Part 2 of The disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon in Panama - the swimming photo and new leads
The missing Dutch girls in Panama Part 2 - the swimming photo
March 19, 2019- This is part 2 with photos of the girls' bedroom, the swimming photo and other news, ideas and updates. See the main article on this disappearance case here and follow up part 3 here. Part 4 with the latest updates can be read here. And inpart 6you can read the most important interviews with the parents and families of Kris and Lisanne. When I tried to make some sense out of this disappearance case back in 2018/early 2019, there was on the one hand very limited public information with regards to what actually happened to Kris and Lisanne, and on the other hand a lot of journalistic work done on the matter, some of which which had not been highlighted much 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 information together here in one place and in one narrative that hopefully also makes for an interesting read. I also tried to broaden the narratives about what may have happened to these girls accordingly. In the hope that when more people know about this case, chances may increase that we'll ever find more facts and answers.
In part 1 of this blog series I tried to shed light on all the facts and details currently publicly known in this case and I added source links wherever possible to back things up.I also illustrated some theories that are out there about what may have happened to them. And I tried to discuss and highlight the problems with each and every one of those theories. Once we have all the facts (as they are known at the moment; a lot of information is still missing), we can all come to our own conclusions for now. In this part 2, I present new photos, new evidence and other important views and additions to the investigation of this case. I also explain some of my own (subjective) suspicions at the bottom of the page.I happen to have more questions and issues with the accident theory than with a crime theory, andI explained why, but that is just an opinion. Panamanian officials got some slack for stating that the girls must have drowned, or had fallen into a ravine, or were killed by wild animals. Because main prosecutor Betzaida Pitti, led by corrupt Ana Belfon; the highest boss of the Public Prosecution service, never provided any conclusive proof for this. Even some of Panama's own journalists didn't buy the official reading of events, as they didn't see or hear of any forensic evidence to back the official claim up. In fact, science seems to contradict some aspects of the official scenario. Despite months, years actually of investigation, the best we were given by officials was the bare statement that they had an accident and got lost (having fallen in the river, or off a cliff, or were attacked by animals). Inconsistencies and contradicting forensic evidence were not explained. This is why the whole discussion machinery was set in motion and why it is still in motion. A journalist in Panama, Adelita Coriat, has done a lot of investigation and spoke to people who did the forensic work and autopsy in this case - you can read a handful of her articles below in this blog post. She is also doubtful of the official reading. One scientist involved leaked the case file to an American investigative journalist, Jeremy Kryt from the Daily Beast, who changed his own opinion on the case after that. First he defended the accident scenario, but after in-depth investigation - also in Boquete itself - he wrote new articles in which he explained why he felt evidence is pointing towards a crime in this case, after all. Nevertheless, there is a lot to say against a crime scenario too, so it is up to everyone personally to form his or her own opinion. And hopefully with the newfound global interest in this case now that everything is translated and written in English, new and more detailed evidence may show up as well eventually, perhaps finally explaining properly what really happened to Kris and Lisanne.
With this blog I wanted to gather all the publicly available and relevant information in this case comprehensively in one spot (call it a form of Open-source Intelligence), with source links provided whenever possible. Instead of having all these pieces of information scattered all over the internet, I brought them together here in a (long) overview story of my own, reflecting what is known about the case by now. This includes interviews, journalistic pieces, statements from people linked to this case, investigation results, possible theories, arguments pro and contra and more. In part 4 and part 5 especially of this blog series, I cover many different theories from other people. I also translated many videos and articles of interest from Dutch to English for you, in order to provide you with the most detailed archive of this case, together with Juan's extensive google album. - Over time the media in general has gotten a beating for supposedly not covering this case well enough. This mainly comes from officials or their representatives, who are not happy with criticism. I strongly disagree with this however. I based nearly my entire blog series on public (media) information and as more official case info has become available slowly but surely, I am surprised how good the media did, all in all. Over time I only had to make minor adjustments to the story as we have learnt it from public media sources. Overall they were spot on. The case officials themselves have also chosen not to inform the media about certain things, but blatantly leaked other details they díd want to come out. So there you go. Anyway, I am not sure just how (un)readable the whole thing has become by now for the average reader, due to its sheer length. If you prefer a short summary of this case, then this is probably not the blog for you. But if you are interested in all the details, theories and updates on this disappearance case, then keep reading. This blog post was originally posted in early 2019, but had to be reuploaded more recently. It took me many months to find all the sources, to translate Dutch material and compose the summarized, detailed story here below, based on what is known from publicly available information (including official police information, news articles and interviews) so far. I keep an eye on current developments and continue to update this blog series, so you read the most up to date version always. It is great if the story of Kris and Lisanne is spread as far and wide as possible. But certain authors and online content makers have used more than just a little of my work (or plundered my youtube channel) for their own publications, without as much as a source mentioning. Don't be such a douche and give a shout out or a simple source mentioning when you use info from these blogs or my videos for your own videos or sites or publications. Give some credit, just like you yourself like to get credit for your hard work :)For the Latest Updates, see part 4 please.
The swimming photo
First photo is 'the swimming photo', second photo added here is a comparison photo and a possible match for the area. Juan first published this leaked photo.(And here you can see a modified sharper version of the photo). I know Juan well and we discuss a lot. His album is fantastic. He published something new lately. It is a swimming photo that was leaked by a source in Panama, together with a whole batch of never before seen night photos. It appears to be Kris and Lisanne, swimming with two young men. Some people may say that the photo is too vague, but it was taken with a phone, almost 6 years ago, from the other side of the river. I think despite the imperfect quality of the photo, it really seems to be Kris and Lisanne pictured. Kris' specific face profile with the slightly protruding mouth area, her hair- and skin colour match for instance. And the same goes for Lisanne's matching features; she has a very specific face with high cheekbones; neither of them have the sort of face you normally see in Panama. You can even see here that she is indeed taller than Kris. But I realize this is not a mathematical fact and up to interpretation. Not everyone will see the same thing. This photo has only 800x600 pixels. It's a photo taken with a mobile phone anno 2014 and a cheap one probably too, so zooming in will always blow up and deform the pixels. But in my opinion there is more than enough to see, to positively identify Kris and Lisanne. And what's more, the males in the photo are identified, and there is an indication of the person who took the photo and some of them can be led back to local youngsters who have been interviewed before by Panamanian officials. Dutch investigators have looked at this photo and confirmed that the photo is legit and not photoshopped. But they think there are two other women pictured in it. I disagree. Besides, without any evidence for this (not even the nationality of the supposed doubles was shared, let alone photo evidence), who is to say that the local police didn't just show the Dutch a random picture of girls who look alike, but who never even were in the area? After all, we haven't even seen the CCTV footage of Kris and Lisanne themselves; that footage was said to have been 'overwritten' by the time investigators went to the store to view it. All we have is that leaked photo and we can all disagree, but to me it shows Kris and Lisanne. Nobody else.
The two young men in the photo have been identified and they both died relatively soon after this photo was taken. We double checked on the provided information, and found similar photos of these men, wearing the same clothes (and the exact same cap in Osman's case) and having the same facial features. The young man with the black cap on, Osman Valenzuela, was at the time of his tragic death already rumoured to have photos on his phone of a red haired and blonde haired girl, presumably Kris and Lisanne. Scroll down for more information on his death, several days after Kris and Lisanne went missing. The phone of Osman was seized by the local police once he died. Word is that they never gave Osman's relatives his phone back however, so the photo story remained a rumour for a long time. Until an anonymous source leaked the night photos and this swimming photo in November of 2019. This swimming photo may link to what was said all along, and the boy was described as having been very anxious and afraid in the days leading up to his highly suspicious 'drowning', according to his mother who spoke with the press about this. I think it all fits together, but someone else may disagree of course. The person who took this photo may have been the relative of the Sabroson owner, because the photo carries his name. That is the only indication, together with the knowledge that he was friends with Osman and Jose Manuel Murgas, the two young men in the photo. According to multiple sources from the area, that teen was also part of a local gang of sorts, together with a relative of the tour guide and the relative of the Il Pianista restaurant. It was reported by quite a few people, but without solid proof, it remains hearsay.
