part 3 - all the chronological photos and the diaries
between March 16 - March 29, 2014
between March 29 - March 31st, 2014
Video stills from a short video taken:
Third, the photos taken in Boquete on April 1st 2014
(*These are the official times as they were found on the camera, but they may or may not be correct/manipulated)
*Distance thicket of the forest, with the small log over the
creek in the foreground - similar location to photo 491
-IMG_2125; taken with the iPhone4 on the Mirador at 13:14. This was around 6 minutes áfter the last digital photo was taken on the summit, photo 504, which showed the views down towards Boquete. So there were six minutes where we have no idea what happened, but then these eight images are taken in quick succession with the mobile phones. And going by the numbers of these images, there may even be more that we don't know about?
-IMG_2126; taken with the iPhone4 on the Mirador at 13:14.
-IMG_2127; taken with the iPhone4 on the Mirador at 13:14.
-20140401_131420; taken with the Samsung S3 on the Mirador at 13:14:20.
-20140401_131424; taken with the Samsung S3 on the Mirador at 13:14:24.
-20140401_131430; taken with the Samsung S3 on the Mirador at 13:14:30. This image shows similar clouds and scenery as Image 502
-20140401_131456; taken with the Samsung S3 on the Mirador at 13:14:56.
-IMG_2128; taken with the iPhone4 on the Mirador at 13:15:00.
-20140401_131513; taken with the Samsung S3 on the Mirador at 13:15:13.
Photo #511 - April 8th 01:30:00 AM
Photo #512-540 - 01:30-01:37 AM
"This morning I had Spanish lesson, the last one for Ethan, Davis and Bas. It started raining at 8 AM and it only started to dry up again around 1 PM. Because the weather was so bad we couldn't really make plans. We have brought a deck of cards and have dived into Casa Verde! Initially together with Mart and later Edwin and Bas joined. It cleared up and the afternoon flew by with a number of beers and games. Wonderful! At 6 o'clock we had a BBQ with the whole group on the small island! We played volleyball and I got completely punctured by mosquitoes. Fortunately there was enough beer and fun! Later that evening we went out to La Iguana. A few dances and beers later it was suddenly 4 o'clock. Time to go to bed. Tomorrow the Deep Sea tour is on the program!"
March 24th 2014
"Kris feels very unwell and decides to stay in bed all day. I have to make a switch myself, but I decide not to let my day be ruined because of this. Off to Spanish class! It went pretty well! After the lesson I chilled and brought the laundry away. It is not really wise to take to the streets on your own, but I did it anyway! Bought some postcards and went into some shops. Some Lisanne time! In the afternoon I picked up some smoothies for us and chilled with the boys in Casa Verde. Nice!!"
March 30th 2014
March 31st 2014
March 25th, 2014
"I think the images are mixed up. Especially #499, #500, #501, and they have probably had to remove #509 first before mixing that set. They may have removed even more after #509 or perhaps not, but in trying to be clever they left behind a gaping hole. EXIF information is written when a photo is taken/created. It contains all the technical information like date/time stamps, when it was created/modified, camera lens used, focal length, exposure, etc. It's just a digital fingerprint of a photo. Once this photo file is created and the EXIF information stored as part of the file, if opened at a later time whether it is just to view it or edit it, more information is then written to the EXIF file as part of a running record. So if you open and edit it with Photoshop, this information is then noted in the EXIF and date/time stamps are also noted along with this new update of information. Juan discovered the inconsistencies years ago when he looked at the EXIF files. He saw that someone used a Window based software to edit the files. The basis of evidence tampering is there for all to see after this, no matter what theory you hold. And no explanation was given at the time as to why or what was done.
Juan mentioned a link to a travel blog. Two tourists who went with the guide on a hike, describe how on that day, the guide discouraged them to walk the Pianista Trail, but instead suggested a 'secret trail' that only he knew about. This may or may not be a trail close to the Pianista Trail. They write: "From Bocas del Toro we went by bus to the mountain town of Boquete. This is known for its beautiful hikes, waterfalls and walks. Unfortunately we were both sick, no fun. We had to skip a few things. But when we recovered a bit, we set off with our Panamanian friend F. This was really fantastic. We asked him if he wanted to walk the Pianista Trail with us. That trail must be very beautiful and is also known for the disappearance of two Dutch girls, Kris and Lisanne ... F. soon asked if we knew for sure that we wanted to do that trail, as if he had doubts about it. You should always take advice from locals, so we immediately said that if he had a better idea, we wanted to do that instead. The mountain of the Pianista Trail was covered in clouds so that, according to him, it would not be so special there today.
UPDATE: In their new podcast series, which I cover in great detail in this post, Jeremy Kryt and Mariana Atencio went back to Boquete and discovered a secret trail.
There is also a back road leading from the Pianista trail to this Palo Alto area. It's called Pata de Macho ('hoof of the tapir'). Interesting.. I long assumed there were other, unkempt and small trails leading away from the Pianista trail. Trails which could have been used to kidnap Kris and Lisanne, without them being seen. But this is a very interesting bit of information on at least one such a path, confirmed by Kryt and Martin who saw the trail and its linking to the Pianista with their own eyes. Mariana rightly makes it clear that this discovery is a *huge* deal and it really shouldn't be downplayed. Discovering the (back)trail that connects the Paolo Alto house to the Pianista should probably be a turning point for everyone. This Pata de Macho path is not used a lot, the podcast makers describe. It's flatter, longer, less strenuous and pretty empty. Only park rangers and possibly hunters [and local tour guides of course] still use it. It's also overgrown and hard to spot and it takes almost twice as long to lead to the Mirador than the Pianista does; between three and five hours. [Scarlet: So if Kris, Lisanne and their company had started marching after 14.00 PM, they would have most likely still been walking down this trail by the time the first two emergency calls were made. Given they were approaching civilization by then - going by this theory - is that a logical thing or not?] This route could have certainly been used to move people or remains around unseen. In theory... Jose Donderis, the former head of Sinaproc, confirms that this Pata de Macho route was NOT or barely searched. "Because we were prohibited". "We had problems with the authorities. The director of the operation was not comfortable with my participation on the site, due to political problems." In the Aftershow of episode 6, Kryt and Atencio discuss this further and Kryt corrects Donderis here and says that the police report states that this area of Pata de Macho was in fact searched. The podcast makers also share that they ran into a puma on this trail, but that the animal ran off instantly and was very skittish. "It wanted nothing to do with us, and I think that is typical behaviour for those big cats", Kryt says. Jeremy Kryt also says something else interesting: "Even the bigger reveal is that when we sent our head guide up the Pianista to find the mouth of the Pata de Macho trail, he was told by multiple sources on the mountain that guide F. had ordered that trail to be closed. And he thought that was very suspicious. I think this is very interesting, if we're right and guide F's son Tito and the other members of the Bandida did use this trail. And we already know guide F. is threatening other sources. He's threatened the entire community of Alto Romero. So we know he has a history of trying to cover this case up. He actually threatened the landowner to get him to close that trail down. Of course, according to sources on the mountain." How interesting.. Guide F. said nothing about the existence of this other trail when Roelie and Hans Kremers asked him about side trails on the Pianista. Roelie noticed a third path there. "A temporary path.." says guide F. Hans quickly diverted the conversation elsewhere, but when you look at the body language of guide F.'s assistants, you wonder if there is some fear there, While that particular side trail appears not to be the Pata de Macho trail (but perhaps it is, I don't know for sure), the guide also makes no effort to inform his paying customers about OTHER back trails. Guide F. may have been right about that specific side trail which Roelie points at. But they hired his services in order to scour that Pianista trail and the ongoing trail beyond the Mirador for possible exits. That was their goal. See if Kris and Lisanne could have exited or fell down at any place. So knowing this was their purpose and knowing why they were there, hiring his expertise, I find it very odd that he is caught on camera telling others in Spanish not to talk or tell the parents about .... (muffled) and that he never informed them about this Pata de Macho trail. A trail he clearly was aware of. Doesn't look good. And now we learn that guide F. also prevented people from searching this trail back in 2014... While single-handedly steering everyone to the wrong side of the Mirador. Why would that be? Peculiar. Not to say damning information, if those witnesses tell the truth.
- "Told the media that he saw Kris and Lisanne, waved and said hello to them some time before they disappeared
- Non-existent Booking for April 2nd (Coffee farm, strawberry farm, overnight stay or Pianista Hike?)
- First one along with Eileen to go in K&L's room on April 2
- First one to know Kris and Lisanne were missing from looking inside of their room on April 2
- First one along with Eileen to file a missing persons' report on April 2
- First one to report to the town council about K&L missing on April 3
- First one to search the trail and find no trace of them on April 3
- First one to mention in the media that Kris and Lisanne may have fallen off a bridge
- First one to also mention in the media that vultures would be seen circling around if Kris and Lisanne had an accident or been attacked by wild animals
- Was involved in leading some of the search parties in April
- Was involved in finding the backpack
- Was involved in discovering Kris's shorts, though he seems to not try to take credit for it these days
- Was involved in discovering the remains of K&L
- Was involved in guiding the Kremers on the trail
- Was involved in accompanying Martijn Froon on his return to Boquete and the trail for the breakfree video
- Told the media that he never saw Kris and Lisanne as well as that he greeted them ('Hola!') while they were out at Spanish by the River.
- Knows the trail and generally the area beyond the continental divide based on his decades of experience hiking this terrain with tourists
- Knows of secret trails that he has mentioned to tourists as late as 2018. Feliciano knows of secret paths
- Knows of various other geographically similar locations to the one shown in the night photos to which he's taken tourists to like the Caldera Hot Springs, Los Quetzales trail, Lost Waterfalls, the Hidden Waterfall somewhere off the Pianista trail, parts of the Baru Volcano
- Drives a 4x4, owns a farm in Alto Romero, and in Alto Quiel, and some fincas
- Employs residents of Alto Romero and his step son Henry to work on the ranch in Alto Romero
This graphic makes me think that Kris and Lisanne were returning from their last photo location River 1, when they may have been intercepted by Henry and his friends, and they convinced Kris and Lisanne that the hidden waterfall was nearby. Taking them through one of these secret paths, but that did not lead to the hidden waterfall but may have taken them further away from Boquete and into very unfamiliar territory."
Here you can read his blog series. They are all written in Dutch, but I am sure your web browser has a translation option if you don't speak Dutch. I will summarize some of the authors findings more elaborately below. Author Ilidio Tavares has combined information he found online on the case with his own ideas of what happened with Kris and Lisanne. He tries to paint a full story, from A to Z, which he believes can explain all the strange details in this case. In his version of events, Kris and Lisanne met Eileen already in the Netherlands, where she studied tourism. Through this connection, the girls came into contact with Ingrid Lommers, the owner of the Spanish language schools in Bocas del Toro and Boquete. Ilidio calls her The Empress, the black spider in a web of intrigue, crime and corruption, who used the girls as pawns and sacrificed them to a crime cartel. Ingrid was the one who not only arranged the volunteer work in a local school (despite neither of the girls speaking Spanish), but she also cancelled it for the girls, without their knowledge. That is also why the staff of children's school Aura never gave Kris and Lisanne a proper explanation for the refusal to have them start their volunteer work on Monday the 31st of March. Ingrid and her staff pushed Kris and Lisanne to go explore the area in their first week there, feeding them with info on the Pianista Trail. He writes that in his scenario, the girls were already dead women walking at that point. Ingrid is the bad one in this story, not a tour guide. He had heard something about the kidnapping, but only wanted to help in the end. And Eileen is the beautiful but naive pawn in his scenario. The Empress wanted to gain more power and let her empire grow. She got involved in the dark world of the cartels. She received money and protection in exchange for western good looking female tourists, and according to Ilidio, she delivered. On Tuesday the 1st of April, the staff of the language school arranged for a taxi to pick the girls up, to bring them to the start of the Pianista Trail. They have been given orders by their boss, who resides still in Bocas at that moment.
I always like reading theories and scenario's from other people who closely follow this disappearance case. Ingrid, the owner of the language schools, had arranged the volunteer work at the local school for Kris and Lisanne. The girls had called and contacted her multiple times beforehand, asking again and again confirmation if they really could start working at the school, Aura, on the morning of Monday 31st of March? Yes, they were told consistently by Ingrid and/or her staff. The parents of the girls confirmed this on TV, they also read the confirmation emails. So how is it possible that the school staff knew nothing about these Dutch volunteer workers when the girls arrived there? And sent them away? You'd normally assume that there was just a kink in the cable and a problem with communication. But, could it even be possible that Ingrid set them up, as Ilidio suggests? Or cancelled their work, without their knowledge? And then had her staff push them for excursions that week, including the Pianista hike? It sounds pretty extreme. But some people knew they were up on that mountain that Tuesday April 1st. Some locals said and wrote that she has some bad connections in Boquete. Maybe some criminals put pressure on her to deliver female tourists, in exchange for... protection? Or something else, money, power? At this point, nobody can probably with 100% exclude this hysterical sounding option, although it is probably not true. But Ingrid knew they were coming and helped set it all up when Kris and Lisanne were still in the Netherlands. She said to have arranged the volunteer work at the local children's school for them. She or her staff seem to have made errors with this, as the Aura staff were rude to the girls and sent them away. Or were the Aura workers to blame?
Regarding the rest of this Dutch bloggers' views, his theory as a whole attempts to explain the disappearance, the motive of the criminals, the broken bones and the phone use and night photos. It isn't completely fitting however, theoretically, in my view. Some open endings for instance:
*If Kris was still alive but too weak on April 11th to type in her PIN code in her iPhone, how come then that on April 5th/6th (when she supposedly had fled her ordeal, carrying her backpack) she no longer entered her correct PIN code? While her phone had 70-something attempts to activate it?
*If both girls took a serious tumble during their escape after April 6th and did fell into a ravine of sorts, how come their backpack and shoes were found showing no signs of this? No serious tearings or extensive slid marks. The backpack would certainly have showed specific signs of a fall in that case. The jeans shorts showed some damage, but not seemingly matching with a huge fall.
*If Lisanne's body was buried already at the start of the second week of April 2014, how is it possible
that a near intact foot of her was found in June of 2014? With skin and meat on it and all? And how can an intact rolled up ball of skin from her have been found then at the end of August of 2014?
*Why would cartel members allow the girls to keep their mobile phones? Kris and Lisanne could have hidden all sorts of secret Dutch messages in those phones, for instance under the contact data of others. And what a risk it would have been to later place those phones in the backpack again and have authorities investigate them.
