Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Detailed Case Timeline + My personal beliefs about what may have happened


Concluding: there are many strange elements to this story whatever theory you pick..
But one explanation which seems logical to many people from the area (but not for many Europeans/Americans, because they often look at this case with their own logic and cultural experience from their respective parts of the world) is that the phone calls could have easily been staged by a 3rd party. Look at it this way: on April 1st the girls took many photos of themselves throughout the day trip. Then suddenly, in the hours before 16:39 PM, they stop. Two call attempts are made. After that, not a single photo or video is ever made again that proves that they were there and that they in fact made those calls and nighttime photos on day 8. No more selfies, no pictures of their supposed predicament of being lost. They had plenty of battery life on the digital camera; they only had to save the battery of their phones. Yet nothing on that camera tells us definitely that they were lost or that they were alive after day one. Not even the google maps they downloaded on the morning of their disappearance, was checked after 14:00 by Kris and Lisanne, despite that being possible while offline. Wouldn't that have been the more obvious thing to see in the phone logs, if they were lost? Many people have gone missing there, this is not Amsterdam or some quaint place in the States (although not wild west Mexico either..). One theory is that they ran into foul play and were either killed soon after and then a 3rd party staged for 11 days that they used the phone. Anyone known to that area knew there is no cell phone coverage beyond that Pianista summit. The calls were made at quite strange hours, often mainly in the later morning and then again during the afternoon, often around 11:00 AM and 14:00 PM or 16:00 PM. Not at night, not in the evening. And never to family members or the host family. Only to 911 and 112. It could just as well have been someone who tried it for show in the tropical forest or in a basement even. "During their lunch break" is a comment I read on several comment boards. Because no connection was made, we cannot pinpoint those phones to any specific location, after all. Another theory is that they could keep those phones because a 3rd party knew full well that no connection could be made. If it really were them, why didn't they leave a single draft message pending? There were (a disputed) 1 to 2 meager connection seconds on day two; why not try calling again right away afterwards? Why not try sending a text message to loved ones; in Dutch, proving it was them who wrote it, or to the host family nearby to optimize those few seconds of possible connection? No in fact they just stopped trying then. Makes no sense. They could have even marked trails with branches, scratched things in or with rocks or in the sand, formed a message with pebbles and photograph it, anything really to leave traces behind. Leave strips of fabric hanging in trees, visibly. Use that paper from the SOS photo along the trail. We've all read the Hansel and Gretel tale. But nothing was found. Hypothermia can be a real danger when out in tank tops and shorts. But considering their phone was last activated eleven days after their disappearance, we have to assume that at least one of them did not die from hypothermia during all that time. It also wasn't very cold during the nights of those first April weeks. And they may also have found shelter somewhere. But if that were the case, why were their remains found scattered all over the place, instead of in or nearby said shelter?

There were 30-something different fingerprints on the phones and camera and most of the girls' other belongings, but they were never checked up on or compared with the fingerprints of anyone joining (and not joining!) the search. The water bottle remnants were not successfully investigated, the finca huts in the vicinity weren't inspected for DNA, hairs or minute traces of blood from the girls. The finca from the tour guide wasn't inspected for these things either, despite the backpack being found near his place. The bleached state of Kris' bones and them containing phosphorus/phosphates have never been properly explained, with officials saying the local soil contained phosphates, but the lawyer of the Kremers family contradicting this. The very different state of decomposition of the few bones of the two friends has not been properly explained either by officials. And to be honest: Pittí's treatment of the various pathologists reports on the state of the bones is one of her great failures. As there is no explanation or thought put into why it is there are these contrasting pathology reports. Why is it that Calderon's impressive and freely available study of the leg bones and skin was so savagely dismissed? Without counter-evidence? This is just one issue among many with this entire investigation. There has been a lot of talk locally about a supposed youth gang and other suspicious deaths that have occurred within their ranks, one several days after the girls went missing, on the day he helped Sinaproc search for them (more on this in part 2 of this blog series). The taxi driver died a year later under what some people call suspicious circumstances (both supposedly drowned). In the end none of Kris and Lisanne's full bodies were found. And the bones that were found were so few and in such a strange state, that no cause of death could be established. After ten weeks one foot and one half of a pelvic bone were found and some of their belongings; this marked the end of the investigation, which had until then been officially called a homicide and kidnapping investigation. Anyone who wanted the investigations stopped, had in effect therefore only have to plant four meager body parts and an almost clean, hardly damaged backpack to make it look like an accident. And to stop the searches, for a fact. But nothing makes sense about the official theory of what happened to them, as delivered by the Panamanian Prosecution. The forensic evidence we do have in fact contradicts the official scenario of drowning in a river (as well as falling in a ravine, or being killed by wild animals). So it is probably best to keep all options open here.

Of course, playing the devil's advocate, there are many illogicalities when it comes to a foul play scenario as well. Why would a 3rd party know about the 112 Dutch emergency number? (Perhaps the first emergency calls wére still made by the girls though). How would a 3rd party have received the PIN codes from both girls' phones, yet 'forgotten' it again after day five? (This could be a simple tactical move though, making it look like one of the girls succumbed to the elements). Isn't it too farfetched to assume a 3rd party is SO wrapped up in this whole cat and mouse game, that they even went out at night on day 8 to take the 99 nighttime photos? (Perhaps not if you fear being caught and going to jail, or love the game of deception) Or perhaps the girls themselves took them, and managed to escape. Shortly.. Then the 3rd party would have had to make the effort of placing the backpack and spreading the few small (selected) bone remnants around.. Instead of easily making everything disappear without a trace. (Which would make most people assume that cartels were involved in their disappearance, I think.. Or link this case to that other uncomfortable disappearance in Boquete, of Alex Humphrey) And then also leaving behind those 88 dollars...  In the eyes of some people (admittedly mostly those from First World countries) that sounds like Agatha Christie on steroids. But no matter from what angle you look at this story; there are strange, non-logical elements to it. The backpack, to me, seems planted anyway, no matter the sub-theory. 

A much heard argument is that if a third party wanted to do anything, they would have made the backpack disappear. Or delete the data or destroy the phones. But would that be really be the most logical thing to do? The backpack was a significant discovery to say the least. One that Pitti was eager to haul in and peer into its contents. This became newsworthy and the photos were taken at the location of whoever it was handed over to. The media was also tipped off. Colleagues and others following or directly involved in the case would have already heard about it. Pitti also had quite a few people to answer to and would have had conferences with the ambassador, the president, her superintendent Ana Belfon, the parents and their detectives. That makes it difficult for the authorities or Pitti herself to make the bag later disappear, after it was discovered. And what about a potential third party who was responsible for the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne? We have to question who could have left the phone logs in their original state prior to the backpack being found? Could this have been anyone but the perpetrators? Unlikely. Given the high profile status this case had achieved by then, anyone innocent taking items from the bag to meddle with them would be mad, considering it would implicate them as suspects at the very least, if found out. Perpetrators themselves could also have a motive in dumping the bag out there; to cement the accident suspicion, and stop the searches from the Dutch families. It was only once investigators saw the Pianista photos and the subsequent night photos - which mysteriously did not give away anything in terms of where, why and by whom they were taken - that the suspicions shifted from crime to accident. So strategically, dropping the belongings, phones and camera out there helped. It helped shifting suspicions as to what happened. It helped turn the investigation and it helped in stopping the searches by the families and by Sinaproc in the area. Even though it may seem 'too much of a hassle' by some people to have been part of a plan, reality teaches us that it nevertheless was a simple and (proven) effective method to turn this case around. And following Sinaproc's announcements over time, they first seemed confident, then worried, then baffled and ultimately convinced that Kris and Lisanne were NOT out there. Or else they would have found them. These military style commando search teams tend to not be bogged down too much by politics and just want to use their strengths to find the targets. The fact they found nothing themselves, nothing at all, makes me very suspicious that Feliciano and his little team turned out to find stuff much later, in zones which Sinaproc had searched as well.

Then there is photo or video #509. Which to me points to human intervention, with the (limited) information we have at this point. Even with advanced retrieval software the Dutch specialists were using, they were unable to salvage the image from the original card. This is a strong clue that the image was razed on a computer, instead of using Lisanne’s own camera. Just like Pittí and her team meddled with the memory card of the digital camera.“If the photograph was deleted in the camera, that image would most likely still be on the memory card,” Rosenthal wrote to The daily Beast. Recovery software gets back anything you simply deleted. Yet no trace of the image has ever surfaced - despite the camera functioning fine and taking many photos afterwards that were all on the memory card -, leading to claims that it wasn’t deleted by accident, nor right away after taking the photo, but on purpose. Perhaps because its content was somehow at odds with the controversial accident scenario.

In the end, I think that it has been mainly (and falsely) fed in the media that there is no way you'd even survive a few days out there, beyond the summit. But you have to take into account that this trail, including the part after the summit, was a normal hiking trail before all this, which was used by tourists and locals alike. People who hiked the trail beyond the Mirador (case researchers, tourists, bloggers) all ran into other people in that area. Locals, tour guides, people tending their cattle. Even someone walking their dog. It were the authorities who insisted time and time again that the area behind the Mirador is 'a death trap'. But is it really? No. Not unless you go there right after a flash flood. Notwithstanding that barely anyone was allowed by Panamese authorities to venture beyond the Mirador; not the Dutch dog units, not the journalists, not the Dutch ambassador. Only Sinaproc. So how do the Dutch authorities know that it is so very dangerous out there? They never saw it with their own eyes. Frank van der Goot did, but only 9 months after the girls went missing. And he failed to come back with any hard evidence whatsoever. Also: only after this drama did the narrative start that you are already half dead if you keep walking from the summit onwards. There are finca's and meadows there, houses and sheds. There is water everywhere there. You see locals drinking from a fast flowing stream in this video. There are streams and rivers all over the place there and Kris and Lisanne carried at least two water bottles with them (both are pictured). You do not die from drinking fast running mountain water. And it takes normally at least 30 days without food before someone risks dying from it. Water is what matters and it even rained at times. They did not die from thirst, which is also cemented further by the fact that iPhone was powered on eleven days after they disappeared. There is no evidence that they got lost on the trail they were last pictured on. Despite multiple people walking these trails every single day, nobody claimed to have seen these two eye-catching tourists. No more photos after that showing there they took a supposed wrong turn; no trails left behind. The guide went up to there on day 3 already and said he saw 'no footprints' even of them. No trails in the grass. No signs of them in any of those sheds there, no hairs found, no piece of shredded paper found, even though they carried a lot of paper in their bag seemingly, going by one of the night photos where a rock was litterered with paper. But they didn't leave even a candy wrapper behind when they first got lost. Neither in any of the sheds along the way; no evidence of their presence. No photos on the camera in which their shelter was documented (something you would most likely do at that age and in that situation, as a memory and documentation of what you went through, out alone in a strange country). No signs of them for over a week. Everyone here knows that when you get lost, you listen to the advise from the good old Germany fairytales, and you leave behind some sort of trail. And you do not leave the marked path. I find it very worrying that the little bits that were found of them, ultimately, point towards these girls having been seriously injured and at least one of them seemingly nude. And I still find the discovery of the neatly folded double bra's chilling to the bone, for some reason.

And many questions remain. Read all the questions here which still need to be answered..... 

*Who erased data from Lisanne Froon’s camera—and why?
*Why won’t Panamanian national authorities release the Holandesas’ full autopsy reports?
*Why haven’t they followed up on the leads produced by their own forensic examiners, the Chiriquí police force, and local reporters? Or launched a thorough investigation into the other unsolved deaths and missing person cases in the area?
*Why do we not know whose fingerprints were on the digital camera, the phones, the bras etc? We really do need to know who made the last phone calls to 911 and 112; fingerprint analysis could help with that. And why weren't the fingerprints of the searchers recorded?
*How about the water bottle and its water remnants; were the water molecules found in the small plastic water bottle from supermarket quality water? Or was it water from a local river? Or local tap water perhaps that was last in it? And was the second water bottle, pictured in photo 492, ever found by search teams? 
*Why were there no successful DNA samples taken from possible saliva remnants on the water bottle?
*Why weren't the houses/fincas of some of the tour guides or other potential persons of interest checked for DNA or hairs of the girls? 
*The girls had warned other youngsters in Bocas del Toro not to venture out alone without a guide and they were known to be meticulous planners, so why did they themselves decide to go out alone (supposedly) on a wilderness hike? 
*Why was Blue the dog, who supposedly walked along with them, never seen in any of their photographs?
*The girls had their own key at the host families' place. Was that key also found in the backpack? 
*Why didn’t the girls turn around and walk back after they placed their 1st emergency call?
*Since they may have gotten into trouble so early in the trip, as indicated by their emergency calls, how could they have fallen into a river 12 hours away, as some people claim?
*Is there actually a ravine over there which connects to a river which could have dragged their bodies all the way up to Alto Romero? If not, that would be interesting to see confirmed.
*There are many wooden sheds, houses and small wooden cabins along the river and scattered around the terrain where Kris and Lisanne could have ended up, going by the location where their remains were scattered: why wouldn't they have hidden in there if they truly were lost? Waiting for the rescue teams to find them there?
*How could they get 'lost' on a one way, easy road, and in an inhabited world where Ngobe Indigenous people walk the mountain trails daily with their cattle?
*Why do the statements of almost all the witnesses contradict the photo time evidence?
*Why did the taxi drivers statements about when he picked and dropped off the girls contradict the photo time evidence on the camera?
*And how come a second taxi driver declared to have dropped them off at the trail on Monday the 31st? 
*Who were the two men in the back of the taxi of Leonardo and why have they never been identified by police? 
*Why did the statements from the staff at the language school about the girls leaving there around 13:00 not overlap with the photo time evidence on the camera?
*Was Sigrid V. ever properly interviewed and could she confirm that Kris and Lisanne did nót wear the same clothes on Monday evening as they did in the Pianista photos? 
*Why has the exact location of the nighttime photos never been thoroughly investigated and established?
*Why have the CCTV video recordings of the girls in Boquete never been released or even fully investigated, and why do we not know therefore what time they were still in Boquete on April 1st?
*Why did we hear nothing from investigators about the drugs- and gang wars going on in Boquete around 2014, with at least 15 local gangs said to be rivaling for power?
*How is it possible for the Dutch forensics to conclude that the nearly 100 nighttime photos were all dark, when many photos have since turned up and are showing a clear landscape? In fact: why did they and the families say this?
*And why were the other 85 or so nighttime photos so closely guarded and did officials and family refuse to make them public, claiming they also show 'nothing but blackness'? (They have mostly all been leaked now by an anonymous source, see the next blog posts)
*How come nobody could retrieve even a few percentage of photo 509, despite this being the norm when a photo is just manually deleted?
Why has Betzada Pitti never confirmed or denied whether she had any awareness of that missing file 509, or why she messed with the night photos? Why did a sleuth have to discover this, and not the NFI? The camera and phones of Kris and Lisanne were first examined by technitions in David: were the people examining the SD Card already aware there WAS a missing file? (Or was it perhaps deleted by them or Pitti..?). They have never commented on this very important point.
*How was it possible for Kris and Lisanne to power their phones on and off so methodically at set ('office') times, without having a watch or means to know the time in the tropical forest?
*How come the local telecom company could not provide a more precise indication of Kris or Lisanne's last confirmed mobile phone locations? 
*WHY were there no more photos or even videos made by the girls for eight whole days and nights after April 1st?
*Why did they not once try to call their parents at home, or their host family nearby?
*Why were there no draft messages or other signs of life for their loved ones found?
*How come after 5 days alone in the wild (supposedly), the girls seemingly didn't memorize each other's telephones' PIN codes?
*How come Kris' iPhone still had battery left by day eleven and could be powered on over an hour then? Shouldn't that battery be drained by then?
*And why did the girls just stop using that phone, which still had some battery left, on days 7-10?
*Did Lisanne's Samsung phone ever get a correct PIN code entered or not (did it even require a pin code), considering all the phones ever tried to call were the two emergency numbers, which could be reached without entering a PIN code?
*If they were lost and realized this, why cross two big rivers, leading further into the wilderness? (Because their remains were found in an area where you had to have crossed those rivers).
*If they were lost for 11 days, how come nobody found them or heard them, despite locals living there and many people using the area behind the Pianista, not to mention the legions of searchers, helicopters and the lot being out there to look for them? How come the Sinaproc leader said on national TV that after months of searching he was certain that the girls were not out there?
*Has the statement from a local ánd a German tourist called Marcus M. about hearing someone scream in the forest around April 5th, ever been properly investigated?
*Why have we never seen or been given the exact location where they supposedly fell and 'perished'? Where is that ravine with photo evidence? Where is the proof that they slipped down a ravine on their clothes, shoes or backpack? Plus an explanation from the rescue teams about why they were never found on that spot, despite weeks of thorough searches, going down every slope and using sniffer dogs + the Sinaproc team leader declaring they were not there as every stone was turned?
*Why did the Prosecutor declare that the girls were dragged to their deaths in the river when the pathologists say the bones show no sign of abrasion from river rocks or injury markings whatsoever and the bone marrow was dry?
*What made Lisanne's foot break off clean at the ankle and how come her foot still had flesh on it while Kris' bone remnants were bleached?
*Here the stages of human decomposition are explained: how does the basic science relate to this case? 
Lisanne's foot in the shoe still contained skin and tissue. The foot was found on June 19th, so roughly 10 weeks or 2,5 months after presumed death. Should that foot have looked the way it did, and could a possible time of death be determined from it? Could it have looked like that if Lisanne died on April 11th? Or does its state indicate that she lived much longer, for instance? All we know is that the coroner told Kryt that he believed the girls met foul play..
*Why did Pittí make up the silly and never further proven statement that this skin was cow's skin, despite the actual coroner writing it was skin from Lisanne's shinbone? How can a prosecutor just dump such a thing out there, without evidence to back it up?
*Why was there bleach/phosphates on Kris' bones, but not on Lisanne's?
*Where were all their other remains and clothes, aside from the handful of small bones, the bag and a jeans shorts found?
*How come the backpack is said to have been floating in a 'wild river' for weeks, but the electronics inside had no water damage and were in functioning order? And the sunglasses in it were in perfect state? Idem for the dollar bills. 
*Was the backpack planted? And why does prosecutor Pitti who never gave any evidence for her own verdict, call such insinuations “Irresponsible” and “without foundation.
*How and why did the jeans shorts from Kris get off and why were their bras folded up and neatly packed in their backpack? Did they in fact go for a swim after their Pianista hike, as some sources claim, and is that why they folded up their bras and shorts voluntarily, by themselves?
*From who was the blue shoe found? The one which Betzaida Pitti did not want to be investigated for DNA, despite the pathologists asking for it. 
*How is it possible that a state prosecutor can manipulate and permanently alter the memory card, prime evidence, before sending it to the NFI?
*How much of the evidence in this case has been tampered with? And can we even trust the phone data, the photo data and the state of the backpack, for instance?
*Did the taxi driver really drown by accident?
*Did Osman Valenzuela die by accident or was he murdered? And is it true that he had photos on his phone of girls, matching the description of Kris and Lisanne? And if so, is this the swimming photo which was recently leaked? 
*And last but not least; The language school where Kris and Lisanne enjoyed Spanish language lessons recommended this tour guide, guide F. The strange part is that they also recommended the children's school, Aura, to them. Lisanne checked and rechecked in advance with Ingrid Lommers and her staff about this appointment. She (and her parents) wanted to be certain that they really could start that Monday March 31st. Hans Kremers said later on tv that the Spanish by the River language school had confirmed in an email on Friday that they could start Monday at Aura.. But the people at the children's school didn't know who they were and what they were doing there..... What went wrong here? How come the children's school wasn't prepared to offer them the volunteer work, as was promised by Ingrid and her staff? It appears to have been a package deal they booked: language courses, a community to join, different locations and volunteer work as a cherry on the cake. But were these local schools even interested in these western 'volunteers'? Or did the director of Aura get out of her part of the agreement with just an excuse? Who sends volunteers away anyway? And why have we never heard a proper explanation from Ingrid or the school staff about what exactly went wrong here? 

