top and back down then that's perfectly achievable actually, a couple of hours or so with maybe half that time to get down it being downhill. So, if their last sighting was at 2pm at that stream... could they have headed back and made it back for the café sighting etc at around 3.30pm? An Interesting question. It seems a real stretch in all honesty that they could cover all that distance back in around an hour and a half, but if they pushed hard and raced back at their best speed maybe it would be just about possible for them to do so. It's still an interesting possibility to consider, and given the stark difference between these various witness statements and the 'official' timeline that the authorities published we should keep an open mind to the possibility that the Witnesses, all independent, may not have been mistaken in what they saw. That they did indeed see Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers setting off, and coming back down."

I replied: "It seems widely accepted now, also by all investigators on this case, that all those witnesses were off. I have not read any statements as to trying to explain the variety of incorrect witness statements though. Lee Zeltzer was out there pretty much from April 3rd onward, immediately starting to question people on the trail informally once the news of this disappearance broke. So his interviews were right off the bat when people's memories were still fresh. I don't understand why so many people had it wrong, or lied, but one always has to keep the theoretical option in mind that some people have been asked to cover something up. I do not know if that is really what happened here, however. Yes the camera settings became the last word. Even though the date was wrong (set to 2013 and not 2014) and the time was 6 hours off also. You can manually alter those time and date settings extremely easy. There wére also at least 12 different fingerprints and DNA traces found on those cameras and belongings. But that does not deter the investigators in believing the technical date info from the cameras. They also relied on the appearance of the sun in the Pianista photos of the girls, supposedly indicating they indeed were at the summit around 13:00. Ingrid herself was in Costa Rica that day but she came back soon after. Two staff members of her saw the girls leaving Spanish at the River "just after 13:00". They told Ingrid this on April 2nd, right after the news broke that Kris and Lisanne hadn't returned. Ingrid immediately posted this on facebook. I find it hard to understand why a taxi driver, trying to cooperate and to NOT look suspicious, would start off... with an easy to deflect lie. His admin of that day could easily confirm or discredit that he picked them up around 13:20/13:30 as he claimed. Aside from the witness who said he spoke to Kris and Lisanne while they waited along the side of the road near the language school for said taxi. There is CCTV there, police could confirm if they liked if he really drove there and picked them up or not.  And around 10:00 they were in fact in Boquete. Ingrid talked to police who confirmed they had CCTV video footage of them entering a store. Unfortunately (wow...) the store is said to have overwritten that footage before police could safeguard it. So Boquete is a kilometer or further away from Alto Boquete where the girls stayed and where the language school is. It is not a 5 minute walk. Meaning that if they were seen there around 10:00, it matches much better with them being back in Alto Boquete by 12:00 and that is when they went to the language school to look things up on the computer; where to go for their afternoon hike? The image I get when incorporating these witness statements (and many ppl following this case just dismiss them with one swipe, never thinking much more about them), is that Kris and Lisanne lingered about at the start.. Were deviated by Pedro to an easier trail behind his hostel. They came back around 14:30, they were tired and asked for a walk to get back to Alto Boquete. A bus or taxi was recommended, they asked about it again at the small cigarette store nearby, but somehow they decided to go back up the real Pianista Trail. Of course, this poses problems also.. Because they must have been on that summit earlier, going by the angle of the sun on the summit photos.... They were fit girls and it was perfect weather conditions and had been extremely dry those weeks. So the 2 hour it normally took to ascend, they may have done it in less than that, as those trails are usually wet and muddy but not that day. Guides do it in one hour. I have the feeling they did turn around eventually and did come back down. Then they may have gotten a lift from the wrong people. First swimming (photo from Juan is legit I think myself), then.... they weren't nicely delivered off to their host family as promised."

There is also a theory that says that these digital camera times and date are all fake entirely. That Kris and Lisanne walked the Pianista trail on March 31st, instead of April 1st. And that on April 1st they were in fact taken to another place entirely by the taxi driver and fell into bad hands. This third party only had to simply change the date setting on the digital camera and on the mobile phones, to make it seem like Kris and Lisanne went up the mountain that day and never made it back down. Some faked emergency calls for the next few days and voila. We could be at the exact same place then as we are now and we wouldn't be able to discover any of this. Or at least, not without access to all the original photos on the memory card from the Canon digital camera... which are kept private by the families unfortunately.


Another problem; the moment cell phone connection was lost  '
Kris' parents have stated during their trek of the Pianista trail, that it was around 45 minutes after the summit that their phone made no longer connection with a cell tower. Investigators supposedly also mentioned that on April 1st 2014, the girls' mobile phones no longer made a mobile connection around 13:40 pm. (13:39 to be precise). This matches the New Timeline, considering the girls left the summit shortly after 13:00 pm and would indeed have been at or near the spot where connection is lost around 13:40 pm. So, If the taxi driver and the school staff (among others) are correct and the Old Timeline is the correct one, then this also means that the girls would have lost mobile connection pretty much as soon as they started their hike on the Pianista trail (going by this cut off time of 13:40 pm). Which is problematic, as the start of the trail has mobile phone reception. Only when you climb higher up does the connection get less reliable, and eventually is cut off altogether. So doesn't this fact (as presented to us by intelligence services at least) prove that the girls were much earlier that day on the mountain? Possibly yes. But there are other possible explanations. For one, intelligence services also revealed that the girls' phone batteries were not fully charged by the time they started their hike; they were only about 50% full. Which is a rather peculiar little fact I think.. Given that the girls brought their chargers and were avid phone users normally. You'd assume they would have charged their phones overnight. They really relied on those phones to connect with the home front, multiple times a day. And if they charged their phones as normal overnight, then this 50% battery life at 11 o'clock in the morning seems strange. Especially for both phones. Unfortunately we don't have comparison information about how much their phone batteries were charged on other days during their stay... No info was given about their usual phone use patterns and habits; whether or not it happened more often that by midday, their phones had their batteries half depleted already; whether or not they always charged their phone to the full overnight. I wished the Dutch forensic institute made all of that info public too. Because only then can we detect patterns or breaking of habits. Now I wonder why both these phones would not have been normally charged overnight, considering just how much they relied on their phones to stay in touch with their parents and with Kris' boyfriend (she missed him). Knowing youngsters these days, phones are sacred and so is charging them properly.