December 23rd, 2019. (Source)
Near the end of the year 2014, an American tourist couple was robbed at gunpoint on the Pianista Trail, on the same stretch which Kris and Lisanne walked
Here this disappearance case is discussed in detail. Barbarossa170 writes on May 8th 2020: "I worked in IT forensics in the past, supplying services for local as well as state law enforcement in my country. I have worked on digital evidence relating to cases ranging from copyright infringement to homicide. I'm not an accredited subject matter expert however (I worked under the supervision of several during my time in forensics though), do not represent any official forensic institution or law enforcement agency and haven't worked in the field for a while. None of what I am going to put forward here is based on a claim to authority in any case. You can research and recreate all of this yourselves. This is just to put my interest into this particular aspect of the case into perspective. In this case there has been ongoing discussion about the veracity of EXIF file data (data embedded in images on the womens' camera showing the time and date of the pictures taken). Discussion specifically focuses on the timeline as the EXIF data shows Kris and Lisanne on a mountain summit at around 1300h local time when several eye witnesses place them in the village where they had been staying at that time, making it unlikely that they would have reached the summit before 1500h. The camera on which the pictures where found was missing for some time after the girls' disappearance, alongside their cellphones, only to be found by locals, contained in the women's backpack, in good condition, despite them allegedly having been "dragged to death" by a river. This opens up the possibility of the files having been tampered with to plant false evidence. The time the women reached the summit is of importance since it would put the first distress call they made at 1639h into perspective. The pertinent question being: was there enough time between them reaching the summit and the first distress call to make the hypothesis that they walked on for a long time after the summit and thus got lost at some point (more or less) likely. The official position of the Panamanian government as well as the Dutch investigators is that the EXIF data is correct. Various online sleuths have called this into question, in the case of the Panamanian officials with good reasons since the case was botched at every turn, with such enthusiam in fact that one cannot help but think that they intentionally tanked the investigation.
When I first read this, I was taken aback at how much credence was given to the metadata given the camera may have been in the hands of the perpetrator for a long time. EXIF data on a camera/SD card can be easily manipulated given access to a computer and the willingness to research how to do it. It is by no means complicated at all. Added to this is the fact that one picture seems to have been securely deleted from the camera, which would not have been possible for the women to do but would have required the camera to be hooked up to a computer. The picture I looked at in particular is image IMG_499, showing Lisanne Froon on the summit. In the koudekaas blog I linked above, it is stated the experts determined the EXIF data to be correct and the picture to be taken around 1300h local time. I set out to see if I could replicate that result, especially since the blog calls the determination by experts into question and since there is no further information as to what exactly the experts did to determine the time of day retroactively. My methodology was as follows: I used a rendering engine commonly used in visual effects (Octane Render) to light a 3D model of a human. Octane Render has a so-called daylight model, which enables the user to input coordinates, date, time of day and GMT offset (for the local time zone). Thus, the user is able to accurately replicate lighting conditions of a clear sky at any given time anywhere on the planet.
I used the following data;
Coordinates: 8.78024 | -82.441360
Date: 1st of April
GMT offset: -5
I then rotated the model so the lighting direction matched the photo (meaning Lisanne's rotation relative to the sun, not the sun's position) and input 1300h, 1400h as well as 1500h as the time of day. Here is the result. As you can see, the image most closely matching the pattern of light and shade on Lisanne's face and body, particularly the arm, is in fact the rendering with the setting of 1300h. The lighting pattern on the arm and the face changes drastically as the sun's position changes, the forehead receives much more light at both 1400h as well as 1500h and the angle and extent of the cast shadow of the head also changes noticeably.
There is a word to be said about the next photo, showing Kris Kremers standing at a similar spot but with much more diffuse lighting. There have been allegations that these photos were in fact completely "photoshopped", with the disparity in lighting between these photos as well as distortion often cited as evidence. Regarding the changing lighting conditions: every photographer will attest that this can happen very quickly. A cloud drifts in front of the sun and suddenly you don't have clear cast shadows anymore, only diffused light. The change of lighting can also be seen in the surroundings; less harsh shadows overall. As to the allegations that these photos are completely photoshopped (as in: the girls were pasted into the images) - Without the original files, no conclusive judgement can be made, but suffice it to say that photoshopping people into photos like this, especially with hair blowing the the wind, as is seen in IMG_499, is far from trivial. It would have taken a person with professional expertise in retouching to "fake" these photos. Personally, I see this option as very unlikely. There is an obvious drawback to this analysis: while it does show that the time of day contained in the EXIF data is most likely correct, we have no way of proving the date was not tampered with (meaning the pictures could have been taken a day before their vanishing, for instance). That being said, the Dutch investigators also had access to the data contained on the women's cellphones, including at least one picture taken on that day. If there had been a disparity between the date of that photo and the photos on the camera, it would have been noted in the investigation. Could the data contained on the cellphones have been tampered with as well? Technically yes, of course, but practically it would in fact require specialized hardware, software and extremely niche know-how to extract and the re-import the files. This hardware, manufactured by companies such as Cellebrite, is very expensive and only available to law enforcement, the military and intelligence services. The bottom line here is: the official timeline, placing the women at the summit at around 1300h is in all likelihood correct and the hypothesis that the EXIF files were tampered with in regards to date or time of day seems highly improbable."
"Regarding the night time photos, again they are just bizarre. I keep using that word but it's just a perfect fit for all of this.. The only time I've ever seen something vaguely similar is when I examined cameras used by a person suffering from mental illness. They were taking pictures in their dark basement, hundreds of them in fact, showing nothing in particular. Some of the pictures in this case do show something however (hair, the little twig contraption with the red material, the paper/receipts arranged on the floor) but all of them seem to be shot in such a way that it's impossible surmise what is really happening. That not one out of 90 pictures clearly shows, for example, the SOS written in paper (which is the prevailing theory) is just bizarre, yet again. Now, I wasn't a police officer or criminal investigator, I only worked in tech, but in all cases I had access to the corresponding case file and in some I spoke with the investigators about what they had been doing, so I have some experience with police procedure. Based on that second hand experience alone I can tell you that there is no way in hell that had this happened in North America or Europe, there wouldn't have been several people brought to the police station to question with a high degree of scrutiny and a lot of pressure applied via interrogation techniques. Beginning with all the eye witnesses, including the taxi driver, the restaurant owner and the school teachers, who place Kris and Lisanne in the village/ at the trail much later when in fact the photos show they were on the summit at around 1300h. They just let that go. Baffling. The often brought-up guide F. would undoubtedly been taken into investigative custody, due to his highly suspicious behaviour (going to the place of residence of two customers who didn't show up to a tour, whom he had allegedly never met before, entering their rooms and also inserting himself into the search effort with such enthusiasm. Not saying any of this is proof he is guilty, but it is more than enough to hold him and question him thoroughly). But Panama wasn't interested in clearing this up, and so we're left with this mess."
Lossincasa replies: "The night photos, I said elsewhere, at first impression were as if taken by an animal. What you say, is how I rationalize it immediately after, a sick person or injured, confused etc. If it had happened earlier and not that eleventh(?) day of their ordeal it wouldn't have been as mysterious. There are a lot of days in between with no evidence at all. Great catch on the 911. Why not use or enter another number? Call their parents out of panic etc. I understand conserving battery, but when in panic or fear you tend to at least attempt something. All their possessions neatly placed in a bag is also highly suspicious. As if someone gathered everything idk and placed where water or elements couldn't harm. The police handled this extremely poorly."
About the discrepancy between image 499 and 500 in which the sky and shadow angle change considerably in the span of 6 seconds, he says: " I don't really see a huge red flag here. We don't see the patch of sky containing the sun (it's off-screen to the right), so we can make no conclusions if there were clouds there or not. What we do see is: diffuse light everywhere- including the foliage. If you compare 499 and 500, it's not just Kris who is lit with diffuse light, it's also the surroundings. So that much is consistent at least." "I'm also struggling to come up with a reason for a perp to mess with those daytime photos. The night time photos are another matter entirely. I'm not sure at all who took those and why." "Regarding the EXIF/ XMP data, it would be interesting to see the original forensics report from the Dutch investigators. This kind of nitty-gritty detail is often lost even on the police officers and prosecutors assigned to such cases. Given what we know from public sources the report should have clearly stated that there are anomalies in the data which cannot be explained without intervention with other means than just the camera, at which point all of the information gleaned from the data is potentially tainted and not to be trusted. Pretty much the only thing we can test as far as I can tell is the sun's position in the photos vs. the alleged time, as I did. They seem to have done that. It is possible that much of this digital mess was produced without bad intentions due to ineptitude of the Panamanian investigation. The way this usually works is that the drive containing the data (whether that's a hard drive, a flash drive, an SD card etc.) is backed up and all the digital investigation is then done on those copies to preserve the original state of the evidence. If Panamanian investigators were just completely inept as well as ill-equipped (meaning they didn't have forensic software) they may have simply plugged that SD-card into a PC and examined the files, perhaps even moved files to the PC's hard drive and back onto the card. At this point everything beyond what is actually shown in the images is pretty much completely unreliable. I've personally "lost" complete drives during forensic analysis, because of technical issues or human error. Not a problem in those cases since those were just copies, you just start over again, but if you don't have the technical know-how you can end up unintentionally destroying evidence."
February 2nd, 2021
I find it important to emphasize, again, that nobody has been found guilty in the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. And that everybody is innocent until proven otherwise. I realize that people following this case all have different ideas and suspicions about what happened and who may or may not have been involved, but in a free democracy you just have to live with that and hope that the actual law enforcers do their job properly and give any possible suspects a fair trial (and a fair grilling.. without corrupt protection systems being put in place). I personally found it impossible to write about the details of this case without mentioning some local people who have been on the forefront. But the fact they have caught high winds does not make them prime suspects. I personally think that the people who are most visible here are actually not the most likely to be directly involved. Sure, there are some criminals in this world who love to play cat and mouse games with authorities and who show up at the funerals of their victims and who revel in meeting the relatives, or in interfering with the investigation. But they are a statistical minority. In most cases, perpetrators are protected from higher up or by their own protectors, and actually stay out of the limelight. So instead of only focusing on those who had their faces appear most in TV reports and articles about this case, nobody should forget about the silent unknown people who have kept mostly out of the aftermath of this disappearance. They may have helped with the searches, together with other volunteers. They may have put up posters. Or maybe not even that. I try to also look at general public reports about crime and violence in the area of Boquete. It does not mean that Kris and Lisanne couldn't have simply gotten lost and died by accident. Many people who follow this case believe so. We hardly know anything for certain in this case, neither how they died. But as you know, I think that Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon met foul play. Highlighting general crime in the area, for me, serves as a reminder that the local tourism agencies and the diplomats may tout Boquete as a quaint, sleepy expat village, but people actually living there sometimes tell a different story. And so do the statistics. Below some more info about all this.
A forensic anthropologist with Panama’s Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science (IMELCF), a high-ranking examiner, told Jeremy Kryt: “The lesson, unfortunately, is that women still can’t walk safely alone in the campo in Latin America.” He agrees to be interviewed only under the condition of anonymity, saying he has received death threats after discussing sensitive investigations in the past. “That [Bocas] area is swarming with sicarios,” the IMELCF source says, referring to the 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.” “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?” - There have been many dozens unsolved murders and disappearances in this remote, rural stretch of Panama since 2009—with more than two thirds of those in the years around 2014. In the majority of these cases, no bodies have been recovered, no rigorous investigations launched by authorities.
Boquete's forum members discussed also a warning safety leaflet, issued locally in town
By Linch K., April 16th 2014
"Despite what people in Boquete think, Human Trafficking is here and has been for a long time. Panama is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution. Although some Panamanian women and girls are found in forced prostitution in other countries in Latin America and in Europe, most Panamanian trafficking victims are exploited within the country. Although statistics were lacking, both NGOs and government officials anecdotally reported that commercial sexual exploitation of children was greater in rural areas and in the city of Colon than in Panama City. NGOs report that some Panamanian children, mostly young girls, are subjected to involuntary domestic servitude. Most foreign sex trafficking victims are adult women from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and neighboring Central American countries; some victims migrate voluntarily to Panama to work but are subsequently forced into prostitution. Weak controls along Panama’s borders make the nation an easy transit point for irregular migrants, from Latin America, East Africa, and Asia, some of who may fall victim to human trafficking.
The Government of Panama does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period authorities increased public awareness about the prostitution of children through seminars in schools and an outreach campaign with the tourism sector. Despite such efforts, the government showed little evidence of progress in combating human trafficking. Law enforcement efforts remained weak, the Panamanian penal code did not prohibit trafficking for forced labor, and the government failed to provide adequate assistance to victims and to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations; therefore, Panama is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Recommendations for Panama: Amend anti-trafficking laws to prohibit forced labor, including involuntary domestic servitude; intensify law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and sentence trafficking offenders, including any public officials complicit with trafficking activity; train government officials in anti-trafficking laws and victim identification and care; dedicate more resources for victim services; and develop a formal system for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, particularly women in prostitution.
The Government of Panama maintained its law enforcement efforts against trafficking crimes during the reporting period. Article 178 of the Panamanian penal code, which was updated in 2008, prohibits the internal and transnational movement of persons for the purpose of sexual servitude or forced commercial sexual activity. The prescribed sentence is four to six years imprisonment, which is increased to six to nine years if trafficking offenders use deceit, coercion, or retain identity documents, and is further increased to 10 to 15 years if the victim is under 14 years of age. Article 177 prohibits sexually exploiting another person for profit. Under aggravated circumstances of threat, force, or fraud, this constitutes human trafficking as defined by international protocol, and carries a sentence of eight to 10 years. Article 180 prohibits the internal and transnational trafficking of minors for sexual servitude, prescribing prison terms of eight to 10 years imprisonment, and Article 179 prohibits subjecting an individual to sexual servitude using threats or violence. Prosecutors may also use other statutes, such as anti-pimping laws, to prosecute trafficking crimes. The above punishments are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for rape. Panamanian law, however, does not specifically prohibit human trafficking for the purpose of forced labor, including domestic servitude. During the reporting period, the government investigated eight human trafficking cases and seven cases of commercial sexual exploitation of a child, which is comparable with last year’s efforts. During the year, however, authorities achieved only one conviction, compared with two achieved during the previous reporting period. The trafficking offender was sentenced to 72 months for pimping a child, which was reduced to 48 months incarceration for unreported reasons. This sentence does not appear to meet the standards established in the Panamanian penal code for this crime. Authorities maintained a small law enforcement unit to investigate sex trafficking and related offenses, and Panamanian law required that one prosecutor in each of Panama’s 13 provinces be trained to prosecute trafficking crimes. One prosecutor based in Panama City was dedicated exclusively to prosecuting trafficking crimes. There were no reports of partnerships with foreign governments in joint investigations of trafficking crimes during the reporting period, although Panamanian authorities met with Colombian officials to exchange information. The government opened no formal trafficking-related corruption investigations during the reporting period. Some judges received training on sex trafficking. There were no reports of training for the members of the diplomatic corps abroad.