Regarding the location of the photo: I think it could be near the Caldera hot springs area. See this photo and review Juan and I found for instance; it looks very similar. I also contacted local tourism agencies who do tours in the Boquete area, and they identified this place as the same spot. For whatever that is worth. When I contacted one tour operator about it, he wrote back: "This place is at Chiriquí river, near the hot spring in caldera, actually at the hot spring up river." See how the type of stones on the shore are comparable and how the colour pattern of the water, including the deeper more blue-green parts and the shallower browner parts of the water overlap. (Although to be honest, you see similar stones and riverbanks all over that larger area it seems). We may have more indications that the girls could have been there, because they were claimed to be seen by several witnesses in that same Caldera hot spring area on March 30th and/or 31st, and search teams and dogs also searched in that area on May 30th of 2014. During their second day in Boquete, Kris and Lisanne are said to also have shown interest in visiting the Caldera hot springs, as well as the Hidden Waterfalls when they talked to staff of the Spanish by the River language school. It is no full proof that the swimming photo was indeed taken near the Caldera hot springs, but it really matches in appearance. It is also conveniently close to the place Alto Boquete, where the girls were staying with a host family. This may be one of the two missing photos from Osman's phone (see "Gossip or Truth" topic below for more on this). Question now is; when was the photo exactly taken? And by whom? (And of course the main question; are this really Kris and Lisanne crouching together half under the water's surface?). Tragically, everyone in that photo was dead within a year: Kris and Lisanne as we already know, Osman drowned under suspicious circumstances soon after and the other youth pictured, Jose Manuel Murgas, was killed about a year later by a speeding car at night, nearby this bathing area. Osman also worked in that Caldera area at the time, at the zipline (Boquete Tree Trek), and Jose Manuel Murgas worked there as well. And the taxi driver also died in the same month as Jose Manuel during another drowning incident. Of course, car accidents happen every single day, and drownings are said to be common in Panama.
Update: More photo evidence that this swimming photo was taken near the Caldera hot springs; Andries found this match online and shared it with Juan. It is a photo taken along the Rio Chiriquí, near Alto Boquete. It seems the exact place where the swimming photo was taken. I believe it has been identified for sure now as the spot Juan and I suspected all along. (Note; I blurred some random swimming people out of the 1st photo). The place also has a nearby bridge.
I made a map with all the places mentioned in this blog:
And Andries also found the specific location of the swimming photo, see
photo below. These are the coordinates: 8.6916543980342, -82.3021372577848
IP went to Boquete and also located the place where this swimming photo was taken near the Caldera hot springs;they provided the GPS Coordinates: 8.69150, -82.30244. It took them about 40 to 50 minutes to drive there (from Boquete, I assume). "It’s likely that only locals would know about it. We drove down a long poorly-paved windy road to get to this place".
It is not sure when the swimming photo was taken; it may have been in the later afternoon of April 1st, (after the Pianista hike). But it could also have been taken at any other day of their short stay in Boquete. The only reason why Tuesday afternoon to me seems by far the most likely day, is because both of the girls detailed a lot of what they did most of the other days in their diaries. You can find the translations of them in this part 3 blog post, according to a Dutch author, the diaries were leaked by former lawyer Arrocha. Kris and Lisanne arrived in Boquete on Saturday afternoon. They were exhausted then and wrote in their diaries that they slept a lot. Sunday they got themselves installed and accustomed to the place and went to Boquete to have lunch there at 'Boquete Bistro' and to explore the area. They took photos at the flower show as well that afternoon. Then they were home with their guest family all of the evening, as Miriam has declared to the media. On Sunday Lisanne was also not feeling well, according to her diary post, experiencing symptoms such as panic, restlessness and unease. I feel this does not match with the happy swimming photo, with smiles and V-signs made. But on the other hand, on Sunday some witnesses did mention to have actually seen them at the Caldera hot springs area: "At the Hot Springs in the village of Caldera, some witnesses have told area units that the Dutch would have been there on Sunday March 30 before being reported missing". But, the source goes on to mention other tourist sites where Kris and Lisanne were also claimed to have been seen. So whether they are all reliable witness sightings, remains to be seen (guessed). Monday they went to the children's school in the morning and were refused/sent away there. Then they went to the Spanish school to complain and look for other work options and they spent a lot of time on that. Their phones made connection with the schools wifi around 16:44 PM that Monday, meaning they couldn't have been swimming elsewhere around that time. They also had a massage that day with Sigrid between 18:00 - 20:30 PM, making the time in between simply too short to travel to a swimming spot, swim and go back again in time for the massage. Sigrid never saw them with wet hair either when they arrived and despite long chats between them and her, the girls never mentioned a swimming event. Lisanne also mentioned this massage as the one thing that made up for the disappointment with the children's school:
"Maybe we will be able to start tomorrow at Casa Esperanza. Fingers crossed! To alleviate our disappointment we went to Sigrid for a full body massage. Some enjoyment! Another day tomorrow, hasta la mañana!"
You would think that if the girls had gone for a swim with friendly local guys that same Monday, that they would have also mentioned it in their diary? And that a swim would have also been a way to alleviate their disappointment, considering the happy faces in the swimming photo? The fact that neither of the girls wrote about a swimming event or mentioned it to the people they were with the days before their disappearance, makes me more convinced that the swimming took place on the day of their disappearance, before either of them could write about it.Monday evening Kris and Lisanne spent time with the host family, as confirmed by 'host mother' Miriam and her kids. So they spoke to relatives, to Miriam, they spoke to Sigrid about their day and never mentioned a swim (although they were overcome with disappointment about their cancelled work appointment that day, and perhaps didn't prioritize mentioning their leisure activities). Why has Sigrid in this respect not been questioned about which clothes Kris and Lisanne wore when they visited her, for instance? Were they wearing different clothes from what they wore Monday morning? Or were it already the same ones as seen in their Pianista photo perhaps? Did Kris or Lisanne really not hint at a swimming event to her? Were their hairs wet or not? Did they perhaps even go to a party that Monday evening, after spending time with Miriam? Their phones did not get charged overnight, after all. It is difficult to place this swimming event in the existing timeline. The timeline is pretty packed for that Monday. There is a different problem with Tuesday though: unless the phone log data regarding GSM network signal was incomplete [or incorrect] somehow, it does seem like both the Samsung Galaxy phone of Lisanne and the iPhone of Kris moved further away from the nearest cell tower as the afternoon of April 1st progressed. See this graphic (and part 4 for more details about these phone logs). This technical data does not indicate that Kris and Lisanne returned to civilization in the afternoon of April 1st. Unless they took another route through the mountains to the Caldera hot springs, which does exist according to private detective Martín Ferrara O'Donnell, former PTJ and bodyguard of Guillermo 'Billy' Ford (qepd), who privately investigated the case for a long time and believes that the girls fell victims to foul play after a party with local youngsters in one of the wooden sheds behind the Mirador and towards the Caldera area. This isolated terrain has no good cell reception either. But then we have a situation where we cannot fit in some of the many witness statements, seeing these girls return to the trailhead between roughly 15:00-16:00 PM. Knowing what we know now, about Pittí's bungling manipulation of the SD memory card before Panama sent it to the Dutch for investigation, I personally do not trust her or her team to have done a clean job here, full stop. But nevertheless, the swimming photo does not fit in anywhere really, timeline wise, in a convincing manner. And yet I am near-certain it shows Kris and Lisanne. A real head scratcher.
N.B.: I realize that many people see the phone log info as the Bible; as irrefutable evidence. But I do not agree with this. Not in this case.The log info may have been incomplete, a cherry-picked highlight of events or worse. We know for a fact that Betzaida Pitti messed with the night photos, before sending the camera to the Dutch NFI,. And she and her team were also the first people to go through the mobile phones of Kris and Lisanne. When it comes to discovering phone log manipulation, it partly depends on who is doing the research and the detecting. If the NFI people were already looking at a tainted copy of the phone logs (say: with some info left in there, but other log details sifted out and removed), then that is what they have to work with. And let's not forget that the NFI did not flag (or even detect?) the manipuated EXIF data from the night photos either. It was Juan who discovered that Betzaida Pitti has photoshopped the night photos and has overwritten the original photos. This is a very serious forensic error on her part, and I believe she did not do so by accident. When we know this, then it opens the door for suspicions of more widespread manipulation. There is a missing photo or video file #509, after all. And phone logs which are fairly minimal and illogical at times. As if some data has been left out. For instance; there was a massive battery drop of 19% in the afternoon of April 1st, before the girls started calling 112 for help. Nothing in the phone log info explains this loss of battery, as there were seemingly no significant processes or apps running in the background, and the phones were in a zone without mobile reception. Did the original phone logs truly not log more information about what these phones did at that time? I have my doubts. With one illegal manipulation already being proven, the other seems suddenly less far-fetched. But still, you need evidence then. True specialists need to look into these official phone logs. But the authorities shield them for dear life, and do not allow anyone to do a second opinion. 'Nothing to see here, the case is closed', they told Juan and others. And bad intentions are one explanation, but another is unprofessionalism and clumsiness of course. If Pitti for example decided to turn on Lisanne's phone without taking the precautions outlined in the mobile forensics manual, then the first thing that would happen was the clearance of the cache of any application data that was set to clear cache on a power on/off cycle. Oops. I can see Pitti - not being versed on this type of forensics - making this blunder if she was left to her own devices and did not straight away sent the phones to the local computer forensics department.You can read more about the phone logs and data in my blog post part 4.