Anyway; their last wifi-connection is said to have been made on Monday March 31st, so the day before their Pianista hike; the Dutch NFI forensic institute declared that their last wifi contact was in the Spanish by the River language school that day, at 16:44. But it is very well possible that they also used a computer and wifi at their host families' place in between (IF the host family even hád wifi, which I didn't see confirmed anywhere yet..). They apparently also used the computer of the Spanish language school around 10:00 on April 1st according to staff, proving that they wanted to save money by using free of charge computers if possible. So, considering they used a computer that morning and not their phones to look things up: how is it possible that the phones had only half their battery capacity left so early in the day? Either they didn't (fully) charge their phones battery on the night of April 1st, or they used their phones extensively on the morning of April 1st. But would they really both forget to charge their phone or both use their respective phone all morning, simultaneously? I don't understand how both ended up with half empty batteries so early in their hike. Or would they have gone out the night prior, used their phone in Boquetes nightlife, hardly slept or had time to recharge their phones the night prior? I doubt it, Miriam their host family member would have noticed that I think and the girls mentioned none of it to her and were home the evening of March 31st before dark to eat with Miriam she declared. Considering all this, it is possible I think that the girls were in fact on that mountain close before 2 in the afternoon, but that they had decided to switch their mobile phones off, at the start of their hike. After all; they only used that phone for a fact again at the summit, to take one photo of Kris (the other photos there are all made with the digital camera). So why leave a phone running on empty during a 2 hour hike when you have the digital camera for photos and won't need that phone, and knowing it is already halfway through its battery life? This may also explain why the girls' mobile phones no longer made a mobile connection around 13:39 pm. They weren't already beyond the summit by then; they had started their hike and they realized their phones were running half empty and that they didn't need them, so therefore conserved battery and switched them off, while enjoying their beautiful surroundings instead. But there are two reasonable options I think for the loss of contact with cell towers; either they reached the summit already at 13:40 pm and their phones were switched on still but could no longer make connection, or the phones were switched off at 13:40. Unfortunately no information has been acquired about where exactly these phones were on the track when they made the last connections with the GSM network. So we do not know for a fact if they made that last connection at the summit, or at the start of the trail. 

Note: we also don't know just how reliable this information is in the end. The cell towers could not provide a location for the 'pings' made with the girls' camera's and considering the way in which parts of the forensic investigation was trashed and ruined by the Panamanian prosecution, I wouldn't be surprised either if we have not received the full and complete or even the correct data on these phone connections. Cynical, but well.. And on top of this: The girls didn't need to turn off their phones, all they had to do was set them to flight mode. 
 
Cost saving The girls may have used a Panamanian sim card (or otherwise a Dutch one) and were notoriously careful with how much money they spent. They didn't want to lose a fortune on phone use (still very costly in 2014, especially calling home from abroad) and so they made a habit of looking for wifi connections when they used social media. To save costs they relied mostly on whatsapp or the occasional skype session to stay in touch with the families, which relatives have confirmed in various media and in the Break Free TV special. It is assumed that their host family had wifi, but this is not confirmed in black and white. So it may be that aside from making costs by using the Panamanian 3G network, they relied on the nearby Spanish school for free internet connection. School staff confirmed that Kris and Lisanne used their computer in the days they were in Boquete. With the Pianista trail either having no wifi available, or them not knowing peoples wifi passwords for free internet access, the girls may have simply decided to not use their phones, saving both battery life and also not making extra costs themselves by using Panama's 3G network.

And regarding the mobile connection dropping as late as 13:39 PM: these telephone data provided are super meager, and Panama is unable to even tell us which cell mast made the last connection with the girls' phones (or the previous connections..). So we probably should be careful with taking this info as a religious fact.

It has been said that the girls set their phones to flight mode most of the time, to avoid roaming costs.

John van den Heuvel, a renowned crime investigation journalist who went to Panama to investigate the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, stated here that the girls set their phones to flight mode to avoid roaming costs. "Those phones were set to flight mode... Because they wanted to avoid high costs due to roaming. So these girls set their phones to flight mode. But with the use of wifi they still used whatsapp. So those phones have of course been used those past 2 weeks." Hans Kremers said in October 1st of 2014 however that the Dutch NFI report stated that the girls had their phones not set to flight mode during their first weeks in Panama. But is it nevertheless possible that they do so on April 1st? And perhaps they also switched them off entirely, having seen that both the phones had a limited, 50% battery life, thus trying to save the batteries. They planned on brisk walking, not texting or calling. In 2014 there was no 'energy safe mode' button yet on mobile phones. Also, it is all good and fine to rely on basic info that the Pianista trail has mobile phone coverage up until the final summit, but how often is a phone connection cut when out in nature? I often hiked myself in mountains and hills and even in areas between several villages and at no significant height whatsoever, my phone connection comes and goes all the time. For long stretches, there can be no connection at all, despite on paper having full mobile phone coverage. So well... What was going on here for real? We are stuck with weighing this information against that information in this mystifying case.