The Panamanian government sustained limited efforts to assist trafficking victims during the reporting period, though overall victim services remained inadequate, particularly for adult victims. Authorities did not employ systematic procedures for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as women in prostitution or detained irregular migrants. Panamanian law requires the National Immigration Office’s trafficking victims unit to provide assistance to foreign trafficking victims. During the reporting period, however, authorities did not report extending victim services to repatriated Panamanian victims or foreign victims of trafficking, and the Immigration Office indicated that there were no foreign victims of trafficking over the past year. The government continued to provide partial funding to an NGO-operated shelter with dedicated housing and social services for child trafficking victims. This shelter, in addition to another NGO shelter working with at-risk youth, and the government’s network of shelters for victims of abuse and violence could provide services to child victims of trafficking, although the government did not report assisting any child victims last year. A shelter for child trafficking victims, funded by a foreign government, was in the process of being constructed. There was no shelter care available exclusively for adult victims of trafficking. The government could house adult victims in hotels on an ad hoc basis but did not report doing so or providing any legal, medical, or psychological services or long-term care to adult trafficking victims during this reporting period. In past years, Panamanian authorities encouraged victims to assist with the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders, although few victims chose to do so. The government did not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to their return to countries where they may face hardship or retribution, although in past years foreign victims were allowed to remain in country during investigations. Trafficking victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; however, due to the lack of victim identification strategies, not all foreign victims may have been identified before deportation.
The government maintained efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. To raise awareness about commercial sexual exploitation of children, the government conducted seminars in 84 schools, reaching 6,900 students, 230 teachers, and 140 parents. In collaboration with the ILO, the National Commission for the Prevention of Crimes of Sexual Exploitation, a multi-agency task force, sent 300 letters to the tourism sector to raise awareness of commercial sexual exploitation of children. Child sex tourism is prohibited by law, though there were no reported prosecutions of sex tourists during the reporting period. During the reporting period, the government implemented its National Plan for Prevention and Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents by publishing a comprehensive guide on health care of children and adolescent victims of commercial sexual exploitation and through supporting a study of sex trafficking in Panama. The government undertook no initiatives to reduce demand for forced labor.
This was taken from a Department of State Report on Human Trafficking. I thought I would put this out there since I read a post by BEC that made mention of preventing future issues. From what I hear around Boquete, most people are naïve or simply in denial. It is common around the world even in quiet Boquete. I love to point out statistics and facts, and this would be a primary reason this particular popular tourist destination was most likely selected. Keep in mind that this is the 4th case in the last 10 years, which is extremely low by most agency or country standards. However it does lend credence to the fact that it's here. There are many steps that can be taken to prevent or slow the rate of Human Trafficking, I would suggest that training be attained from Qualified Professionals in the field. And the neighborhood watch does not count, well... unless it involves the responsible use of a boat horn. If Ning users want to be proactive, and personally contribute to the search for these young ladies I would suggest going to a website named Backpage.com and breaking it up by country and compare the pictures of the escorts to those of the missing girls. I have personally worked 4 recovery missions that were given actionable intel from this site. Start with the middle east, UAE being my first choice.
Replies (some of them)
Lee Zeltzer wrote on April 21st, 2014: "I have thought a lot before taking the action of closing this thread. It was of interest although the information cited was years out of date. Panama is a tier 2 country as are most non "first world" countries that do not fall into tier 3. Panama is not great on protection of victims of human trafficking in fact they offer Colombians a special sex trade Visa. None of this except the claim of four possible abductions in all of Panama is relevant. Since the one I know about, and the only other case in Boquete was a 29 year old British male. I doubt he was abducted for sex trade so that tragedy is probably not related to the content of this thread. I do not want to discount the problem nor the risk of abduction or being lost in the wilderness surrounding Boquete. I realize closing the barn door after the horses have escaped is important as a precaution for others still inside. There are people trying to do that now, Fran, Lori and the Spanish Language Schools are all trying to prevent this from occurring again. We are all hoping for a positive event and positive ending of this horror for Lisanne and Kris but this thread has become shopworn and is now closed."
C. B. L. wrote on April 20th, 2014: "Don't believe me then! Keep skipping around town pretending everything is la di la. Go check yourself. It's public record. Go to the DIJ and the sala judicial and ask them for files about the child porn case in Boquete. I don't need to give you specifics, do the work yourself if you want verification. I was there. I saw the kids and the perps. I don't need verification that Boquete is about to go the way of Costa Rica. [..] Isn't the sex traffic theory speculating as well? Give me a break. This is reality. I can't sugar coat this nor it shouldn't be. My heart goes out to the family, but this is the real world, the 3rd world. This idea, you call it speculating, should have been investigated on day one. Many investigations and crimes are solved in the first 48 hours, after that, the odds of solving drop exponentially. You can read about the 2007-8 case, I don't know the exact date in the Prensa archives. there is also a youtube video about child porn that mentions Boquete and that case. The DIJ has info as well. You won't read about it in any Boquete welcome center."
Linch K. replied on April 19th, 2014: "Susan, I gave credit where it was due, the call center is a good thing even though I personally disagree with it. I feel if you chose to live in a Spanish speaking country then you should be able to communicate in said language. I have no axe to grind other than AAC has no business involved in a case such as this. They should know their place and stay in it. As far as being a true professional, brutal honesty just comes with the territory, sorry my chosen profession does not afford me the privilege to hug a tree every time my feelings are hurt. I tell you what, when everyone involved with AAC produces some credentials that validate their existence, I will close my ning account and leave the neighbor hood watch alone."
Henrietta V S wrote on April 19th, 2014: "WOW! Your post - your novella - is so wrong on so many different levels it's actually quite sad. I mean WOW. Good luck with that."
C. B. L. wrote on April 19th, 2014: "Why argue with these people? They're nothing but hero complexed expats with no achievements. Ask for credentials, you get silence. Ask them for schools, nothing. All they do is brag, and brag about what they know is good for other people just to reprimand them later. You can't praise and scold in the same paragraph. Just leave them alone. Let them waste their energy.
Safe Home Security of Panama wrote on April 18th, 2014: "No one did a damn thing to research human trafficking/kidnapping or think about "what if there is one ounce of merit to the stories and the mayors warning". Hey "we have many young people that visit here maybe we should have the hostels, and other venues have some basic warnings and guide lines for our young visitors". Thankfully my kids school did up the security and protocol for pick up at the time of the reports. We are all aware of the evil in the world, especially to young women but most made the choice to dismiss the mayors warning and media coverage in Oct 2013. Instead of being pro-active, the warnings I posted were considered rumors and made fun of. I just feel bad, if our community would have used common sense maybe two young women would be home with their families. Hopefully in the future, young visitors that vacation in Chiriquí will be given some safety advise on their arrival." [..] "I posted several stories from local tv and newspapers in Oct 2013 about alleged kidnappings in Chiriqui on Ning. Many of the usual negative people chastised me for writing and called it a rumor. Many did not take me or any of the kidnappings seriously. I was overreacting and all the media outlets were lying, even the mayor.. A statement from the mayor Nov, 2013: the Mayor of San Lorenzo district, eastern Chiriqui, issued a statement alerting parents to pending departure of students in the college, and also monitor small when they are at home. Mireya Rodriguez Moreno, Deputy Mayor of San Lorenzo district, said the statement is a warning to parents, mainly because information was received from the National Police over an alleged kidnapping in the village of Mount Boca, San Lorenzo. "Yesterday the police told us of an alleged kidnapping in Boca del Monte community. Well if the community would have taken any of it more seriously, maybe tourists would have been warned about traveling alone, recommendations about not taking rides with strangers, not hiking alone or informing foster homes where they were going and when they were scheduled to return. Pathetic... Linch..good job, tag your it!"
Mark Heyer wrote on April 18, 2014: "Linch, Your comments are right on the money, thanks. Although we don't know for sure, this event fits the profile: Attractive young women traveling UNACCOMPANIED are spotted at airports (San Jose) and turned over to catchers who befriend them and get them into a car under some pretext and convey them to the "business." Boquete itself is not being targeted, it was just the place where they let their guard down and took a ride, if indeed that is what happened. Human trafficking is an international problem, but it is also preventable if we took it as seriously as, say AIDS. Much more to be said going forward."
C. B. L. replied on April 20th, 2014: "When I started to come back to Panama to visit my parents and contracting with the U.S. embassy, in 2008, the child sex ring was recently busted in Caldera. It surprised me because I grew up here and that was unheard of. Among those found were many missing children that were kidnapped from around Panama, Costa Rica and Columbia and used as sex slaves. I did many details with the embassy and no one paid much attention because none were American. It was found that some kids were sent to other countries or even murdered. Some of those bodies were found without organs. No one can tell me crime is not a happening here. I am here because of crime, a personal one. There are murders, kidnappings, rapes, burglaries and simple attacks on people here that did not happen before. The Pianista trail is famous for those attacks. No one knows if the girls were kidnapped and used for sex slavery. It is just a theory. Another is that it was foul play, and the girls are... you know what. The thing to know is that if that's the case, the person or persons are still on the loose and will strike again. I've done too much and been though hell training to not know that. All of you should too. Take your hands from your eyes and ears and wake up."
Jim T. wrote on April 17th, 2014: "Don't forget the owners of Montañas de Caldera. Maybe this explains their disappearance.:)" [..] "When I first came to Panama I was standing in Line at the airport talking to a man from Miami. I asked why since he lived in Miami would he be going to Panama. He looked me up and down for a moment, got a small smile on his face and said "Because señor, You can get anything you want in Panama".
Panama mission doctor from Zionsville faced with multiple sexual abuse allegations in Boquete
Lynn Pike of Anderson spent a week at the mission in May 2014. A campus minister’s wife and veteran of short-term mission trips, Pike said she spent the week delousing children’s hair, picking up trash and assisting students with homework. Dr. A's wife told her of "her husband’s issues with control, anger, manipulation and inappropriate behavior with girls at the mission". “I also suspected that his inappropriate behavior with the young girls was not simply inappropriate but much more serious.” So one night she reached out to the Panamanian teen to see if her suspicions were correct. When she awoke the next morning, she said she found a string of messages detailing the sexual abuse the girl said she suffered at the mission between ages 12 and 15. “My 19-year-old friend begged me not to tell a soul. Her mother, brother and she all owed their livelihood to and were dependent on this angry, abusive husband, doctor and director of the medical mission in a third world where men and white skin wield the power and influence over those they deem of lesser intellect and value,” Pike said. After much “distress and prayer,” Pike said she contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement to report what she had learned. An official with ICE referred Current to the United States District Court for more information. USDC Spokesman Tim Horty stated in an email that he could neither confirm nor deny a criminal investigation before formal charges are filed.
Dr. A's wife spoke with Panamanian authorities, asking them to investigate allegations that her husband had sexually abused young girls. Court documents show that she stated that a 19-year-old female said Dr. A. inappropriately touched her when she was 13 or 14 years old, and by age 15 the two had sexual relations. In the document his wife outlines other allegations of sexual abuse she heard about from the young employee, including an alleged incident from earlier in the summer of 2014 involving a 15-year-old student/employee and allegations that Dr. A. had sexual relations with a student in 2007 and required her to get an abortion. “I had heard rumors that A. had sexual relations with minors, but I didn’t believe it considering that one time he started to touch a girl in public and I called him out on it and he told me he wouldn’t do it again and he didn’t do it again,” his wife states in the complaint, translated from Spanish. “I did see that A., while giving temporary jobs to the girls, gave them gifts and responsibilities that called for them to be near him. We had several arguments because I was not in favor of this action, but I didn’t suspect that there were sexual offenses behind all these attentions.” She later retracted the statement she gave to authorities.
At least two girls gave testimony to Panamanian authorities in November 2014, after Dr. A's wife made her statement, outlining how Dr. A. had allegedly sexually abused them. One girl stated that Dr. A. repeatedly had sex with her despite her objections beginning when she was 15 years old. She also stated that she tried to commit suicide. Another girl stated that he touched her private areas when she was 12 years old. On May 18, 2015, the Panamanian court dismissed the complaints, as authorities were unable to prove that a punishable act could be tied to Dr. A. But this wasn’t the first time Dr. A. had faced allegations of sexual abuse. In October 2007, three sisters who were 9, 12 and 14 years old at the time gave statements to Panamanian authorities accusing Dr. A. of sexual abuse. The statements outline details of the alleged abuse and state that he threatened to fire the girls’ father. The oldest girl stated that Dr. A. forced her to have sex with him repeatedly beginning when she was 12 years old. Her 12-year-old sister stated that he touched her private areas, and her 9-year-old sister stated that he grabbed her private areas. But on Feb. 28, 2008, authorities dismissed the charges also, stating that medical examinations showed that all three sisters were virgins and that the Dr. "suffered from a condition that made some of the allegations impossible". [Scarlet: Or perhaps the good doctor only suffered from such 'inabilities' when it came to his old wife?] The complaints were cast aside as lies and attempts of extortion.
But others had also been raising questions about Dr. A’s interactions with young girls in the years leading up to the formal complaint. T. H. and her family sold almost everything they owned to move to the Boquete mission indefinitely in May 2005. A nurse now living in San Antonio, she said she helped do a lot of good during her time there, even attempting to help a very sick baby who had been dropped off, unwanted, get adopted. The family enjoyed working with the local population so much that they’d like to still be serving there. But they left in August 2006 after finding it nearly impossible to work with Dr. A., whom they had been warned about by another missionary family before heading to Panama. “They told us, ‘It’s not what it looks like,’” H. said. “They told us they suspected Dr. A. was abusing girls. They didn’t have any proof, but they suspected it.” “It was always weird to us, this man who has all this money but yet he wants to run around with little girls all the time,” said H., adding that she never saw him touch anyone inappropriately. H. said she was troubled to see that Dr. A. would have young girls spend the night at his house when his wife was gone. “That was totally inappropriate,” H. said. “We just knew you couldn’t say anything to him about it.” But looking back, she wishes she had done more. She said she wasn’t surprised to learn of the content of the allegations against Dr. A., but she was shocked that the girls shared details with the authorities. “He has so much power down there. I couldn’t believe they had stood up against him like that,” H. said. “If you make him mad he will make your life hell.” D. Emberson also “knew something was wrong” as “there was rarely a time there weren’t little girls following him around.” She found Dr. A. to be harsh, controlling and deceptive and left after seven months.