This is what such a specific package deal looked like: some Spanish, new friends, 
some exploration, a host family arranged for you, volunteer work if you like to.

And I hear from a lot of people - readers of this blog, followers of this case - that they want to go to Boquete to investigate things for themselves. There is a lot to find out still. Some top things that should be cleared up ideally and that can still be cleared up perhaps:
-Where were those night photos taken?
-How long does it take to walk from the Pianista trail to the 1st and 2nd cable bridge river crossings? And how much longer to reach Alto Romero?
-How much habitation, houses, farms etc does one pass while walking to the location of the bones (Alto Romero)?
-Can you really walk all the way there without running into anyone?
-How many open spots do you pass, where one could have waved and flagged a passing helicopter?
-How many sheds are passed visually where one can take shelter?
-Can you really not get lost on the Pianista trail and on the trail on the other side of the summit? After the stream of photo 508, if you keep walking on, is there really no way to get lost or fall down a ravine there? Or any side trail?
-On the summit, Kris' mother pointed to a small trail in the Answers for Kris video and guide F. waved it away as nothing. But where does that small trail in fact lead to?
-Do the people working in the local pharmacy remember that Kris and Lisanne supposedly visited the store on Tuesday morning for coughing syrup and such? If so, at what time did they see them exactly? Same for the store manager of Romero supermarket (which CCTV footage of the girls was overwritten, according to Ingrid Lommers)? 
Well, stuff like that.. 

My personal opinion and conclusion

('Trigger warning': not everyone will agree with this but I will give you my arguments and opinion below. And this a summary so you can also skip to the last part now, further below: the full Timeline)
 - Although there are no certainties and I cannot exclude the possibility that the girls had an accident, I personally have the feeling that foul play was involved. Personally I think the most likely scenario is that they were the victims of a local killer. Someone from the area. Many people who have more (reliable) data than us, except for First Superior Prosecutor Betzaida Pittí, say: "Crime". That includes several forensic pathologists and journalists who had insight in the file case. If the bodies of Kris and Lisanne had been found in any other state, I may have believed as well that they simply got lost and tragically perished out there. They had no protective clothing, no extra food, not much extra water, nothing to shelter in or under. It makes sense that they just died out there, lost. Until you read about the forensics regarding the bones that were found. The absence of most of their skeletons, despite the backpack being found intact and their sunglasses inside it, without a scratch. The bones from Kris being all bleached looking and in a late stage of decomposition in the middle of June 2014 (little more than 2 months after the girls disappeared); her bones looking like they had been baking in the hot sun for a long long time, not what one would expect from bones having been shielded in the cloud forest, around 10 weeks after their suspected death. Whereas the bones from Lisanne still had intact skin on them and were found in a much earlier stage of decomposition. Neither bones looked 'right'. 

And what shocked me personally the most, was to find the information, while surfing the net yet again one night in search for more clues, that in late August of 2014 a mass of skin from Lisanne's shin was found, more or less intact.  That was 5 months after Kris and Lisanne disappeared. Barely showing signs of decomposition according to the forensic scientist who did the autopsy. He said it must have been stored in a dark, cool place all that time and not out open in the jungle, where it was somehow found. 

Aside from being surprised that this information was largely kept out of the media and was not mentioned by authorities, it mostly baffled everyone involved in that autopsy: how was this possible, considering the state of Kris' (and Lisanne's to a lesser degree) bones only 10 weeks after they went missing? To me it just doesn't add up scientifically with a Lost/Accident scenario. Either Lisanne must have lived a lot longer than Kris - and then she should have been found or kept alive somewhere - or her remains were stored somewhere cool and protected and this rolled up piece of skin was then planted in the jungle much later, or fell by accident when moving things around... (Which is, I will admit, a strange story as well). Meaning there was human intervention. The fact that news articles about this piece of skin were edited over time and Betzaida Pitti set up a crusade against the coroner who determined that the skin belonged to Lisanne's shin bone (as well as against the female journalist who wrote about it), does not convince me at all that it really was all one big autopsy error.

Besides; two tall, good looking fair haired women in hotpants may have been noticed there. Perhaps word went round that they were out there alone on that mountain. If one of them got injured, the other could have followed the path back to Boquete to get help. Or they could have stayed put, as the main trail they were on was used by many people, including search teams and locals shortly after they went missing. Yet no-one heard or found a trace of the girls. They weren't there. This area has many open spaces and farmers and local Indigenous people are living in houses along the trails. Other explorers and travellers reported that they'd meet other humans in this region daily, even when going off the beaten paths. Yet scores of volunteers, local guides, the army, the families, search dogs, helicopters, SINAPROC, local people living in the tropical forest, farmers and tourists, none of them could find two tall European girls who desperately wanted to be found? Despite one of them seemingly living for a staggering eleven days after disappearing (last time the iPhone was switched on). In an area the size of a small city. Where people live permanently along the river. Frank van de Goot went to the area to search and believes that this area is so much inhabited in fact, that he deems to social control in this desolate deemed terrain too high to allow for a kidnapping to have happened unnoticed. I wonder why a kidnapping could not be done unseen, but two desperately tall European women, screaming no doubt to be found, could supposedly stay completely undetected for at least eleven days, going by this logic? With nobody finding them? Despite all that social control? And in Kris and Lisanne's case there was a massive public incentive to find them, with the reward money quickly rising to $40.000. Yet nobody did.. But some of their bones and belongings did end up near that same inhabited village, scattered near the river. Sparce amounts of bones which conveniently could not determine a cause of death. Spokesman Elmer Quintero even said during a press conference on April 14th, 2014: "If they were in the jungle of Boquete, we would have already found them." He ruled out that the girls were out in the nature reserve. They looked everywhere, also off the beaten paths. It makes no sense. Arturo Alvarado, who led the search teams, stated to the media that nobody had EVER gone permanently lost on the Pianista trail. They had always found them until then. (One exception is Alex Humphrey, who may also have ran into foul play, or perhaps he had an accident and somehow was never found). Unless of course Kris and Lisanne weren't out in the 'jungle' at all during these search operations, but kept in a local finca or small house elsewhere by someone who took them there by force, for instance. And bluntly put: you don't die like that when you are young and fit and stuck in a stretch of tropical forest that borders so closely on civilization; where it wasn't very cold that time of year; where there is natural water and rainwater to drink. Where you can find sources of food ("Worms, grubs and termites are everywhere in the jungle and are all a great protein source. If you had fresh water, you could survive for months on insects alone"). With insects and other small animals to eat. That has natural shelter places - many abandoned ánd inhabited little sheds can be found all over the place, for instance. 

Also the places where someone could potentially fall in a ravine had all been checked and the girls weren't there. Volunteer bloggers also went out and also looked through the area, weeks into the disappearance and found zilch. An explorer and writer blogged about going down the sloped, searching for traces and finding nothing (his stories on this are covered in part 2). Kris' parents retraced their steps and are very clear about it; after the last known photo on day one (picture 508) there is no way to get lost on that trail, whether you walk on or turn around, back to the summit. There are no ravines or cliffs you can fall from, as the existing slopes are all densely grown with trees and shrub to break any potential fall. There are no other trails you can be mistaken with and get lost on either. I feel that it cannot be ignored that all the slopes around the actual mountain itself, around the Pianista trail, have been searched extensively by volunteers, by professionals going down on ropes and by different sniffer and rescue dogs. They were not there. Guide F. walked that entire stretch on day 3 already, looking for their footprints or any indication of them having been there, and I am sure he would have noticed signs of two tall women falling through natural growth down a slope. He saw none of that. And that stretch of forest where the remains were found months later was also checked and checked again, they were not there either according to Sinaproc (who are highly professional search units). If even the director of Sinaproc said this on camera, he may have a better grasp of the reality there than us leisure hikers from Europe or from the USA...?  I think it is very tempting but also not necessarily leading to the truth, for a 'Western' person who is into hiking, to compare his personal western experience with the situation in a Latin American country, a culture of which even the locals regularly say and write that it has high crime, corruption and countless cases of disappearing young women or drowned and murdered youth or locals.

The thing is this:
they were with the two of them and it is rare for non-professionally secured mountaineers to both fall off a mountain together. And even more rare for the bodies of two unfortunate cliff fallers to not be found at the bottom of said cliff, but many kilometers up north, on flat land and behind trees in an inhabitated area. But nevertheless the official narrative is that Kris and Lisanne both had an accident (never specified or backed up by forensic evidence), somehow ended up in the river (never further explained) and their bodies were pulverized to some degree (no forensic evidence for this either), aside from a couple of intact bones that were found. Without any detectable microscopic damage, mysteriously enough. And a backpack found right near the tour guide's place, which also only had minor damage. Quite some river that is, littered with rocks.. Normally a body would have sunk and gotten stuck in one of the many bends right away. Not disappear from the face of the earth.

Phone use wise, there seem to have been only really three sensible possibilities for why they called 112 several hours before it got dark that day: Firstly, because one of them had a mild injury, an ankle strain perhaps, or Lisanne's "asthma"/cold symptoms were flaring. Secondly; because they realized they wouldn't make it back to Boquete before dark. Thirdly; because they ran into the wrong person or crowd and were afraid. I'd say the 3rd option for me seems most likely. Because they called emergency services hours before it got dark. And because if one got a mild injury, they could have stayed put and would have been found, or the other could have gone back to get help, if not on day one then certainly on day two (and on day three a local guide walked that entire trail and didn't find them or any trace of them there). And most importantly: because both girls powered off their phones after 5 PM! If you are lost and in the possession of two phones, why would you not look for a signal more often with at least one of those phones? While in a panic, trying to gather your thoughts and options?
*The same goes for the 2nd scenario: they could have made it back on day two, as it was only about 2,5 hours to walk back at that point. I don't believe two healthy athletic strong young women both got seriously injured on a one way trail, surrounded by rock walls, where you cannot fall into a ravine. Because if they were so seriously injured, how did they then eventually end up 14 walking hours up north? Into less accessible terrain? To anyone holding on to the ravine fall theory: like I stress a lot, aside from the fact that all the ravines were inspected, their bones were not found in a ravine! But on flat terrain, close to Alto Romero. If the girls were trapped in a ravine, how could their bones have made it out in the end? Kris with a broken pelvis and Lisanne with a foot shattered in many places? Bones that showed zero (animal) dental or claw marks under the forensic microscope? And if anyone found the bodies, he or she would have surely collected the 30.000/40.000 dollar reward, which is a fortune in Panama.. Not silently drag the bodies along with them and plant them near their village without asking for the reward (like, how does that make sense in any way?). And why did none of their belongings show signs of a fall then? Only minor possible slid marks on one area of the back of the jeans shorts from Kris (which may also have been the result of the ongoing friction of streaming river water or the river branch at which it was found stuck) and the backpack showed barely any damage at all. No damage to its content either, not even a scratch on the sunglasses. No signs of falling or sliding on the shoes or drag marks on the backpack. And as for a fall from those cable bridges: a tumble from those wires is not the same as falling off the Golden Gate bridge. You may break a leg when doing so, but I do not believe Frank van de Goot's highly sensationalistic statement that you would instantly 'break your neck' then and be 'quite dead'. Besides, it would be a freak accident for one of the girls to fall off a monkey bridge and then die from it no less, but for both of them to have that same experience and outcome? Highly unlikely. The rivers were also slow floating with low water levels when these girls disappeared, as it had been unusually dry for some time in Boquete. They could both swim, they were tall and could have just waded through most of those rivers at the time, instead of going over cable bridges, which, it must be said, mostly serves as decor for happy smiling tourists in Boquete. They never die on there, in reality. 

I have the feeling they were followed, or ran into someone.
Perhaps the taxi driver, perhaps locals, perhaps someone else, perhaps criminals (think of a sex crime, organized crime or even organ trafficking is mentioned a lot in comment sections online about this case). Maybe someone kindly offered to accompany them when they crossed paths on the Pianista Trail, as it is said to be difficult at times to find the right track to reach the Mirador. All may have been fun and games, until said person(s) pushed the girls to walk on, and on. The existence of drug laboratories and traffic routes in that stretch of jungle also keeps coming back in the media and even guide P. told a loal ex-pat about that possibility here. Organ trafficking is also mentioned regularly, although this must be a complicated matter in the jungle itself. You'd need a hospital nearby to keep 'harvested' organs functioning and fit for transplanting. The jungle is not really a good place for this. So if this is what happened in the end with them, they must have been transported away from Boquete. The sweet and chirpy Kris and Lisanne from Holland probably also didn't think about the possibility of running into criminals or drug dealers. They were together, had so far encountered kind people and joyful times in Panama and at 21 years old you don't normally think about everything that can go wrong in the big bad world. Unfortunately, in this case... And some people go much further and have even stated in youtube comment sections that Kris and Lisanne shouldn't even be considered dead for a fact... Because theoretically you could still be alive without your left leg, without half your pelvis or a rib. This is what you get when you Google "rib pelvis foot".. There are implants for these nowadays. But I'd estimate the chance that they are still alive but without the bones that were found... maybe as small as 1%. It seems very far-fetched, to say the least. But we do not have complete certainty that they are dead as the girls' skulls and whole skeletons have never been found and neither was a cause of death ever determined. But I cannot imagine them still being alive at this point, unfortunately :(

Or only Kris may have been taken, with the tall athletic Lisanne being able to run off and hide into the tropical forest initially. After she no longer heard any voices or crackling of branches, she made the emergency calls on both phones. She must have known the PIN code from Kris' phone for this, as for the first five days the iPhone was logged in with the correct set of codes... When darkness fell, she put the phones away, afraid that the light or her voice would betray her position in the dark woods. The next day she started walking at the first light. She again made a number of emergency calls but she was afraid that her voice would betray her if she had contact with the 112 operator. On April 3, she may have found the path back again, but she also got the third party behind her, who eventually caught up with her. In the meantime, she may have fallen from exhaustion and injured her foot. Something heavy must have fallen onto it, or else the specific type of fractures are hard to explain. There is also the gruesome possibility that her captors injured her foot badly, to prevent her from running off.... Posting on the trail was also a necessity for the third party, because if Lisanne reached the hostel, the person(s) who kidnapped Kris would have been in trouble. Problem with this scenario is however that Lisanne would then have had the backpack from the moment she escaped on day 1, and been able to make the phone calls. I am just not sure she would have known the PIN codes from Kris' iPhone... As both phones were used from April 1st onward. Only after about 5 days was the wrong PIN code or no code consistently entered. So that makes the chance perhaps bigger that both girls were together for at least the first couple of days. 