Update: Kris' parents state here in one of the very first tv items where they were interviewed, that Kris' boyfriend Stephan had last contact with Kris (not specified what contact but it was by mobile phone) around 14:00 on April 1st. So at 14:00 local timeThey specifically discussed that part among each other; was it Panamanian time or Dutch time? No, local Panamanian time, they conclude. That is a problem if the girls were already supposed to be behind the Mirador by then, where there is no phone reception.. It just doesn't add up. And they stated this already on the 3rd day or so of their disappearance, when their memory was still very fresh. So how is that possible if they were already behind the Mirador by then, as the new timeline indicates? If true (and we have no reason not to believe Kris' parents on this) then this has serious implications, because it pretty much means that the new timeline cannot be correct. After all, that new timeline places Kris and Lisanne firmly behind the summit of the Pianista Trail, which has absolutely zero mobile phone reception. 

     

Kris' boyfriend Stephan had last contact with Kris around 14:00 on April 1st. So at 14:00 local time, when they were supposed to be behind the Pianista summit, where there is no cell phone reception.... 

More posts from Ingrid Lommers, head of the Spanish language school the girls attended, are added here. She consistently reported and updated her many friends in Panama and especially those in Boquete during the first days of the girls' disappearance. I added several screenshots of her social media posts from that month. She urged everyone to look for them and kept morale up to find them back in time. Quote Posted by Ingrid Lommers: "The press in Holland says that a person that thinks he has seen Lisanne and Kris Tuesday afternoon, says that Lisanne and Kris were doubting if they could go on the trail or not. The real story is that this person lives next to another trail and he said that that was also a nice trail, that they didn't need to go to the El Pianista Trail. So they actually went on that trail and were back after 30 minutes saying that they were very tired and were going back to Boquete. They sat on the side of the road to go back to Boquete, not on the side of the road which would lead to El Pianista. They sat for a long time on the road waiting for a bus or a taxi. They have not seen what they finally did."







Language school owner Ingrid was later interviewed by a Dutch investigation journalist, in late May of 2014 and tells him that she was called on Wednesday April 2nd about the disappearance of the girls. She had met them personally in the weeks prior in Bocal del Toro. She says this about the girls: “I only got to know them personally when they did a 2-week Spanish language course with us in Bocas del Toro (Spanish by the River – Bocas). I used to see them in the kitchen every morning, when I was preparing breakfast for my own group of students. I remember them saying some things about the food now and then. They also joined a cooking lesson that I organized one evening. I did not speak much with them that night either. They weren't very talkative. At least; not with people they hadn't officially been made acquaintance with. I think. Perhaps they were just shy. On Wednesday April 2nd I received a phone call from an intern at the school in Boquete, who told me that they had not arrived back home the previous night. Initially it didn't worry me. Occasionally it happens that students don't come home to sleep. I did not have a clear picture yet then who these students were. If I knew it were these two girls who I had met in Bocas, I would have worried right away, in fact, because they were so serious. No party animals. I asked the intern to inform their family, the agency and the police. Which has happened." When asked about the last time she saw Kris and Lisanne, Ingrid answered: "Probably the last day I was in Bocas. They then spent another full week in Bocas before traveling on to Boquete. [..] I saw them talk a lot with two Dutch boys (Edwin Cornelis & Bas van Lieshout). I don't really know. They didn't really stand out within the whole group and I was busy making my group, who booked the Traveling Spanish Classroom, happy.

Ingrid also told the journalist that due to time constraints, she had not asked Kris and Lisanne about their plans before she left Bocas. "Had I done that, I would not have expected (which I had in the back of my mind right now) that they might have decided to walk the Quetzal Trail (if students do that they sometimes stay in Volcan or Cerro Punto and come until the next day)." [..] "I think more research needs to be done on what kind of people live in Boquete. Gringos. Who are they - what are they doing there - what background do they have in the USA. Maybe also ask all the people in Boquete to volunteer to have their house / garden searched and see who does not sign up for it? Maybe look also in our neighborhood, in the vicinity of the school? I think you have to be very careful with this research. The Panamanians really shouldn't feel that we don't trust them. The Panamanians have of course never experienced anything like this. And certainly not in the small and quiet Boquete .. so we have to understand that. Ingrid also said that in the first few days, so April 3rd, 4th and 5th, many private searches were already taking place. By friends, locals, local guides; also people with an adventure company helped look for the girls very early on. Sinaproc started helping the search early on as well, but initially with few people.












I had an interesting chat with a technical camera specialist about this case, here's what he thinks: 

Juan is also Dutch and we sometimes discuss ideas about this case. He has his own youtube channel with many videos on this disappearance and a google album. I myself write these blog posts on the disappearance, gathering as much relevant information into one place, and I do not create a lot of youtube videos (although I made a couple). So we don't work together, but we discuss ins and outs or new findings. He checked his photo findings with authorities in this field (including a certain Phil Harvey, who wrote the EXIF TOOL software, so the market leader..) who he wrote to and presented the data to, and had to do a small exam first (!) to even be allowed to pose his question. As to not waste anyone's time. The answer Juan received was that Phil Harvey agreed with his findings; the photos from the memory card of Kris and Lisanne's digital camera were first viewed by a computer on June 17th 2014, so before they were sent to the Netherlands and their forensic investigators; and several photos were modified in photoshop. Exif data proves this, they agreed. The photo camera was found on June 11th and despite the Panamanian official promising that they would send the photo card straight to Dutch Forensic investigators (NFI) to investigate it and to ensure it was kept safe, these exif data proved that the photo card was not only viewed on a computer by Panamanians, but also altered on June 17th 2014. This sheds doubt on the authenticity of the photo card as we know it today. It also casts more doubt on the fate of the deleted photo #509, because soon after June 17th, officials stated that photo 509 had irreparable disappeared. Why have some data been altered and how exactly? Was there perhaps evidence on the camera of something unspeakable that happened to Kris and Lisanne? 