Anyway, back to the swimming photo. A swimming event would also explain why the girls had put their bras folded up into their bag; in the swimming photo you can see that neither has shoulder straps from a bra visible. Either they wore strapless bikinis which are hidden under the water, or they went swimming topless. And they did swim in strapless bikinis in Bocas del Toro.. But we never heard from the families or host family if the girls' bikinis were found in their room, yes or no. That could be valuable information. If their bikinis were missing, then that would be further food for thought regarding this swimming photo. Then they may have planned to go swimming that Tuesday. And if their bikinis were found in their room, then that could perhaps explain the seemingly topless girls.
Update on the bikinis
I read a comment from LaLynz on the Dutch FOK forum on a detail I always overlooked myself. LaLynz wrote: "Always had the idea that the bikinis they wore in Bocas, a blue bikini for L and a green/black bikini for K, are lying on the left of the 2nd shelf from the bottom of the closet in the room with the host family. It is possible that there were several bikinis, but it is also possible that the swimming was a spontaneous action." - Good point. I never before noticed them on the shelves, but I think it is correct. See the photo compilation I made to point to this. The photo of their clothes/room was taken after the girls went missing.
The colour and the fabrics do match. I think LaLynz is correct and that we are looking at those bikinis. Now, as for the question if the girls may have brought multiple bathing suits along, I'm not sure. There is no evidence that they brought more than one pair of bikinis on this holiday. We have not seen any photos of them wearing other bathing suits than these blue and green ones. I went through all the known photos of their Panamanian holiday again, and all I can ever see are these two specific bikinis or normal bras underneath their clothes. Because these photos of the room show us what clothes were found after the girls went missing, one can make a good point about the swimming event from the leaked swimming photo to have been a spontaneous thing. (That is, unless you don't believe it are Kris and Lisanne who are pictured here). So... in that case, those girls did not bring any bathing suits along with them on Tuesday, when they went out for a hike. This can mean that the swim was a spontaneous action, in which they possibly swam topless. Hence, why both seem to be crouching underwater, while the boys stand straight up, showing how shallow the water still is at that point. If this is true then it could spell trouble. It is unfortunately all too easy for vibrant young women to give the impression of 'leading people on', with something that may appear just spontaneous and a bit of fun to them. I hope that I am wrong. - See in the below photos, taken in Bocas del Toro and Boquete, respectively, that Kris and Lisanne either wore the same green and blue bikinis under their shirts also, or regular bras.
Time of the swimming photo I wouldn't be surprised if the swimming photo was taken after the Pianista hike. See how the light is more golden, matching the late afternoon. This may be the last photo taken of the girls and if that is true, it means they did make it off the Pianista Trail. Perhaps they were given a lift (the red truck?) to the Caldera area for a swim. Several witnesses also claimed to have seen them at the start of the Pianista trail that day around 15:00/16:00 PM, waiting for a taxi. Some witnesses even spoke with them, after the girls asked how they could get back to Boquete. If true, then the nighttime photos could have been taken at another location than the wilderness behind the Pianista Trail..
Update:the parents of Kris have said that this swimming photo was already known in 2014. Dutch officials recently looked at it again and told Juan that they believe it was a real, legit photo, not photoshopped, but that some other women are in that photo. That the girls in the photo have been 'identified' and are not Kris and Lisanne.. But no further evidence or information was provided. They never said who those other women were then, who were supposedly also in Boquete early April of 2014, looking exactly like Kris and Lisanne. Nothing, not even what their discovered nationality was. Of course the Dutch prosecution simply stating it isn't them is disappointing, but not necessarily convincing in my opinion. It won't be the first time they cover up errors, there is a Dutch case for instance surrounding Dascha Graafsma, who supposedly 'suicided' and the Prosecution has made errors in that case also, then covered their mistakes up. And look for yourself; gritty or not, these are the same faces, the same smiles, the same women. I am fully convinced of this, even though the quality of the original mobile phone photo leaves a lot to be desired. Aside from specific hair and skin colour, Kris and Lisanne have very specific facial features and proportions which you don't just find anywhere in the street, let alone in Panama. And which match when you compare their known photos with this swimming photo (why has Pittí not asked a facial recognition professional to investigate this?). I made this collage of photo comparisons:
And what are the odds of having your exact doppelgangers walking around in the same small Latin American town in the same time window, with the exact same hair colour and profile features? Without actual evidence of the contrary (god what sort of casual police work is that from the investigators?), I believe my own eyes for now. The two girls in the swimming photo look just like Kris and Lisanne, especially when you resist the urge to zoom in far enough for the photo to become too pixelated to be reliable. But we can see on the swimming photo that the sun seems lower, softer, possibly matching 16:00 or 17:00 PM (or even later). That could match with the girls getting off the Pianista around 15:30/16:00, as stated by multiple witnesses (new timeline)... But there is no specific information about anything regarding this swimming event. There is also nothing known about what may have happened afterwards. They all look happy and cheerful in the photo. It may be the last photo of the girls alive (and if so, how come all their remains were found far away behind the Pianista trail?), or it may simply have been a photo of an innocent afternoon swim at some point during their Boquete stay, of which they didn't feel like writing in their diaries. Is it possible that Kris and Lisanne were so used to hanging out with their young male newfound friends in Bocas del Toro, that they searched for something similar in Boquete? They were both dealing with disappointments in Boquete, as their long-planned children's school work was unexpectedly delayed (possibly indefinitely) and they had to really adjust to the change from sweet holiday bubble party island Bocas, to 'real life' Boquete, staying with a host family they could hardly communicate with in Spanish. Could they have possibly met Osman and his friends (as this source seems to indicate, and as those supposed photos on his phone seem to imply) and hung out with them, only for things to turn sour? Or is this all mere unfounded gossip? But despite my own suspicions, there is always the possibility that Kris and Lisanne truly got lost in the wild and had the most horrendous week(s) in there, trying to survive. I just have a hard time believing this, considering some of the forensic findings and details.
Swimming photo sharpened with photoshop:
Gossip or truth?
The following information was in the news, and on one of the Dutch forums where the disappearance case of Kris and Lisanne has been discussed for the past five years: this local Panamanian newspaper article was shared, with a graphic photo in it from a deceased young man. It details how 22 year old Osman Valenzuela from Alto Boquete, nickname Piki, was found dead in the river Chiriquisito. It happened on Friday April 4th 2014, so four days into the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, in the same region near Boquete where the girls' host family also lives. Family members from the unfortunate young man declared that they had all been bathing in the river that day, and after packing up to go back home, the young man excused himself to make a toilet stop around 18:00 pm. He walked back to the river. But he never returned. His family reported him missing and the Search and Rescue unit of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) came on the scene to look for Osman. Later friends of Osman and members of the National Police also helped with the search. They found him the next day, on Saturday April 5th around 12:50 pm. He was found in the river at about 5 meters depth and at about 25 meters distance from where the young man had last been seen by his family. Despite it looking like he drowned, some sources stated that no water was found in his lungs during autopsy.