SO what I think may have happened is something along these lines: they either were captured on their way back to Boquete, turning around after photo 508 by the stream - after all they had already walked approximately three hours by then and needed to return to get back before the sunset. They would have ended up just below the Mirador on the Boquete side of the mountain by the time it was 16:39 PM and the first emergency calls were made. We now know from Matt's revelations about the official police files, that the Samsung phone of Lisanne had lost contact with the GSM network in that area when they walked up. So that can explain why their call attempts were fruitless in this area. As Kris' father explains and shows here, there is not much dangerous terrain there, no dangerous cliffs, but this area does have some wooden sheds. People may have waited for them there, or ran into them there, and hidden them in one of these wooden sheds. Later taking them elsewhere, against their will. They may have been hidden deep in the forest, or in a house or dwelling of sorts, far away from the stretch of jungle behind the Pianista trail. Or they may have initially ran off but been stalked later on. Or they may have voluntarily returned towards the Mirador with other people who could also have innocently driven them off the mountain in the red truck that was mentioned by witnesses, to a swimming spot elsewhere. Explaining why hundreds of people could not find these two tall, stand out European women for weeks on end in this relatively small area of nature. Or they got spooked by someone and ran off in the wrong direction of the Pianista trail. Or they may have been forced in the wrong direction by a third party. If they did walk back all the way to Boquete, as some witnesses claim, then there is the problem of the phone data: officially their mobile phones never made a cell tower connection again after roughly 14:00 PM on April 1st 2014 (officially 13:38). And the phones seemed to move further away from the GSM tower, over time. Although the phone data is most likely correct, there is of course always the rare possibility that the case officials made an error with the data or messed about with it. And we also know from the police files that the phone logs were flawed; some events wére logged, others were randomly not logged. Times (13:37) were accidentally copied and pasted in the wrong place. For Kris and Lisanne to end up away from the Pianista trail and toward the Caldera area where the swimming photo was taken, without regaining cell reception, they would have had to move there over the less well known mountain trail behind the Mirador. I am honestly not sure how realistic that scenario really is, albeit still possible. It may be more likely that the swimming photo was taken on Monday the 31st of March. Meaning they were stuck on that mountain on the Tuesday, never coming down from it again. The girls may have taken a photo of their attackers, the infamous photo #509, just like these two tragic girls did. They could have seen something they shouldn't have seen, managing to outrun whomever went after them and staying hidden in the tropical forest for some days, before being captured eventually. I know, a lot of theories. But I find the remark of Kris' father that as early as April 3rd that trail was checked, finding not even a 'trace' of them, not exactly reassuring

This is the swimming photo that was leaked recently, showing Kris and Lisanne (with what I would say 99% certainty, although opinions differ on this!) bathing with two local youth in a river, identified as the Caldera hot springs, nearby. I made the below collage of photo comparisons of the girls in the swimming photo, and Kris and Lisannes photos (a match in my opinion).. It is not sure when that photo was taken exactly, but the girls had only arrived in Boquete the previous Saturday, leaving only three other possible days when they could have gone there. And these other days were all described in their diaries, without any of them mentioning the Pianista hike or the swimming event. And on Monday March 31st the girls were mostly preoccupied with the set-back of having been sent away at the local children's school, and subsequently trying to find other volunteer work for that week with the help of Marjolein from the Spanish language school. The police released the information that their phones made contact with the language school's WIFI at 16:44 PM on Monday, placing them also away from any swimming activities at that moment in time. And at the end of that Monday afternoon, they had a long massage with Sigrid Vernooij. They could still have been at the Caldera, swimming, between 17:00 and 18:00 or 19:00, technically. But what if the girls met someone during the Pianista trek (or perhaps they had already met these locals before, when out and about in Boquete), someone who gained their trust and who took them to the swimming location that Tuesday afternoon? Urging them first to walk beyond the summit. Urging them to take pictures of this? In order to have photo evidence that the girls strayed deeper into the forest... Handy evidence, showing to everyone that these girls just 'got lost' beyond that trail? Or perhaps the girls did return to the trailhead (different clouds in the background of summit pictures - check; many witness statements seing them near the trailhead between 15:00-16:00 PM - check), and they voluntarily proceeded for a cooling off swim in the late afternoon, with their newly made friends. This would then be the last 'normal' event they encountered, and something would have gone wrong afterwards. Perhaps a lift home gone wrong (it was a pretty long way to walk from the caldera area to Alto Boquete again where they stayed). Perhaps they agreed to go elsewhere with these lads and things went sour there. But like I said; here the phone log data causes problems, as both mobile phones are claimed to have never regained contact with the local cell tower. Much more on this new swimming photo can be read in my part 2 blog post

Panamanian video that circulated online in 2014: "Where are the shitty Duchies?" (Donde están los holandeses de merde"), posted on youtube on August 30th 2014. Since removed offline. The person who updated this video was at the time (August 30th 2014) a Facebook friend of the Boquete clique of Henry, Osman and the rest. Makes you wonder why the poor unfortunate missing Dutch women are called 'of shit' (shitty). Apparently it may also mean "Where are the fucking Dutchies?"


Then there is also a theory that says that these digital camera times and dates are all fake entirely.
That Kris and Lisanne walked the Pianista trail on March 31st, instead of April 1st (hence the second taxi driver's statement saying he dropped the girls off at the start of the trail on Monday and perhaps Pedro's witness statement also matches better with a Monday hike). And that on April 1st they were in fact taken to another place entirely by the taxi driver and fell into bad hands. What may support this (more far-fetched) theory is that on Monday March 31st both the mobile phones of Kris and Lisanne showed no activity between roughly 14:00 - 17:00 PM. According to the official phone logs. This could perhaps be because they walked up the Pianista trail then (which in large parts has no mobile reception), instead of - or as well as - on Tuesday. An ill-intending third party then only had to simply change the date setting on the Pianista photos, to make it seem like Kris and Lisanne went up the mountain on Tuesday instead of Monday, visually supporting the narrative that they never made it back down and got lost. When in fact the girls were held somewhere else entirely on Tuesday. Some faked emergency calls for the next few days and voila. It's just another theory, of course. 

A third party may have also checked the girls' phones for incriminating information and taken the confusing photos on the night of April 8th to plant the definite seed for the public that the girls were still out there at that point, alone and lost. For all we know Kris and Lisanne took dozens more photos after April 1st, but those were also all removed later with the help of a computer, and a small human error ensured that only file 509 was still seen as an empty file on the SD card. I personally do not believe that Kris and Lisanne were out there in that wilderness behind the Mirador alone after April 1st, nor that they made all the later emergency calls, nor that they made the night photos. I personally think that everything that happened from then on, including the discovery of their belongings and remains, was planned and planted by a 3rd party. Soon after the $30.000 reward was declared, these items were found. At a time when the ongoing search operations, funded by the parents, may have become incredibly oppressive to some people living there. Both the families expressed explicitly during press conferences that they would not leave until they found their daughters. Some folks like to sneer that real life isn't a Hollywood movie, but real crime happens every single day in every country. 

Some people drag up the Occam's razor theory in this case, a Medieval theory roughly translated as: "All things being equal, the the simplest solution tends to be the best one." No more things should be presumed to exist than are absolutely necessary. There are some pivotal words in there, such as 'all things being equal', being the basic condition for the use of this theory. But that has been skipped for the most part by online sleuths, who want to simplify even the simplifying theory, ending up somewhere with 'the simplest explanation is often the most likely'. Which is not what the theory says and in this Kris and Lisanne case the theory is misused and overused in my opinion, as we are not in fact dealing with an equal Lost-case as a Crime-case. There are different pieces of evidence used here and nitpicked, to support one or the other theory. Online 'western' forums in particular have a tendency to believe that the most simple and straightforward explanation is often the right one. That is only loosely based on the Occam's Razor dogma, and more or less simplifices everything for simplifying's sake. So if anyone comes up with a theory that involves a couple of steps or thought processes more than the basic of basics - kept walking, lost, no water&food - he or she ends up on the other end of the debate and is considered to have the duty to prove. Lost, well that is the simple theory and in fact it is often applied with such simplicity that Losters do not even bother with the fineprint of the case and with the smaller inconvenient details. Such as bones from one girl that decomposed very differently from those of the other, despite lying in the same area. Or skin having been found 5 months after the fact which the coroner said belonged to Lisanne's shin and which was barely decomposed at all. Or the rather unusual use of phones and camera, or the girls breaking with many of their normal habits. And as you know by now, there is a very long list with case inconsistencies and open questions. Nick wrote me: "Occams Nonsense. It's amazing how people jump onto a catchphrase or theory without any proof it's correct! Someone somewhere in the world every minute is experiencing an incredible set of coincidences that defies occams razor. This must happen in ALL patterns in life. Therefore it's nothing other than a "higher probability rate" for the simplest explanation .If we are trying to solve the case then the only thing that will do so is hard evidence, not higher probabilities of sequences of events. Roll dice enough times and double "1" will come up in sequence 15 times.... because it will." - Indeed, Occam's razor is used in the most restrictive ways by some people, eager to namedrop. Indeed, every hour of every day, things happen that go against the most simple, rational course of action. That theory is a starting point in investigations, nothing more.
And what is 'logical' is also subjective. In Latin-American countries, the comment sections and discussion boards lean much more unrelenting towards a crime. They have diferent first-hand experience with crime and corruption in their own countries. But people in the 'West' (say, the United States, Europe and such) sometimes apply their own local logic on this case. They more often than not believe that there is not enough straight up hard evidence for a crime. Well, we'd say, neither of them getting lost! Both 'camps' resort to presumption a lot, as there simply is contradicting evidence in this case plus an abyss of omissions, due to poor investigational work. No, but there comes Occam's razor again: a crime would involve a smart criminal or an evil government, doing 'extra' stuff, like manipulating a camera's memory card, covering up things, falsifying or planting things and all that is considered too complex for some people. Some like to believe that all people from Boquete are yokels who can't string their own shoe laces. But that is nonsense and the guides for instance are often educated, speaking multiple languages and are street smart on top of that. Reminds me of a quote from The Usual Suspect, to link to the Hollywood snarl often heard: "To a cop the explanation is never that complicated. It's always simple. There's no mystery to the street, no arch criminal behind it all. If you got a dead body and you think his brother did it, you're gonna find out you're right." The simplest explanation did not change the fact that Ted Bundy, to name one of many, did outrageous, illogical and complex stuff, for which one could have found simpler explanations in theory. That (Medieval) theory is just a statistical chance estimation.

It's easy to cast this aside as far-fetched Hollywood fantasy, but (serial) killers have been known to do stranger and more intelligent things. Anyone following true Crime stories knows that you won't get very far with the attitude that anything 'too far-fetched' cannot be true. 

There are countless cases known of killers who created fake trails and who staged crime scenes, or who were otherwise highly intelligent and cunning. Think of the infamous Zodiac killer for instance. I find it odd that a small group of very vocal people on rather hostile platforms like Reddit for instance, seems to believe that it is far-fetched to assume Kris and Lisanne were murdered. They make it sound like murder barely ever happened in the history of that region in Panama, and that on the other hand people get lost there all the time. Reality is exactly the opposite though. There are dozens of disappearances and murders of local women and girls in that province during those years, many unsolved. Brutal murders also. But how many tourists got lost on he Pianista and beyond? A handful, and all were recovered in no time. Only Kris and Lisanne, a duo no less, without any plans to hike too far, went up in thin air. There is a hot trail of local guys, pictured with them in the swimming photo no less, who died afterwards. Facial comparison shows fairly clearly in my view that it are Kris and Lisanne who are pictured there. But some people do not even want to contemplate a connection. I fail to see why going with a statistically more likely scenario is akin to being a 'conspiracy theorist' and 'sensationalist', and going by the equally unproven Lost theory would be akin to being 'rational' and sensible - according to some folks taking the high ground online. Planting a backpack and an SOS sign (the tiniest, frumpiest, least clear one I have ever seen) is child's work, compared to the preparaton and smarts of a Zodiac killer, for instance. Same for shooting some random pictures in the dark of night. Sure, you need to make a bit of an effort to go out there, but (understandibly), people seem to forget sometimes that certain killers or criminals take pleasure from a cat and mouse game. Not all murderers are primal creatures who act without thinking or planning. Besides: we have to remember that up until now, nobody has actually identified the location of the night photos. What if this location is only known to people like Feliciano and Laureano that is located within 2 minutes walk from their fincas? It wouldn't have been as much of an effort then to take a few pictures of trees, rocks, some torn paper or even (possibly) of the actual location where the two were held.

In other words: this is an extremely complex case. Especially when you take in all the details, contradictions and details about the highly flawed investigation. And yet, there is a certain hardliner group online who tries hard to demonize and ridicule anyone who does not believe that these young women simply got lost or had an accident. Insinuating that anyone who thinks otherwise is an outsider conspiracy theorist. It's just childish psychological warfare. Or as Power-Pixie summarizes it: "Bottom line is that Losters pretend the principle of Occam's Razor does not apply to (all) their theories. They move the goalposts as needed." I also read criticism sometimes (usually coming from Lost believers) that my main blog is all fine but that I am way too partial in the end. I have honestly tried to report on the facts in this main 1st blog entry within this series, but I invite everyone to try for themselves to make a write-up of the details of this case and to remain entirely neutral and objective. I think it is nearly impossible. The moment you have to weigh up or even highlight existing theories or possible explanations for the big pile of strange elements and facts of the case, you are already stuck. So yeh I am biased myself and believe it was all a crime and a cover up, but I try to give enough attention to possible Lost explanations as well. And I read a lot of comments from other people and think I may (perhaps) get a bit why some call a crime scenario far-fetched. Mostly because they think criminals and perpetrators in these type of cases are typically:

-Not highly intelligent
-Prone to quick fixes, as opposed to well thought out, multifaceted plans
-Too lazy to go back to the tropical forest to snap night photos for a little less than 3 hours on end
-Too careless to still be covering their tracks 2 months later, when the backpack and bones were starting to show up.

I just think they could be wrong on this. And history teaches us the same, as there are plenty of examples of highly intelligent, well prepared, thinking ahead and planning-type of killers, who wouldn't mind a sardonic night out in the jungle to shoot some random 'puzzling' night photos. And there will be many more we do not know about, because they simple were never caught. In this disappearance case, the cover-up wouldn't even have been that intricate. I believe that after day one it were the perpetrators who handled that phone. It is easy to look in the call history and to just continue the pattern of calling 112 and 911. In fact, I learned from João who has the same phone and who really looked into all this, that you can in no time even stage all these calls of the next days manually. All you'd have to do is change the date and time of the phone, make the calls (in a place where there is no cell reception of course), then set the time to the next day, and so on. Even when you reset things to the right time again in the end, the wrong time/date will stay recorded for those specific call attempts, he says. So perpetrators didn't even have to go out every day to make staged phone calls, technically.   -    They wóuld have to go out and take those night pictures however, one evening. Which may seem 'complex' or a hassle to some, but it may not be that much asked when you are in fear of the long arm of justice. Or get some sardonic pleasure from misleading. I see no point at all for Kris and Lisanne to shoot just under hundred photos of mostly the exact same trees and sky. You see that v-shaped tree come back time and time again. There were no helicopters flying at night. Some people on forums try to push that myth, but by now, 7 years after the fact nearly, it is confirmed by those who have read the case files that there absolutely were no helicopter flying at night. As far as we know now, these heli's flew only a handful of times and always during daylight. So flashing the camera for attention from something in the sky seems out of the question. And if they somehow heard other humans (say, search troops, which also did not search or move at night which would have put their own life at risk), then screaming would have reached much further than the flash of that camera. I personally think that the perpetrators shot those night photos and solely to continue to create this Lost scenario. Adding an abstract photo of the back of Kris' head to give the impression that those girls were physically there and took those photos themselves. But we can't even see if Kris is alive or dead in that weird photo. A whole week supposedly of no photos (despite these girls having been in the habit of taking photos every single day, until the moment they went missing) and then these cryptic, non-descriptive flurry of dark pictures? They could have taken at least one of these photos in daylight - sun came up only a couple of hours later - if they really wanted to document their location. It is madness. People have been sent on a wild goose chase, if you'd ask me, based on these photos. Further cementing my suspicion is that no personal notes were left behind, no personal items left behind along the trail. And the planted bag only reinforced the notion that the girls just got lost; no perpetrator had to worry about incriminating evidence as long as they made sure not to leave blatant clues of their presence behind. And there was in in the end, indeed, nothing in that bag that tied it to a specific person. Other than - perhaps - the missing photo 509 or the multiple strange fingerprints and DNA. But with a weak forensic investigation to lean on who did nothing with these clues, a lot of doubt was - in my eyes - sowed either by design or through at least some level of incompetence.

As for the often uttered question why a criminal wouldn't just make the entire bag disappear - Reality is that the investigators concluded that the girls got lost thanks to the bag, the camera and phones. They provided the 'evidence' that the girls were in fact on the Pianista trail and made desperate night photos on day 8, deep in the dark tropical forest, all alone (supposedly). So a good move, if a 3rd person was behind this. Besides, the parents made it very clear in Panama, on camera, that they would not leave that place without finding their daughters. They vowed to this. The only way for those large scale search operations and camera teams to stop turning that area upside down, was if something would have been found that provided closure for the parents. And with a hefty reward offered, that would normally have been extra motivation. After Brit Alex Humphrey went up in smoke in the Boquete area in 2009, two more western tourists disappearing without any trace would have seem a lot more suspicious, back in 2014. And there were also a few dozen local women missing by then. Jeremy Kryt has also reported on the string of unexplained murders in this area of Panama, suggesting that a serial killer is at large, and in order to stay out of police's hands (even Panamanian ones...), you probably do need some level of cunningness and intelligence. I don't believe however that it was a serial killer who got Kris and Lisanne; I think a group of local men most likely committed a (sexual) crime of opportunity. Although I cannot exclude the possibility that a cartel was involved. But cartels don't usually fuss about with planted bags 10 weeks after the fact; they just make everything disappear because they are in a powerful protected position. Especially in corrupt countries. Kris and Lisanne may have perhaps managed to escape their captors on day 8, venturing off in a panic, but then they were recaptured again before they could make it to safety. Although my best bet is that those night photos were not taken by them; if you want to hide from captors, you do not usually flash your camera for hours on end, multiple times a minute, staying in the exact same location. I think they were taken by a 3rd party to make it look like the girls "just got lost", carefully choosing a location, the time of night and the photo angle to ultimately give nothing away. And it díd leave investigators basically empty handed, and created more questions than answers... The 3rd party also placed the backpack near the Ngobe village of Alto Romero two months after the disappearance. The woman who found it is no stranger to guide F. and I think it is theoretically possible that she was instructed where to find it the next morning, at a time when the ongoing searches by the families (they had amassed large funds through public donations for their Foundation to find Kris and Lisanne) must have gotten on some people's nerves. And by the time there was a significant reward raised for whomever found these Dutch tourists. And a third party also got rid of the bodies imo, opting to scatter only a few bleached or non-incriminating bone parts around, which could not help determine a cause of death. If the girls had disappeared without a trace, everybody would have suspected foul play from the very beginning, I think. But the findings of some minor bones and the girls' belongings sealed the case and determined it, baselessly, to be an accident. Who has most benefited from all this, one wonders? 

What did the Kremers family last say about their suspicions regarding the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne?
The Kremers gave their last interview in April of 2019 with a Dutch magazine. You can read the entire translation of this interview in my blog part 6. Summarized, the article states: "Five years ago the students Kris Kremers (21) and Lisanne Froon (22) from Amersfoort disappeared in Panama during a walk in the jungle. A month and a half later only a handful of bones were found from them. Until today there are doubts about what exactly happened"Back then só many mistakes have been made during the investigation", says father Hans Kremers. Until this day he has doubts about the investigation of the Panamanian authorities. Time and time again he and his relatives were confronted with inconsistencies. It was investigating judge Betzaida Pitti who at the time claimed that the two students had perished during their walk, but at the same time she stated that the investigation had not been closed. "There were many loose ends. In my opinion, and that of many others, many mistakes have been made." "I can still get very mad about it, but what's the point." 