UPDATE: here TVN-2 simply confirms that on June 17, 2014, the date that also appears in the EXIF data, Panamanian journalists were allowed to view all photos from the Memory Card. They may have paid for it, but still: what investigation unit (working together with another nation), leaks photos to the press before the Dutch or even the parents had seen the evidence first?? Showing once more than these photos were seen and most likely altered and worked with before they made it to the Dutch forensics institute (NFI), which was given the task to investigate the digital camera.

About the battery life and the times depicted on the camera he said: the battery on the Canon camera is strong and can survive a long time. It can take approximately 220 photos on one battery load, but if you don't touch it, it can last a year probably even. Like so many facts in this case may not be facts at all in reality, even the times that are stamped on the digital photos may not actually be correct. This specialist was able to see the times on the EXIF data on the leaked photos, and for the summit photographs it read 19:00 and the year 2013. It's not confirmed or further explained by them how exactly they went about here. Maybe they cross-checked things on the phones. It's Juans guess that Lisanne didn't really get familiar with the camera. 

I was told and explained by Juan that anyone can alter dates and times in Windows Explorer. Technically you don't need to take pictures yourself at those exact times. With one click, it is possible to import EXIF data from a random collection of photos, into the Panama pictures. And then they contain all the fields from photos you could have theoretically manipulated; all the dates and times changed, without a trace. The only thing a specialist would notice then are the red flag fields, which you cannot bypass. But if anyone involved was savvy, they could have easily altered the photos, if they wanted to. Someone could in theory even take pictures with this digital Canon Powershot camera of the girls, and then use software called EXIF TOOL to import metadata from let's say, a NIKON camera and incorporate them into the pictures that the girls took, with one mouse click if they wanted to.

About the memory card of the canon digital camera the girls carried and the missing photo he said: Regarding the space on the memory card they used, nobody but the families and some reporters from a Dutch tv program called 'EenVandaag' or perhaps some newspapers saw the NFI (the Dutch Forensic Institute) report and will know such details. But in 2014 it was normal to use memory cards (and theirs looks like a sandisk one) of 2 GB, maybe 4. An 8 GB memory card was also a possibility, but back then a card of that size was still expensive. Going by the smallest option, on a normal 2 GB card, some 220 big pictures could be stored according to him if the girls made big sized photos. Or way more if they chose not to write the photos in a large format, which they apparently did, going by the quality and size of the photos they made. By the time the nighttime photos were made, there was plenty of memory card space left, and no need to delete older photos to make space. He stated that he highly doubted that Lisanne would ever have deleted a photo, or more specifically this picture #509. Because it also isn't that easy to remove it twice, especially considering they always used the factory settings of the camera and never even manually zoomed in, or moved the click wheel. And Juan also believes that even if Kris or Lisanne did in fact delete photo 509 manually from the camera, then the NFI would have certainly found the file on the memory card. Or in the worst case scenario they would have at least found the name of this photo, and most likely more; 40, 80% or even 100% of the file. He stressed that the psychological aspect of it all is important too: this would have been the first expedition of the girls on their forced week off (while waiting for their school work to start, later than expected). In Boquete this was their first real trip out of town. It gets dark quickly there at that time of year, around 18:30 - 19:00 every night, and if we assume that the time on the camera - minus six hours - is "right" then it was just four hours before sundown when they were at the second creek after the summit.. Which would be a great time to head back, on a first day, with a three hour hike back at least.. No need to start removing photos then, you'd say.

Missing photo #509 The EXIF data he saw on the leaked photos of that day are filled with manipulation entries. Juan emphasized that it is impossible to cook a memory card completely on a PC. Because there is one field, which a PC doesn't allow you to enter, which is the 'time last accessed', which is protected by the computer. Whereas if you take a picture on the camera and lock the memory card while inserting it in a PC, EXIF data will produce three times a similar time: date and time when the picture was taken, the time it was modified, and the time it was last accessed. Juan could also see that one photo file field was changed to 'big endian motorola', which he says is a clear sign of manipulation. But not obvious to spot for a layman. (And frankly, I myself know very little about these type of technicalities). Juan underlines that it is so rare for this reliable type of Canon camera to skip a file number by itself, that we can as good as exclude that option. Besides, we know that the photo or video file existed. Its information has just been removed without a trace. So either, the deleting of file 509 was a (purposely made) mistake by police, or a 3rd person who handled the camera did it. According to Juan it may have been a picture, or video, taken in distress, in the midst of something, or perhaps a testimony which those handling the camera didn't want to come out. But either way, he concludes that specialist software should and would have found this missing file if it had been deleted manually from the camera. Recovery software would have retrieved it as a file with the name IMG 102-509 or video 509. Juan even tested this and could find deleted pictures from years ago. And there was never any attention for the memory card or the photos in the press he said, because if you don't know anything about it, you think that 'everything is possible'. There has even been talk about the raindrops enabling the camera to skip numbers, or wetness from the backpack allowing the memory card to corrode, which he says is more far-fetched nonsense. Just like data fields being skipped is not something that happens often. With every new photo, thumbnail digitals are recorded, like numbers; details about what future thumbnails should look like. Getting rid of those physical thumbnails doesn't matter; they are always recorded. Yet here they are missing. Non professionals have been saying that the thumbnail digitals are missing as a means to save space. But even this is incorrect, Juan says, as data fields don't ever disappear; they are created when you shoot the picture. Period. It is unfortunate that so little attention was given to this detail by investigators or in the press. The 'Time Last Accessed' was fixed data which couldn't be doctored. Some people wrote in discussion comment sections that a killer would have just gotten rid of the camera and the bag and all the evidence. But I beg to differ; the fact these photos were found was a strong indication for investigators that the girls got lost. Because it places the girls physically on the Pianista trail summit and beyond. And the nighttime photos did the rest. Without the backpack there would have been much more emphasis on a murder probe. The parents would also have continued to search that jungle if the backpack and bones had not been found, which would not have pleased everyone living there.. 