Osman was a good swimmer, reportedly. There were different stories going round, with one source reporting drowned, another site reporting that local youth gang members had hit him hard or even tortured him before dumping his body in the water; youths all coming from 'well-to-do Panamanian parents, driving in expensive cars'. Osman was friends with the stepson of guide F., someone consistently described by locals as troubled at best and psychopathic at worst. He also hung out with some other local youth, including the Sabroson kid and the relative of the restaurant at the Pianista trail. Some people claimed that Osmans parents had been separated and that one of them lived also in a house at the foot of the Pianista Trail. Betzaida Pittí confirmed that Osman had actually helped Sinaproc with the searches for Kris and Lisanne the day of his death, before going for a swim. But officials claimed he had been 'drinking alcohol' and that's why he drowned. Is that true though? He went missing in the afternoon and had been helping Sinaproc look for Kris and Lisanne earlier that day; nothing was reported about him being drunk during those searches. And his family also mentioned nothing about him staggering around drunk enough to be able to drown at 18:00 that day. He was a strong swimmer. His mother said in the local press that the days before his death, Osman had been restless and not like himself. He had seemed anxious about something according to her. Some say it was because he had been pictured with Kris and Lisanne in the water and was now being threatened. Others say that they witnessed him challenge local criminal youth in a public place about the disappearance of the girls and heard that he had received death threats during the altercation. Either way, for some reason he was unsettled in the days before his death. And the photo shows that his body froze in a strange pose. This research on 'rigor mortis in an unusual position' (which is rare apparently) states that when finding a dead body in such 'gravity defying' poses, it has in the past been linked to homicides and attempts to destroy evidence. And that in previous cases "the scene of death (occurrence) is different from the scene of disposal of a dead body, and time gap between the two places. [..] A dead body without decomposition, lying on its back with limbs raised in the air, indicates that the body reached full rigidity elsewhere." Because rigor mortis does not happen so soon after death that it can defy gravity. Here is another (basic) news article on his death. His death was officially ruled an accidental drowning. Osman's funeral was disrupted by local youngsters, disturbing the relatives.
Another friend from this circle of people - Jorge Rivera Miranda - also drowned under very strange circumstances in late March of 2015. [In Panama they seem to have no qualms about showing graphic photos of deceased people in the newspapers and media]. He was found dead in the Grande stream of the Dos Ríos community, in the Dolega district, in Chiriquí. The newspaper article added: "During the removal of the body, the competent authorities found some signs that showed that his death had not been accidental". Jorge was another claimed 'gang member' of the club of 5 and íf that is true, he would be the 3rd member who died within a year of the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne; another suspicious 'drowning'. In the photo in that newspaper article you can see that he even had his arm and leg laying dry on land, and only had to lift his head to be able to breath. One of the friends within this group wrote 'Rest in peace' for him on his facebook page. I have been told that Jorge's parents own a pharmacy in Boquete. Unverified which one. So many drownings in the Boquete region.. Read more on Osman here. Jorge Rivera Miranda's drowned body was discovered on April 4th of 2015.
And then there was of course the taxi driver, Leonardo Arturo González, who also was found drowned around that exact same time.
The taxi driver who claimed to police that he brought Kris and Lisanne to the Pianista trail in the early afternoon morning of April 1st. When the girls got in the taxi, there were already two other men inside the car. They heard the girls tell the taxi driver where they wanted to go. One of them told him in Spanish: "A la entrada del Pianista." After that, the other two Panamese passengers were dropped off first at their destination and then the taxi driver brought the girls to the start of the El Pianista shortly after. Witnesses have stated that they saw the two young women get out of the taxi at this point. But it has also been claimed (but not proven) that Leonardo witnessed Henry and Jorge Manuel Murgas (now dead) in the Pianista area that April 1st. And that this is why he ultimately 'had to go'. But none of that is verified info. The taxi driver turned up dead almost exactly a year later, on March 2nd 2015 (see his gravestone here), under officially “unexplained” circumstances. Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu (34) drowned, apparently.“It’s a strange thing,” says César Castillo, a rock-climbing instructor who was teaching clients nearby when Gonzalez’s body was pulled from the water in a shallow stretch of the mini-canyon the locals call Gualaca. “It’s easy to swim there, with no strong current,” says Castillo, who frequently takes his climbing students for a dip in the same spot. “And we never heard any cries for help, or splashing around like he was in trouble. We know he didn’t hit his head on a rock, because there was no blood or bruising,” says Castillo, who helped pull Gonzalez from the water and tried to perform CPR. Castillo also reports the presence of other cars parked near the mini-canyon that day, although he admits he can’t be sure the death was not an accident. “Leo was a good kid,” says a fellow taxi driver in town, when I ask about Gonzalez. “Always responsible. Always on time. If he got killed over the Holandesas, it could’ve been because he saw something he shouldn’t have near the Pianista,” the driver says, referring to the trail where the young women disappeared. “Not because he did anything wrong himself.” In this news article, it is written that Leonardo Arturo González was at the time "investigated for having transferred the Dutch Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers to the Sendero El Pianista". The article ends that with the 'inexplicable' death of Leonardo "the number of victims of drowning increased already to four for the year 2015 in Chiriquí."
Notice by the way how Osman wore nearly identical sunglasses
as Lisanne, here pictured on her bed after the disappearance:
Locals from Boquete wrote also about the death of a 22-year old man on April 4th 2014
Posted by 1qm2dsahxa4dw
April 8, 2014
"Death of a young man Friday. Not to take away from those poor missing girls, but a young man of 22 years old was hideously beaten and left nude by the side of the river. He was supposed to have come to my home to wash and play with Tigger who has been his friend since he was a pup. Four local gang members are being held. He had $300 from his pay he was bringing to his mother. I don't have a lot of details, but supposedly the forensic report will be given to the family tomorrow. With their permission I will be able to tell the whole story. Perhaps the four gang members should be questioned to see if they have any knowledge of the girls. Due to the manner and torture of my poor friend, maybe they aren't only picking on locals. All I can say now as I am terribly upset and in mourning for this young man. Perhaps we could reach out to the family and help them, even if it is just an acknowledgement that his life mattered too."
William Wolff replied on April 10, 2014: "The young man was a friend of my step son. I have seen the photos of the body that were posted in one of the "more localized" papers. My wife pointed out that the feet and the head were the worst injuries. I do not recall the name of the paper, but it did indeed indicate that the crime was by gang members and it happened in Boquete. The body of the young man was left near the river."
Roger Bellido April 10, 2014: "It is strange that this murder wasn't covered by the tabloids and newspaper. Unfortunately in our society we are not used to these type of crimes. News like that sells their newspapers. Tabloids like CRITICA, El Siglo, etc usually covers this type of subjects in red letters."
billiesurmick replied on April 12, 2014: "The mind reels. Suspects are allowed to interrupt the funeral service, act like jackasses ... family of deceased has to hire a lawyer to bring some kind of justice...what happened to guilty until proven innocent that Panama seems to embrace."
This blogger wrote on April 9th 2014: "On an even sadder note, it's been reported a 22 year old man who worked odd jobs for an expat woman was found dead here 5 days ago along the riverbank. He was nude, and had been beaten to death with rocks, as well as tortured. His funeral was yesterday. Four gang members are in police custody, but for how long is anyone's guess. (No one seems to stay in prison for long here no matter how horrible the crime.) Boquete used to be free from much of this activity." - Are both reports about Osman Valenzuela and has the mainstream media toned down the details and turned Osman's death into another 'drowning'? Or were two 22-year old young men found dead in Boquete around April 6th of 2014?
Why is Osman's death of interest for us?
On August 25th 2014, a forum member called "Poekje01" wrote the following (translated from Dutch): "My contact in Panama* told me one month ago that according to his friend at the DIJ (Panamanian investigation) 2 photos were found in the mobile phone of the drowned 22-year-old Osman Valenzuela boy. One photo from a blond haired girl and one from a red-haired girl. This was not allowed to come out earlier. And the family of Osman also never received this phone back from investigators. He could not indicate with certainty whether the girls in the photo were Kris and Lisanne. That is why occasionally attention has been requested on these forums for the drowning and death of this Osman Valenzuela. Some here are laughing about that, but I would like to say; just keep on reading.. My contact in Panama thought it was suspicious that the girls disappeared on April 1, and that Osman (nickname Piki) disappeared on April 4, and was found dead in that river on April 5. My contact further said that Osman was part of a youth gang of 6 boys. The rest have been arrested for questioning. Two were imprisoned for a longer time, and one accused the other: "He did it". It is not certain if they referred there to the killing of Osman or the death/disappearance of the girls. Osman's mother apparently does not want to talk to Enrique Arrocha (the privately hired lawyer of the Kremers family). Perhaps you now understand my frustration with the 'forced' disappearance scenario, something which a number of the people on this forum are also so wrapped up in. One person on here does this in my opinion because she really is Ingrid Lommers from the language school, using an alter ego on this forum. The other because he is her friend, living in C, bordering on Panama. They have business interests in Panama, and nobody is interested in poor tourism in "Murderville". Also the fact that an insulin meter has been found on the trail (on April 5th, by a local in Boquete, SN), and that I have posted a link that shows how you can get to the confluence of the Changuinola and Culebra rivers by car and then by foot, what Panamanians do in that video, and so you can imagine that you can also do that to dump body parts, is laughed away here. Because a disappearance scenario "disappears" 'easier' from everyone's memory. Just look at a disappearance case such as that of Alex Humphrey (Boquete, 2009): will the same happen soon with this disappearance case of Kris and Lisanne? If Kris and Lisanne have had an accident on the trail, or encountered the wrong people (eg drug runners, or the gang) then I think you can also think for yourself what should happen to difficult witnesses. Maybe Osman disagreed. But, trying to prove it all is not easy. But just so you know: I was approached with this information about that Osman boy, I am not making this up."*The contact in Panama turned out to be a forum member called Baru, who is active on a forum called Websleuths. He is a former Panamanian guide from the Boquete area who resides currently in Germany. Baru also stated on websleuths by the way that three Panamanian men went to the police to try to collect the tip money in the Kris and Lisanne case. They were Colombians, living in Panama City.