"Hans still wonders if the students truly got lost and died in the jungle of Boquete." 

Hans still wonders if the students truly got lost and died in the jungle of Boquete. "We still have doubts about things like their digital camera and their mobile phones, with which they tried to call after their disappearance. After they disappeared photos have been taken with the digital camera. We were not allowed to mention even a word about this from the Panamanian authorities at the time." Hans Kremers also declared: "I have thought for a while about writing a book. I can write an encyclopedia full by now when it comes to errors that are made during the investigation. There's no point in talking in hindsight. We have to live with the fact that our daughter is no longer here" For a long time the two families (Kremers and Froons) were united, until deep underlying tensions arose, according to Hans. Tensions about the investigation into the mysterious disappearance, about the later findings of remains of their daughters and the way in which they communicated at the time with the media. Hans thinks it is pointless to start a new investigation, five years after the fact. "We picked life back up and will think about our dear daughter every day, no matter what Nobody can take that feeling away from us." - Aside from this article, I have it from sources that Hans and Roelie still don't believe that the girls merely got lost or had an accident... For what it's worth. 

And in one of their very first interviews (dated May 3rd 2014, which you can also find translated on my  blog part 6), both the Froon and Kremers family said the following: "All four parents assumed 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.'

My suspicion 
Going past all possible options, it is most likely in my opinion, unfortunately, that the girls were kidnapped very early on and were hidden in one of the many empty dwellings over there. Or in a finca where nobody would look for them. Abused for several days, then murdered and made to disappear, with exception of a handful of 'clue' bones to plant in the jungle close to Alto Romero once a significant reward price was raised, ensuring they would be found and end the search operations. Label: accident. Soon, no more deep forest and mountain searches took place; perhaps that is what the perpetrators actually wanted to achieve by placing these few crumbs of evidence. What could lie deeper in the jungle that was not meant to be found by investigators? And let's not forget that not everything that is known by the authorities has been revealed to the public. Not all the photos have been released and neither the full autopsy report, or at least not officially - it was anonymously leaked to Jeremy Kryt luckily and to some other people and its details worked their way to the surface by now. And there may be more information that has been kept out of the media. There are simply too many inconsistencies and question marks in this whole case to assume that we know all of it. This makes me more suspicious that something criminal took place with these girls and that local authorities may have kept the full story back, as to not harm local tourism more. The link tells you how much authorities feared the drop in tourism that was already noticeable one month after Kris and Lisanne went missing in Panama. 

People who think this is a far-fetched scenario; remind yourself that in 2017 a near similar scenario took place in the Panamanian jungle with a young German tourist, who was also lost and looked for by search teams. She ran into... the wrong search team. Three volunteers who locked her up and gang raped her for days. Had she not injured one of them with a broken bottle, badly enough in fact that he needed to go to hospital, I doubt she would have walked out of there alive. I think that with Kris and Lisanne, officials covered the whole sordid affair up, to protect their important tourist industry. And then the story of those two bodies found on May 16th of 2014... A peculiar tip was checked then: two bodies were said to have been seen near the spot where Kris and Lisanne disappeared. Police release a map with the spot where the bodies are said to have been found, which coincides with an area called Culebre, near the cable bridges and the river crossing. Representatives of  the Panamanian prosecution were sent to the spot, but bad weather prevented the helicopter from landing. They did circle for two days around the area and when the representatives did eventually arrived there, they found nothing. Shortly afterwards they stated it was a 'false alarm' from an anonymous telephone tipster, who called the police with this 'information'. No money claim was made though. Which is a strange extra detail, considering there was a reward of 40.000 dollars at that point for the person who found the girls. In this article it was reported that the radar of a helicopter did in fact notice two skeletons. Note that this region was already highlighted on May 16th, while the girls' backpack and bones were found much later, respectively on June 11th and around June 18th.. Anyway, more question marks. Also about Pittí's investigation. 

I have further fine-tuned my personal theory about what may have most likely happened in the end, based on a new swimming photo which was leaked by a key player in the whole case. You can read this updated theory at the bottom of part 2 of this blog series.  

But everything is possible of course. I read for instance about another chilling case of Geraldine Largay, who made a toilet stop off the path of the Appalachian Trail and got lost and perished in the woods, not far from the main trail. Here you can read more about her case. I followed the Gerry Largay case, it is really sad that this hiker got disoriented after a short toilet stop off trail. "The mistake she made was an easy one to make. The forest in the Redington section of the Appalachian Trail has a dense understory. Eighty paces from the path, it looks the same in every direction. If you fail to pay attention when you walk in—the wayfinder’s fatal error—there is nothing to help you retrace your steps: no landmarks, no boundaries, no white blazes on a wayside tree. Much of the area is owned by the US Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school, which teaches pilots and special forces personnel how to survive behind enemy lines. The Navy chose it because it’s hard to escape from". Gerry ended up dead in her tent, within a mile from the trail. She was also very close to a railroad track and an open clearing, thereby close to a spot where the helicopter would have spotted her. She did the right thing initially, staying put, but I think soon after she should have started to systematically walk 100 meters, then 200 meters, then 300 meters from a set tree, to all directions. Use branches to trail the way back. She basically tried to catch the attention of a helicopter from a densely wooded spot and laid in her tent, waiting for the end. I was surprised she hadn't used all her water even.   -   But this is a very different case from Kris and Lisanne I feel. For Gerry, not the same level and scale of search operations were set up, for one. Also, the findings in the end made it absolutely clear that she had perished, her whole body was found, everything matched the story, also the forensic findings. And of course the most important thing; she left a diary, she left notes, also for whomever would find her, she left text messages for her loved ones. As almost everybody in such a situation does. They are all that is on your mind in the end. Her body was found intact after two years and two months of searching. Her case has really no open endings, no strange details, it fits exactly with the events and it is pure tragedy. As I always say; the discussion is not IF someone can easily get lost in nature. All of us can. One toilet stop can mark the beginning of the end, if you get disoriented in the woods. But the question in the Kris and Lisanne case is; DID they get lost? I think the actual evidence and forensics points against this... There were more unexplained missing or dead tourist cases in the Boquete region. No less than 25 people are officially said to be missing until this day in that region of Panama (and more unofficially), and over two dozen unsolved killings and disappearances have taken place in the same region of Panama within the last 8 years. And most of them have happened after 2014 when the girls went missing... In the majority of these cases, no bodies have been recovered and no rigorous investigations were launched by authorities. Kris Kremers' father has said on Dutch TV that he does not believe they got lost, but that there might have been a homicide. 

This disappearance case is one of the most mystifying cases I've read about in a long time.. Probably because of the photos, their failed emergency calls and the thought that one of them may have passed away earlier and the other one had to go through absolute and utter horror alone. One moment they are happy and smiling, being young and vibrant and a few hours later they must have entered a state of hell, fear and soon after death... What makes this disappearance case so scary and gripping, is not just that we have two very beautiful young western girls abroad here, but that we also have visual evidence of what may have been their own terror; the night photos as well as the phone logs. I imagine them being out there in a dark hostile jungle, unable to call for help, perhaps running away from things or trying to find their way, but having the threat of death looming over their shoulder. That hunted feeling may be one of the worst types of mental torture. The fact that so much is written and said about it until this day, five years after the fact almost, makes me think there is a mystery element to this story which draws people from all over the world into this tunnel. It's no wonder that this case has been receiving huge amounts of media attention. This German forum for instance discusses the case and has almost 600 comments as I write this. This Russian discussion board has nearly 300 comments on this case. In Japan they discussed the case too. And in Norway. And websleuths has many threads about this case. And there is a prime Dutch forum on the case, FOK, with thousands of posts dating right from the moment the news of this disappearance broke. And of course, by lack of true facts about the pivotal part of this case, people are discussing all possible explanations. I found it interesting to notice that on many Spanish speaking forums and below Spanish or Portuguese spoken youtube videos on this case, the consensus seems to be that a crime took place (or the majority of commentators seem to think this is what happened), whereas on Western forums and discussion platforms people seem to give the locals the benefit of the doubt and opt more for the accident scenario. Perhaps because they do not actually live themselves in a Latin American country, nor know the local culture there. Or perhaps because they go by their own every day Western experiences, imagination and expectations. Of course, this is not Wales and neither the Dutch Veluwe; this is Latin-America, which has its very own (crime) culture, socio-economic issues and problems. Perhaps us Europeans have a hard time grasping that, because we don't know much about Panama and the local culture and crime history there. I also read an interesting observation by someone who commented on this case: "most people who grew up in the country and have experience hiking in the wilderness will think foul play is likely while most people who grew up in the city and are unfamiliar/afraid of wilderness will assume they "got lost" and died of natural causes. I am the former."

I've followed so many murder case investigations over the years but none affected me like this one. Probably because it is not clear what exactly happened and there are so many twists and turns, so many tragic and frightening aspects and details to the story, no matter which theory you believe in. And to say something more about what could have happened, you need to submerge yourself really deep into the case, which gets to your psyche a bit. Well I couldn't sleep properly for some time at least when I first heard more about the details of this case not too long ago. It seems to trigger the imagination of everyone: two young beautiful women on an adventure in an exotic setting.. Then the terrifying element of being lost in a hostile and isolated environment.. Or kidnapped by evil people. So far from home. The cryptic clues provided by the phones and the camera, glimpses into the girls’ final days. The bones make little sense. Like many others out there, I just got sucked into this rabbit hole. I am an avid hiker myself and have done so for years, often alone in desolate nature with an audiobook on my headphones, but I was afraid to do so for quite some time after submerging myself into this case, and even carry a reliable weapon these days... The ominous night photos are still unsettling for me to watch, even though there is nothing to actually see, but you feel the haunting atmosphere in them. It's almost like a Hitchcock movie, the suspense is perhaps even more frightening than anything. The stuff you imagine in your own mind, by association. The Blair Witch Project analogy has been made before, but it is pretty much like that. One of the scariest movies to me, despite not seeing a whole lot of creepiness; but you know something was chasing them. Forests are creepy anyway... To imagine these girls alone in the dark in a forest, methodically shooting photos that are incredibly creepy, with a so-called SOS marker nearby.. it is very frightening to me.  And I still get a shiver whenever I see the pictures from the girls at the Mirador; so happy looking, yet unknowing that they were scant hours away from the beginning of what must have been a terrifying end :( If they had turned back, they would have returned to town, had a nice pizza with a beer, and later that day hung out at the local bar, mingling with other travellers before starting to learn some more Spanish perhaps. One of them would have said "I think we were right no to push it, I didn't feel like it"... Instead, Kris' last line in her diary before heading out on their hike was: "Go with the Panamanian flow." Another reason why I was drawn to this case may be because I lost my own sister, two weeks before her 22nd birthday in equally tragic circumstances. She resembled Lisanne in several ways. 

Li ou wrote a good concluding comment in Juan's album [translated by me]: "Imagine what it must feel like, to lose your child in this way... First having to deal with them going missing for 10 weeks, and then being left with just a few bones and a statement that they got lost and perished out there. You are left with so many questions, there are so many open endings, but you are told that is apparently all possible when dealing with the jungle. And that you just have to accept that, because otherwise you are difficult and a nuisance. But if things really were so obvious, neither of the parents would have been left with doubts, anno 2019. [Or hired a private lawyer to challenge officials and try to push for better investigation, Scarlet] It is a disgrace that those people have to live with it like this. You would think if it all really was handled so honest and sincere, that nobody would leave these parents behind like that, with questions and doubts. And that officials would do everything they could to make things as clear as possible for them. But that clearly did not happen... It won't be easy and perhaps it is even annoying for them that people on the internet are still busy with this case. But perhaps that should just speak for itself. Because there is a reason why the public still has this need to discuss this disappearance. Personally I am not the type for delving into anything and everything and I do think about respecting the families. But we really have to see these things separately.."

When I tried to make some sense out of this disappearance case back in 2018/2019, 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 done on the matter which had not been highlighted or translated at all. 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 all this scattered and translated information together here. I also tried to broaden the narratives about what may have happened to them. In the hope that when more people know about this case, chances would increase that we'd ever find more facts and answers. 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, as the official case files were leaked and read, 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.   -   This case is officially closed and stuck in Accident mode. The Dutch prosecutors have admitted to having had a more diplomatic, submissive role in all this. Panama was leading in the investigation. Perhaps their main focus point from the summer of 2014 onward was the extensive investigation into the MH17 air disaster.. And with prosecutors in Panama and the Netherlands currently not interested in reopening the case, the only way this case can be cracked open again is when new evidence, testimonials or witness statements turn up. The time of collecting technical evidence is long gone. Bones in the mud is all that can perhaps be found, at this stage. And not even those missing bones will be found most likely. It's just disappointing that going by what is know by now, the Panamanian government did not live up to her responsibilities to more properly investigate this case of the two dead Dutch girls on their soil. The parents of Lisanne have accepted the official verdict that the girls died as the result of an accident. But the parents of Kris, together with people like Dutch crime investigator and ex cop John van den Heuvel and Dick Steffens, do not believe the official verdict until this day and suspect that the girls fell victim of a crime. All parents want to move on with life however, after looking for answers for a long time. 

The official timeline of events, presented to us by Panamanian and Dutch officials and the media and with more case details

Credits to FOK forum. Take into account that Dutch officials have complained openly that some of the information provided by the Panamese authorities was incorrect (and most likely some evidence and information has been kept from the public), so I am not entirely sure all of these official versions of events are correct to the T. But this is what has been communicated by the officials, the authorities, those involved in the search, the families and the media.

[Saturday 15 MARCH]
Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers arrive in Panama for a six week holiday. They board a plane from Amsterdam to Costa Rica. From there they travel to the Panamanian island Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro archipelago.

[Saturday 29 MARCH]
The girls arrive in Boquete in the afternoon, around 15:30 PM, with a shuttle bus. They plan to learn Spanish and teach children in a local school. Kris herself described in her diary how she and Lisanne got off this bus before everybody else, 'in the middle of nowhere'. They 'found the school in no time', and at Spanish by the River, they were then told where to find Miriam's place. There they had to wait for them, 'which was nerve-wrecking'. Miriam Guerra houses often international students and has a room for the girls in her main house. The girls plan to stay with this local host family in Boquete for four weeks. Miriam later describes the girls as smart and shy. Kris and Lisanne are both tired from their busy and social two weeks in Bocas del Toro, and need to readjust in Boquete. They don't speak good Spanish. In the late afternoon of Saturday March 29th they walk to nearby Spanish by the River to meet staff there. Marjolein explains them where Guardaría Aura is located, where they have to start their volunteer work on Monday.

[Sunday 30 MARCH]
The girls had a good night of sleep and have breakfast together with their host Miriam. They visit the language school and are told they can start their volunteer work every weekday from 13:00 PM. Kris and Lisanne are later said to have talked here about their interest in places like Barú volcano, the Caldera hotsprings and the Hidden Waterfalls. They post on their facebook pages and announce their plans to walk in and around Boquete today. Something which may have potentially drawn attention to themselves and their direct plans, according to some commentators on this case. They go out to explore the small town of Boquete. They take photos along a riverbank and while having lunch in a Boquete restaurant, called 'Boquete Bistro'. Sitting on a balcony they have a plate of chips in front of them with toast and an extra small plate of chips between them. They drink orange and pink juice from a can. Lisanne also studies a map that lies on the table. Some witnesses have stated that the girls talk to local young men this day, who have never been identified further. Kris and Lisanne also explore the area of the Coffee and Flower Fair. The girls eat dinner in a restaurant in town and arrive back again at their host families' place at the end of the day, before it gets dark.

[Monday 31 MARCH]
The girls go to the children's school in the morning, but are sent away there. They are told that they are not expected and they hear that there is no work for them. They can come back in a week's time. Kris and Lisanne are gutted by this unexpected news, considering they made solid agreements with staff of Spanish by the River - who arranged the volunteer work for them - about the work planning in advance. The head of the children's school had other things to do elsewhere it was later said, and had no time for the girls after all therefore, despite earlier made agreements. The head of the school complained later that she could hardly understand the girls, as they spoke no Spanish. Especially Lisanne does not take this set back well, as she planned everything meticulously at home. "We have been sent away" she texts her parents. "I am really very disappointed." The girls need to keep themselves busy for another week before they can hopefully start their volunteer work in the school. Disappointed and upset they go to Spanish by the River. Here they spend parts of the day, on and off, waiting for staff member Marjolein to hopefully find them replacement work for that week. Eileen is supposed to be at her work station, but Kris and Lisanne find nobody present when they arrive at the language school that early morning. Later that morning, Kris and Lisanne are seen getting into a cab around 11:00 in the center of Alto Boquete. It is claimed to have been Marjolein who sees this, while in a bus heading to David. They are also seen around noon by a local waiter of Bistro Boquete, Moises, walking toward the local supermarket Romero. They have lunch in town and Lisanne's Samsung phone logs in on the restaurant's wifi around 13:30. Later that afternoon they check out basic information about the Pianista trail among other things on the school computer. At 16:42/16:44 PM both their phones make a connection with the wifi router of Spanish by the River. They keep using the school's wifi until 17:26 (tripadvisor is also consulted). It is also known that they arrange for a massage later in the day with a masseuse called Sigrid Vernooij. She later states that she gave Kris and Lisanne a massage between 18:00 - 20:30. Sigrid later tells local TV interviewers that the girls appeared lively and enthusiastic and that they told her about the cancellation of the work at children's school and that their second choice of school was Casa Esperanza, (which said 'intermediate Spanish language skills' were requested; the same probably applied to the Aura childrens school) but that they had heard at the language school that day they could not start there either all week. And that they therefore had a full week to fill with excursions. Then there is also some unconfirmed information that one witness saw the girls attempt to start the Pianista hike this Monday, but that he advised them to make a short walking tour behind his restaurant instead. It was later assumed that he was confused about the dates and may have seen them on April 1st instead. Lisanne also wrote nothing in her diary entry from March 31st about a hike at or around the Pianista Trail, and neither does she mention it to her mother while communicating with her that day. That evening they spend with their host family. Miriam recalled later that Kris read a book in the girls bedroom, while Lisanne kept Miriam company a bit and told her that they didn't yet know what to do with their free time. She also recalled that Lisanne was sickly and that she didn't believe they would voluntarily make a very long hike the next day. No known tours were booked this day for the next day. Their diaries only show that both girls were eager to find replacement work that same week. Neither seems preoccupied in their diaries with guided tours for the rest of the week. Marjolein leaves for Costa Rica on Tuesday morning very early, leaving new intern Eileen alone to run the place.