Matt looked more closely at the night photos
Chris from Imperfect Plan published his findings. I will summarize the gist of it for you here. I will add first that I know that these photos are the more eerie and fascinating part of the case for many people. I understand that, I watched the Blair Witch Project in the cinema at the time; these photos are appearing to us like potential messages from the grave. But I personally see them as red herrings. Staged photos, taken by someone other than Kris and Lisanne in an attempt to make it look like the girls were out in the jungle alone in the night of April 8th. I've written enough already in this blog about my own suspicions, but this is why I am not that keen on analyzing these photos without end. We have already established long ago that there is no head wound or blood clearly visible on the back of Kris' head. That it is not certain without a doubt where these photos were taken (in a gully/on top of a cliff looking down/on a rock along the river looking up?) and that we have no proof whatsoever of who took these photos. No selfies, no arm or hand from the photographer visible. No bag with belongings or a leg with shoe pictured from the girls. So all the hours and meters of text spent on the analysis of these photos may just be wasted energy to the amusement of whomever did make these photos. But because not much in this case is certain at the end of the day, and I may be wrong with my suspicions, here we go.
The quality of the photos
Matt looked at the night photos, numbered #510 to #609, which you can find in my part 3 blog. Going by the date and timestamp on the Canon Powershot SX270 HS digital camera, they were shot between 01:29 and 04:10 in the early morning of Tuesday April 8th. Of these 100 photos, only about 50 have been made public by Juan after leaks by an anonymous source in November of 2019. Matt observed that these photo files were damaged to some degree: most photos have been resized from their original resolution of 4000 x 3000 pixels. Matt writes that "the publicly available images were all resized to 1280 x 960 and 772 x 963". But just to be precise; a couple of photos that were taken on the summit are in fact 1600 pixels. For instance this one, photo #499, which Martijn Froon used as a background photo on his facebook. It has 1600 x 1200 pixels. This one is also 1600 x 1066 pixels and this one 1600 x 1205. And the last two photos of the day, #507 and #508, are also 1600 x 1200 pixels. But even then, they are unfortunately still a lot smaller than the original files. This is a problem with all the photos from the girls' memory card. They were mostly all published through media sources or leaks and all those photos were made smaller. And it is tricky to zoom in too much on them, therefore.
Nothing but darkness
Matt establishes that a lot of the night photos had their brightness and contrast enhanced in a straightforward manner before they were leaked. I assume this was done by the anonymous source, because in their original state many of the photos truly seemed to be mostly black. Matt writes that he thinks it was a truthful description by Dutch officials and the Dutch families to describe the night photos as nearly black: "This is also an explanation for the statements made by people that saw the original images. Apart from a few of the night photos, the original night photos would have been mostly black. Furthermore, it would be a fair to refer to even almost black pictures as “black” unless you are examining them meticulously, as is done here. Thus, I’d like to point out that the statement describing the night images as mostly black was truthful and not intended to be misleading." But what the investigators said was that the remaining night photos show mostly nothing, or 'nothing but darkness'. I probably have to disagree therefore. We're not talking about inexperienced people who just took a quick glance at the photos and came to this conclusion. The Dutch prosecution had investigated these photos at that point and this includes inspecting if changes in brightness and contrast could show more in the darker photos. They already knew there was information on these photos about rocks, about trees, about surroundings. But they had no intention of sharing them with the public, and thus they were downplayed. Which in itself is fine, but based on that non-correct statement, the discussion out on the internet has been warped before these other night pictures were leaked. We could have known all along that the person who took the photos was not running around, on the run or picturing her dead friend down a ravine. On top, the following photos were also included in the 'nothing but darkness' comment and these are not photos of nothing:
Matt confirms what Juan and I also concluded, that some of these leaked night photos are simply manipulated originals with the brightness adjusted. Nothing strange about that, whomever leaked these files had clearly already done his or her homework, as we all would have done. But some of the photo numbers could be incorrect, possibly because the source may have mixed some of them up while handling/working with these photos. Matt also notices that the camera bag on the photo of all the collected belongings of the girls seems not a good fit for the camera.Table of the night photos
Then follows a table with all the night photos numbered below each other. There is a gap between known photos #511 and #541 (taken at respectively 01:30 and 01:37am) and Chris tries to fill in the hiatus by adding approximately 14 seconds to each photo in between. This elapse time is of course an estimation, as neither these photos themselves nor their real times are known. But it seems a reasonable estimation. The police report, as seen in the Een Vandaag tv program, only went as far as showing the data until photo 512. I'd want to go as far as saying that we also cannot even fully trust the official photo times and neither those of night photos 541-609. The source who leaked these photos could easily have added them or (theoretically) made them up. We have no certainty here. So, we also do not know if photos #512-#540 were taken for instance in clusters of quick succession, followed by a minute here or there when no photo was taken, or if the photographer indeed clicked systematically, every 14 seconds. But taking a photo with the flash on, as was the case here, would have required a minimum of 6,5 seconds per photo, Matt says. He also keeps the option open that no more photos were taken after #609 because the battery of the Canon camera ran out. But I don't think this could be the case. Because when the camera was found mid June, it was found in good functioning order and to still have normal battery function.
Matt also writes: "The internal camera temperature is also recorded in the EXIF data and this temperature rose from 19C (ambient) to 34C after 331 images." Juan wrote me the temperature of the camera was around 24 degrees, not 34C. I couldn't see in his text where He found a 34C. degrees reading. Juan found these data:
Photo 491: 24 C. degrees.
Photo 493, 499, 500: 22 C. degrees
Photo 505: 25 C degrees, the peek
Photos 507, 508: 23 C. degrees
Photos 542, 550: 24 C. degrees
Juan added that the camera temperature is measured with a censor within the device and that it does not reflect the outside temperature. It could be 30 degrees during the day, or -10, and you will normally still see a 24 degrees camera temperature.
Photo overlay collage
Matt created an overlay of the night photos. A very interesting and pretty looking collage. He more or less digitally stacks a selection of the night images on top of each other, showing you how many of them overlap in the center. But also showing the parts where they do not overlap. He writes about this: "The images are simply overlaid so that common features show the most overlap. Perspective is not considered so that image that are to the sides are distorted. In order to create a perfect panorama, it would be necessary to stretch the images to correct for the perspective. Since there are not enough images and the angles they were taken under are too great makes this impossible." For each image there is a red frame that shows how the camera was held and a red dot that shows the center of each image. He also shows the process step by step in this video.
Matt also writes: "Although many aspects of the official investigation are questionable, it appears that there’s little doubt that the images were taken in the “Boquete Area”. Followed by: "They may not have been taken near El Pianista trail though. We cannot be certain of the precise location.". Personally I have not seen a single piece of hard evidence for this. But this is one of the biggest and most important questions regarding those night photos. Where were they taken? None of these night photos have been claimed by someone to have been for a fact taken here or there. Everybody hoped this would happen once these other night photos came into the public domain, but nothing. No official has ever identified the location of the night photos with evidence, nobody has made photos of any location and put them next to our night photos to show they were from the same location. Many people think that these night pictures were taken somewhere else entirely. Some people seem to have made the suggestion that these photos were taken at the first river crossing behind the Pianista summit, a good amount of hours of walking up north. But all the evidence for this is a photo of a rock next to the river, which in my opinion looks just like any other rock of about that size over there. Regarding collages, I did something a bit different last year, placing these night photos together by matching edges. You can read about it in my part 2 blog. Also a video from me about how the same V-shaped tree can be seen in the majority of these photos, and a video about the returning typically shaped leaf which was first confused with a dead body.
Recreating the hair photo #580
Then follow some other observations, such as who could have possibly taken these photos (Lisanne, Kris, Kris and Lisanne, Someone else). No sublist of possibilities for Someone Else unfortunately. Matt tries to recreate the hair photo of Kris, pretending to be Kris herself. Wearing a beautiful wig :) In other words; can one take a selfie of one's own back of the head? Fast forward: no. "Having longer arms than Kris, being rested, warm and dry, not in a state of distress and having had time to think about how to take the picture and the issues that arise, e.g. how to aim. I was able to take the following image":
"I did not even manage to get the back of my head into the image." An interesting observation from Matt has to do with the location of the flash on the camera: "It is important to remember that the camera has the flash on the left side so the light, especially at close distance would come from the left and cast a shadow on everything on the right that is further away from the camera. This explains the lower right corner where the hair is darker and appears to have a different colour. This is caused by the flash being shadowed by the head." Matt thinks that photo #580 could have been an accident. That Kris may have been walking close by Lisanne and that she got in the way of Lisanne.... who was trying to make a 40th photo of the V-shaped tree? This is by far the most interesting photo of the series. But Matt himself also deems the accidental photo theory unlikely, because you'd need to focus to get such a sharp photo. In other words: you'd need to have intent. He also finds it astounding that Kris' hair is completely dry, with not a spec of dirt and not a single leaf or twig or anything in the hair. "At the time this image was taken Kris would have been outside for 7 days and 7 nights and it is hardly imaginable that her hair would be completely clean and dry. The only possible foreign object in the hair is in the upper left corner. This could be a leaf or torn piece of paper. It is difficult to say for sure due to the low image resolution. I do not think that it is hair." Mind you, he worked with a wig. But he tested the wig anyway outside in the rain. "I have taken the image below after 15 min. exposure to 40 – 70 mm of rain. It is very clearly visible that the hair is very wet after only 15 min." But not a hint of wetness on Kris' hair in the photo, after hours in the rain by then. The dark spots under Kris' hair, I have discussed them for lengths in part 2 of my blog series. Matt thinks they are shadows caused either by the flash or by two crossing hair strands. He does not believe that the spots are stab, bullet or other wounds, because there is no blood visible anywhere and no disturbance of adjacent tissue. He believes that we truly look at the back of Kris' head, not at a frontal with hair flipped over the face. Matt: "It is remarkable that the image is framed in the way to show just hair, which raises suspicion that something might have been cropped out that is not supposed to be visible." But he sees no evidence for this in the pixelation and dimensions of this photo (although we know that it is reduced in size, like all the other photos
Who took these photos
(Photo on the right is from Juan). As for Kris and Lisanne alternating the camera to take pictures in turn that night, Matt quite rightly comments that there is essentially no way to prove or disprove this, but that it seems unlikely to him because most images show similar compositions. But if someone other than Kris or Lisanne took those photos, then there is a good chance in Matt's opinion that he had bad intentions and may have acted in a fit of rage, confusion or mental illness. (I'd say; because he wasn't completely stupid and knew how easy it was to make some abstract photos of absolutely nothing of interest in a jungle, making it look like Kris and Lisanne took them). Matt disagrees: "For someone not to at least delete the photos or destroy the camera, the person would have to be extremely stupid or a psychopath. It is unlikely, given the circumstances, that the assailants were truly stupid enough to take photos of their crime, and then let the photos get away to the police, unless they are also very incompetent, and the camera got away inadvertently." Hmmm, no. I think he may be overlooking the reality that is glaringly staring us in the face. The photos were found and did they prove that a crime took place? Nope, exactly the reverse. Did anyone high up in the investigation teams even suspect that these photos were taken by a 3rd party - despite having zero visual evidence of who held that camera? Nope. I always find it interesting to read online how many people deem this very simple thing, a 3rd party zapping away some photos of the exact same location for over three hours, some sort of extreme psychopathic scenario. It's bloody simple and effective, folks. Nothing more and nothing less. Anyone of us could replicate that string of night photos, if we wanted to. And I think a couple of hours in the rain does not deter any tough Panamanian man either, not at all, and especially not when there is a potential jail sentence on the line. It rains more often than it does not in the cloud forest above the Pianista trail, and people absolutely don't huddle around the fire all day if it does rain there. And as for someone else finding that camera and having taken those pictures; passing on the chance to gain $30.000 dollars at that point in order to make not one accidental photos, not ten, but close to a hundred? And then dumping the camera and the bag with belongings that came with it near Alto Romero, again without cashing in on the reward money? Ludicrous. Matt concludes that Lisanne most likely took these photos.
As for the white dots, Matt believes they are either specks of rain or water drops from a waterfall, that are lit up in the flash of the camera. He tried to recreate the situation, going out at night in the rain (40-70 mm), picturing bushes and trees with the flash on. The photo was resized to 1280 x 960. Left photo is one of our night photos, right is Matt's result. His conclusion: "It is very apparent that the white objects look identical to those in the original images and we can concluded that the white objects are raindrops. I marked one dot with a red circle as it exhibits a phenomenon caused by the flash. It gives the drop an elongated shape and it points IN the direction of travel of the drop. This is a completely normal instance of flashing a moving object. Waterfall spray is less likely the culprit. Based on the location of the camera, pointing away from the edge of a ledge, we can conclude that the white dots in the original photos are rain, which must have been strong at times."
Several images show red hexagon shaped “orbs” for example in image 585. Matt concluded that these orbs are caused by the flash hitting skin and reflecting back into the camera. It is possible that in our night photos, "the reflection was another person that stood close to the camera to the left of the photographer (the flash is on the left side of the lens) or it is possible that the red reflection is from the hand of the photographer who placed one hand in front of the flash either while holding the camera or while trying to shield the camera from rain with one hand. It is likely that in most cases the orbs are caused by fingers or a hand close to the flash and the lens." Very interesting. And bright blobs are caused by a skin coloured object close to the camera, Matt writes, when an out of focus object near the camera is lit up by the camera’s flash. In our photos they were exaggerated when then image’s brightness and contrast were increased with photo editing software.
Regarding photo 550 Matt thinks we are seeing the red plastic from a local shopping bag and that the markers are not likely intended to be a marker. Instead it may have been used to collect water (a bad attempt at this then) or to hit insects with. Or built out of boredom... But another person could not have put the thing there. Very unlikely, he believes. Anyway, we all have our own theories. I really enjoyed reading this piece and the photo recreating attempts were very interesting, thanks so much! Great initiative and very comprehensive research.
-Matt deems it unlikely that the night photos were cropped by someone.
Update: The night photos have by now almost completely lost their fascination for me. It was chilling to first see them. Then it was interesting to look at those newly leaked night photos last year and to discover that the 'body' was just a leaf which came back again and again in the photos. Or to make the first overlap collage and discover how the night photos were NOT taken while on the run, or even while moving. But I don't think much more can be extracted from them. Certainly not who took those photos. And the location has so far also proven to be too vague and generic to be discovered, going by the continued lack of hard evidence of the location of this spot. These night photos were not made by Kris and Lisanne in my opinion, so analyzing the work of a 3rd person for years on end is probably useless up until a certain point... They seem to have been made vague and dark and non-descriptive on purpose, by whomever took them.
Boquete's forum members discuss a Jeremy Kryt article and a removed news item that said Lisanne's entire foot was found in June and that it was intact
By GP91, July 31rd 2016
Source and source
There were two interesting discussions on Boquete's own forum community, called Boquete Ning. I highlight a couple of things that were discussed mid 2016 about the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. These are people commenting on this forum who mostly all live in Boquete.