Poekje01 then updated:"Then there is another scenario that you can imagine. And that is because my contact came with more info. If the girls were on the Pianista trail with the boys from the local gang, they of course knew the way everywhere. That may explain why they reached the summit of the Pianista at such a good time [after around 2 hours, Scarlet]. And that can also explain why they may have returned so quickly from the second Quebrada, back up on the Mirador, and back to town on April 1 at the end of the day. H, according to my same contact in Panama, had a car accident. A local woman died as a result of this. It is unclear whether Kris may have been seated in that car, and if that can explain why her pelvic bone was broken so badly. This also makes you wonder whether or not the girls may have perhaps been present in that car crash and had to disappear because they were witnesses. The Latino community, from which my contact comes, has been asking themselves all this for weeks now at home."
Poekje also updated on August 25th of 2014:"I checked that email once more and my contact in Panama wrote that it was a photo of Osman and two girls (young women), with blonde/red hair. The DIJ have the cellphone with this photo in their possession."
These posts were met with partial skepticism, partial interest on the Dutch forum. Some people wondered why Poekje01 didn't go straight to the police with this supposed information. This was actually done, Poekje wrote in a reply that he/she had contacted the police in the Netherlands multiple times about this and also contacted the spokesperson for the Kremers and Froon families, passing the above information on. They said that they would discuss it internally, to see if they could do something with it. Nothing was ever heard again from police about this, however. Make of that what you like, Poekje may have made the whole story up (which I don't believe), or the police may have found no evidence whatsoever related to this new info, or they did but cast it aside. Poekje01 wrote on the forum at the time, that the problem was that if the Dutch Public Prosecution Service waited any longer to forward the Dutch forensics (NFI) findings to the Panamanian Public Prosecution Service, the Panamanian Public Prosecution Service would be entitled at some point to stop doing anything with the info. Because if it concerns a 'normal' missing case, there is an official investigation period of 3 months for it. Then the budget for the case is exhausted. So the chance (four months later in August 2014 when these posts were made), to draw attention to a joint Dutch-Panamanian investigation into possible criminal activities, had to be grabbed right there and then. Poekje01 specified that he/she was specifically thinking here about sharing information about the telephone (call) data from Osman. It has been reported that these call data has now been released in Panama. We haven't seen it yet. Could the swimming photo perhaps be coming from Osman's phone? When was this photo exactly taken? And by whom?
Remaining questions from Poekje01 are (quoted):
- Has Osman Valenzuela been in contact with K&L by telephone or not?
- Can his death be linked to a youth gang or to the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne?
- Is the Public Prosecution Service in Panama able to make Osman's telephone data 'disappear' for preservation purposes of local tourism? How about those supposed photos he had?
- And is this leaked swimming photo one of the two supposed photos of the girls on Osman's phone?
- Or is this information received from the Panamanian source useless or false in the end?
Jose Manuel Murgas:
How about the other youth pictured in the photo? He was Jose Manuel Murgas (21 years old) and he was killed about a year later by a speeding car, nearby this Caldera bathing area. The driver escaped. It is all a bit suspicious, again. "The accident, according to the Traffic authorities, occurred at approximately 4:00 in the morning, but it was not until Friday morning that passers-by who were passing by saw the lifeless body of Murgas and reported the fact to the police authorities." Why was he walking out there at night? Would he really not have heard a car approaching in the silence of the dead of night? Rumour in Boquete was that Jose Manuel had his throat slashed. And is it really a coincidence that all four young people in that swimming photo (plus the taxi driver) were dead within a year? Mind you; people were invited to voluntarily come to the police station if they knew something. Non Spanish speaking expats had no reason to go, as the officers only spoke Spanish. And there were no guarantees that anything was done with those statements, or that they even remained confidential. No surprises that hardly anybody came forward and that not much was discovered. Jose Manuel was killed on March 27, 2015.
On websleuths it was also revealed that this supposed youth gang not only consisted of the guide's relative, Henry G. but also of a relative linked to the owner of a popular Boquete restaurant and the relative of a former hotel owner in Boquete.The name of the 'swimming photo' carries his families' restaurant name. The same Baru (former local Panamanian guide who moved to Germany) wrote: "This is rumor with real facts, not like everything that write people from Panama and another country in the Web. This until now is a speculation. Another guy come from a family who is owner of a popular Restaurant, and another one who is not from Boquete but his family had a hotel there." To which Amorogo, who lives in Boquete, replied: "That's another part of it...exactly." It was assumed that this restaurant had to be the Il Pianista. Although here it is suggested that Baru referred to a different Boquete restaurant in fact: However, this place has no ties seemingly with Osman, and neither his facebook friends.
Gang of 5 Some claim online that Edwin A. (linked to the Sabroson restaurant, friend of Osman and Jose and Henry) may be a member of a supposed 'gang of 5', who some locals link to the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. It could be a unique gang of 5, or even somehow be linked to that other band with the number 5 attached to it; La banda ‘Los ND5', o ‘Los niños de la quinta' / band 'The ND5'. Remember that the number 5 was visible on the stone of one of the nighttime photos, next to the plastic wrappers attached to the sticks. So anyway, this E. was named by locals as one of five suspects in the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. People noticed a public facebook post from E., a verbal quarrel in fact, on April 28th 2019, with a certain Heriberto G. (who was also linked by some locals to this 'gang of 5'). Back in March of 2019 this same Heriberto made a public complaint about the Sabroson restaurant. He complained about the cost of a meal. Heriberto and his family paid over 30 dollars (which doesn't sound much to me, but I must be missing knowledge about local average prices or something) in the Sabroson restaurant. The consensus in the comments was that this was expensive, and Heriberto mocks the place; calls the owners thieves who even charge their guests for the packaging when they buy a takeaway. "Total theft", he wrote, and more. Anyway, someone is clearly unhappy with the price of the food, but so what. Well, the conversation then gets more unfriendly when Edwin mingles in and defends his family. He posted a screenshot of one of Heriberto's comments on his own facebook page, which reads: "Mrs. xxxx, I have to buy that restaurant with you inside so that you can cook me so I respect you so that you can scrape it". Which resulted in a short online altercation. Edwin is upset and accuses Heriberto of thievery and swindling. Note: I used online translation machines and there may therefore be small errors in the translation. "I do not know what will be the envy and pain of the thief and swindler Heriberto, who broke the neighborhood of N'uare, then he was a partner of Roger with the blockade and also swindled him and left the foreigners, you are a thief and comes over to make fun of my mother's business." To which Heriberto replies: "The mule returns to wheat! Going to keep signing every month to kill the kid in the river caldera .... and stop taking cocaine, that hurts.. that lady I think and only answered him stop saying in other people's pods." Edwin then bites back: "Comment in other people's bayas if you're talking about my business, honestly stealing it or swindling people, you do not even pay your workers, you're a rat." Heriberto replies sarcastically: "Peace and love ahhhh and nito presidente'' And then continues: "I had even forgotten that incident and this lady writes that enantes ... I just answered her. It was not a mockery of your parents' restaurant until I had forgotten it. But the interesting thing about all this is that I remember that I am a silver washer too, that is what stays on the list, another thing I do not want to break it, I will not kid one day and we will hijack the equipment, another I will not have a partner in the block,and the gringos that I have locked up every once in a while if they wake up if I pull them hahaha ... and the last one I do not put your mother in anything that is between you and me ..... do not put your mother in your entangled only you and I, the old ones are respected. I insist one day I gave my opinion that I was robbed and I keep holding it and I said that the system is the problem, not your mom or your dad." Etc. Edwin replied: "I am going to sign that there are so statements if you want to find out with my lawyer." And he finishes with: "If this is what God has to be, take control of what is coming."