Comprehensive opinions and explanations from Juan on his own findings:
"On 30 August 2014, the Panamanian lawyer of the Kremers family, Enrique Arrocha, leaked ten photos to the press. These were IMG_491, 493, 499, 500, 505 , 507, 508 and night photos 542 and 550. Plus, what only I have detected; an iPhone 4 photo of Kris on top of the Pianista. That one was namely 72-bit (instead of 96-bit or 180-bit from the Canon camera) and had EXIF ​​version 0221 and lacked all further data .. and this corresponds with the profile of the iPhone 4. These ten photos were reduced in size by the way. The originals are 4000x3000, from the Canon Powershot 270 HS. But the leaked photos are only 1024x768 in size, so zooming in is more difficult. But nevertheless, these photos were found to contain the original EXIF ​​data. So I am of the opinion that the original photos that were found on the memory card of the camera from Kris and Lisanne also look this shoddy and imperfect. I have purchased the exact same Canon Powershot 270 HS camera; so I possess the exact same camera that is listed in the EXIF ​​data as being the device. So the EXIF data of my camera's photos are identical in theory to those of Kris and Lisanne. And when you take pictures with it, you notice that time and time again, like a very specialized precision watch, exactly the same list of about 230 metadata fields is created together with a photo. Always complete, never deviant, always the same. And for anyone who does not believe it, you can also go to a photo website like Flickr and do a search for this precise camera model, and all EXIF ​​data are included then, so you can check for yourself then how it works with millions of other photos. So, every time the camera writes a photo onto the memory card, that entire list of data is also stored internally within that photo. So what you should expect here, is that the data from the leaked photos from Kris and Lisanne's camera also all look the same... But that is not the case. Yes, they look 90% the same, but you also see clear traces of manipulation. I have tested it extensively, but when I only reduce those photos (taken with my Canon Powershot camera) in size to 1024x768, all it does to the EXIF data is change 1 field.. But this is not the case with the leaked photos from Kris and Lisanne's camera. In those leaked photos, crucial sections are missing. For instance: 

the Thumbnail digitals are missing, the MP Image section also, and an XMP section has been added to the information. And what's more: with five photos we see it mentioned explicitly that on June 17, 2014 (just three days before the backpack would be sent from Panamanian forensics to the Dutch forensics NFI), Photoshop-like edits were applied..

So it looks like the Panamanian prosecution had already tampered with that card, or made a copy of it, before the Dutch even had a chance to take their first look at the camera's memory card. But even then entire sections cannot just disappear.. EXIF ​​data will only change if you use your PC doing radical things, such as photoshopping, or manually manipulating fields with values ​​that you overwrite. Virtually nothing changes if you only shrink the photo in size, or when you open it or copy it; then virtually everything will remain the same, except for the time and date when that photo was last opened and changed. But in those ten leaked photos there is so much wrong with the EXIF ​​data, that I can only conclude that they have been manipulated to an unacceptable degree. I also presented this to Phil Harvey, the number 1 authority worldwide in the field of EXIF ​​data and the author of EXIFTOOL, the software that allows you to view the EXIF ​​data of each photo for free. He concluded the same that major changes were made, I have that in writing [see photo above, Scarlet] We are talking here about the crucial bottleneck in this case. Because before that backpack with the camera was - not so accidentally - found by a Ngobe-Bugle Indian from the village of Alto Romero (in the area where four other human remains were found), investigators were working with a completely different timeline. Many witnesses stated that they had seen Kris and Lisanne at very different times however, such as around 13:20 tired and sitting on a low sidewalk, waiting for a taxi..And that they had been seen in the Spanish language school at 13:10 on April 1st.. But once that backpack was found, it was suddenly declared that: "No no, all the witnesses are mistaken, because on Tuesday 1 April they were at the top of the Pianista at 13:00 pm, according to the camera, sooooo ... discussion closed!" Suddenly that camera became sacred. However, the first thing that demanded questions was the fact that the year of this camera was set to 2013 instead of 2014. Then the actual time was incorrect: 19:00 pm for the photos at the Pianista summit for example and 19:54 pm for the last photo, number 508.  Yet people believe with 100 % certainty that the rest of the camera settings were all set correctly? "Ohh yeh, well then we just subtract six hours, because the device will display the Dutch time.." (which it didn't as Dutch time was 7 hours later, not 6). Everything was hung up on these camera times. While when you look at a photo which was shared by Lisanne's brother, Martijn Froon, photo 499, was shot on April 1, 2013, at 19:00:38... And on top of that, the EXIF ​​data are also seriously polluted and manipulated ... I did my utter best to create a similar EXIF profile with the photon on my own Canon Powershot 270 HS camera, but even I couldn't manage to make the data so bad."