"The title of this second article ['The last man to see the lost girls of Panama alive', by Jeremy Kryt] in the series is misleading, as the writer did not even get an interview with the unnamed guide thought to be “the last man to see the lost girls of Panama alive.” And then the writer says in the article that this local rancher/part-time guide was “one of” the last people to see the women alive. Other questions/inconsistencies that have surfaced in this latest installment from The Daily Beast:
- “The pulverized remains weren’t sufficient to determine the cause of death”
- “Witnesses say this same guide met with Kris and Lisanne less than 24 hours before they disappeared, on the campus of an all-inclusive language school called Spanish by the River, where the women were staying in Boquete.” - What witnesses? When were the girls last seen by the school/hostel? Why is there no interview of the staff of this small school/hostel?
- “Early the next morning, Kris and Lisanne set out to climb up to the Continental Divide on their own.” - How is it known they were on their own?
- “Contradictory testimony from eyewitnesses also hampered rescue attempts. It would be months before investigators confirmed Kris and Lisanne had in fact set out on April 1, instead of the day before.” - Again, what eyewitnesses? When were they last seen?
- “The pack was wedged into a mess of flotsam on the bank, the Ngobe woman said, and she was sure it hadn’t been there the day before.” - So the backpack had just recently washed up, after over two months in the elements, but in good condition, with cash, phone, and cheap sunglasses intact?
- “By the end of August, a total of 33 skeletal fragments had been linked to the missing women using DNA tests. Twenty-eight of the recovered bones were the small metatarsals of Lisanne’s left foot, still in its boot and sock, and reportedly found behind a tree near the river.”- We are not anatomists, but according to Wikipedia, the human foot has 5 metatarsals, and a total of 26 bones.
Also we did a quick search for the whole foot and boot online as it was all over the internet when it was first found. Can't find it anywhere, just the empty blue boot. Changed dates, changed evidence- is this rewriting history?"
Concerned replied on August 1, 2016: "In this article Jeremy has accepted wrong information about the date (April 6th) Sinaproc started searching the Pianista and surroundings. The date of April 6th serves as a basis for the following proposition present in his article: If Sinaproc would have started their searches earlier than April 6th, the two young ladies could have been found alive. Well, Sinaproc did start searching earlier than April 6th. At least TWO days earlier. Why didn't Jeremy verify this properly? Numerous postings in BoqueteGuide/ning at the time show when and where the searches were taking place and there are numerous other records, here is one of them. Sinaproc was physically involved in the searches as from April 4th. So, to go back to the proposition: If Sinaproc would have started their searches earlier than April 6th, the two young ladies could have been found alive. Sinaproc started on April 4th. Were they found alive? No. Were they found at all? No.
GP91 replied on August 1, 2016: "Yes, proposition is unfounded based on inaccurate dates given, not to mention other factors. Also we did a quick search for the whole foot and boot online as it was all over the internet when it was first found. Can't find it anywhere, just the empty blue boot. Changed dates, changed evidence- is this rewriting history?"
Concerned replied on August 1, 2016: "In all accounts about hikes on the Pianista trail, there are encounters with others on the trail. Regardless the weather conditions, rainy or not, muddy or not, there is always someone else on the trail. The trail serves as a pedestrian highway between Bocas and Chiriquí. So why should two beautiful young ladies be the only ones not to have encountered anybody on this trail? On a warm, sunny and dry day without any mud on the way? Here are some recorded encounters. You can find more recorded encounters along the Pianista trail in internet. For instance the most recent one, the Colombian lady who went missing. She supposedly bumped into her saviour Aristides."
Paul Jones wrote on August 1, 2016: "Personally, I would not consider it accurate to say that someone is always on the trail. In the half a dozen times we've hiked Pianista, I've only come across one other person, and that was a farmer working off the trail in the land before reaching the actual trailhead (there is a significant hike from parking to the actual trailhead).
Concerned replied on August 2, 2016: "That's good to know. How far on the trail did you get? Did you cross the CD? One of the links I posted, shows an encounter with 1 person behind the Mirador so at the bocas side."
Paul Jones wrote on August 2, 2016: "We would only go to the CD [summit] and turn back. However, since the search on Pianista, we no longer hike this trail."
Concerned replied on August 7, 2016: "3rd part: The Lost Girls of Panama: The Camera, the Jungle, and the Bones. If the two young women were at the river crossings, than that alone is proof for them not being lost. The crossings in question are found on the main path. Why would the two women want to cross at night? How sneaky. Why not in daytime?"According to the official necropsy reports, those fractures could only have been caused by a “fall from a high place,” likely while Lisanne was still alive." The same forensic expert who examined the bones and who worked on that report, Van der Goot, says that those fractures don't have to be caused by such a fall: The fractures can easily be caused by long distance hiking. "every year we see such injuries in hikers".
Regardless the weather conditions, rainy or not, muddy or not, there is always someone else on the trail. The trail serves as a pedestrian highway between Bocas and Chiriquí. So why should two beautiful young ladies be the only ones not to have encountered anybody on this trail?"
Concerned replied on August 8, 2016: "I understand what you mean. But sadly enough, the parents were compelled to accept the lost and accident scenario because they did not get any support by the Dutch authorities. There are many discrepancies in this case that could still be tackled."
And GP91 wrote another great post on August 7th 2016
"There is no evidence that the pictures were even taken by the girls.
1. There is no picture of the girls, lost and in the dark.
2. The time/date stamp on this camera can be changed. According to Wikipedia entry for this model, “the timestamp is only as accurate as the clock in the camera, and it may be completely wrong.” Therefore, someone who got their camera could have stood in the same spot and clicked the camera repeatedly, and even changed the date and time while doing so.
3. None of the pictures are clear, so the writer had to draw in and explain in great detail what we are supposed to think about them.
4. Pictures taken over and over in the same spot in the dark were stated to perhaps be (Lisanne) “trying to use the camera to tell us something she thinks is important,” but it is anyone’s guess what that might be.
5. The picture “possibly” showing a wounded Kris is not shown or verified by anyone as Kris, nor where she is. Yet it is used as the sole evidence for another far-reaching theory of how Lisanne may have left her there.
6. Articles placed around the rocks and identified as “possibly” signals for rescuers could also be entirely consistent with a cover-up of a crime. Anyone could have put them there. Then the article presents the thoughts by email of Dr. Reichs, “world-famous forensic anthropologist and best-selling author,” who offers these theories: A “flap of Lisanne’s skin that survived intact” can be explained by rainforest “micro-environments.” Concerning the fragmentation of the remains, she says, “Further damage from animal scavenging can be very diverse due to multiple transport modes: avian, fish, turtle, crab, small and large carnivores, etcetera.” (Though there is no noted damage to the remains from animal scavenging_. And her most 'powerful point': “Why would any criminal or criminals ‘leave cash, a passport, and electronics in the back pack?’”(That is a no-brainer, because again, it would be consistent with the cover-up to a crime).
Other Ning posters have spoken very well to questions about the conditions of the trail and how the girls could have ended up at the cable bridge, which was still part of the trail. And further, no one saw them there over the span of several days? None of this is in keeping with them getting lost, or that they even would have attempted to go this far. It is a stretch to think they did. Yet this entire article engages in wild and far-flung speculation, to arrive back at the official conclusion. Major unanswered questions remain, that fit a “crime and cover-up” more than “lost in the jungle”:
- The backpack and bag of bones brought in by the Ngobe, and no one even knows they were ever at the river.
- The condition of the backpack and the contents (they sure don’t appear they were ever at the river).
- The condition of the remains, and lack thereof.
- The forensic reports, and lack thereof.
- The lack of interviews as evidence from multiple eyewitnesses, including: guides (the one named in part 2 and Walter’s), hostel/school staff, people who sighted them near the trail (and don’t forget Blue), the Ngobe man and woman who reportedly found and brought in the bag of bones, and others.
- The reason for this whole article which leads us in spite of all these unanswered questions to believe, “this is a story with no real villain.” Therefore, we do not even know that Kris and Lisanne died on the Serpent River. Boquete, the authorities of Panama, local resident expats, the school/hostel who received them are all responsible to take care of guests who come as tourists, or to do volunteer work. If there was a failure, then it is the responsibility of those in the community to submit the facts of what is known for the safety and decency of the community. Further, if this is a crime, the perpetrator went too far this time, and the international community will find out what happened. He/they left too many clues.
Paul Jones replied on August 7, 2016: "I, for one, do hope that answers are found. No, Lisanne's father had not accepted the "lost in the forest" theory the last I heard, but this was around the time I attended the candlelight vigil in the square. I'm sure there's no harm in any new information coming to light. I hope someday it does. I've always leaned towards the foul play theory, due to several factors, but I'm definitely not sure of anything at this point. I do think that a particular guide and his son should have been investigated, and seemingly was ignored, as they own a place near the Pianista and he was one that was in the middle of it all (down to actually finding remains). That being said, I'm sure we don't know all the info obtained in the investigation. The government does have the motive to lean towards a lost girls theory, as tourism is good money in this country."
GP91 wrote on August 8, 2016: "Walter, I didn’t know the investigation was closed. Concerning “Mission Director,” if you were here, you would know he’s still cruising the streets. So again, why did you take your replies off the first part post about the missing girls?"
Concerned replied on August 8, 2016: "I still have to read the 3rd part properly, but I can say this: the forensics expert said that the girls "intelligently" left signs. How intelligent were they then?
- intelligent to knowingly cross the CD? Knowingly, because apparently they knew that the trail took to Bocas province, they were told the day before. They knew that they had to turn around to get back to Boquete.
- intelligent to supposedly follow the trail up to the official river crossings and not to take any side path? Many a time Boquetenos warned about the Path: "El sendero se bifurca..."
- intelligent to stay hidden for a full week and not to make photos in daylight?
- intelligent to make strange photos of their signs in night time?
- intelligent for not leaving a message to their loved ones, in plain Dutch instead of in gibberish (their signs)? I understand that hikers in distress leave such signs, but they also had the opportunity to leave some kind of message in their phones.
GP91 wrote on August 9, 2016: "Thank you Walter for clarifying some important information. You are forgetting, however, that “Dutch police said an inn keeper saw them on April 1, when the women asked him for directions for their hike. Tired, they later returned to the man and asked for help getting back to town. Police said the man advised them to take a taxi, but he said he didn't see whether the women returned to town or went back to the mountain. Dutch police spokesman Bernhard Jens said Tuesday on Dutch media that "it was unlikely the women would have returned to their hike." NBCNews.com, Apr 22 2014. There were other reports of them at the time that they were seen on their way back to town. So if anyone reading this has a sighting to report, it would be helpful to post that to establish again if the girls returned from their hike or not. And Walter, are you saying that the guide you talked to and know is the same guide Jeremy Kryt is referencing in the second part of his article as “the last man to see the lost girls of Panama alive”? If not, please clarify. Because again, if Jeremy is zeroing in on your guide, seems like he didn’t do his homework if this guide was already thoroughly investigated, and wasn't the last one to see them."
Concerned replied on August 9, 2016: "A Panamanian criminologist studied this case too. I don't have the details at hand, but you can find some in the internet, published by La Estrella. Her conclusion was clear: manipulation. I wonder whether the Canadian criminologist mentioned in Jeremy's account, has studied the whole picture or whether she only looked at the photos and concluded that the girls were very intelligent to use their toilet paper. It's the pattern that counts. The selfies and demeanour of the girls before they reached the Mirador, and records of whatever happened after are a huge contrast."
GP91 wrote on August 9, 2016: "The job of an expert who’s analyzing photographs is to determine the time of day they were taken by the shadows from the sun which is fairly easy to do, the dates and times on each picture’s original jpeg file, the number sequence, camera name, person’s name, to first establish if the files have been altered. Instead of that to attempt to figure out what is going on in someone’s head by looking at unclear and dark pictures, is strange fiction. No, nothing too intelligent here."
Concerned replied on August 10, 2016: "I agree. The authenticity of the nightly photos remains uncertified."
GP91 wrote on August 10, 2016: "Why wasn't it certified? Does anyone know who has the disk from Lisanne's camera?"
GP91 wrote on August 10, 2016: "To say that we shouldn’t look at what may have happened to the lost girls because it is too hard for the families or just too sad and uncomfortable is one thing. But to say after all the questions raised by professionals who have looked at the case and now again this investigative reporter that the possibility it was a crime is near “zero” is demonstrating extreme defensiveness of the “official” conclusion, to say the least. These girls’ smiles are etched in our minds. To think a possible perpetrator(s) may still be running free in the area should drive us all to find answers in this case. In addition to many unanswered questions and discrepancies, there’s the witness of absolutes. In spite of our instructors telling us from the 60s on that there are no absolutes, now that we are old we realize indeed there are. There are absolutes in chemistry, biology, physics, that can’t be changed. One of those absolutes is that when we step out of our body, it starts a process that returns us to the earth. This process is consistent, you can google it yourself.
To simplify, the body will be nothing but skeletal remains within as little as a month in hot climates and two months in cold climates. The only “micro-environment” that would slow this process would be refrigeration (temperatures between 2 °C (36 °F) and 4 °C (39 °F)).
The environment of these trails and the Culebra River with its temperature, moisture, and diverse and abundant scavengers, insects, and microorganisms would in fact speed up the process. Delivering the remains to the authorities in a plastic bag, with no crime scene to examine, eliminated the evidence that this environment would have provided. What were the examiners supposed to do with that?
Concerned replied on August 10, 2016: "Thanks for sharing. However, many discrepancies remain. Firstly, the girls had dry sunny weather and could tell the difference between the Bocas and Boquete side. It is new for me to know that they were offered an excursion to the finca behind the CD, just the day before (or perhaps 2 days before?) I assume that the cable bridges were described as well. In other words, at some point they should have understood that they were descending on the wrong side. But no, the supposedly went on, kept low, kept quite for a full week, making no photos or selfies at all and then decided to make pictures of their signs AT NIGHT. Why not in daytime? There are other ways to make signs without offering the only pair of pants you are wearing. And place them at an official crossing near a cable bridge?"
Concerned replied on August 11, 2016: "I think the family has or the Dutch / Panamanian forensics. But it's my guess that the disc will not be released. The data should have been analyzed."
Concerned replied on August 11, 2016: "I appreciate your standpoint. Yes, I have hiked in the jungle, many times. And I know that you can get lost and unlost. I agree that it is hard to find the way in the dark, but why oh why would the girls have attempted to cross a dangerous cable bridge AFTER MIDNIGHT? Why not wait till sunrise? After a full week in the jungle?