Well, it is hard to make some sense out of this, and not even my Spanish speaking friend could make cheese out of it, as we say. See the original with the translated versions added in screenshots. But the tone is far from friendly, we can conclude safely. To summarize it, Edwin was pissed off with Heriberto's scathing review and he accused Heriberto of thievery and ridiculing his relative. Heriberto came back with a defense answer, but seemed to also refer to a murder that took place in the river, cocaine use and that he can release some foreigners who he has locked up. It may be said in jest, or I may not understand the gist of it all, which is hard to be sure of with foreign languages and slang. Then Edwin starts mentioning his lawyer, that a personal conversation is out of the question for him. That all sounds like a negative review escalated awfully quickly. Maybe that is the normal way of dealing with each other down in Panama however, I wouldn't know. A Dutch forum member who speaks Spanish, RapaNui, translated the facebook spat. She thinks that a certain R. is named as having a reporting obligation after the death of a young man in the Caldera. Where the normal translation refers to gringo's (foreigners) being tied and held, this forum member thinks it may refer to the accusation that the other has made ties with gringo's, probably referring to criminal dealings. But it's near impossible as a foreigner who doesn't speak Spanish nor local slang, to be sure what is exactly meant here. Probably just a meaningless discussion where 'caldera' and 'locked up gringo's' caught my attention. Am also unsure if this has anything to do with Osman drowning (although he wasn't found in the Caldera, so probably not; people drown there regularly I understand), or possibly even with Kris and Lisanne dying - the swimming photo looks like it could be shot at the Caldera. But these two youth were friends in the past and part of Henry's clique. Oh and Heribertoowns a fertilizer company and sells homemade fertilizer... (phosphates).
Update: thanks to Matt, who sent me a translation of the above shared online bickering, translated by a native Latin American Spanish speaker. As I understand it, Latin American Spanish is a little bit different at times from European Spanish. I'll add the results here, thanks again. And I also received a comment from Institución Educativa San Francisco de Asis wrote:"Scarlet. I want to help in translating the dispute on Facebook: Heriberto tells Edwin that he "returns the mule to the wheat". You keep signing every month to kill the boy in the Caldera river .... Remember that I am a "silver washer" it means that I legalize illicit money .... And the gringos that I have "trabado" from time to time when, if they are “ahuevados”, if I lock them, ja ja ja ... it means that he has business with gringos and if the gringos are careless, he locks them (scams them) ..... I came on a trip to spend what I have scammed everyone. Pos data: you, if you sign every end of the month ... Edwin. That I am going to sign that there are the statements. If you want, check with my lawyer."
On June 25th and 26th I received these anonymous messages:"Perhaps you could look into the owners, or a family member of that restaurant. Perhaps there is a connection to one of them - who happens to travel often between their place in Bocas del Toro (where there was also a rather recent murder that you've mentioned) and Boquete. Just a thought..."And: "Yes, in the case of S, the relative of the owners of a restaurant, it's a definite possibility, as he has always claimed his family has property and is well connected. As for F's relative, I know his family has been in Chiriquí Province for their whole lives, so they know many people. Or it may just boil down to the government not wanting to damage the tourist industry. I am by no means saying either of these people are guilty of this (possible) crime, but I, like you, have many questions, and when they both have means and motive, etc they should have been and should be interviewed and investigated." I understood from a local source that the relative of the Il Pianista restaurant owner has "spoken to Kris and Lisanne when they were still alive". And then there was another local actually living in Boquete who wrote to me on youtube: P, June 25th 2019: "I will say that there are two real suspects, one of which you mentioned (who is also known to have a sort of mental disability, and knows that area VERY well). The other personally said some shady things to myself and others at a bar after this occurred, which was very suspicious. He had the means and the motive, and literally lives very near to the Pianista Trail."
And on websleuths Henry is also frequently implicated in things: "A theory spoken in the village involves a guide's relative, which may have been interested in guiding the girls. This doesn't constitute foul play, but makes one consider many possibilities. There was a finca/house mentioned not long ago on websleuths, that is apparently located close-to where the backpack was discovered" - This may all be unfounded gossip of course.But it could also perhaps be relevant to the case. If this relative of the restaurant owner is truly implicated in all this together with Henry (for which there is no proof at the moment, but we're going past all sorts of reasonable theories in these blog posts as the investigation itself failed to properly look into and rule out potential people of interest), then it could also perhaps explain why Azul/Blue the dog, hís dog, went back to the restaurant in the evening of April 1st without staying with the girls who took him on their hike, according to Doris. Of course, with the dog not being pictured in any of the photos from the girls, he may never have been there at all. More uncertainties...
Henry (H.G.) is described by several locals as troubled. He was at the time the rumoured 'leader' of that youth gang involving Osman, Jose Manuel, the kid of Sabroson, Edwin, and the relative of the Il Pianista restaurant owner. Jorge Rivera is also at times named as a friend of theirs. Henry also has posted some provocative stuff on his social media accounts. Strange photos where he has a girl laying in ashes and imitating to strike her with a stick. There was talk that Henry was involved in a car crash and that he had Kris and Lisanne in the back of the car, explaining why Kris had her pelvis broken. I would say: there is no proof for this at all. No evidence about a car crash. Besides; there are plenty of people on those roads there, nobody would have gotten away I think with a car crash involving two really photogenic exotic beauties in the back of the car, possibly already missing at that stage, with not anyone mentioning or seeing this. People typically stop and look or try to help with such crashes. He may have been present during the swimming event that was pictured as the "Sabroson" swimming photo. Nina von Rönne spent several months near the family of guide F. in 2015/16 and also encountered Henry. She wrote about him in her book "Ne t'en fais pas, nous sommes amis..." ("Don't worry, we are friends..."). She described Henry as a "force of nature", who shouts at neighbours and has moments of rage. During one incident Henry "rages at a neighbour about something that happened with a dog. He is really fired up by rage and even picks up a long sharp machete from the house to make death threats at the neighbour.I am afraid. Guide F. seems annoyed by his son's behaviour and does not know what to do in order to calm him down. It was a very bizarre atmosphere where family secrets and the unspoken reigned." - Notice by the way how close Miriam's place is to one of the Sabroson restaurants. Could Kris and Lisanne perhaps have passed it during their daily walks or perhaps even entered it for a drink and a chat.. with Edwin A.?
A private detective, Martín Ferrara O'Donnell, was also shortly hired by several expats in Boquete to investigate what may have happened to Kris and Lisanne. It was through Lee Zeltzer and Alto al Crimen, the local crime prevention organization, that O'Donnell was hired for his investigation of the disappearance. Because Lee Zeltzer was of the belief that "Those of us who live here know that if we leave the matter to the local police, it is unlikely to be resolved." You can read more about that here. Martín Ferrara O'Donnell claimed later that Alto al Crimen hired him for only three or five days. For five years he then continued to investigate the case at his own peril and expense. He continued the searches after the payments stopped and is said to believe that Kris and Lisanne were murdered and dismembered. Osman Valenzuela and José Manuel Murgas were both also victims of the same (local) criminal youth gang he believes, which also consists supposedly of the often mentioned/described local psychopath youngster. One of them has a red truck. Ferrara calls them a bunch of misfits. Among them is a psychopath, a man who grew up as a spoiled child; his parents are even said to be afraid of him. The second man is a thief, while a third is an 'easily manipulated homosexual who wants to be accepted'. Kris and Lisanne would have trusted the boys, but under the influence of drink and drugs the atmosphere changed.
He believes that Osman Valenzuela only saw the Dutch women once, and that was at the Adolfo Médica park in Boquete. Martin also believes that Kris and Lisanne partied and slept in a hut beyond the summit of the Mirador on the night of April 1st. It lies on a road towards Boquete Tree Trek, where several local youngsters worked at that time. Martin Ferrara O'Donnell said that there is a road through the Tree Trek park that leads very near to the house where Kris and Lisanne partied in the night of April 1 to 2. It was supposedly on the way back down to Boquete on April 2nd that some of the daytime photos were taken. He also believes that the camera times and the chronological order of the photos have been messed with at a later time. And what's more; just like Juan he believes that some photos were taken at Piedra de Lino (near the hostel of Pedro, where the girls were reportedly seen by several witnesses) and not on the Pianista trail, but that the photos were messed with to create a fake 'innocent afternoon walk turned accident' narrative. He also believes that the girls received a fateful lift that day. A friendly get together with local male youth, where alcohol and drugs were later introduced, turned at some point into a dangerous situation for the Dutch women. This detective believes that both Jose Manuel and Osman were murdered. All four young people in the swimming photo were victims in all this. He is also not convinced that Kris and Lisanne called the emergency services themselves on April 1st and beyond. But a bit of good news: the taxi driver Leonardo was not a murder victim according to the detective.