[Tuesday 1 APRIL]
There are some facts released in the Dutch press which I haven't seen back in international coverage of this story. There is also misinformation and conflicting information circulating, so it is very difficult to be exactly sure about the details of this most pivotal day. This Dutch newspaper reported that the girls had looked for a guided tour for this Tuesday through a local travel agency, but that none were available. They are also said to visit the language school already around 10:00 AM to use their computers, but employer Eileen later denied this and stressed that the girls were last seen in the language school on Monday 31st of March, around 16:44 PM when they also used the wifi connection there (to others she said she last saw them there on the 1st around 13:00 though). - However, Matt revealed that Lisanne's Samsung phone last made a connection with wifi at 10:26 AM on April 1st, the day they went missing. It was long assumed that this was in Spanish by the River, but other sources since published that it was in restaurant Nelvis where they had breakfast at that point. (Cafe Nelvis was a minute’s walk from Restaurant Sabroson, owned by Edwin A's parents; more about him in part 2). Word is that they thought about booking a guided tour for Wednesday: together with Eileen they are said to have wanted to visit a local coffee farm and Eileen has later declared to have personally called guide F. to book him in for the next morning at 8 o'clock. There has been no further verification of this information and it is unclear when and how guide F. was exactly booked. Some people including the Kremers family even doubt if this Wednesday excurion was booked at all. Local guide F. has claimed in this interview with a Dutch newspaper, that he saw Kris and Lisanne at Spanish by the River "shortly before they disappeared" and that one of the girls was lounging in a hammock while the other was studying maps of the area. This fleeting meeting may have been on Monday afternoon, or even on Tuesday morning. In this Dutch newspaper it is also stated that before finding out there were no guided tours available, the girls had already gone online on a computer at the language school and read the information maps present there about the Pianista trail. Staff member Eileen was also questioned by a local resident of Boquete (Lee Zeltzer) and said the following on April 4, 2014: "I spoke with Eileen at Spanish by the River in Boquete who confirmed that the girls are missing. That they told noone where they were going but they think from brochures and the internet sites they were reading they were heading toward the Quezal trail or someplace in that region of the mountains. For those not familiar with the area that is a very remote mountainous area north of the pueblo." 

In any case, the girls are also spotted in a local pharmacy on Tuesday morning, which seems to match the information from the host family that Lisanne was not feeling very well and had a sore throat and an 'asthma flare up' (most likely a cold). From this news article: "Just before their disappearance in Panama, Kris Kremers (21) and Lisanne Froon (22) bought 'a remarkable amount' of anti-mosquito equipment in a pharmacy in the village where they stayed. That was announced today during a press conference about the case. It was Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli himself who spoke at the press conference. According to him, witnesses stated that the Dutch tourists who were taking a Spanish course in Boquete, on the day of their disappearance, bought 'a lot' of mosquito spray or milk in the local pharmacy. It is not clear whether the two girls from Amersfoort can be seen on images from surveillance cameras in the case. That would still be investigated." Unfortunately it was not said in which pharmacy they were seen and at which exact time. -  It is also reported in this Dutch newspaper that police confirmed that the girls have been caught on CCTV camera in Boquete, nearby a supermarket and shortly before they started their hike: "The girls have been captured on CCTV video in the center of Boquete, nearby a supermarket, shortly before their disappearance, says Ingrid Lommers. She was told this today by local police." Similar images must exist of their visit to the local pharmacy, although the camera images of them in a local supermarket have since been erased (overwritten) according to police. This must have happened despite police being aware of their existence, and before they could be inspected or released. Which could have been important for us, as there is still debate about whether or not their digital camera times were correct, or the time of the witness statements. I find this strange: CCTV footage is available, police know about it and have communicated about this with others, yet when they want to collect the footage it is already gone? Bewildering. The entire timetable depends on how late exactly they started their hike. Kris and Lisanne are also claimed to have been spotted that morning in restaurant Nelvis, having breakfast. The waiter there is Edwin S. who declares later to the police that Kris told him they wanted to go to 'the mountain' that day. The case file reports that Lisanne's phone last made contact with this restaurant's wifi at 10:26 am. 

Restaurant Nelvis in Boquete, as Kris and Lisanne visited it in 2014, Credit to Power-Pixie

Here it gets muddy and two different timelines are spinning out. Staff of the language school are later also reported to have declared to have seen the girls at the language school, Spanish by the River, around 13:00 PM this day. Ingrid, the head of the school, states in this news video that the girls were seen in the school on April 1st: "The last moment that they were seen by a female teacher here was really 13:10; an employer of us in the office also saw them walk away then." After that, the girls go to their room at the guest house to pick up some things, including their backpack and walking shoes. Twice they talk that morning with Pedro, from pension Casa Pedro. First they ask him where they can find the Il Pianista trail. He points them the way. In front of his house there are also arrows painted on the road, indicating the direction of the popular trail. But he tells the girls that another, shorter, trail starts next to his house. It is claimed that the girls first start to walk this much shorter route in the morning of April 1st. After roughly an hour they return to Pedro. They tell him that they want to go back to their guest house because they are tired after their walk. Pedro confirms that Lisanne has a nose cold and is a bit sickly. They ask him about the easiest way to get back to Boquete. He advises them to take a taxi, and not a bus (why is unclear, perhaps because the bus doesn't run often). He also advises them against also walking the El Pianista trail that day. The girls tell him that they may then visit the town instead. After this, he sees them sitting on the side of the road for some time, probably waiting for their taxi. But it appears that they ultimately did not return to Boquete, but ended up on the Pianista trail that afternoon, and beyond. If this witness statement is correct and they had already finished a short hike at this point, one wonders why they would so soon after opt for a much longer and steep walk up the Pianista trail? In this newspaper, the following is stated by Ingrid Lommers: "Lisanne and Kris then went to sit near the road at the hostel and spoke with the owner. Another man, who owns a nearby shop, saw them walk past. We are not a hundred percent sure if it was Lisanne and Kris, but it does seem that way." The travellers were described as two young backpackers who spoke English with an accent. After that, no trace is left of the two girls. "Nobody saw them get on a bus or in a taxi", Lommers says." And also: "According to Lommers, an American who lives near the path leading to the Pianista Trail spoke to the girls, encouraging them to take an easier trail instead, which is also fun. The travellers did this, but turned back soon as they were tired and wanted to go home." They didn't.

Regarding this taxi, it was stated that the girls were seen around 13:30 PM near the language school, getting into the back of a taxi. The taxi driver claimed that he picked the girls up around 13:30 in Boquete, and that he dropped them off around 13:40 at the start of the Pianista trail. He is named Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu (34). Two Panamese (young) men are already in the taxi when he stops for Kris and Lisanne. The driver asks the girls where they want to go; he speaks English. One of them answers in Spanish: "A la entrada del Pianista." First the other two Panamese passengers are dropped off at their destination and then very soon after the taxi driver brings the girls to the start of the El Pianista. Underway the taxi driver receives a lot of phone calls and he therefore doesn't talk much with the 'Chicas Holandesas', he later declares. After paying him 5 dollars the girls ask him where the trail begins exactly and the taxi driver gives them some instructions. Witnesses have later stated that they see the two young women get out of the taxi at this point. Giovanni Santoro, who has an Italian restaurant at the start of the Pianista trail, states later that he sees the girls start their walk and that they ask him some questions about the trail. The wife of a restaurant holder, Doris, is said to have given them the dog Blue as a guide. Halfway on the trail, the girls are seen by a resident whose house lies along the trail. This resident sees them climbing up the trail. Despite the Old Timeline placing them at the start of the trail at 13:45 PM , and many statements from locals living on the Pianista trail also placing the girls on the trail around 14:00 PM, the discovery of the camera and phones of the girls in June changes everything. The New Timeline, based on the digital camera photos and times, is now the gold standard. Regardless of witnesses and the taxi driver, Kris and Lisanne múst have started their hike that TuesdayApril 1st at 10:45 AM. Reaching the summit of the mountain (El Mirador) around 13:00 PM, according to the photo data*. Lisanne wears a greenish/turquoise sleeveless tank top and shorts, Kris wears a red and white striped top and jeans shorts. Both wear walking boots.  At 13:38 PM the connection of their mobile phones was cut off as they had ventured too far from the summit. At 13:54 and 58 seconds PM* Lisanne takes a photo of Kris near a small waterfall. It lies on the 'wrong' side of the walking route, leading them further into the tropical forest. The girls have not turned around on the summit to make the same walk back. They could have known this was the way back, despite there not yet being road signs telling them back then, because Marjolein told them this on Sunday already and because they read about it in the language school. Information there states that the trip takes around 3 hours up and down and that walkers need to return on the summit. Yet for some reason the girls have walked on. They had also read the Lonely Planet guide, which warns tourists that robberies have taken place in the past on the Il Pianista trail, although it also describes the Pianista trail walk as "a pleasant day hike". A local called El Hedonista wrote on this local information board on April 6th, 2014 for instance: "I have read reports of at least two different robberies on that Pianista trail. The last I read was that two known criminals were arrested and identified by the victims but were not kept after the victims did not show up for the trial (they were tourists and had returned to their home country). I'm quite certain I read that on this forum but it has been a while." With Lee Zeltzer replying: "Your information is correct and the authorities do have that information including names of the Perps." - Strange fact: according to her father and boyfriend, Kris last had contact with her boyfriend Stephan around 14:00 PM, by phone. This must have happened in a zone without mobile phone connection then.

Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, PanamaKris Kremers, Panama

Around 16:39 PM on April 1st, an emergency phone call is made with Kris' mobile iPhone. Because no connection is made (no cell phone reach), it is not clear from what exact location this call is made, or why. Twelve minutes later, at 16:51 PM, another attempt is made to reach emergency services, this time with Lisanne's Samsung phone. Both calls are made to 112, the Dutch emergency number, which should also work in Panama normally. At that point the walk back would take several hours and around 18:40 PM it would get dark. Their host Miriam notices that the girls haven't returned in the evening and waits with dinner, but she is not worried yet; students have more often stayed out late and Boquete has a lively nightlife. They may just be having a good time.. The local dog Blue does make it back alone to his owners at the start of the Pianista trail later in the afternoon, they later declare. This dog is said to have accompanied the girls, although there is no photo evidence of this: he is pictured in none of their photos of that day. Giovanni and Doris also do not raise the alarm.

[Wednesday 2 APRIL]
On Wednesday the girls are said to have an appointment with local guide F. for a tour in the area. He goes to the Spanish language school, where they were supposed to meet around 08:00 AM, together with German intern Eileen. But the girls aren't there. They also don't show up in the next half hour. Together with Eileen, guide F. then goes to the host family to see if the girls are there. The girls are nowhere to be seen and they don't respond to knocks on their bedroom window/door. Subsequently, this guide calls Miriam and she tells him where to find a key to the house. Around 10:00 AM he and Eileen spend some time in their room, reportedly up to half an hour. Alone, without police or Miriam present. The guide says later to police and the media that he felt instantly that nobody slept in that room the past night and that it gave him goosebumps. Eileen then calls with the head of the language school in Bocas del Toro; Ingrid Lommers. (Although locals stated here that Lommers was stationed in Boquete in fact). She is Dutch herself and already knew Kris and Lisanne from their weeks in Bocas del Toro, where they attended 'Spanish by the Sea'. Ingrid is initially not very worried, but instructs Eileen to inform the girls' families about the fact they didn't come back from their hike. Eileen also calls the girls' family in Holland. Lisanne Froons mother Diny stated in a Dutch talkshow that she was called in the middle of the night by Eileen, "just after midnight". With a 7 hour time difference in April between Panama and the Netherlands, this means that Eileen called her shortly after 17:00 PM Panamanian time. Eileen asks Diny Froon: "Do I speak with Lisanne?". "We are searching for Lisanne." "No", answers Lisanne's mother, "Lisanne is in Panama." She hangs up, confused. Then she calls back and hears the terrible news that her daughter did not spend the night at their host family and seemingly did not come back from a hike. The girls' worried parents say they normally received daily messages from the girls, but that this had stopped on April 1st. Both Lisanne and Kris' parents head that same night, around 05:00 AM Dutch time, to the Dutch police to report Kris and Lisanne missing case and to have Interpol alerted.

In Pama, it is said that the guide and Eileen go to the police around 19:00 PM. Although this local news article says that they went to the police together around 21:30 PM. But that is most likely when they returned to police, who asked them to bring some ID info of Kris and Lisanne and F. and Eileen then go back to the host family that evening to gather a passport and possibly also a diary of one the girls, to take it back to the police station. Eileen and the guide subsequently look for identity info in the admin at Spanish by the River. Guide F. is told by the police to inform Sinaproc the next morning of the disappearance. One can wonder at this point why they were searching the room in the morning, but didn't report the girls missing to the police until the evening.. During the afternoon Eileen accompanied guide F. to his private ranch in the jungle however. There is word that local guides including F. start looking for the girls on their own account this day already, although F. himself in fact says in the Answers for Kris video that he went out on the Pianista trail on Thursday April 3rd to look for them. This day, Lisanne's Samsung phone is used to try to call 112 at 06:58 AM. At 13:50 PM the Samsung phone is only powered on and powered off again. At 16:19 the Samsung phone is powered on and left on. The phone continues to be powered during the night of April 2-3. The iPhone from Kris is used once this second day, to call 112 at 08:14 AM, and while doing this, a screenshot photo is made from the telephone screen. Perhaps accidentally. Both phones are used alternatively. Language school owner Ingrid Lommers is later interviewed by a Dutch investigation journalist and tells the journalist that in the first few days, so April 3rd, 4th and 5th, many private searches were already taking place. By friends, locals, local guides; also people with an adventure company helped look for the girls very early on. Sinaproc started helping the search early on as well, but initially with few people.

[Thursday 3 APRIL]
Guide F. informs Sinaproc of the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. Sinaproc plan to start a large scale search for the two missing Dutch young women. Local guide F. urges the approximately ten people of rescue organization Sinaproc to make haste. But then Sinaproc gets a call and is told to stay put until more teams arrive from Panama City. By his own admission, guide F. walks the Pianista trail and the ongoing trail beyond the summit himself, all the way to the meadow ('paddock'), but finds "no trace of the girls". Guide F. also tells Sinaproc that Kris and Lisanne were seen at Spanish by the River with a map with information about the Pianista trail. He also knows that the girls did internet searches for this trail (this is what he most likely found out when he and Eileen went to the office on Wednesday evening, after police asked for more official info about the by then missing Dutch girls). Sinaproc are therefore told about the Pianista trail early on, but because they only have this second hand information from the guide to go on, they want to be certain and plan searches of a much wider area, including many other places that are popular with tourists. The case of the missing Dutch girls has also aired on TV by now and flyers have been handed out in and around Boquete. Sinaproc has a message circulating, stating that the two Dutch women were last seen at the guest house of Miriam. A helicopter is considered but the weather conditions have turned for the worse. This day, the Samsung phone from Lisanne has been powered on throughout the night. In the Netherlands, Judith calls the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the morning to notify them of the situation. The Dutch call the Panamanian embassy. - Between 02:21 and 02:41 AM a weather application has been used on the Samsung phone. Then on 02:41 applications of the Android OS were used, but it is not known which ones. By 07:36 AM the Samsung has only about 1% battery left and is powered off. At 09:32 AM the iPhone4 is powered on again and 911 is called twice. Then the iPhone is powered off. At 15:59 PM the iPhone4 is powered on and the contact “Mytiam, 00 507 679xxxxx” is looked up on WhatsApp. Then the phone is powered off. 

[Friday 4 APRIL]
On Friday April 4th, 2014 (so three days and 72 hours after the girls went missing), Sinaproc starts the searches. The Boquete side of the Pianista is searched as well as de Los Quetzales trail, the Hidden Waterfalls and the Baru volcano area. According to police, a helicopter and small plane is also sent up to support the searches. Some dogs are also used. Dutch ambassador in Panama, Wiebe de Boer tells Dutch television station RTV Utrecht however that the helicopter search was interrupted in the afternoon due to 'bad weather in the area'. What sort of weather is not specified, and it may have been simply unfavourable weather to fly a helicopter specifically, instead of a storm or something like that. Lisanne's brother, uncle and a friend arrive around this time in Boquete and help with the search actions. A helicopter flies this day also over the tropical forest north of Boquete, but this is deemed rather useless as it won't be able to see through the thick foliage. On a local Boquete message board, where the search operations are discussed, a member called 'Safe Home Security of Panama' writes on April 4, 2014: "A member of a horse search party from Volcan just contacted me and a group of men are going to search. The three trails most tourists go to are Pipeline, Wendi Burton's Lost Waterfalls and Quetzal Trail. We discussed the hiking spots. [..] If the girls said they were going hiking, not walking around town, or hanging out, then most likely went up the mountain "somewhere".  A bilingual woman will distribute fliers and speak to the Indians that live on the mountain, near the trout farm." Sinaproc also goes to the house of Miriam Guerra to look in their bedroom for clues. But an important detail is that it will take four more days for the actual forensic specialists to arrive to secure the bedroom of the girls (on April 8th)... A little too late probably, considering how many people have already gone in and out of that room by now. Kris' iPhone is used at 10:16 AM and 13:42 PM, seemingly to look for a mobile phone signal. The Samsung phone is powered on and off at 04:50 AM. At 05:00 AM the Samsung phone is again powered on and off. The battery is by then at 0%. 

[Saturday 5 APRIL]
Search teams continue throughout the weekend. A helicopter flies out on Saturday morning, but due to bad weather it gets stalled in the afternoon. This Dutch newspaper claims that 2 helicopters have been used today and a team of 40 volunteers have searched the area. However, the wind and clouds make a search by air very difficult. Search teams explore the areas of the Pianista again (the Boquete side) as well as an area north-east of Alto Quiel called Bajo Mono. On top of approximately 25 mountain search professionals, a team of around 20 volunteers helps also and goes onto the mountains, including local guides who drag themselves through the mud day in day out. In the area where the girls have gone missing live a lot of Indigenous people and they are also shown photos of the missing girls. Kris' iPhone is used at 10:50 AM and 13:37 PM to look for a mobile phone signal. At 13:37 the wrong or no PIN code is entered in the iPhone and it is not unlocked. Eileen leaves Panama this day. On a Boquete forum, a person named Allan wrote that on April 5 that all the trails on the Boquete side have by now been searched thoroughly by search teams, and that they also searched about an hour or two past the Divide on the Bocas side. Nine days later, the whole area including Alto Romero would have been searched… Contrary to later official statements that this search area around Alto Romero area was "too dangerous" to search. 