GP91 replied on August 11, 2016: "The Panamanian examiners did the best they could with what they were given, and reported accordingly. Does anyone remember what was actually submitted of Kris and Lisanne’s remains, as reported at the time? The story from The Daily Beast seems to be altering and leaving out details of what is known of the evidence, in its quest to settle the “no villain” conclusion.
- Lime was found on the femur and left foot of Lisanne, and the pelvis and rib of Kris. “This would explain the state of the bones; without traces of blood, appearance almost intact, off-white, and without trauma”
- “The bones found do not have marks from the current or from blows by rocks...” Further “at the beginning of April the Culebre River did not have the force sufficient to sweep a person away.”
- “The evidence showed the first signs of decomposition and was covered in dust. The remains were found on 29 August.”
- “If we suppose that the girls died during the first week of April, right now, after 5 months of death, larvae shouldn't be seen. This points out that the body is or was kept in a humid place, under shadow and in low temperatures, according to the reports.” (i.e. refrigeration?)
- “During an examination to the tibia, the medical examiner stated that it didn't have any alterations. When he cut the bone to the bone marrow, he detected a dry, well-kept bone without any signs of putrefaction. The same happens with the femur, where the bone marrow is almost intact. How could the persons who picked the bones conclude that the mass covered with earth was part of the evidence?”
- According to the criminologist Calderon, “We don't know if it was plain ignorance or a plan, but all the information that could have helped us find out the truth behind this case was destroyed”. Los huesos presentan rastros de fósforo, Laestrella.com, 24 Sept 14
Concerned replied on August 12, 2016: "This is about it, I think. The journalist who wrote this report in La Estrella took the trouble to visit the IMELCF where she was shown around and where she interviewed the examiners. If I recall correctly, the examiners were struck by the piece of skin. How could it have been spotted and recognized as such by the finders?"
GP91 wrote on August 12, 2016: "Yes, they were surprised. That is a huge red flag on this evidence. Use of lime by a perpetrator on the bodies would have explained the condition of the bones and why a piece of skin could have escaped decomposition as the spreading of the lime was uneven. Another quote from the first article above regarding this: “Humberto Mas, director of IMELF, is analyzing the possibility that the dismemberment of the bodies is a product of treatment with lime. Mas explains that the effect of lime is corrosive and previously he has had the experience that by covering the body with calcium oxide it is possible that the extremities are detached. If we continue this line of hypothesis, this would explain why the left foot does not present traces of cutting.”
GP91 replied on August 12, 2016: "True. The zigzagging conclusions of The Daily Beast on this story and the final angle of “lost in the jungle” is yet another huge mystery in all this. For any police investigator, this is in your face, a crime. One thing we can say for Walter’s posts about the guide in question, he might have saved him from getting thrown under the bus, as that seems to be where Part 2 of the article was heading. Clearly a crime of this nature would have had to involve more than one person, and someone who could/would plan out psychopathic twisted trails of evidence, much like a crime novel.
Concerned replied on August 12, 2016: "Tnx. It doesn't make sense to spend a full week in the jungle, not making any photos nor selfies (even if you are in distress) and then decide to cross a dangerous cable bridge AFTER MIDNIGHT. Unless you are fleeing from somewhere. That criminologist from Montréal failed to point this out."
Concerned replied on August 13, 2016: "The photo of the cable bridge in Jeremy's article, where the young lady wearing the green shirt is crossing the bridge: she is walking in the direction of Boquete. Westbank = boqueteside, eastbank is Bocas side. Kris' pants were supposedly found on the eastbank. She therefore supposedly had crossed the river already (from Boquete to Bocas). Or: Lisanne managed to cross the bridge in the direction of Boquete, coming from Bocas. So presumably on their way back from where?"
GP91 wrote on August 13, 2016: "Very interesting points. Either scenario is illogical and unbelievable, to take your shorts off and leave them “zipped and folded and set on a rock high above the water line” perhaps “placed at the crossing as a marker” as per The Daily Beast. These are apparently the same shorts that were later found to have “no evidence of blood or DNA” per the lawyer quoted in the La Estrella article “Los Huesos Presentan Rastros de Fósforo.” Even top Boquete Ninger Walter blogging from Montreal concluded in what was to be his “final post” that the shorts could have been “placed to draw attention to the fact that there was an accident.” It is not a fact that there was an accident. What is a fact is that this article from The Daily Beast is the latest chapter in the continual manipulation of the evidence and story of the missing girls."
Concerned replied on August 14, 2016: "IF the girls are the authors of the night photos and the timestamps are authentic, then what do we see? The night photos (taken AFTER midnight) are close-up images. One (or more?) shows a close-up of what is supposed to be Kris' hair. That would indicate that Kris and Lisanne were next to each other at that moment on one side of the river. Presumably the side where the items were placed? The items and the paper seem to be DRY, indicating that they had just been placed. In other words: Kris removes her pants and places them on a rock and then crosses the bridge. Remains the crucial question: why in the middle of the night instead of waiting till dawn? And why try to attract the attention by placing items if you are sneaking around in the dark? Because of the fall? And seeing the place where the items were placed (if correct), then couldn't they have just climbed out of there? And, being an official crossing, wouldn't anyone show up eventually? I don't believe that these 2 young women would have created so many questions for their loved ones without leaving behind some kind of concrete message in their mother language."
GP91 replied on August 14, 2016: "These are all key questions. So, this series of images all taken at night; none are clear; supposed markers placed in odd unintelligent way; though the girls were likely weak and possibly injured, one or both had the strength to cross the bridge and place the shorts high on a rock; no one saw them over a week span on a main trail at an official crossing; and…no note/message/picture left to loved ones in their native language. That this could have actually happened as presented by the articles defies the imagination. It appears to be a total and complete illogical, botched attempted cover up of foul play, no matter what levels of status were solicited for help."
Concerned replied on August 15, 2016: "And TWO governments go along with it, shaking hands."
Concerned replied on August 26, 2016: "There is something else: one of the phones (Samsung) connected to GSM on April 2nd."
Guy Craig replied on August 28, 2016: "Money and expensive electronics left in a knapsack? .... not very ominous."
And GP91 wrote another great post on July 25th 2016
"Sure, everyone for a time was led to believe that the girls had likely gotten lost and perished in the jungle, which is entirely plausible. But if the investigative journalist at the Daily Beast and others he interviews and provides documentation from were nearly sure of that, then he would not be providing this investigative report with so many question marks, including:
- “Why had so few remains been found?”
- “Why were there no marks on the bones?”
- “What did the presence of other human remains mean?”
- Why “after the discovery of the identified remains, [did] Panama’s attorney general [call] the case ‘a crime against personal integrity,’ but when forensic examiners reached an impasse, the Panamanian government simply declared the case closed”?
- Why does the lawyer for one of the families believe “the evidence seems to have been manipulated in order to hide something”?
- Why though there were “more than 30 unidentified fingerprints” on the backpack did Panama fail “to record prints from any of the Indigenous people involved in the case”?
- How can “the intact conditions of the clothes and wallet,” backpack, and electronics be explained? (and we heard reported that the pack was found hanging on a branch, not “washed up on the riverbank”; which was it?)
- Why is it that “no forensics examination was ever done at the crime scene”?
- Why as Concerned already posted did “none of the dog teams ever [get] near the scene either—including the Dutch dog teams”?
- Why were the local resident Ngobe the acting ‘forensics’ team, with the bag of bones they brought in not even verified?
Though we can’t imagine the pain of the parents of these girls, a full investigation of whether or not it was in fact a crime would serve to PREVENT other victims and other grief-stricken parents. So we look forward to follow these reports and anything else that comes out to see if any light will be shed on these unanswered questions."
And GP91 wrote on July 24, 2016: "I also find it interesting that I saw the Volcancito Mission Director (who we've posted about before) visited by the local police for advice about the missing Dutch girls (so he told me after they left) the day before the backpack was found. He also announced at Sunday night church early in April that he had gone with his head groundskeeper to help with a search on the Pianista Trail, as a good Christian should do. So glad this case is being investigated.
May 30th, 2014
He recalled that 75 percent of Boquete's economy is generated from tourist activities and, he ventured that there will therefore be damages if the other side of the district is not sold, which includes the security and diversity of activities that people can carry out. He calculated, as it was added, that each backpacker spends an average of $150 a day in the community, paying for lodging, buying food in supermarkets, transportation and expenses for activities such as hiking and canopy, among others. He added that the problem goes much further, because in the district (of Boquete) there are 46 businesses dedicated to hosting tourists, including hotels, hostels and cabins, and that they are already receiving calls from tour operators to cancel reservations, specifically to cause of the news about the disappearance of the Dutch. The Chamber acknowledged that tourist activity is low at the moment in the area, but that generally people prepare for the months of July and August, when the summer holidays are given and the increase in flights from Europe is expected. It was added that there is therefore concern about the repercussions that may have due to the disappearance of the two young women.
'Kris and Lisanne must be found'
May 3rd 2014. - INTERVIEW The friends Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon should have returned from a wonderful trip through Panama last Tuesday. But the reunion with their parents at Schiphol did not take place. The families are doing everything they can to find their missing daughters and end the nightmare.”
'When Lisanne and Kris return from Panama, she's in for a blast. The whole of Amersfoort will come out to celebrate their homecoming, it will be a warm bath'. A smile appears on the lips of father Hans Kremers when he talks about the moment when he will see his Kris again. 'When the time comes, Kris and Lisanne won't know what hit them'. Diny Froon nudges her husband: 'Peter sometimes says that he is afraid that he will hug Lisanne to death when she returns back home.'
But Lisanne and Kris aren't home. The Amersfoort friends, aged 22 and 21, seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth in Panama, the country where they would learn Spanish together and do volunteer work at a daycare center. They planned their trip down to the last detail. Learned Spanish songs and games to keep the kids entertained. Put together an itinerary. The sporty, somewhat introverted Lisanne and her crazy, spontaneous friend Kris would have a wonderful time.
Father Peter was very proud to be at Schiphol when it was time for Lisanne's departure. He and his wife Diny never traveled further than Germany's Black Forest. 'Make ithe most of it,' said Diny. 'Have fun,' cried mother Roelie Grit, flanked by Hans. When the four parents had a cup of coffee at the airport, they exchanged phone numbers. But we won't be needing them, they thought. Cheerful messages from Panama follow. They Skype. And then, in early April, in the middle of the night, Diny gets a phone call. She hears how a stranger asks for Lisanne. Diny explains that she is Lisanne's mother. She then understands that her child has not returned to the host family where she is staying with Kris.
'I was very shocked, but you immediately try to put it into perspective.' It won't be that bad, they'll show up again, she tells herself. But they need to find Kris' parents' phone number. In the middle of the night they find out, that Lisanne and Kris have already been missing for more than 24 hours. That's why they haven't heard anything lately. 'You explode when you understand that something is wrong,' Hans Kremers says about that moment. "But pretty soon your emotions are blocked."
Because a call must be made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A report must be filed. It must be ensured that everything is done to find Lisanne and Kris. Roelie and Hans Kremers leave for Panama to help with the search. Roelie: 'We wanted to be there when Kris was found.' From their home in Amersfoort, Diny and Peter Froon help where they can. All four parents assume that the girls got lost during a hike near Boquote, the place where they are currently staying.
But now that the area has been scoured and no trace of the girls has been found, they assume a completely different scenario. A dark scenario, in which their daughters are taken against their will. It doesn't change their task, they say from their couch in Amersfoort. Their daughters múst be found. They cán be found. That's what they hold onto. But every morning they have to deal with that same hammer blow again. The two young women are not there. They find the strength in each other to continue searching, in spite of this, but in particular from thinking about their children.
Still, they don't imagine where Lisanne and Kris are right now, or what they're going through. The parents cannot afford to spend energy contemplating horror scenarios. Hans: 'We have to remain strong for the girls, to find them and help them when they get home. That is our motivation, that's why we keep going.'
They prefer to focus on the Find Kris and Lisanne Foundation. The whole of the Netherlands can help to finance the search, by depositing money. The number of responses is overwhelming. Sometimes small amounts of 1 or 2 euros are donated, because the giver cannot afford to lose any more money. Peter: 'That's so moving.' The messages written with the deposits warm the hearts of the parents, who have so much to bear. "Take courage." "We sympathize." Diny: 'That keeps you going; it is a helping hand.' If someone speaks about their daughters in the past tense, as if they are no longer there, it is very difficult for Roelie. 'We don't want that, because we in fact have the confidence that they are still alive. Those times in the day when I make myself completely free to think about her, I get such a warm feeling. Then I have conversations with Kris, then I feel that we are in contact.' Then Roelie just knows that her daughter is still alive. 'If Kris was no longer out there, it would feel different.'
Presenter: 'And what about this new criticism that the searches should be expanded?'
Peter R. de Vries: "Well I am inclined to agree with that. Two girls have disappeared and there is no trace of them. Everything also points towards them not having disappeared voluntarily or that they went elsewhere. All their belongings are still there [in their room]. Well then you have to use all the available means, including tracking dogs."
Presenter: 'Let's look at all the events that took place so far.' 'April 1st. As far as we know now, Kris and Lisanne started their hike on the Pianista Trail as late as 3 PM. They were seen by witnesses. "Around this time they went up the mountain." That evening, the two girls don't return to their host family. Clothes that would have been necessary for a long hike, turn out to be still in their room. Nothing points towards them having planned to stay away for long. It is not until the next morning that a guide, who was supposed to take them for a guided mountain hike, raises the alarm.
Hans Kremers: "Something has happened that isn't right. And if that means they got lost, or had an accident, or I don't know..." 'In Boquete, Panama, the search operation becomes more extensive. But police have yet to find a trace.'
Search member: "It is very cold at night and we are very worried because the girls did not wear appropriate clothing."
Dutch Ambassador in Panama Wiebe de Boer: "We are very content with the cooperation with the Panamese. They have put a lot of people on this case right from the start."
Jeroen Pauw: "I have never been there [in Panama]. Have you ever been there?
Peter R. de Vries: "No."
Jeroen Pauw: "You have."
Martijn Froon: "Yes".
Jeroen Pauw: "Everybody says: you almost cannot get lost there."
Martijn Froon: "Well yeh that is what we have experienced ourselves also. On the north side.. no on the south side on the trail facing the village [of Boquete] it is nearly impossible. It is one straight forward path. Only going up. It is a difficult hike because you have to climb quite a few meters. And when you leave the trail you can go quite a few meters down also, there are steep slopes where a lot of things could happen. Like I said; on the south side the trail is not that difficult but once you reach the summit and go over to the north side, then the trail changes completely."
Jeroen Pauw: "And what do you think is the most likely thing that has happened then?"