The parents of Kris and Lisanne apparently knew nothing of Martin's investigation. They made him feel they thought they were better than the Panamanians, supposedly. He accuses the authorities of having made many mistakes and says that they underestimated him. His theory is based on testimonies and proven facts; he knows who killed Kris and Lisanne, and possibly where and when. Corona has put everything on hold, but he's working on bringing the perpetrators to justice and has already spoken to the prosecutor's office in Panama. Also interesting: a local expat woman contacted Juan in the past and told him that she and a team of former army men also offered the parents of Kris and Lisanne help, right at the start of the searches. They offered to do their own investigation in Boquete. She has provided some evidence of this. These guys were former American militaries and they believed that they could find out much more than local police. But the parents REFUSED to work with them. Afraid that they would be ripped off by them. This really offended the team and they were like: you know what? Good luck with Pitti then. So I think there could be some truth in Martin's claims also. The parents were probably overwhelmed and totally unprepared for anything. They of course should have accepted such help, I mean even Ferrara's help would have been beneficial I think. But it appears they put their trust in the case officials and may even have been rude to some extent, or appear rude in their dismissal of other help offered.
And this is a gruesome statement from forum member Skidawayme from Boquete, about the deranged cruelty of some local young men there: (Quote) "I've debated whether to mention this or not. [..] There have been references every now and then to a possible psycho killing Kris and Lisanne, but usually to debunk the notion. I work with a Boquete animal welfare group and there have been 2 instances of severe animal cruelty here in the last 6 months or so. Both times it involved dogs and both times they were horrendously mutilated. One dog had to be put to sleep; the other was saved after intensive medical intervention. In both instances, the conclusions of the vet, the rescuers and, I believe though I'm not certain, the police, were that more than one person had to have been involved in order to hold down the dog while the other person used the machete. In the States, this kind of behavior is a marker for later violence against people. Certainly, it takes psychopathic behavior to disembowel one dog and horribly cut another. We do have in Boquete two young men capable of unimaginable violence against helpless animals. So -- how likely is it that there is a sick psychopath here? Answer for yourselves. sk" - Witzah replied to this gruesome animal abuse statement: "Yes, animal abuse is known to be a precursor to violence against humans (and frequently seen in the younger lives of serial killers) so knowing that at least one disturbed individual lives/works in the area these two girls went missing is probative. We now know that the existence of a psychotic abuser/killer in the area is more than just conjecture."
To which Skidawayma replied: "I only told the story to address the question of how likely it would be for our small town and surrounding area to have a psychopath in residence. I think I've answered that. We have at least one and probably two. [..] Actually, if there were a crime in the girls' case, I'd think it highly unlikely they'd use machetes, at least initially. Too unwieldy. I can see rape, beating, strangulation, THEN I can see using the machetes to dismember the bodies. Remember, 28 bones have been found out of a total of 412 (206 per human adult) and none of them, I believe, are where you might cut apart a body. [..] I asked my surgeon husband how the foot could have separated from the rest of the body and he said there's no way except cutting or severe abrasion (the river scenario). I grilled him a bit more and he did say later that an explosion might do it, too. :bombshell:"
Now, of coursethere will always be youths who are simply looking for the boundaries and for identity. And verbal alterations online happen every hour of every single day between people and they usually don't mean much. The Osman death is peculiar because it reminds of the death of the taxi driver a year later, but (young) people seem to drown a lot over there. In shallow water. Also this young man for instance, Jorge, another friend or acquaintance of these lads. The circumstances of these drownings of Osman and the taxi driver Leonardo were peculiar; both (very) young men, both happened during the day under strange circumstances, Osman (22) was said to have had no water in his lungs (not officially confirmed though) and was found in a suspicious rigor mortis which may not match with drowning; Leonardo (34) seemed to have drowned while simply waiting for his passengers to be ready, in shallow water. Some forum members believe that all relevant evidence pointing towards foul play has been wiped away thoroughly, as nobody had any interest in any of this coming out (only the parents of Kris and Lisanne had such an interest but they have been sent on a wild goose chase more or less). But for every forum enthusiast, there is another forum member who is not too pleased with this 'hear-say' information and negative whispering. The sources did go to the police, both in Panama and the Netherlands with these suspicions, but they never heard from them again (in one case there even came an official dismissive response from the Cold Case team: "We do not see any reason to reopen the case. Thank you."). So perhaps in frustration over this, the person(s) behind the latest big documentation leak decided to dump this material out there instead. And with regards to local sources: despite all the info these people 'tipped' us with, nothing came out of it and police may not even have believed any of it or have taken it seriously. Or they did and found it all false information.
But IF the young locals were involved, then some of their relatives may have had a possible motive for wanting to cover up for them. Chris from IP, who lives in El Salvador, covered the case also. He writes the following specifically about family relations in Latin American culture: "Please note. These are my observations based on my travels and living in Latin America. I have no judgement against any person or culture. Everything is circumstantial and relative. In general, local’s in Central America tend to abide by these unspoken rules:
*They protect their own people *Locals have a deep sense of family commitment, and often protect their families before anything else *They will often vouch for their family members, even family members that commit crimes (the “blood runs thicker than water” concept) *Integrity often comes in short supply *They fear governments and organized crime *When in doubt, they are silent *Police are often unable to gather information *The have a general lack of trust for outsiders *They are often secretive *When they want something to go away, they make it go away *They do not like to receive a lot of publicity *Formal educational resources are not widely available to them *They are predominantly poor *The are god-fearing and usually Catholic I have no doubt that a local person could have murdered these two girls. And I also believe that his/her family would have remained silent on the issue. Finally, I have no doubt that Panama’s authority would cover-up the truth. Governments in Central/South America and well known for shady practices. They should not be trusted, especially when the success of an entire tourism industry is being threatened." Chris also writes about other crime cases in Central America here. Some expats from Boquete have written me over the years as well with tips and angles to look at things, and that is a returning thing they told as well: how society there is still, in some ways, ruled by a couple of powerful, wealthy figures. I won't call it a tribal society still, but the totally lost Losters online seem to imagine some modern day, western town when they think of Boquete, with modern amenities and total democracy and personal freedom. When in fact there are some remaining structures there from the old days, where the general population tries to stay out of the ways of a small group of more powerful and rich and influential figures, who call the shots WAY before the local police do. Although I have trust in Sinaproc and do believe that they worked hard, independently and professionally.
And then something else. Frightening.. I mean, imagine running into this while out alone and lost in the jungle (yikes!). Titled: "Where are the shitty Duchies?" (Donde están los holandeses de merde") and posted on August 30th 2014. The person who updated this video was at the time (August 30th 2014) a Facebook friend of the Boquete clique of before mentioned youth. Makes you wonder why the poor unfortunate missing Dutch women are called 'of shit' (shitty).Update: Apparently it may also mean "Where are the fucking Dutchies?"
Some more about these supposed "gangs" in Boquete at that time:in a local Boquete source the following is mentioned. Pennyinparadise wrote on April 11th, 2014: (Quote) "For months I have been warning people about the MIBO graphics appearing all over bus stops, culverts and fences around Boquete. This is DEFINITELY gang marking. Also, tennis shoes flung over electric wires running across roads is a traditional gang marketing technique in the US….there’s now a string on the Alto Jaramillo road. I have been told today about two disturbing things…..recently a young Panamanian male was found beaten to death and left beside the river (gang activity??). And, a group of about 20 teenagers, dressed in all black, carrying two (not one, but two) machetes each were seen walking up the road near Casona del Cuzco restaurant (if you recall, several months ago there were two attacks on gringos walking in that area). This group was out in the open in broad daylight, with their machetes and black clothing…where were they headed? Did the police know about them? What is going on in Boquete???? Since most of us do not read Spanish language newspapers, don’t listen to local TV or radio…we are not aware of what is going on right under our noses. And now, with Mark Heyer gone from Alto al Crimen, what can we do to stay safe?"
And Suzanne Miller Moreno wrote on April 8, 2014 (so a week after Kris and Lisanne went missing) about local gangs murdering a young lad in Boquete. She also refers to 4 youth held in jail, which may be the same 4 who were at that time interrogated and held in jail by Boquete police over the Kris and Lisanne disappearance: "I am unhappy to report the death of a young man Friday who was robbed of $300 by gang members here. I will be able to tell more about this after the forensic report which the policia will give tomorrow. He was beaten to death with rocks and died a horrible death. This is all I can say as I knew him when he was 14and had always been a great help to me with bathing and rough housing with Tigger who loved him very much as I did. I will add more information when I am up to it as I am very upset right now. He was a good boy who loved his mother and worked hard to help her. This was a local gang known to the police here.Perhaps someone should have a talk with the four who are in jail, plus the other two girls involved."