[Sunday 6 APRIL]
The owner of the language school in Boquete announces on the local radio that a reward of 2500 dollar is offered for the golden tip that leads to the missing women. SINAPROC's Security Director Lecia Espinoza later confirmed to Jeremy Kryt that the government’s search began on April 6—four days after teachers from the language school reported the women missing to police, and admitted that the first phase of the search was hindered because “nobody knew where to look” for the missing women. Kris' iPhone is tried to switch on at 10:26 AM and 14:35 PM but both times incorrect PIN codes or no PIN codes are entered. Two French tourists declared later that they made the Il Pianista walk this Sunday and were told by someone living on the route not to enter into the tropical forest, as there had been screams heard the day/night before. 

[Monday 7 APRIL]
Dutch police from Colombia assists with the rescue operations. President Ricardo Martinelli from Panama emphasizes during a press conference that his country is doing everything they can to find the women. He thanks the Dutch embassy “for the confidence” during the search party. According to sources, the searchers had difficulty choosing between two walking routes, one of which is El Pianista Trail. Thick clouds are hampering the search party now, a rescue service member tells. Rescuers are also battling with the Panama landscape, needing ropes to travel downwards. The parents of Kris travel to Panama to help with the searching. Lisanne's parents stay home for personal reasons but follow the case closely from there; instead their son and Lisanne's brother prepare to travel to Panama. The Dutch RHWW Rescue Dogs Foundation wishes to fly to Panama with rescue dogs to help with the searches, but the Dutch government do not see a direct necessity for this. 

[Tuesday 8 APRIL]
Kris' parents arrive in Boquete. The families spread video images of their daughters in the hope for new tips. Many volunteers offer to help the official rescue teams, but Panamanian authorities are not eager to allow large groups of volunteers in; they prefer seasoned professionals because inexperienced volunteers are 'at risk of getting lost'. In this newspaper article Sinaproc's chef Arturo Alvarado says on April 8th 2014, that his teams have by then combed through "every zone" where the girls may have ended up. In fact, they covered over 25 different routes in the tropical forest near Boquete and found nothing. Sinaprocs Alvarado goes as far as to say to the Dutch newspaper that he does not believe the two girls got lost. But that something else must have happened. Miriam Guerra, the girls' host family, confirms this and states to the newspaper that the girls were very quiet when they were with her, and had "no plans whatsoever to make long walks outside of Boquete". Neither did they have plans to go climb the local volcan Baru, she says. It is not sure if they did book such a trip with guide F. (as claimed) or didn't and which information given by the guide is correct. Miriam Guerra says also that they weren't dressed for a long tour, as everything was still in their room: their coats, wallets, Kris' passport.  -   It is also revealed this day that the women had lunch with two Dutch men in restaurant Nelvis in Boquete,  a catering establishment recommended by the Spanish school where the friends were taking a course, shortly before their disappearance. Police try to track their identity. Later they are excluded as potential leads in this case and the information is adjusted by police; it turns out that two other unknown men were seen having breakfast in restaurant Nelvis with Kris and Lisanne, but they were not Dutch. They have never been traced. A search team member, a woman, later declares to Lisanne's father (shown in the Dutch TV program 'Break Free') that at this day, some of her dogs acted dubiously in the jungle; she wasn't sure if they had caught sense of something or not, and she decided to move on. Later she regretted this and stated that she thinks they passed the girls close by at that moment, and that they were still alive back then (also based on the camera and phone data found later). And that she regrets till this day that she didn't double check.  

However, Kris' brother reported to the press soon after the TV program aired, that this was nonsense, as the woman's search operation was taking place weeks after the girls went missing, at a time when they were most certainly long deceased. Also, there is mentioning now of a sighting by several witnesses of a red car, seen later in the day on April 1st and around the time the girls should have been on their way back. Police never traced this car or its driver, although they did ask residents if they owned a red car or knew someone who owned a red car. Local Dutch detectives criticize this "slack" investigation method. And there is also information that in fact some witnesses díd see the girls return from their walk. It is not sure if this information is correct; there have been many false witness statements, placing the girls in town and in cafes when police knew for a fact they were at the Il Pianista thanks to their camera photos. But a certain Pedro Kapon is said to have declared that he saw the girls return down the mountain at the end of the afternoon of April 1st, asking him for instructions on how to get back to town. An American living at the start of the trail also states to have seen them come back down, inquiring about the best way to get back to town. Police today make a statement and announce that they covered most of the tropical forest (where the girls can be) but have some spots they want to refocus on. Someone spotted a ravine somewhere, with vultures circling above it, which can indicate a dead animal lying in it. In fact, tour guide F. also made such a statement on national TV also: "A mountain guide [guide F.] told us that if he saw vultures circling above the jungle. That would be less good news." Here you can see guide F. tell it on camera. More attempts are made to enter Kris' iPhone but every time the wrong PIN code or no code is entered. After 7 days of not using the digital camera, suddenly it is used again; no less than 99 photos are shot with a flash between 01:00 AM and 04:00 AM, mostly of rocks and trees in darkness. Theories of the reason for these photos range from trying to scare something off, trying to see in the dark, signalling something or someone or lighting the way up a steep rock wall. The photos are taken intelligently and sharply, investigators conclude. 

[Thursday 10 APRIL]
Data state that around 40 people go missing annually in Panama and that in Boquete, an Englishman called Alex Humphrey (29 yo) went missing in 2009. The police remove the personal belongings of Kris and Lisanne from the room in Miriam Guerra's house.

[Friday 11 APRIL]
Search teams will continue until the end of the weekend. Dutch specialists are criticizing the fact that search teams look again in spots that have already been checked. The longer the disappearance continues, the smaller the chances of the girls being found alive. A local Dutch-Panamanian couple hires a private detective to help with the investigation. News is also communicated that the girls bought large quantities of anti-mosquito products in a pharmacy on the day of their disappearance, and also did some shopping at a supermarket. At 10:51 AM the iPhone from Kris is powered on for the last time. Again no PIN code or a wrong code is entered (not further specified). The phone stays switched on for an hour and five minutes until 11:56 AM, when it is switched off for the last time.

[Sunday 13 APRIL]
The weather has changed for the better in Boquete and search teams circle around the spot where they previously found a little package with snacks and a single long ("yellow") hair. Neither turn out to be of any importance. This is the 11th searching day and morale is low. Later this day, authorities announce that they will stop with the search operations and scale it down to 'monitoring' the situation.

[Monday 14 APRIL]
Dutch investigations comb through the internet activities of the young women and their contacts in Panama. Spokesman Elmer Quintero says during a press conference: "If they were in the jungle of Boquete, we would have already found them." He rules out that the girls are out in the nature reserve. The intensive search is scaled down to monitoring phase, in the hands of the Public Ministry. Betzaida Pittí is put on the case. Her predecessor was specialized in rescue operations whereas Pitti is specialized in criminal offences. 

[Friday 25 APRIL]
Betzaida Pittí receives the case file, requested 'with urgency'. 

[Sunday 27 APRIL]
Kris' family has by now returned to the Netherlands, as well as Lisanne's relatives. A Dutch police team leader arrives in Panama, in order to go through the case 'face to face' with the Panamanian authorities. They exchange all information they both have.

[Tuesday 29 APRIL]
Pittí picks up copies of the hard drives of the computers of Spanish by the River.

[Wednesday 30 APRIL]
The families increase the reward money from 2500 to 30.000 dollars. Reason being that they are now expecting that a crime took place. 35 new tips come in, but none reveal where the women are.

[Tuesday 6 MAY]
Lisannes parents travel to Panama in the hope of giving the search actions a new impulse.

[Tuesday 13 May]
The families increase the reward money from 30.000 to 40.000 dollars, if the girls are found alive by someone, or for anyone able to tell about their whereabouts.

[Wednesday 14 May]
A blue shirt is found behind the Pianista, by 'a privately funded research team'. The families look at the photos and determine that it is not a shirt of Kris or Lisanne. 

[Friday 16 MAY]
A peculiar tip is checked; two bodies are said to have been seen near the spot where the women disappeared. Police release a map with the spot where the bodies are said to have been found, which coincides with an area called Culebre, near the cable bridges and the river crossing. Representatives of  the Panamanian prosecution are sent to the spot, but bad weather prevents the helicopter from landing. They do circle for two days around the area and when the representatives do eventually arrive there, they find nothing. Shortly afterwards they state it was a 'false alarm' from an anonymous telephone tipster, who called the police with this 'information'. No money claim was made. Which is a strange extra detail, considering there was a reward of 40.000 dollars for the person who found the girls, and it kind of excludes the possibility of the tipster being a gold-diggers trying to troll for the reward. But in this article it is reported that the radar of a helicopter did in fact notice two skeletons. Note that this region was already highlighted on May 16th, while the girls' backpack and bones were found much later, respectively on June 11th and around June 18th.. In the same area as marked on this May card regarding the location of these potential bodies. Unfortunately the hard to reach Culebre region was over time not searched by Dutch sniffer dogs (who were trained to find both living people and bodies), as they were not allowed to go there due to dangerous circumstances. They would search the Pianista trail however between May 27-June 4th of 2014. On a Boquete forum, a person named Allan wrote on July 1st of 2014 that "Both Panamanian and Dutch dog teams found no scent, as well as no kind of evidence or trace of the girls on the trail which they were reported seen entering on, which has led local searchers and Government officials, on both sides, to conclude that the women had never been on the mountain." 

[Monday 19 MAY]
Chances that Kris and Lisanne fell victims to a crime increase. A silent wake and march is held in Boquete by the local inhabitants and Lisanne's parents join in. Both Panama and the Dutch authorities finally allow special Dutch sniffer dogs to fly in to search for the missing women. Around this time several houses in the Pianista area are checked by police for signs of Kris and Lisanne, without result.

[Thursday 22 MAY]
Police search an Italian restaurant in the area after an anonymous tip that Kris and Lisanne were held there. 

[Monday 26 MAY]
The RHWW Rescue Dogs Foundation from Duiven, the Netherlands arrives with 18 people and 12 dogs in Panama to search for the missing Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offered to transport the dogs free of charge. The team and their dogs plan to stay until June 4th. Read their journal about the expedition in the link

[Tuesday 27 MAY]
12 Dutch sniffer dogs start their jungle search. The dogs, it is said, can track human remains as old as nine months, even if they are lying at the bottom of a river in high Rainy Season. The dogs are wearing cooling vests. They trace some of the same area that was previously checked by search teams. For nine days they plow through the tropical forest in torrential downpours and heat. Several farms and houses are also reportedly checked, but police make no announcements about this. The Dutch mobilize unique resources, this time a group of criminal investigators specializing in foreign disappearances. They investigate and make an electrifying public pronouncement: The women could not have simply disappeared from one of the trails. It sparks wild speculations, ranging from "sightings with shadowy young men, allusions to telling cell phone records, a mysterious anti-bug lotion in Boquete that could “impair judgment” and “cause odd behavior.” Even the hypothesis that an earthquake caused a landslide burying the students." But ultimately the sniffer dogs are not allowed to search the area around Alto Romero due to bad weather and dangerous terrain. 

[Thursday 29 MAY]
Again the Boquete side of the Pianista Trail is checked. Unfortunately the search does not expand towards the area of Alto Romero. In fact, not even the area right behind the Mirador is searched by the RHWW Rescue Dog Foundation. There are multiple versions of events out there, with regards to this. One version is that Han of the RHWW wants to continue to search behind the Mirador, but that this plan is cast aside, because the team agreed to only search on the basis of tip-offs. Dutch forum member RapaN. has another version of events however. This forum member actually called the RHWW some years back to ask them about the expedition, and they explained back then on the phone that the RHWW were in fact not given the green light to pass the Mirador by local police. Because Panamanian police believed that Kris and Lisanne also would have never kept walking beyond the Mirador. RapaN. rightly notices that if police indeed would have stopped the more extensive dog searches 'based on tip-offs', they could not even have known whether or not Kris and Lisanne had gone over the summit. Or did they believe that people díd see them come back down the Boquete side of the mountain or something? And how about the anonymous tip-off of May 16th, about two decomposing bodies being found behind the Pianista? They were gone by the time police made it out there. Yet, the Dutch sniffer dogs had no reason to search behind the Mirador now and were prevented from doing so by local police? Very strange, considering these help troops had flown halfway across the world for this expedition. In this Dutch newspaper article, the RHWW members state to have been bitterly disappointed when they went back to the Netherlands without having found Kris or Lisanne or any signs of them. The article does detail how the dogs barked at a certain point on the main trail and how trained rescue workers scaled down the slope there, but found nothing. "Kris Kremers' parents followed the search in Panama closely. "For them, the search work of the dogs means that they can now definitively cross out certain areas. There is no trace of the women to be found there," said the dog's handler."

[Friday 30 MAY]
30 mountain rescuers and specialists from the Costa Rican Red Cross arrive to help search. They stay until June 2nd. 

[Sunday 1 JUNE]
In Panama a TV reportage airs, investigating whether or not the girls fell victim to organ traffickers: "El misterio de las Holandesas" may be related to organ or human trafficking, or be linked to the mafia, according to this channel.

[Monday 2 JUNE]
Police receive a tip that a Dutchman who lives in Boquete and who has arms in the house and is said to be aggressive, has kidnapped Kris and Lisanne. During a police raid of his house, nothing is found.

[Wednesday 4 JUNE]
Panamanian police search local houses with the Dutch rescue dogs, looking for a scent hit. No results. The Dutch sniffer dogs found nothing. They will return to the Netherlands now. The dogs have tried to find a scent of Kris and Lisanne on the (Boquete side of the) Pianista Trail during their week long search attempts, around the Caldera hotsprings, the Hidden Waterfalls and the Baru volcano area. They also accompanied police during several house searches after tips, looking for new leads towards Kris and Lisanne. All without result, unfortunately. A disappointed local from Boquete complained on a public blog that the Dutch and their dogs were not allowed to search beyond the Mirador, where they had the best chance to find something, in retrospect: "The 12 Dutch sniffer dogs never sniffed the spot where the last normal photo of Kris was taken, that is situated 1 hour beyond the Mirador of the Pianista trail. They followed the orders not to proceed beyond the mirador. The reason was that at that time, everybody assumed that the girls could never have crossed the Cordillera. So why search any further? Twelve Dutch dogs, 18 of their Dutch trainers, travelled all the way from Holland. But they only reached the mirador and then they turned back."

[Thursday 5 JUNE]
A benefit concert is organized in the Netherlands. Profits go to Kris and Lisanne foundation. Artists like Wibi Sourjadi and Babette van Veen perform. 

[Wednesday 11 JUNE]
Search actions for the girls are broadened to the nearby country of Costa Rica (60 km away from Boquete). Flyers and posters must inform the Costa Ricans of the girls' disappearance. It was reported in a local newspaper that the girls' backpack was found by locals on this day, June 11th. A local woman from Alto Romero finds the girls' backpack near/in a river. This area had been searched prior by search teams by the way, who searched the entire area between the Mirador and Alto Romero. But they found no signs of the girls then. Despite heavy rainfall and months in the jungle, the backpack and its content is only slightly damaged. Police find their mobile phones, digital camera, 88 dollars, bras and sunglasses, as well as an insurance pass from Lisanne and an empty plastic water bottle. Police now know for a fact that the girls went to the Il Pianista trail, going by their photos. They subsequently drop another anonymous tip about a man living west of Boquete and the Baru region, who supposedly kidnapped Kris and Lisanne. It takes at least 48 hours until police manage to pick up the bag by helicopter in Alto Romero, on June 13th. 

[Monday 16 JUNE]
Panamanian authorities restart their search for the women, aided by a Dutch police team leader. They comb through the riverland and steep slopes in the area where the backpack was found. The weather is bad with rainfall. 

[Tuesday 17 JUNE]
A photo of the backpack of the girls is leaked to and shown in this Panamanian news item.

[Thursday 19 JUNE]
Officer of Justice Betzaida Pitti confirms that human remains have been found in the search for Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. Guide F. and six locals find bones and a shoe along the river Rio Culebra. Two different shoes are found, of which one contains human bones. This shoe with foot is found upstream. The laces are still laced tight and it also has a sock still inside it. The other shoe was not from the girls. A pelvic bone is also found and some other belongings including a jeans shorts from Kris; they are not all found close together. The shoe and bones are sent to Panama City for forensic analysis. Around 30 people are now combing through the tropical forest again, near the area where these bones were found. On a Boquete forum, a person writing under the name of Concerned wrote that "This area had already been searched previously and nothing was found. Two months ago, there was a severe (fuerte) drought in the area, that affected the water levels in the whole cordillera of Talamanca." This day Dr. Moreno performs an autopsy on the pelvic bone from Kris. It shows no signs of trauma - no fractures or signs of illness - but the bone does show minor traces of plant roots and slight damage from rodents or the likes. The autopsy report mentions that the bone has been cooked for four hours. Normally this can be done to help extract DNA from the bone, but there is no mentioning of DNA tests being done on the bone. 

[Friday 20 JUNE]
The girls' family make a public statement, telling the public that they have strong reasons to believe that the girls have passed away. The bones found are investigated and forensic and DNA-specialists say that it remains to be seen of the remnants can prove a cause of death, because the temperature in which they have remained, the humidity, the state of the ground, their rate of decomposition and whether or not they were found in water, will all play a role here. The shoe found in the jungle is from a Dutch brand called Wildebeast. It is only sold in PerrySport shops in the Netherlands. It turns out to be Lisanne's.  -  In a local newspaper an article appears, in which the last line reads: "Unofficially, the arrest of at least three people and the discovery of more remains were reported; however, this has not been corroborated by the authorities." Around this time, the Dutch NFI forensic institute also receives the backpack of the girls with its content. (But it somehow takes until September 2nd of 2014 until the camera case and the mobile phone cases are tested for biological traces). 