Martijn Froon: "Well, what our conclusion is... here you see a photo of the other side of the trail. It is one big blubbering mudfest. The walls are reaching up. I really struggled to walk there [Scarlet; but when Kris and Lisanne walked there the conditions were dry...] As you can see here, I sometimes couldn't even pass through upright and had to bend. They walked this trail for almost an hour. So then you reach the spot where the last photo was taken around 2 PM, 2.30 PM. [Scarlet: camera data says they were there at 2 PM and it was less than an hour's walk] And then you know that you need to walk back for at least 4 more hours, the same route, until you are back in Boquete." [I'm sorry, I don't understand his calculations.. It took the girls 2 hours to reach the summit and less than 1 hour to reach the stream of photo 508.. Going back would have taken them significantly less time than those 3 hours, as they would be going downhill for the most part.]
Martijn Froon: "And then they would have returned past this same trail, and I know my sister a little bit and she would not have liked that. So then they would have reached the point at 2:30 PM where they wondered; what should we do? Either we turn around and walk back. Knowing for sure that it is 4 more hours of walking [Scarlet; wrong calculations imo]. Or we keep walking, in the hope of reaching something.
Peter R. de Vries: "Well I don't think you can say... that is in my opinion the most basic error they have made..
Jeroen Pauw: "Who are 'they'?"
Peter R. de Vries: "Well, the media. The people who have spoken out about this. Saying that you cannot get lost there. But that is something, then you are arguing from a certain logic, which is especially in these type of circumstances not applicable. I have climbed mountains myself, and so I know a little bit about what it does to you when you have a shortage of water or food. How quickly you weaken then. And also what it does to your mental state when you sprain an ankle, for instance. And when you think: how can I go down as soon as possible. It is easy to say then that the route is straight forward and that you cannot get lost on it. But the moment you want to go down as soon as possible and when a certain panic washes over you, you will start looking for shortcuts. And then you go off the beaten track and off-trail. And so you can think of all sorts of scenarios which in my opinion have not been taken enough into account." [Scarlet: Peter has never been in Boquete, he never walked the trail for himself and he has no idea what options there really are to look for a shortcut. Everybody has spoken of and shown footage of one clearly defined trail. With no side trails to even choose from. Is he seriously considering that Kris and Lisanne would weed through foliage and down slopes, with a potential sprained ankle, to find a shortcut? In that completely unknown and new place in Panama? I find this very, very far-fetched and hypothetical. These two men are basically dissing the Kremers' findings.]
Jeroen Pauw: "And that is also the scenario which you both..."
Martijn Froon: "That is one of the conclusions which we have come to. At 4:20 PM that same afternoon, the first emergency call attempt was made [Scarlet: Official info says this was at 4:39 PM] There is an hour and a half in between. I find it plausible that something happened in the meantime. Uhm, maybe that one of the girls fell, or that something happened. Or that they at least knew that they wouldn't make it back out of the forest before sunset. And if we don't do something now, we will have to spend the night here."
Jeroen Pauw: "Yes. That is what they have most likely also done, in your story. They have made it through the night. They weren't really dressed for that, I don't believe they brought a lot of things with them."
Martijn Froon: "A tank top and shorts. No food and one small water bottle*." [*Kris is pictured with two water bottles in photo #491]
Jeroen Pauw: "No food, little water. No protective clothing. The day after it started to rain heavily in the area, I believe."
Martijn Froon: "Yes."
Jeroen Pauw: "That will leave you a little more cold also."
Martijn Froon: "Well.. not a little bit. You are getting soaking wet and then you won't be able to get warm again."
Peter R. de Vries: "You weaken very rapidly."
Jeroen Pauw: "So within this story as you are telling it now... backed by Peter.. what do you think happened on day 2, 3, or 4 or 5?"
Martijn Froon: "Well that... we will never know that. That will always remain an open question. You know, did one of those girls fall in a ravine? Did they get into an argument about what they would do. Did they both go their separate way? You won't get answers to those questions."
Jeroen Pauw: "There are a few things.. You wonder; did they get lost or not? Let's assume, based on your story and from what Peter says, that they did, presumably. Because something happened. A sprained ankle perhaps, maybe we can find a shortcut. Maybe if we turn left here we can get down just a bit faster. At some point you are lost. Those phones have been logged into, right? Several times. How often were emergency services called?"
Martijn Froon: "About 15 or 20 times, off the top of my head."
Jeroen Pauw: "Were text messages or other messages found in these phones, which gave any indication what happened?"
Martijn Froon: "No. No, no form of what sort of message at all. Those phone were switched on. The first six days the phone was systematically switched on and off about three times a day. And that suggests that they were clever about the state of the battery. It was an iPhone and everybody knows how quickly the battery is dead from those type of devices. [Scarlet; only this iPhone from Kris was powered on for 11 days, with a start on day 1 of only 50% battery..] Turning the phone on, making a call, switching the phone off again. Waiting for a better moment."
Jeroen Pauw: "Well.. you know yourself that you sometimes start typing a text message, and then it would have been still in the phone, without having been sent.."
Peter R. de Vries: "Well, when you see that there is no cell reception, you do not even start typing a text message, I think. But the fact that those phones were logged in over a longer period of time, and those emergency numbers were called is for me an indication that the chance of them being a victim of a crime is smaller. Because it is hard to imagine that if these two girls had been in the power of someone else, who had kidnapped them or who held them captive, that they had been able to use their phones still for several days."
Jeroen Pauw: "But then in the end, it is also the case that these phones were not entered correctly anymore. Or that no more login codes were entered correctly. This also led to thoughts with others that perhaps another person tried to work with these phones."
Martijn Froon: "Yeh.. well everybody who has a mobile phone and a screen lock; I ask you, how often does a login go wrong every day? That you accidentally press in the wrong number combination, or something. And the iPhone required both a screen lock and a PIN code. The first days they were entered both correctly, but later... And like Peter says: when you haven't eaten for six days..."
Peter R. de Vries: "You become disoriented."
Martijn Froon: "You no longer know what you are doing. [Scarlet: Except for 90-something sharp and focused night photos, of course, on day 8] And then you literally and figuratively are tripping'. And then I can understand completely that you are no longer capable of entering the right PIN code
He found an image on a Russian forum on this disappearance case (when your computer allows you to auto-translate, it is very well readable when you're not speaking Russian), where forum members really studied photo #491, taken at 12:03 AM - according to the New Timeline. So after some meddling in photoshop with the photos brightness and contrast, people think they may have found, in the bottom right of the photo, the dog Blue. I have to say, I had to ask Jeremy for an outline of the dog, as I didn't see it myself, but after he kindly did I did see what he meant. The dog appears to be keeping himself cool in the shade, laying down with his mouth open or even his tongue hanging out. Of course, this may be like one of those infamous Rorschach tests; either you see 'it' (and once you do, you can not easily 'unsee' it), or you don't... So I may see things that really are just the equivalent of a suggestive ink dot, but is it possible that the black and white outline on Blue's face is visible here?
I always assumed that Panama was unlike Mexico, to name a rogue Latin-American state. That Panama was a cute little country with small friendly people who may love pan-flutes and who have a famous canal. Well, that is most likely a wrong assumption. A lot of people have spoken out about crime in Boquete and how cartels are drughuman trafficking are tolerated and pretty common in Panama. I have covered some of this information in my blog series here. I have also watched many series and documentaries about the state of Mexico (not Panama, but still interesting) with its rivaling cartels, brutal violence and mass corruption. Journalists are also killed there (assassinated, murdered I mean) at a staggering rate. There is a good BBC documentary on youtube called 'Dying to report - BBC News', its not very long but very raw. Here you can find a database of those Mexican journalists killed in the past 19 years only. It's claimed in one of those documentaries that up to 90% of Mexican state officials and politicians are in the back pockets of these cartels. Police included. Sounds wildly incorrect, or so I hope.. I wouldn't know myself though, never been to Mexico or done any further research into it. But it's estimated that an average 90 people are killed every single day in Mexico (and that figure does not include drive-by shootings, kidnappings, extortion and other serious crimes, as cartel and gang violence continue across the country). Anyway, Mexico is not Panama, but Panama may have its own share of small and large crime, with the drugs routes from Colombia crossing the country, and with the general level of poverty. Over 20 people went missing in this exact same region (near Boquete) in the few years after 2014. Some were found eventually, murdered, some have never been found at all. As a youtuber called Dorian Gray wrote about this: "I was reading an email report about forced prostitution and slave-labour, in Panama as well as other areas, where criminals tend to pick off poor migrant for "work". They call them "meat". Victims include many Russians and East Europeans, too. [..] I see no reason why Kris and Lisanne weren't (or couldn't have been) targeted, due to their looks, figures, youthfulness and vigour. I'm not sure why people cannot get their heads around this possibility, as it happens all the time in these corrupt places. Also, Kris & Lisanne were "shy", so their 'isolation' from large groups could have made them a greater target, as I truly believe they were targeted as far back as in Bocas."
In April 2018, German cyclist Holger Hagenbusch and Krzysztof Chmielewski has from Poland were holidaying in Mexico. During a pan-American (world tour) biking holiday, the two men went missing in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Holger had already traversed Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. The 43-year-old German cyclist was planning to travel throughout Latin America, after which he would continue to Africa. "You can only really experience foreign countries without the pressure of time," Hagenbusch wrote in a blog post for German biking supply manufacturer Mainstream MS-X. "So I let myself be inspired locally by the locals and experience what is happening right in front of the wheels." The cyclist met Krzysztof Chmielewski (37, a Polish citizen and had been travelling the world by bike for three years) in the town of San Cristobal de las Casas on April 20 and decided to travel together to the ancient Mayan ruins at Palenque, some 200 kilometers (130 miles) away. Holger Franz Hagenbusch's brother took to the social media platform on Sunday after failing to hear from the cyclist for 11 days. "He is cycling in Mexico. His last location was San Cristobal. His destination was Ciudad del Carmen, but he never arrived there," said Rainer Hagenbusch in his Facebook post. An appeal to find the missing German cyclist riding through Mexico gained traction online, with Facebook users sharing posts and possible sightings. The families of the men also ushered Mexican authorities and the German Embassy into action to find them. The Federal Criminal Police Office also got involved. Mexican journalist Ciro Gomez Leyva circulated a video that showed images of Holger Franz on his journey through Mexico. 'We're going to find Holger', it sounded everywhere.
A lying, insensitive machine
Poor police work can not only be seen in places like Panama, but also in the Netherlands. (Thanks to Juan for finding this article). Master of law Sébas Diekstra concentrates on cold cases. "In one of my headache dossiers at the time, a group of individuals was completely mangled by the machinery that is the Public Prosecution."
What do you know about this scandal by now?
It is unbelievable how many mistakes have been made. The police did not investigate anything, the train tracks were immediately cleared. Forensic investigation was not started, any perpetrator DNA and trailing or footprints were not secured. A medical examiner could not say whether it was suicide or murder. There was some correspondence between the prosecutor and the deputy officer, but we still don't know what that involved. What I do know is that Talitha's body has been taken care of [washed and prepared for a wake site]. Later the officer started having doubts and ordered for a section after all. But any traces there may have been, were almost certainly destroyed by the previous care of the body. We called in an external pathologist. He concluded that the injuries could have emerged earlier. There is a real possibility that someone else is involved in her death.
This is often argued by OM and investigators.
It would almost be funny if it wasn't so sad. The police and the judiciary usually reason in a circle in these cases. They claim to have done nothing in those cases, because there is no detection indication. Then I say: there is no detection indication, because you didn't do anything to find one. Then the answer is: that is because we have no detection indication. You could write meters of text about it, in the end it comes down to that idiotic little circle."
Is that different in other countries?
In some countries, the premise is that with any unnatural death, a crime should be rule out first. That means a forensic section to the cause of death. That is pure. The Dutch system leaves too much room for errors: the public prosecutor decides what he or she does. With this, you accept errors of judgment."
The big problem is that the police and the judiciary system are far too concerned with public opinion. Improper interests play a role in this. Moreover, they are hierarchical organizations with too many officials who are busy keeping their own street clean.You now have seventeen such cases under your care, including the case of the Polish boy Tornasz Kosmala. There must be a pattern in this error festivals.
The big problem is that the police and the judiciary system are far too concerned with public opinion. Improper interests play a role in this. Moreover, they are hierarchical organizations with too many officials who are busy keeping their own street clean. The essence in these cases is that the emergency aides who arrive first - often insufficiently trained surveillants - are directly focused on one scenario and are blind to other possibilities. When a body is found on the train tracks, it must be suicide. When a body is found in the water: suicide or an accidental drunkard. If things go wrong there and the forensic investigation does not arrive on the scene immediately - you see that in all those cases - then it's over. Then it is finished. The police and the judiciary sometimes admit that they wrongly assumed one leading scenario and delved into it incorrectly. But they don't learn from those mistakes. How long has this misery been going on now?"
There is contradiction these days. Highly educated employees that are brought into the police force to combat tunnel vision.
"That only looks nice on paper. The results turned out to be downright poor. What do you think? Those contradictors are crammed somewhere within the hierarchy and do not have the position they should be given. They are part of the clique. They become infected by the clique-thinking and go along with it. Contradiction is supposed to be independent. You should not stuff them within your own ranks and give them a rank or scale that makes the opponent subordinate. Hierarchy and criticism do not mix well.
The essence in these cases is that the often insufficiently trained surveillants are directly focused on one scenario and are blind to other possibilities. When a body is found on the train tracks, it must be suicide. When a body is found in the water: suicide or an accidental drunkard. If things go wrong there and the forensic investigation does not arrive on the scene immediately - you see that in all those cases - then it's over. Then it is finished.
As a surviving relative, you are therefore at the mercy of the gods?
You are without rights. It is difficult to initiate proceedings because there is insufficient research to substantiate a crime scenario. You are left with all your questions and can actually only start a crusade. You are then seen as a nuisance or someone who gets stuck in his grief [Scarlet; this seems to be exactly what happened to Hans Kremers; deemed a pest and a troublemaker by the OM, in Hans' own words]. In the meantime, justice will do everything in its power to prevent you from getting the police files. The bullshit argument that is always put forward, is that the privacy of the deceased should not be violated. But that doesn't matter to you, as a surviving relative. After all, you want to know what happened to your loved one and what has or has not been investigated. There is only one reason why these files are not provided: the police and the judicial authorities do not want errors to be discovered."
Lawyer Job Knoester previously argued for an independent committee that can have an investigation instituted after all.
I don't see much in a blunder committee. In my opinion there should be a civil court that can order Public Prosecution Services, police or other authorities to investigate. As an outgrowth of the right to life, there is also the right to know what killed someone. I am working on a letter to the House of Representatives with that proposal. I have already have the approval of [political parties] D66 and VVD."