About the iPhone 4 and GPS
P., wrote me that he knows a top IT specialist who had told him that Kris' Iphone - even the 4 series - saves all the GPS data somewhere on a microchip for at least 10 months. Even with a dead battery. Even with a deactivated tracker and even without a connection on the mobile network, or when out of range of any antennas. I honestly do not know enough of mobile phones to be sure this is true, but I found this"Yes, the iphone 4 has gps. Yes, you can trace my location without interne. The GPS chip in the iphone works as any other GPS chip. It does not need internet to get a position. However, the Maps app on the iphone requires an internet connection. Your GPS knows where it is, it simply has no map on which to plot that location without the internet _when using the Maps app." And: "The compass app will give you your location, in degrees, minutes and seconds of latitude and longitude without requiring an internet connection. As mentioned, if you want to display your location on a map, you either need an internet connection to download map information (as with the Maps app, or MapQuest and others) or you need an app installed that includes all its maps as preloaded images (so that it does not need to download any image data)." Not sure Kris had such an app working on her phone. P. wrote: "So if the phones can be checked by a specialist in Holland, this will answer lots of questions, it will show the track of the phones." - Well unfortunately the investigators declined offers to share the evidence and have other people do second opinions. If nobody is willing to reopen the case and allow other specialists to reevaluate the evidence, then the case is stuck. I don't understand this level of reluctance at the highest judicial levels here.


Juan made some videos on this case and explains here to what extend he believes the photos from their camera's have been meddled with by third parties And this is his latest video update on the EXIF matter

    


Juan also wrote the following about the EXIF data of the photos of Kris and Lisanne:
"There is tons of photo metadata available from ten pictures. However, there are strange things going on there.
-- EXIF times and XMP metadata times differ by 5 hours. It's a matter of interpretation which set of times you use.
-- The year of the camera was set to 2013.
-- The Dutch forensics institute had no way of knowing, if the entered time in the camera was correct.
-- We deal with downsized copies of the original 4000x3000 photos.
-- You can alter date, time and more, even in Windows Explorer. It's a low threshold.
-- Camera temperatures were recorded... coldest at the top (22 degrees Celsius), and IMG_505 was warmest, indicating 25 degrees Celsius.
-- IMPORTANT: all thumbnail info is missing in the EXIF data. While it is and should be present in ANY photo coming straight from a memory card. It's just something that has to be there, and one obvious indicator that the files have been tampered with.
-- Five photos show that on June 17th, someone altered them using Windows Photo Viewer. This might have been from the Panamanian prosecutor's office, saving the photos they should have just left untouched, for the Dutch forensics to investigate.
-- EXIF data shows, photo 508 was most likely part of a photo burst sequence, forcing the camera to record time in hundreds of a second.
-- EXIF time of photo 508 shows, it was shot at 19:54:00, while photo 507 was created at 19:54:50... another indicator of tampering.
--The photo of Kris at the Mirador was made with an iPhone. The EXIF version of 0221 (instead of, version 0230 present in all camera photos), and the 72-bit composition rather than the 180-bit or 96-bit architecture of the Canon Powershot photos, gave it away. It is unclear if the Dutch forensics ever got a hold on this iPhone photo, or what the source is. There is hardly any metadata left, since it was leaked to the press, downsized.
--Juan then further explains: "I have discovered which indicator field tells immediately, if a photo comes straight from an untouched source, like a memory card, or if someone else tried something with it. Yet to not make any hypothetical bad guys smarter, it's best not to reveal it. Needless to say, all the photos available to us, have been modified."
--Regarding photo IMG_499, Juan wrote: "The brother of Lisanne for instance, has a Facebook banner made from photo 499, yet that's crystal clear in 2048x1568 pixels. That is an indicator, he got the original 4000x3000 picture. Cause if he'd use our downsized copy, this could never have been the case. All metadata clearly indicates, the original photo format was 7 megapixels."
-And about the source of all the photos from Kris and Lisanne's Pianista trip he wrote: "Thumbnail EXIF data don't disappear. I presume, the Dutch authorities got the backpack and the camera with the card.. the versions [photos] we know, surfaced on August 28th, and were leaked to the Panamese media. The source is tv2n, or nexpanama, or journalists like D. Abrego."
-About the reliability of the time stamp on these digital photos Juan wrote: "Since they were all downsized [the original photos were reduced in size to the 1024x768 media friendly format], the red flags in the photo metadata all went off. Which doesn't mean these technical data are useless, not at all, they seem genuine. Yet I find it very tricky to base an entire timeline on such an unreliable timing device."

K. I. replied to one of Juans videos, detailing the strange circumstances around missing photo #509: "If you remove the SD card from camera and take it to PC then through file manager you "cut" the file 509 jpeg, it won't be a copy remaining on SD.  There was some discussion that the card was put in PC and either reformatted; or 509 deleted but you'd be able to still recover as you correctly point out from file allocation table. Reformat would destroy all photos so that wasn't done.  So I believe one possibility is 509.jpeg was cut and paste on PC and SD reinserted back to camera."

Juan replied: "The point is, it’s certain the SD card was inserted into a PC unsecurely, so all EXIF DATA got contaminated. That is why I found traces of edits from three days before the backpack and the camera was shipped to the Dutch forensics institute, in the EXIF DATA of the copies which where used in the media. You can always tell if an SD card has been untouched, or not. Any contact with a PC changes parameters, especially in the ENDIAN domain. And formatting a card only erases the index. All bytes remain where they were. Completely filling a card with zeroes is more effective. But even then good software will be able to tell if a picture or video 509 ever existed. Anyway, the EXIF data were so heavily contaminated, it seems like someone doctored the card and changed photo names and times. Or swapped them with metadata from other random pictures."

ScienceRaven replied: "Did you try to delete a photo 509, take 77 more, and then recover the deleted one? my experience with data suggests it might be overwritten."