[Sunday 22 JUNE]
The forensic institute in Panama City confirms that the foot found is from Lisanne.

[Tuesday 24 JUNE]
The other found bone (a left pelvic bone) belongs to Kris Kremers, DNA tests confirmed.

[Wednesday 25 JUNE]
The spokesperson for the Kremers family, Jeroen Van Passel, wants the Panamanian Public Ministry (Attorney) to explain whether the death was caused by an accident, or if other hypotheses are considered. Van Passel expresses that the relatives hoped that Panamanian authorities would have restarted the search for evidence or clues in the disappearance, but they understand why it had been suspended due to bad weather. The family also request the Panamanian authorities to forward the contents of a camera and information from a cell phone that were found with other possessions of the young ladies inside a backpack. The prosecutor, Betzaida Pitti, points out that the Public Ministry (OTP) insists that the investigation will continue. "Right now no one is under investigation" in the disappearance of the Dutch tourists, "it's still too early to say any hypothesis. Let's keep looking" in the area of ​​the Talamanca mountain range, "but as it is an inaccessible and dangerous place we will do it properly", says the prosecutor.

The prosecutor, Betzaida Pitti, points out that the Public Ministry (OTP) insists that the investigation will continue. "Right now no one is under investigation" in the disappearance of the Dutch tourists, "it's still too early to say any hypothesis. Let's keep looking" in the area of ​​the Talamanca mountain range, "but as it is an inaccessible and dangerous place we will do it properly", says the prosecutor.

[Wednesday 2 JULY]
Betzaida Pitti, head of this case, flies to the Netherlands to exchange information with the authorities there "to meet with authorities of that country, in order to learn about judicial assistance." The purpose of the visit is to "analyze and exchange information on the development of research"

[Monday 14 JULY]
The families of Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers are still seeking answers to clarify what happened to them, says a representative of the family. "The hypothesis that they died after becoming lost is not definitive for the families," says a spokesman. "We are still considering the scenario of a possible third party being involved." This stance is based on "issues that have come to light in the investigation" about which the family "cannot give more details," says the source.

[Thursday 17 JULY]
The Netherlands and also the Dutch forensic institute (NFI) are faced with a great catastrophe when Malaysian air flight MH17 is shot out of the sky in Ukrainian airspace. 298 people lose their life and the NFI are forced to refocus their attention to this national crisis.

[Friday 18 JULY]
A remembrance service is held in Amersfoort, the Netherlands for Kris and Lisanne. Both families join the service.

[Thursday 24 JULY]
In a special press release the families of Kris and Lisanne announce that they feel the desire and need to both go their own ways and handle the ongoing search for more answers regarding the disappearance of their daughters in their own way from now. They will no longer work directly together. 

[Saturday 26 JULY]
Kris Kremers' parents travel back to Panama to start searching again on their own.

[Tuesday 29 JULY]
At approximately 7:00 am, a search for new evidence begins. The search team is made up of around 20 members of the National Border Service (Senafront), Sinaproc, Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) and the Public Ministry (MP). Their plan is to enter the mountains, including the El Pianista trail, for around three days to search for new clues. Kris Kremers' father will be arriving in the Boquete district later this week to closely follow the investigations. Police sources explain that the operation had not been reactivated previously due to the bad weather in the area, which could have endangered the investigators. The search will focus on the area where remains of the two women were found. The families are hoping that the additional search can uncover more clues and explain how the women died. 

[Wednesday 30 JULY]
Again bone remnants are found, by locals who are helping with the search and tour guide F. They later turn out to be from Kris and Lisanne.

[Friday 1 AUGUST]
Authorities start searching again, tracing the Il Pianista path for clues that might explain better why the girls disappeared. Kris' parents join the group.

[Saturday 2 AUGUST]
Again bone remnants are found. Later they turn out to be from other people: two bones belong to an animal, one to a local Indigenous person, another bone to a 3 year old child and a last bone belongs to an older woman. (It turns out 13 days later that one of the bones is in fact a rib bone of Kris). Dutch newspapers report that the Dutch friends already got into trouble on the first day of their disappearance and that they started their walk earlier than was assumed. They tried to call emergency services 8 times.

[Wednesday 6 AUGUST]
After speaking with Betzaida Pitti and hiring a Panamanian lawyer, Enrique Arrocha, Hans and Roelie Kremers fly back to The Netherlands.

[Wednesday 13 AUGUST]
Enrique Arrocha files a complaint against the Panamanian prosecution, in name of the Kremers family. They accuse Panama of mishandling the case and performing a weak investigation. Arrocha reveals that it turned out that after the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (Imelcf) determined the test that was done to the skeletal remains of the second finding (carried out by residents of Alto Romero) was negative, false evidence was possibly being created and planted: "They are planting bones and evidence, something that is a crime and that worries us," Arrocha says. 

[Saturday 16 AUGUST]
The bones found do in fact contain DNA material from Kris Kremers, research leader Betzaida Pitti announces. One of her ribs is found. 

[Monday 18 AUGUST]
Enrique Arrocha discovers that the findings of the Dutch NFI forensic Institute have not been passed on to the Panamanian authorities. Kris' parents make a desperate plea to the NFI to do so immediately. It turns out that the NFI report still lays waiting at the Dutch general Prosecutors desk. They later promise to share it with the Panamanian authorities asap. (Unfortunately they are very slack with this also). Here you can read an old blog post of the Kremers family about it. They state for instance: "In recent days it has become clear that the results of the investigation by the Dutch NFI of the backpack that was found, containing the telephones and the digital camera among other things, have still not been handed over to the Panamanian authorities. Our lawyer in Panama, Mr. E. Arrocha, came to this conclusion after a first look at the more than a thousand pages file that he has since been handed over by the Public Prosecution Service in Panama. The family would like to urgently request the NFI to hand over this information to the Panamanian authorities as soon as possible so that they can be further included in the investigation into answers about what happened to Kris."

[Tuesday 19 AUGUST]
Dutch forensic institute NFI start to investigate the memory cards of the digital camera and the mobile phones of Kris and Lisanne. 

[Thursday 28 AUGUST]
Enrique Arrocha walks the route of Kris and Lisanne himself with a research team and says that he is about 85% certain that Kris and Lisanne didn't lose track and didn't get lost on the trail. He criticizes the Dutch Prosecution for still not having given them the phone data. 

[Friday 29 AUGUST]
Locals who live in the tropical highland forest again find bones along the Culebra river: 2 bones from a lower leg, a small bone and a piece of skin. This is confirmed by a Panamanian forensic scientist, Mr. Trejos. The person who found and gathered the bones is reported in the case files as being mister Espinoso.

[Monday 1  SEPTEMBER]
According to Kris's family, the NFI report has been lying idle at the Dutch embassy in Panama for ten days now. Here you can read an old blog post of the Kremers family about it. One quote from this now defunct Answers for Kris website: "We have now understood that the much anticipated NFI report is still not in the hands of the public prosecutor in Panama, Betzaida Pitti. According to various media, the NFI (Netherlands Forensic Institute) openly stated on 20 August that the investigation requested by the Panamanian authorities had been completed on 7 August and that the report containing the results of that investigation was sent the same day to the Dutch Prosecution. That message is in conflict with the information that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service provided to the Dutch lawyer of the Kremers family on 14 August 2014 and 20 August 2014, upon request. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has informed the lawyer of the Kremers family that the investigation by the NFI would not be fully completed yet. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service announced that it would act on the request for legal assistance from Panama and that it would have been agreed with the Panamanian authorities that all research results would be made available to the Panamanian authorities in one go via the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice. [..] The Dutch ambassador in Panama has had the research results for ten days now, but he has still not made those research results available to the Panamanian authorities."

The Kremers family are very saddened by all this and continue: “Here we again feel that they are giving us the runaround and that we're being kept in suspense, while we are simply trying to find out what happened to our daughter and how she died. There seems to be little empathy among people in the Netherlands who are involved in this research and who apparently cannot understand themselves that it goes beyond the bounds of decency to treat families in this way. Since the beginning of April we have now been trying to retrieve telephone data and we have made this clear time and time again to the various parties involved. We simply do not understand that such a report then disappeares first in a drawer somewhere, until we send out a press release with a plea; and then its release is again delayed by a Dutch embassy, ​​while the authorities in Panama are just as desperate for it as the family. We hope that the Dutch authorities will soon come to their senses and that not only the Panamanian authorities may receive the report electronically today, but that we, as a family in the Netherlands, will also be added to the mailing list. So that we can have the information in our hands today, after chasing after it for more than four and a half months now. When they state in the Netherlands that it is only a case of the girls simply having gotten lost, and they no longer want to investigate the cause, then there is also no longer any reason or research interest for not disclosing this report immediately to those close to the girls. We expect that after this press release, the authorities concerned will finally understand that the matter is still very urgent for the family, not least because the weather is getting worse by the day in Panama where the rainy season will now soon erupt in its full glory, significantly diminishing the chances of finding Kris' remains. And with that also the chances of finding answers, which may wash away with the rising water.”

[Thursday 4 SEPTEMBER]
The new bone remnants found on Friday in the area where Kris and Lisanne died, turn out to be two large left leg bones belonging to Lisanne. Nothing more is said about the piece of skin that was found. Nobody hears who found the skin and bones. When Betzaida Pitti finally goes to the embassy to get the rapport, the Dutch embassy says they do not have it. Around this time, Arrocha challenges the Panamanian Prosecution in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He believes the Panamanian officials have performed the investigation into the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne sloppy and have been negligent. 

[Thursday 11 SEPTEMBER]
The Panamanian Public Prosecution releases the belongings of Lisanne and Kris. Kris's parents say they have not been informed about this.

[Thursday 18 SEPTEMBER]
The Panamanian forensic specialist Dr. M.S. Moreno performs an autopsy on the bones that were found on August 29th. IMELCF's director dr. Bandel is reported to attend the autopsy. The bones have already been investigated at this point by IMELCF's own genetic lab, who have tried to extract DNA from the bones. Moreno finds no fractures or laceration wounds on Lisanne's left tibia and femur leg bones. The tibia (shin) bone does show signs of periostitis. Like Romain has published already (see part 2 of my blog series for a review of his autopsy report findings), there were also some superficial traces of roots on the bones. According to Adelita Coriat, they had been foudn covered in mud. 

[Friday 19 SEPTEMBER]
An Autopsy Report is presented. Betzaida Pitti is convinced that the girls died eight days after they went missing. She admits that a lot could have happened to the girls and that she isn't entirely sure about it, but still suspects the 'swollen river' to be the culprit and that even assuming that the girls were murdered is 'irresponsible'. One sentence in the report states that “It is important to indicate that the N / W (north and west) is not marked, and therefore the precise location of the bone remains is unknown, making it impossible to locate them on a geographic map.” When asked by Adelita Coriat from La Estrella de Panamá what Pitti will do if she will find the bodies of the girls on the farm of some local, Pitti pauses and responds"We are going to kill them; [but] the criminologists of the Public Ministry or the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences do not give me grounds to think that it is a homicide." Criminologist Octavio Calderón strongly criticizes the Public Prosecution for not starting an investigation into the case.

[Saturday 20 SEPTEMBER]
In a response to Calderón, Ana Belfon of the Public Prosecution says she cannot start an investigation.

[Wednesday 24 SEPTEMBER]
The bone remnants of Lisanne Froon are flown to her parents in the Netherlands, on her birthday. Some local investigators as well as lawyer Arrocha in Panama criticize this decision, as the investigation into the girls' disappearance is still ongoing at that point. They fear it will never be solved now, because further investigation of the bone remnants is needed to perhaps discover a time of death at least. I like to add that I am sad for the families and the girls themselves that at the end of the day, after all their suffering, they only had a foot, one upper leg bone part (a femur), a lower leg bone (tibia) and a rib and a pelvic bone to bury.. And that these poor girls are most likely still buried somewhere in that frightening harsh jungle-like terrain in Panama. Quite gruesome that even in death they cannot be laid to rest in their home country, with their family. Arrocha also asks critical questions about the forensic report: A high concentration of phosphates has been found on the rib of Kris. This has not been further investigated.

[Wednesday 1 OCTOBER 2014]
The father of Kris Kremers appears in Dutch late night show 'RTL Late Night'. He says that DNA of an unknown person has been found on the backpack of Kris and Lisanne. Kris's parents highlight that they do not believe that their daughter and her friend Lisanne got lost in the jungle of Panama. According to them, two forms from the Panamanian authorities state that Kris and Lisanne were kidnapped. Fingerprints were found on the smartphones of the women, one of which has been found in the Panamanian database, the newspaper La Estrella writes.

[Thursday 16 OCTOBER 2014]
The Panamanian lawyer Arrocha is suing the Panamanian Public Prosecutor on behalf of the Kremers family in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for negligent handling of Kris's case.

On October 14th 2014 already, newspaper Panamá América had published a story, in which they claimed that sources close to the family of Kris Kremers had leaked that her family was contemplating bringing charges against the Panamanian state for negligence and violation of human rights. These charges could be brought to the Inter-American commission for Human Rights in New York. The family contemplated this due to the poor police work and the shoddy communication with them during the investigation. They may never have gone so far, because they would then have had to prove with documentation that the Panamanian state was negligent with guaranteeing the two tourists' fundamental right to live. Arrocha later did press charges. The families were by now still waiting for the full Panamanian case report. For anyone thinking that both families went ahead right away with the Lost conclusion; keep this in mind. 

[Monday 20 OCTOBER 2014]
The skin tissue found on August 29th is from Lisanne's leg, and was found in a remarkably good condition, five months after her disappearance. 

[Thursday 30 OCTOBER 2014]
Arrocha is appealing against the rejection (by the Public Prosecution) of the request for further investigations.

[Friday 31 OCTOBER 2014]
The bone remnants of Lisanne Froon are buried during a private ceremony.

[Tuesday 11 NOVEMBER 2014]
The remains and belongings of Kris are transferred to the Dutch embassy in Panama at the request of her parents.

[Wednesday 3 DECEMBER 2014]
A new (five day) search round in Panama is announced - an ultimate attempt to find more remains and to hopefully close the investigations. The Dutch RHWW Rescue Dogs Foundation will fly over again and Dutch pathologist Frank van de Goot will also travel to Boquete. He hopes to find more bone remains from Kris and Lisanne along or in the rivers in the vast land behind the Mirador.  

[Sunday 18 JANUARY 2015]
The last search results in a great deception. Due to weather conditions and the risk of flash floods, the search teams have never made it to the river. Prosecutor Pittí has been told she is no longer senior prosecutor and is taken off the case. She unfortunately gets a knee/ankle injury during this last search operation.

[Monday 2 MARCH 2015]
Taxi driver Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu (34) drowns apparently in a river under unclear circumstances.

Package deals, which Kris and Lisanne also booked (Spanish classes, housing, volunteer work and the lot):

More Boquete impressions; what Kris and Lisanne would have seen and encountered during their stay:



Old press releases of the Kremers family on the now defunct Answers for Kris website, showing just how atrocious they were treated at times by the case officials

Thanks to Power Pixie for finding all this information. On the now defunct Answers for Kris website (see an archive version here), they wrote for instance on July 25th of 2014: "The past weeks we, the parents of Kris Kremers, decided to continue the search for answers for Kris on our own initiative. The information shared with us gives rise to many questions and does not yet provide answers. A conclusion about what may have happened cannot be drawn at the moment. For us it has still not been established that they merely 'got lost'. On Friday, July 18, we wanted to conclude the joint part with the remembrance meeting. We cannot emotionally say goodbye to Kris as long as there is so much uncertainty. We will continue to search until we have done everything possible to find answers. It is still unclear to us what happened and the facts are still incomplete and too many 'illogical' steps are presumed to have been taken by our girls, which we cannot explain by their character or the circumstances they may have found themselves in. There is a great desire and need to find out what exactly happened to them and whether others were involved in this after all. For this we need the data that can be retrieved from the telephones and the camera. We are still largely waiting for this, but hope to receive at least part of it next week. In addition, we are counting on the authorities to start that other search for remains in the coming weeks. So we can find more of the girls and finally say goodbye to them. Because the joint part of the search is now being closed, we as parents of Kris Kremers feel the need to launch a new website with which we want to keep the Netherlands, Panama and the media informed about the next steps in this search and the results that this will bring. The Vind Kris en Lisanne foundation will continue to function. We will of course keep the Froon family informed of the progress. The new site will be operational within a few days and will be further supplemented with information."
**On May 29th of 2014, the parents of Kris had already said to local newspaper La Prensa: "My daughter was kidnapped! I don't know by who, but I'm sure she was kidnapped." Kris' parents have repeated this statement in multiple interviews which I cover here in this blog series. 

On August 18th of 2014 the Kremers family wrote
"In recent days it has become clear that the results of the investigation by the Dutch NFI of the backpack that was found, containing the telephones and the digital camera among other things, have still not been handed over to the Panamanian authorities. Our lawyer in Panama, Mr. E. Arrocha, came to this conclusion after a first look at the case file that he has since been handed over by the Public Prosecution Service in Panama, which contains more than a thousand pages. The family would like to urgently request the NFI to hand over this information to the Panamanian authorities, as soon as possible, so that they can be further included in the investigation into answers about what happened to Kris. We hereby make a personal request to the Dutch Forensic Investigators of the NFI (Netherlands Forensic Institute) to release the results of the investigation that is taking place in the Netherlands as soon as possible, and to make them known to the authorities in Panama who - just like the family - are eagerly awaiting them ever since the backpack was discovered. Our lawyer in Panama, Mr. E. Arrocha, has this weekend made an open request in the media to the Dutch Ambassador in Panama, Mr. W. de Boer. He has been asked to take measures and to ensure that the results are sent to Panama as soon as possible. The investigation that is taking place in the Netherlands into the backpack, the telephones and the camera is vital for further investigation into what may have happened. We do not understand why the report has still not been sent, despite knowing that investigations have already taken place and the results are already known. In the unlikely event that there are investigations that have not yet been completed, we request the NFI to share the already established conclusions with the Public Prosecution Service in Panama so that there is no unnecessary delay regarding matters that are already known and can be of help to the current investigation there. Obviously we hope that the NFI will be able to complete the process as quickly as possible and will fully report the Public Prosecution Service. The Kremers family has also received a telephone message from the Dutch Police team that the remains that were found on July 31, 2014 in the river where the backpack was previously found, are partly from Kris Kremers. DNA research has now confirmed this. We are currently still waiting for the written confirmation from the Public Prosecution Service of Panama, in which everything is officially confirmed and which will hopefully make clear what the exact scientific findings are. Of course we hope that more mortal remains will be found as soon as possible, so that this also possibly increases the chance of gaining clarity in what exactly happened to Kris."