It is difficult to initiate proceedings because there is insufficient research to substantiate a crime scenario. There is only one reason why these files are not provided: the police and the judicial authorities do not want errors to be discovered."
You must have made many new police friends by now?
Not exactly, but that's not what I'm here for. Of course some people are scornful towards me. Whatever. All this work does not benefit me. I usually assist relatives free of charge. Name recognition is nice. But for me it is all about that text message I receive from a surviving relative, with the message 'we are glad that you are here'. That is enough."
August 2nd, 2014
People had been robbed in the past. People had gotten lost in the jungle. A guide was recommended. The girls seemed confident however, perhaps due to the low difficulty grade of the walk. It takes around 1,5 to 2 hours to climb to the top, which has stunning views, reaching all the way to the coast on clear days. Then downwards is achieved in around an hour, depending on your level of fitness. Especially the climbing part can be tiring when the day time temperatures and sun are high, combined with the high humidity in Panama. But for young, fit people it should not be a problem. Lisanne was known to be sporty, she played volleyball at a high level and liked to go for walks. Kris was slightly less athletic but in good physical shape nonetheless, which is also visible in their photos on the trail and at the top. At the start of the trail, the path is clearly visible and well defined. But as you ascend, it gets more narrow and the jungle does close in. Nevertheless, it should be clear which is the main path and where to go. And once you descend again from the summit (which is cooler than the valley), moving on instead of the recommended turning back, the trail is for a long time still clearly distinguishable, especially on the dry and sunny day of April 1st 2014. However, the further you move on, the more risks of getting lost. It drags you further and further into the jungle, and the next settlement is a multi-day walk. And there are risks with the rivers too; they have monkey bridges; dodgy swanky frail cables where you can move over, but which can easily make you lose your balance. They are placed high above the river and a fall can cause injuries. If the water is high and runs fast, you can drown too. At the start of the girls' trip however the water was relatively low and slow flowing. There is also said to be another bottleneck on the route, where you need to pass a metal gate to continue the Pianista Trail, instead of walking along it (which would direct you in the wrong way).
During the night of last Wednesday, this newspaper managed to interview Feliciano González, the guide who had been contacted by the school where Kris and Lisanne were going to study Spanish, to guide them on the El Pianista trail. “The two girls who work at the Spanish by the River school contacted me. A German named Eileen and a Dutch named Mariolane. I speak English well, I am 58 years old and I have been a guide on the Boquete trails for 14 years,” said González, specifying that he charges 25 dollars for each tourist. “Eileen told me to come to Spanish by The River on Wednesday, April 2 at 8:00 a.m. to look for them. At that time I arrived there and together with her I waited half an hour for the Dutch. Time passed and they did not arrive. We decided to go together to the house where they were staying. Upon arrival they did not answer and we thought they were asleep. For this reason, we telephoned the owner of the house”. Being 10:00 a.m. [Scarlet: so they waited for two hours already for Kris and Lisanne?] the owner of the property authorized them to look for a key in the garden of the house so that they could enter the room. Upon entering, Feliciano says that together with Eileen he saw the unmade beds, some backpacks and cables to charge cell phones. "The owner of the house told me that she even made them breakfast, thinking they had come home late," he continued. “So as not to alarm anyone”, Eileen and Feliciano separated and did not resume contact until 5:00 p.m., thinking that perhaps the Dutch were walking around town. [Scarlet: in other interviews, both agreed and admitted that they spent that day together at F's coffee farm, before going to the police. How come there is a different version of events told here? And why shouldn't people be alarmed, nearly 24 hours after these young women were last seen alive? Why keep it a secret?].
Accompanying Kris's parents at a vigil held last Wednesday night in Boquete, Feliciano indicated that on Saturday, April 5, he accompanied a DIJ commission to walk this path. “Unfortunately we found nothing. [In the Answers for Kris video, guide F. says that he walked the Pianista trail alone to look for Kris and Lisanne on Thursday April 3rd in fact]. Two days later I accompanied Sinaproc and we didn't find them either. In fact, during the two tours we saw many roosters in an area where they do not normally fly. When we went to those places we did not find anything”, confirming that “it is at the order of the authorities and the relatives of the disappeared for anything they need”.
When I tried to make some sense out of this disappearance case back in late 2018/early 2019, there was on the one hand very limited public information with regards to what actually happened to Kris and Lisanne, and on the other hand a lot of journalistic work was done on the matter which had not always been highlighted equally well. It was clear that the story had some gaping holes and that there was conflicting information out there. I have tried to shine a light on all this publicly available info about the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne and I tried to bring it all together here, free of charge for all of you to see and if needed I translated it from Dutch or panish into English. I also tried to broaden the narratives about what may have happened to these young women. In the hope that when more people know about this case, chances would increase that we'd ever find more facts and answers. So, with this blog series I 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) overview story of my own, reflecting what is known about the case by now. This includes interviews, journalistic pieces, statements from people linked to this case, investigation results, possible theories, arguments pro and contra and more. In part 2, part 4 and part 5 especially of this blog series, I cover many different theories from other people. I also translated many videos and articles of interest from Dutch to English for you, in order to provide you with the most detailed archive of this case. - Over time the media in general has gotten a beating for supposedly not covering this case well enough. This mainly comes from officials or their representatives, who are not happy with criticism. I strongly disagree with this however. I based nearly my entire blog series on public (media) information and as more official case info has become available slowly but surely, I am surprised how good the media did, all in all. Over time I only had to make minor adjustments to the story as we have learnt it from public media sources. Overall they were spot on. The case officials themselves have also chosen not to inform the media about certain things, but blatantly leaked other details they díd want to come out. So there you go. Oh, and it took me many months to find all the sources, to translate Dutch material and compose the summarized, detailed story here below, based on what is known from publicly available information (including official police information, news articles and interviews) so far. Some people have used more than just a little of my work for their own publications, without as much as a source mentioning. Don't be such a douche and give a shout out or a source mentioning when you use info from these blogs or my videos for your own videos or sites or publications :)
I have nothing substantial to add, but wanted to thank you for your vigorous work in collecting and translating every relevant piece of news and evidence for this case. It was a great read that I enjoyed very much. The case itself is very unsettling and kept me up a few nights.ReplyDelete
I do not personally think it is possible that either accident or crime theory can account for all of the evidence. Either they got lost first then ran into someone, or they ran into someone and fled then got lost and were eventually found by this third party.
Thanks again! I got weeks of reading material from your blog.
Thank you so much for your kind words and for reading about the case here. Like many others out there I am simply trying to do my part in an attempt to keep this case in the limelight and perhaps get it solved even, eventually. Although both the Panamanian and the Dutch prosecution and officials are 'dead set' on keeping the case closed. Yes I think you are right there, it is indeed a never fitting puzzle. None of the theories out there give a 100% fit and thus we keep changing around the puzzle pieces. But now that Juan published the never before seen night pictures and such, we have a few more facts to work with again. Glad to hear you also ultimately believe in an element of foul play.Delete
Is that a face in this picture? this was found on the photo album you had linked in this blog
Hi, thanks. Do you mean the outline of a skulled face almost? It may just be a pareidolia?Delete
Hi, I wanted to add that on the picture where you see the hair it really looks like you can see 2 teeth in between the red hair. You can see it on the right just below the middle. I've zoomed in many times and am really sure it's 2 teeth.Delete
Thank you for this update! Seems another case where the authorities are quick to rule things an accident, and then close off the case. Where have we seen that before eh? :(Delete
In my opinion, the (little fact-based) argumentation of some people culminates when it comes to the 90 or so so-called night photos. Here, for example, you give a commentator who, precisely because of the absence of concrete objects in the photos, suspects a criminal mastermind behind these pictures. This is like arguing that the girls rarely used the mobile phone when they were in captivity, without realizing that captivity would likely have prevented them from using the mobile phone altogether. But the argument that the non-representational nature of the pictures was signaling a perpetrator as their author seems even more tendentious: This argumentation misses some of the rules of argumentative honesty, I guess. Particularly since it is based on a whole series of assumptions that are not mentioned in the context, such as that if Lisanne or Kris had taken the photos, concrete objects would be visible in the photos. But why actually? Because it must have been about capturing images?ReplyDelete
I don't think it's fair to imply that. Obviously, it was about something else, because otherwise there would be more to see in the pictures than the night sky. You yourself give good clues that the purpose of the night shots could not have been to scare off animals or attackers either, because otherwise there would probably be animals or attackers in the pictures. It also seems impossible that the path should be illuminated because, as you were able to show very clearly, there was no change of location in the three hours during which the pictures were taken. Against this background, the interpretation must therefore be based on what is constant in the photographs, and that is simply the orientation of the camera and what was done with it, besides not taking pictures, namely triggering the flash. Therefore, the old, unexciting assumption that it was an attempt to send out light signals into the night sky is the most plausible one. Even if there may be doubts as to whether objectively the conditions were actually given for drawing attention to oneself in this way, this explanation is far more plausible than the more presuppositional thesis that someone else could have taken the photographs in order to create a false impression. A simple cost-benefit analysis illustrates this well: What value should it have had for the perpetrator or perpetrators to spend three hours (!), and thus a good part of the night, photographing the night sky several times a minute? And what use could it have had for the girls or one of them? Maybe even being in a state of half-consciousness. For whom, if not for Lisanne and Kris, could the flashing of light have been of such essential importance that they made producing flashes their main task for hours? While the subjective motives and the objective Benefits for alleged perpetrators remain completely in the dark and incromprehesible, it is obvious what the two young women, or one of them, might have wanted to achieve with the flashes. After all, search teams flew over the area the day before. Light signals couldn't be helpful at daytime, at night, that might have been her idea, they were.
It's difficult and I think some people make the mistake of zooming in too much to one or two aspects of this case. For instance on the night photos or the phone use. They can all be explained in whatever way you want. They could be rationally explained as the work of two girls delirious with hunger and first and exhaustion, or as photos made by someone else entirely, trying to create a fake trail of evidence. We just don't have enough facts to be certain about anything, when it comes to these photos and the use of their mobile phones. Yes thank you, there are soms things we can argumentate about them, for instance that it is less likely that whomever took thee photos did so to scare off an animal; because in the 90-something photos an animal hasn't been pictured once. Also, why would you keep making photos for 3 hours on end then? Also, there is zero evidence that helicopters were flying at night. All the info available indicates that helicopters only flew during a few days at the start of the search and always during daytime. There is zero evidence that helicopters would have flown in the dark of night, and as late as April 8th. I therefore dismiss (until new facts show up) that they were trying to flash an overflying helicopter. The same issue for search groups; we have no evidence whatsoever that search groups were walking out there in the dead of night. Yes same for the theory that they were lighting their way with the flash; all evidence points against this, due to the static nature of these photos. I agree that orientation is one of the most logical explanations around for now. Regarding light signals; that is possible, but I do wonder what triggered them to do that then, and why only on april 8th and not way sooner? They had been alone in the jungle for over a week (!) by then, and we have no evidence that troops were out between 01:00 -04:00 that night.Delete
But none of this disqualifies the alternative explanation of a 3rd person taking the photos. No, not at all. We have not a single photo identifying the photographer. Not even a hand or arm has been captured, enabling us to see if it was a he or a she. And you can personally think it is an illogical notion, there are no objective facts that disprove it, at the moment. I understand that you find it illogical that a 3rd party would make the effort to go out to take those photos. But I can think of a rational (I think at least..) explanation for that. IF a 3rd party was in fact involved then I don't personally believe that they would have done a hell of a lot of photoshopping or manipulation of the photos when they found the backpack and the camera. I think they went through them and only erased the photo 509, possibly because it contained something incriminating. The rest all told a perfect story, of kris and Lisanne walking alone in the wild there, unprepared, poorly dressed for the endeavor and going to the Pianista summit and beyond. Perfect stuff to allow the police to find. It just cements an alibi story on their behalf. People who say that criminals would just destroy a backpack like that, sometimes forget that there have been other missing people there including the missing British tourist Alex Humphrey, who has gone missing without a trace in the exact same area. You cannot continue to let people dissolve into nothing there, not with a mad circus of foreign press and searchers looking for these girls and demanding answers. If that backpack and those bone remains hadn't been found, the search would have gone on and on. The Dutch families had the financial means and the drive for it. Nobody living there wants that.. Indeed, a signal that the women were dead.
In light of this, it is not incomprehensible that a 3rd party would want to add more evidence to the camera, finishing the visual alibi of sorts. Now police and the families not only have photo evidence of the girls being physically on the Pianista Trail on day 1 and beyond the summit, but also an update from day 8, cementing the story (visually) that YES they got lost in the great unknown and yes they tried to survive for over a week. It really meant the evidence of an accident, for a lot of people, those night photos. Not all criminals are low IQ'ed brutes, some are highly pragmatic and logical.Delete
And people must also not make the mistake of just zooming in on some aspects of this case, and then forgetting about the bigger picture. I like to look at all the details though and to zoom out. Everything must be incorporated into one theory or another, not just nitpicking about the psychological analytics of these photos. It seems a fact that Kris and Lisanne ventured out without taking the necessary precautions. They weren't properly dressed or equipped for such a trek into unknown wild terrain. They did not bring enough food and water or extra clothes, let alone a means to defend themselves or find their way back if needed. These two lovely girls made grave errors in judgment when they ventured out in unknown nature without the necessary precautions. That is something that stands above everything else.
But there are other reasons why an accident seems less likely to some people, me included. For instance:
-How come the entire skeletons were never found?
-How come the bodily remains of the two girls were find in the same vicinity, but one had her bones bleached clean and in a late stage of decomposition, while the other had remains in a very early stage of decomposition?
-How come 5 months after their disappearance, a rolled up ball of skin from lisanne was found (from her shin bone), in a very early stage of decomposition? Impossible for the skin to have been kept out in the jungle all that time, and still look like that. The forensic pathologist stated that either it was fresh or someone had stored it cool and dry for a period of time. How does that match with an accident scenario?
-How come their backpack was found dry and clean, 8 weeks into the disappearance when the jungle was wet and muddy? If they left it there themselves, why didn't they ask the help of the villagers living there?
-What happened to the completely missing photo 509, which couldn't have been so thoroughly erased if the girls just pressed the 'delete' button. They didn't delete any photos during their holiday so why was this one deleted if they just got lost at that point and had other things on their mind than selfies?
These are core questions and the accident believers always struggle to come up with a believable logic explanation for all the forensic facts, not just the ones they nitpick here and there.
it makes zero sense for an attacker to spend 4 hours taking night photos. To prove what? That the girls were lost? 1 or 2 photos during the day would do just the same. If I had killed those girls why would I hike my ass to a remote location and spend all night taking photos to convince the worlds that two girls assumed lost were lost? IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!
At best I would take a few d