Juan replied: "In my conducted experiments, you could always retrieve at least the name of the file, plus vast portions of the file that was deleted. Memory card storage is pretty chaotic, all over the place, like a computer hard disk. So, often 30% could be retrieved, or 70%, or 90%.. if no one else but the girl touched the camera, the success rate of retrieval of at least the file name should be guaranteed.. And I tested over and over, this camera doesn't skip numbers randomly.. not in a fast photo burst, not when used intensely." [..] "37 different fingerprints were found on the backpack and everything inside the backpack was immediately shown on television, including the memory card of the camera. So there were definitely other fingerprints on them. So many anomalies were detected, the Dutch Forensics just seemed to have given up and shrugged their shoulders about it. I found evidence in the EXIF data three days before the phone, camera and the entire backpack was shipped to the Netherlands, they messed with the photos, a Photoshop flag and even by going crazy myself on original Canon photos I couldn’t make the mess they did. [..] And during that time, the Dutch Forensics Institute spent 99% of their time and resources on the MH17 jet which was shot down over the Ukraine killing over 200 Dutch citizens. It seems the report focused almost entirely on the usage of the mobile phones.. and they only listed a table with names of images and time, concentrating only on what could be seen on the photos. Which is a shame."

Juan also wrote: "With free to download EXIF Tool software, you can alter a lot manually, including photo numbers, time, date, and 200 things more. Yet one variable, will give it away, which stores, if an image was imported untouched from the memory card, or if has been tampered with, or altered on a PC. Yet only a bright mind, will notice it. It's my understanding, that the forensics didn't care at all for these EXIF Data, which is almost the only solid lead in this case. They had other priorities, which is very aggravating to me. [..]  It was late August 2014 when lawyer Arrocha leaked ten photos of the camera to the press, when he was on a five day interview expedition in the Culebre area, to apply pressure. On two Panemese national tv sites you could find picture 491, 493, 499, 500, 507, 508, 542 and 550 amongst others, in a 1024x768 format, while the originals are 4000x3000. Yet these downsized copies appeared to have pretty much intact EXIF data, with these time indications, you can also see in the Forensics report at the start of this video. Now these copies of the originals containing the data all disappeared online. The problem is, these EXIF data show signs of intrusive manipulation. People who have no clue about it claim it happened because of the news sites. Yet I conducted numerous experiments to see, if downsizing an original picture and uploading it, had any effect on the EXIF data. Well, only one or two fields changed, but not the whole list of red flags from those pictures. Now it’s my hypothesis: the original photos which the forensics investigated look as bad, data wise. While a pristine set of data looks time after time the same, on a Canon Powershot, and doesn’t have thumbnail digitals missing etc. In certain fields you could see, some pictures were altered with photo software on a Windows PC, 4 days before the backpack with camera and evidence where shipped from Panama to the Netherlands. Which leads me to believe, Betzaida Pitti and her crew put the memory card in their pc out of curiosity and this way foolishly polluted the one crucial field: time last accessed. Cause that field cannot be altered, if you doctor a photo, that time and date is written by Windows source code. Yet if you read a memory card and lock it, so no communication occurs with a PC, the time last accessed should be the same as the time the picture was taken. So, lots of interesting clues, I would very much like to investigate on the original pictures. But if they are contaminated, which I suspect, then it’s certain the girls didn’t die of natural causes. Cause some people doctored the memory card, yet without being too smart. While the Dutch forensics institute seems to have totally neglected this part of the evidence, cause of lack of knowledge, time, or the notion they discarded everything cause the Panamese office of Betzaida Pitti ripped the files off the card and polluted everything. But it’s just not possible, by simply copying the files. Heavy doctoring took place. [..] Also the fact, that there's only six seconds between photo 499 and 500 of Lisanne on the top, is sheer impossible. The two spots are at least six meters apart, and then you'd need to pose still, while the photographer needs to rush as well. That is why it looks to me, the murderer or his cronies, manually on a PC, became the directors of the memory card, painting a scenario, changing data and the sequence... cause these data contain so much rubbish, while every untouched photo from a memory card produces exactly the same kind of parameters, with red flags in variables, only known to experts. But ok indeed after the top the mood seems different. Kris is way in front, something I would hate on my hikes in a hostile environment at high altitude, with crevasses and such. So maybe Kris got annoyed with Lisanne, who might have trouble due to her volleybal injury, or respiratory and throat problems the landlady talked about."

87Philips replied: "Thanks, these are interesting points and I did not know most of it. I will look deeper into it. But the other point again: You are right, photos 499 and 500 could not have been taken with only six seconds apart. But there is a better reason: In photo 499 the sky is blue and you can see from the shadow Lisanne's face is throwing on her body that the sun is quite high. The bush in the bottom left corner is also quite dark. In photo 500 it is suddenly very very cloudy and the bush (on this photo on the bottom right corner) is much lighter, because now the sun shines from a different direction. So photo 500 must have been taken much later than 499. It seems clear they were at this spot twice. [..] The claim that on this spot you would often have clouds on the "left" side and blue on the "right" side my be right, but there it is too extreme. The bush in the bottom left corner of photo 499 is the same as the one in the bottom right of 500. This shows that the two spots she was standing at are only a few meters apart. From the angle of photo 500 you should definitely see some blue. Furthermore, 499 and 500 throw different shadows. In 499 the right side of Lisanne's body is shadowy whereas in 500 it is not."