On September 1st of 2014 the Kremers family wrote:
"We have now understood that the much anticipated NFI report is still not in the hands of the public prosecutor in Panama, Betzaida Pitti. According to various media, the NFI (Netherlands Forensic Institute) openly stated on 20 August that the investigation requested by the Panamanian authorities had been completed on 7 August and that the report containing the results of that investigation was sent the same day to the Dutch Prosecution. That message is in conflict with the information that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service provided to the Dutch lawyer of the Kremers family on 14 August 2014 and 20 August 2014, upon request. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has informed the lawyer of the Kremers family that the investigation by the NFI would not be fully completed yet. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service announced that it would act on the request for legal assistance from Panama and that it would have been agreed with the Panamanian authorities that all research results would be made available to the Panamanian authorities in one go via the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice. [..] The Dutch ambassador in Panama has had the research results for ten days now, but he has still not made those research results available to the Panamanian authorities. The family understood from the Panamanian authorities that it had been agreed initially and that it was also necessary at that time that the investigation results should be made available to the Panamanian authorities in this way. However, due to the deteriorating weather conditions in Panama, the Panamanian authorities have cleared the way for the digital transmission of the research results in the meantime. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) has apparently not been able or willing to cooperate with this and has now made the investigation results available to the Dutch ambassador in Panama via the initially agreed route. The Dutch ambassador in Panama has now had the investigation results for ten days, but he has still not made the investigation results available to the Panamanian authorities. The lawyer of the Kremers family in Panama - as well as the public prosecutor in Panama - has already tried several times to contact the Dutch ambassador, so that the investigation results quickly end up in the right place. However, the Kremers family has understood that the Dutch ambassador in Panama has not responded at all these urgent requests, let alone that the investigation results (which have been available for almost a month now) have already been made available to the Panamanian authorities. Meanwhile, the lawyer of the Kremers family in the Netherlands has also submitted a request to the OM to make the available investigation results - as far as possible - available digitally to the Panamanian authorities. This is important not only to be able to continue the investigation in Panama, but also because of the fact that the results of the investigation can only be made available to the Kremers family by the Panamanian authorities

“Here we again feel that they are giving us the runaround and that we're being kept in suspensewhile we are simply trying to find out what happened to our daughter and how she died. There seems to be little empathy among people in the Netherlands who are involved in this research and who apparently cannot understand themselves that it goes beyond the bounds of decency to treat families in this way. Since the beginning of April we have now been trying to retrieve telephone data and we have made this clear time and time again to the various parties involved. We simply do not understand that such a report then disappeares first in a drawer somewhere, until we send out a press release with a plea; and then its release is again delayed by a Dutch embassy, ​​while the authorities in Panama are just as desperate for it as the family. We also understand from Ms Pitti that there may also be alternative and faster ways to get such a report on her desk if they choose so. We hope that the Dutch authorities will soon come to their senses and that not only the Panamanian authorities may receive the report electronically today, but that we, as a family in the Netherlands, will also be added to the mailing list. So that we can have the information in our hands today, after chasing after it for more than four and a half months now. When they state in the Netherlands that it is only a case of the girls simply having gotten lost, and they no longer want to investigate the cause, then there is also no longer any reason or research interest for not disclosing this report immediately to those close to the girls. We expect that after this press release, the authorities concerned will finally understand that the matter is still very urgent for the family, not least because the weather is getting worse by the day in Panama where the rainy season will now soon erupt in its full glory, significantly diminishing the chances of finding Kris' remains. And with that also the chances of finding answers, which may wash away with the rising water. In recent weeks we've been told more and more by authorities; "You cannot accept the death of your daughter and are holding on to straws against your better judgement." It's not so that we as a family cannot accept that Kris is gone. But we cannot accept that not everything is done to find out how she died and why she died. If only to hopefully save this fate for other families. That's why we now want to get to the bottom of what went wrong, as much as this is possible. This isn't the first time this has happened to a family in Boquete and if we don't act now, it may neither be the last. You wouldn't wish this on your worst enemy! Searching for answers for Kris is the last thing we can do now in her name and we will not fail to do so, even if no one else can see the importance of that.”

On September 9th of 2014 the Kremers family wrote
"Both in the Netherlands and Panama, we are still waiting for the full report from the NFI (Netherlands Forensic Institute). The NFI allegedly investigated the phones and did DNA tests on the backpack and other items found on June 14th in Panama. In addition, overall we have also still not received any new DNA reports about the previously found remains, for example of Kris' jeans. We understand that on Friday, August 29th, mortal remains were again found by Indians in Panama. This makes it clear that you can no longer speak about a find that is accidentally made by Indians who accidentally pass by. We would therefore once again like to urge the authorities to keep to the promise already made to us and also in the media in June, namely that they will carry out a serious, extensive search along the river at the place where remains have been found before and where new finds continue to be made. So that we are able to repatriate as many remains as possible to the Netherlands. So far no such serious action has taken place on their behalf. We want to make sure that everything we will receive eventually, will also be everything that could be found with the full efforts of the authorities! As a family, we cannot say goodbye and bury remains of our loved once they are released, if it is at the same time highly likely that new remains can be found the next week. But this is actually what is happening in reality now. It is terribly difficult for us as parents and brothers, but also for uncles, aunts and friends to realize that 2 months in, so many remains of Kris have not been found and that they are lying somewhere along a river where people apparently do regularly pass.

We want for the authorities to now finally indicate to us when they will carry out their promise and actually start looking for the remains of Kris. If there will be no new search, executed with the full commitment from the authorities, then we would like to be informed about this right now so that we as a family can set up a decent search ourselves. In order to end this nightmare and the unbearably persistent uncertainty under which we have been living since April 1st. More than two months have now passed since the backpack was found and we know exactly where we have to be, but still we have hardly received any information about the phones or other information. For example, location data can be used to determine exactly where we need to be and whether we can continue the investigation with that new factual information. It is incomprehensible that this information is still not shared with our lawyers.

On March 4th of 2015 the Kremers family wrote
"Kris and Lisanne likely had a deadly accident near the Pianista trail, according to a team of forensic specialistsAt the beginning of January a team including forensic specialists, members of the Rescue Dogs Foundation RHWW and specialists from the Panamanian authoritie straveled again to Boquete Panama, in order to complete a final search for answers there. The search was initiated by the Kremers family, on behalf of both families and with the support of the 'Vind Kris and Lisanne Foundation'. The assignment was to organize one last search to find as many remains of the girls as possible. In addition to the search for remains, the team of forensic specialists has carried out an extensive analysis of various scenarios that are considered most likely. The team of specialists, experienced in searching for mortal remains and in the investigation of crime scenes, has searched the catchment area of ​​several rivers that all flow into the Culebra River, where the belongings and remains of Kris and Lisanne were previously found. Given the amount of time that has since passed and the rapidly changing water levels, the chance of ever finding more remains is very small. The fast flowing water takes everything with it and regularly refreshes the entire catchment area. The team, assisted by the local guides and residents, have walked the Pianista trail, like Kris's parents did did last August. That getting lost on this trail is very unlikely is now also confirmed by these specialists. Frank van der Goot led the team during the tour and says: "The area where some things are supposed to have taken place, simply does not lend itself to getting lost. Anyone who still considers it a realistic possibility nowadays that they got lost, has certainty never physically traversed this particular route themself."

The scenario surrounding a crime was also thoroughly checked. Frank van der Goot was outspoken about this: "The geographical conditions, the social conditions and the technical facts as emerged from the forensic investigation, make a crime in the form of a robbery, sex crime, violent crime or kidnapping very unlikely."

What remains for Frank van der Goot is a fatal accident, possibly caused by an unfortunate fall. “The last part of the descent of the Pianista in particular has geographic possibilities of falling. Assuming a fall from these slopes, the foreland of the faller(s) lies in the bed of one of the rivers that flow into the Culebra river. The conditions in the riverbed correspond to the photos found on the found camera. A fall is also a conclusion that could fit with the results of the investigation of the remains that were found.”

The rescue dogs team and the Panamanian authorities have tried to approach the site where items and remains were found, but had to stop the search due to bad weather. Despite the enormous effort and willingness of the people of the RHWW Foundation, it was impossible to search. What this search did yield was the fact that a person involved who knows the area very well, has viewed the dark photos. He had not been given opportunity earlier. He came to the conclusion that the forensic specialists pointed out and where they believe the accident took place. Although nothing can be determined with certainty, due to the limited leads available, the team of forensic specialists believes it most likely that Kris and Lisanne were killed as a result of a fatal accident in which they may have slid down a slope. Climbing back up was out of the question without proper aids. Frank van der Goot:“There is an enormous height difference of 30-40 meters in the event of a fall at this spot, which makes the risk of injury very likely. Moreover, the stream is surrounded on both sides by waterfalls and the riverbed is surrounded by a steep rock face of a few meters.” [Scarlet: it is a real shame that this spot has never been photographed and published as such]. The place where this may have happened has been designated by several persons, independent of each other, acting without any self-interest. Now that we have also received confirmation from the NFI that the remains found are from Kris, we can actually arrange a funeral. As a family we are relieved that we finally have a possible and plausible explanation for all the questions we had about Kris's death. We would like to thank everyone who has worked hard to find an answer to the question of what could have happened to Kris and Lisanne since their disappearance on April 1st last year. Big thanks for their dedication and commitment to working with us to achieve this result."

Notwithstanding this clear last press release, I understand from later statements from people like Dick Steffens and later interviews from the Kremers family, that overtime they seem to still be left with some doubts about what ultimately happened to Kris and Lisanne. Regarding Frank van der Goots case statements, Tharindu wrote me: "After reading those press releases of the Kremers family regarding the delayed NFI report, I'm not sure what was going on behind the curtain. Even the forensic specialists like Frank van der Goot conveyed in "Lost in the Wild" episode that Kris and Lisanne encountered something else rather than getting lost or having an accident. If they actually had fallen from a height of 30-40m, it must be a weird accident like selfie accident (falling from heights) but where?" -  Yes, and the strangest thing about Frank van der Goots initial claims, is that he never pointed out this supposed cliff where they must have fallen. He was pretty specific initially; it had to be a significant fall. At the bottom of this ravine of sorts, a river had to cross to enable the remains to be washed away. It's not like the entire trail is surrounded by such specific cliffs. Why hasn't he made a photo of his designated spot? Or have a camera team film it? No. Instead it's all rather vague, but a lot of people run with it nevertheless. To me it is nothing more than a wishful theory therefore. And yes, a very odd accident indeed then, and one which could break the healthy 21-year olds pelvic bone, but not leave a single scratch on their sunglasses and camera... No blood anywhere either. No blood remnants on the clothes or bag, not even microscopic ones. No drag marks, nothing. It's just not a very convincing conclusion I think, all in all. Here are the statements of Frank van der Goot in his most recent media performance regarding this case:

 For more and new case information, including new leaks, the swimming photo, new theories and interviews, keep reading here in my part 2 blog post on the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne
And here you can read [restored] reader comments
Volkskrant - A fatal hike


  1. Well, I have read through a lot of your blog, and as for your style, it is a kind of stream of consciousness, thinking as you go kind of affair. I am like that too. I am fairly new to this tragedy, I worked in Engineering for 40 years problem solving so my skills of observation and deduction are rather finely honed. I agree with you on a lot of the points you have made, and I think there is more than one possible scenario of what happened, and short of some perpetrator coming forth with videos and skulls, it will remain so. I will write my thoughts at some point, soon. A ton of great info here about this case. Congratulations! I know that was a lot of work.
    So in a 1000 words or less, what ARE your conclusions? I couldn't sort them out in the flurry of paragraphs. Thank you, Scarlet

    1. Thanks for reading my blog and following this case zOOmz. I think personally that Kris and Lisanne met foul play. I don't exclude the possibilty that they were followed on the Pianista or ran into someone or some people beyond the summit of the trail, who whisked them away. But I believe more so that the swimming photo is legit and that these young women met with a local group of young men who were involved in their disappearance. Perhaps they were offered a ride home after the swim, and the wrong expectations were created somehow and they were driven somewhere else. Or maybe the swim took place before the Pianista hike and these locals knew about their plans and somehow interfered with their hike. But I believe that local guys their own age could be the key and that it was the father/local guide(s) who then tried to cover up for it and steer the investigation in a different direction. There would be some level of strategic intelligence involved (with staging of the phone calls after day 1 and staging of the night photos on night 8 plus planting of the backpack and bones) but I believe the forensic findings in this case and the very odd use of the phones and total absense of selfies/messages/personal use of the camera and phones does point in this direction. 

      Best wishes Scarlet

  2. Reminds of case in late 2018 or so of young girls killed in Morroco brutally. Were they from the Netherlands too? Please no more young women from there getting harmed
    The world is not safe and risk factors in certain regions are female, light hair and skin.
    I think there is need for awareness in Netherlands of other countries risk levels. I would never hike in panama or camp in morroco. I have been in the middle of the ocean on a small sailboat, traveled alone abroad etc, am not unadventurous. Feel terrible these girls didn't know and makes realize the naivité of countries with low crime etc. Panama is not safe. No reason to go. South America is iffy as a whole. Humans are evil, the cruelest of species, sick vile deranged
    I think the tour guide should be investigated based on what read ---

    Kind regards

    1. Hi, yes that was a gruesome case.. I was stupid enough to view the video of what happened, which was circulating at the time. Stuff you can never erase again from your memory (don't watch). It is certainly so that shielded upbringings in the free western world can sometimes create this fake sense of security, when going out in the big world. Many tourists are kidnapped each year in countries like Brazil as well, believing they get into a registered cab or bus, when in fact they are being kidnapped. You cannot prevent everything. But it is good to at least be aware of certain risks in other countries. I mean, everyone can step under a bus by accident anywhere, but flying a drone in, let's say Iran, poses significantly more risk than doing so in Lapland. And latin American countries come with their own set of possible risks.

  3. From the phones usage logs it does look like abduction likely took place but not in an overtly hostile way as most seem to suggest, but in a mix of forced friendly manner as seen in the swimming photo, so as to willingly perform acts on them at a secluded place without necessarily killing or kidnapping them. This may have been their habit that they might have indulged in several times previously as is indicated by their much earlier photos at the same place with other girls. After the last day photo the boys may have taken them further by some internal route towards that spring to avoid being seen, which is also indicated by the lack of good phone network reception again. At the secluded holding place the bag may have been kept where they couldn't reach without being seen, also knowing well there was no good mobile network connection there to make calls, leaving them only few moments in the day to quickly reach for the phone when out of sight. This could be the reason why they only dialled emergency so that in haste it doesn't leave a distressed call log or text for the captors to discover and turn overt. It looks like later they moved to another property deeper where there was no network picked, and this may have continued there until one morning tired of appeasing them Kris tried to run or was sexually assaulted, leading them to kill her to shut her and probably also sealing Lisanne's fate. These boys may have then schemed and later that day taken the bag from the cabin to build fake accident evidence from what they could use in it, leaving Lisanne no phone access for few days until she finds it again on the morning of 10th and is able to check phone network for two more days. In that time the captors may also have tried to feed her the story of lost jungle accident and the photos for some time which didn't work to satisfaction, but nothing changed for Lisanne till 11th after which the same might have happened with her at some point later. The bodies and belongings may have been stored hidden until search heat was over and incident forgotten to then dispose them off. But then much later motivated by the large reward some evidence may have been planted which otherwise wasn't intended to be revealed.

  4. Did guide F. happen to be out of town from 7 to 9 April? Because the phones weren't used in those days, and the night photos were taken on the 8th in a place that nobody from Boquete seems to recognize...

  5. I’m seriously impressed by all your work, as well as that of Juan, the guys from imperfect plan, the backpackercoach and so on. Respect! I chose to react on this page, because I’m a strong supporter of Occam, although I wield that razor in a different way. And because your excellent blog was the first to draw my attention.

    To me, this case is quite simple. If these girls were just lost, than ALL info from camera’s, pictures, logs etc etc is true and trustworthy, and what is found and where and when it is found can be logically explained. If only one thing in that chain is broken, the chain is broken. And it is.
    Even if we forget everything else: only look at photo 499: Lisanne, way out of proportion on top of the Miramar. Juan proves in several ways that this photo has been photoshopped. That one is the most convincing, because really everybody can see even without further evidence that pic is photoshopped. From there, all we need is logic (although I’m glad of all the work that provides evidence as well). The fact that at least one photo, nr 499, has been photoshopped - has enormous consequences. Before I go into that: has anybody before me noticed that in all pictures of Lisanne, when her hair is loose, it falls to the left -except in 499? And that brought me to the next thought: I understand that Lisannes brother had exactly this picture, the most blatant example of tampering - mirrored and complete out of proportion - on his facebook? Was he giving the message that - in spite of what he said - he knew very well what was going on?

    Anyway, as soon as tampering with even one photo is proved - quod est - what is then the meaning of all other pictures? Nothing. Because then we know someone has tampered with the material. That someone made a conscious decision about what is and what is not on that SD card. Numbers can be manipulated, time stamps, content, order, anything. All we know for sure is that there is someone who altered the story, who uses these photos to paint a false picture (pun much intended). And so everything (!) has to explained from that perspective - and that is what occams razor is also about: we have to prove foul play only once, not over and over again. There is foul play at hand. That is not a question, that is a fact. So everything we see is basically intended by the schemer.

    Apart from errors, of course. Sloppy photoshopping is one. Planting bras in the backpack is strange. Might be an order that was misunderstood (“everything you can find”), not expecting that the bras were still in store? And then there was a mixup with remains from another victim. Those maybe were errors, just like the sloppy work on the pics.
    But in short: we know for sure this was no accident, but there was foul play. What kind of foul play and how that played out exactly will be hard to figure out. But I fear I’m better off not knowing.