Juan replied: [..] I support your claim they were at this spot twice yes.. the cloudy skies and the impossibility of six seconds give that away. And in my experiment, of writing 100 photos on the card, using a stopwatch with exact timing, the camera never failed in writing down the correct time the picture was taken.
Column D; the camera mode. Only for 499-500 was the selection wheel turned from AUTO to SCN (Portrait - People).
Column E says that Face Detect Auto Focus was only applied once, while that was the basic setting of the camera.
Column F shows the number of valid focus points. 1/9 means that they immediately pushed through without focusing. On 493, no less than 4 zones were focused at the same time.
Column G indicates whether the camera has recognized a face.
Column H shows the shutter speed.
Column K indicates whether the infamous field of 17 June has been found.
Windows Photo Viewer 6.1.7600.16385 is a metadata field, which means that a Photoshop-like operation has taken place. So even if you have never used Photo Viewer, but edited something in Canon Photo Studio, for example, it will display that value.

N.B. I dedicated a chapter here to Juan's views on the EXIF data and on his photoshop suspicions, because this is not a political correct blog series. I want to provide as much information as possible and that leaves room for some more controversial theories. As we all know by now, this disappearance case has a lot of facts and details available to us, but there are also some critical omissions still. I think that we all need to keep an open mind and the fact that I share different theories in this blog series, does not mean that I personally believe in each and every one of them. There are enough chapters scattered around here (or at the bottom of the blog posts more often) where I elaborate on my personal suspicions and beliefs. And they have changed over time, as more information became available. But I have no issues whatsoever with sharing theories here which may not sound convincing to everyone out there who is reading here. I read that people have complained online that I even share Juan's theory on this, stating on reddit (ugh..) that "It's not good for her credibility that she gives credence to his theories." And "It's also sad that she defends him." But I think people need to inform themselves with all sorts of ideas and theories. I'm not interested in Juan-bashing messages either, we've become friends and agree or disagree with his (or my) views on the case, he has done a lot for this case and for bringing it to a big audience worldwide. We have both put countless hours into these investigations and translations, me into these blog posts and Juan (for many more years than me) in his google album, videos and forum posts. We do so in our free time, without getting paid for it or putting up paywalls (or otherwise monetizing it in my own case), just because we want to see justice for these girls. Thanks.



And more about the specific Canon camera the girls used:

   










And lets not forget that Panama has not only its own industry to protect, but that The Netherlands and Panama also have - and had at the time - a budding trade connection.
Wiebe de Boer, diplomat and Dutch ambassador in Panama for the Dutch, had already showed his good diplomatic qualities when he defended Panama and Boquete in particular as a quaint and safe mountain abode, skirting past Panama's serious crime numbers. As Ken Lee commented below one of my youtube videos: "In 2017, there were a total of 396 murders in that nation [Panama], out of a small population of just 4 million. This places it at #184 of 230 countries globally in terms of murder rate, i.e 10 murdered out of every 100,000 people (where #1 rank=lowest murder rate). Those comments about safety of the place are simply off." Nevertheless Wiebe de Boer was unwilling to utter even a single negative word about his host country. On his twitter, you can scroll back to 2014 and read his tweets about trade and cooperation, even posted on April 1st 2014, but not a word about the missing Kris and Lisanne.. Despite De Boers role in the transition of the belongings from the girls from Panama to their Dutch families. He did refer later to the MH17 victims on twitter, which was an absolute national tragedy. But Kris and Lisanne, missing in his host country of Panama, were entirely ignored on his social media feed. He seems primarily interested in keeping the trade- and diplomatic relations with Panama good.

In this article, De Boer is quoted as pushing for an increase of financial and trade relations with Panama. And by 2010, the Netherlands were already one of the top 5 trading partners for Panama and after the USA, Panama is in fact their second biggest export destination, with the Dutch responsible for taking over 10% of their goods. In addition, the Dutch government (incl. their banks, FDI's, NGO's) is responsible for investing around 2 billion dollars so far in Panama. In February 2014, companies from the Netherlands have shown an interest in developing a new container port in Corozal in the 46 hectares belonging to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), as confirmed by the Dutch ambassador to Panama, Jakob Wiebe de Boer, who adds "The Netherlands can transfer to Panama the operational experience of the Port of Rotterdam". During the summer of 2014, The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) was in discussions to build this new port in Corozal, with work set to commence in January 2015. On 22nd October 2014, the same Dutch ambassador to Panama, Wiebe de Boer announced that "the regional office in Panama will increase its staff numbers from 200 to 400, so that from there activities for the entire Central American region will be established. Dutch banks are involved as partners in the controversial hydro dam on the Changuinola River." And let's not even start about the Panama Papers and the large amunt of banks in Panama. 

Doing Business in Panama
Let's not be naive here, money matters. And the Dutch are prime tradespeople. I'm not trying to imply that business interests would have had any direct influence on (good) investigational research here, but there is always the small and hypothetical possibility that external interests could play a role. So much is weird in this case. Here is a good link provided by Ben H. Information issued by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a glossy brochure. "Grab your opportunities in the fastest growing economy of Latin America. Because of the Panama Canal, Tocumen Airport and the geographical position of the country, Panama has been termed the ‘Hub of the Americas’. Thanks to the excellent connections and the favorable business climate, the Dutch presence in Panama has grown considerably in recent years. The biggest opportunities for Dutch companies lie in the fields of agro-logistics, maritime, retail, and water sector. Natural Partners / Socios Evidentes. Since Panama and the Netherlands are immediate neighbors in the Caribbean, logistical maritime hubs and gateways to larger regions, both countries are natural partners. Dutch companies are involved in major projects around the Panama Canal and several companies have a regional head office in Panama."












Short recollections of people who got lost
This writer details what she felt when she got lost in the wild: "I was hiking back on the stretch of the Buffalo River Trail in Arkansas I had spent most of the day exploring when unexplainably, unexpectedly and stunningly, I was lost. The trail was just sim