Chris, who lives in Latin America, wrote more about family structures protecting their (sometimes criminal) kids there: "The concept of “support” in Latin culture often comes with the “either you’re with us or you’re against us” mentality. “Do you support me?” often means “will you protect me if people ask questions?”. This is one reason why gang activity proliferates in Latin America. Respect is often completely void of “trust” and is usually only representative of submission. For example: “I won’t say anything because I know what will happen if I do”. In fact, trust exists to a substantially lesser extent than in lesser developed countries, and the reason is clear: Corruption runs rampant, Police are sometimes involved, and locals already have enough challenges in their own life. They simply don’t want more “problems”. Parents will protect their children’s secrets, even if they disagree with their behavior. Not only do they love their children, but giving up a child (to law enforcement) is equivalent to giving up a vital resource, someone that can provide for the family and someone that they can trust more than other people in their community. A lesser-defined form of tribalism is prevalent even in people that are not indigenous, nor part of a tribe. In many ways, this other form of tribalism can be attributed to gang and group protection."
He also enlightened the macho culture there a bit, in relation to female rejection: [Quote] "Aside from money, foreign women have two other forms of value that could result in potential motives – their body and their sense of empowerment. Any young [Latin] man with spiking testosterone levels will feel a sense of frustration for being rejected by a woman. Adding insult to injury could have been the manner in which the man was rejected. Facing rejection from a foreign woman in one’s own country and being rejected in a way that led to embarrassment, perhaps in front of other male friends, in an environment with no other foreigners present, could quickly escalate to a dangerous scenario. Unfortunately, exerting dominance is sometimes the recourse. Men often compete amongst each other by utilizing various forms of challenges. A challenge from a female foreigner may not be welcomed, especially in the form of a rejection coinciding with perceived mockery, such as a direct laugh or a challenge to one’s intellect. If one man responded by heavily exerting dominance, possibly accidentally inflicting injury on one of the two women, the situation could easily and quickly deteriorate. Even a slight push that resulted in a slip and fall accident could have created a bad situation. [..] I suggest that women treat demonstrations of interest from local men with caution, especially when alone. If the scenario does occur, foreign women should express a sense of graciousness and flattery but also change course to escape the situation in a methodical and respectful manner. Do not laugh at any point during the situation. Laughing can make one feel embarrassed and disrespected, thus heightening frustration."
[UPDATE] Someone else also emailed me about this topic, local macho culture: He explained that he himself is coming from a western country, but that he has lived and worked in a neighbouring country of Panama for several years, befriending mainly local nationals as opposed to expats. He told me that although there are no certainties, in theory the chances of the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne being a case of foul play by locals, might be higher than some people would assume. Some info he shared with me includes things he picked up while submerging himself in the local culture. Foreign western women for instance are often considered 'easy' or 'promiscuous', especially younger women traveling unaccompanied by men. It is also very easy, he says, for such female tourists to give off the wrong signal. Simple things like accepting a few drinks or a lift, will strengthen many men there in the conviction that they can expect sex. And if the woman then refuses intimacy after all, it can really anger men, or hurt their ego, believing she led him on. He translated it to this case also: Kris and Lisanne could have run into some guys who had 3 beers between them; the guys offered and the girls accepted one of them. That in itself could have already set up expectations (whereas in the Netherlands it is absolutely normal to give away drinks without strings attached). What may have reinforced the anger of local men is that foreigners are often assumed to be more wealthy than they may truly be. Prices of plane tickets are exaggerated and inflated in conversation. The girls could have innocently accepted a beer, not realizing the strings attached. When the guys tried to get more physical and the girls rebuffed advances, pride could have been hurt. In some local men's minds, it is an insult for a foreign girl, supposedly affluent, to accept a beer from him (costing a significant portion of his income) in front of his friends and then turning him down. Making him look like a fool. Or the girls could have easily and innocently just agreed to go to someone's house. Or were asked and agreed to something they didn't understand the implications of. He gave as an example that the guys may have used slang for a party which they understood to be specifically sexual, whereas the girls believed they could just innocently hang out and dance. This person also told me that in a place like the Costa Rican capital San Jose (where Kris and Lisanne passed through on their way to Bocas), there are slums where the police don't enter. "Because justice is implemented by the residents and the gangs. Their own justice. If foul play happened to the girls, justice might have been handled extra-judicially and an accident narrative was accepted by the actual authorities." (I now think of the deaths of Jose Manuel, Osman and the taxi driver here).
Despite this information on these youths, there are many other theories out there, also within the Crime/Murder scenario; we cannot exclude the taxi driver (later found dead) either, or the two Panamanian men inside his taxi (never identified as far as we know) who knew where the girls got out and who asked to be let out just a bit before their stop. There is still the tour guide (although always cooperative and seemingly willing to help), as well as other tour guides and locals. How about Osman? Or anyone else we don't know about yet and who stayed under the radar. Someone who didn't look for the media attention by going to the girls' room and to the police or by finding their remains. The vet from the area wrote some horrific account about badly tortured dogs and that the perpetrators came from Boquete and that she knows at least one psychopath there who walks around with machetes and who literally tortures without a flinch. There even was a sexual predator active at the time, a medically schooled expat. People drowned and were beaten to death in Boquete in the week of Kris and Lisanne's disappearance; this is not merely a sleepy expat village.
Another disgusting crime in the Caldera area: the rape and murder of a 5 year old child
This local tour guide Ivan B. from Boquete made a photo on about the same spot as Kris did - but now on a cloudy day -and according to some he could be 'mimicking her pose'
It may just be one of those international poses which many people make; just like sticking your thumbs up. Some claim on forums that he stands just a few steps away from where Kris stood, as you can see in the short tree trunk. Some people think that he is mocking Kris here, others say he may goof around and make such poses naturally, unrelated to that photo of Kris which hardly no-one knew about back then anyway. By the way, this guy, Ivan B. was out there on April 5th 2014, looking for Kris and Lisanne.
Comparing the photos made from the girls' bedroom at the guest family home in Boquete
[Wednesday 2 APRIL]
The girls reportedly had an appointment this day with local guide F. and Eileen, supposedly to visit a strawberry farm, although they also were said to have had plans to instead visit the local volcan Baru or a coffee farm that day. That morning of April 2nd, guide F. went to the Spanish language school in Boquete, where they were supposed to meet at 08:00 AM. But the girls weren't there yet. They didn't show up on the arranged time. The German coworker Eileen and guide F. said that they waited a while and then went to the host family soon after, to see if the girls were there. Guide F. has changed the details of his stories over time, but to La Prensa he said that it was already 10 AM when they were at the girls' guest home, and called Miriam to ask her for the key of the house. They then went inside the room of the girls, to see if they were alright. This house from the girls' host family was relatively close by the language school; about a 5 minute walk.
The curtains of their room were mostly closed. They could peek through one window and had already noticed that the girls were not there. F and Eileen received instructions about how to find the key from Miriam and then spent some time inside Miriam's house, looking for the girls and probably for clues as to where they could be. The guide said later to police and the media (De Volkskrant, 'Een fatale wandeling') that he felt instantly that nobody slept in that room the past night and that it gave him goosebumps. To local newspaper La Prensa F. said: "Upon entering, Feliciano says that together with Eileen he saw the unmade beds, some backpacks and cables to charge cell phones. "The owner of the house told me that she even made them breakfast, thinking they had come home late," he continued. “So as not to alarm anyone”, Eileen and Feliciano separated and did not resume contact until 5:00 p.m., thinking that perhaps the Dutch were walking around town."
Eileen called with the head of the language school in Bocas del Toro; Ingrid Lommers. She is Dutch herself. She was initially not directly worried, but instructed Eileen to inform the girls' family about the fact they didn't come back from their walk. It is said that the guide and Eileen went to the police around 19:00 pm. Although this local news article said that they went to the police together around 21:30 pm. Apparently the police wanted identification papers of the girls, and F. and Eileen (or he alone, that is unclear) are said to have gone back to the girls' bedroom to gather a passport and possibly also a diary of one the girls, to take it back to the police station. Eileen also called the girls' family in Holland. Lisanne Froons mother Diny stated that she was called in the middle of the night by Eileen (just after midnight). With a 7 hour difference in April between Panama and the Netherlands, this means that Eileen called her around 17:00 PM Panamanian time. Eileen asked Diny Froon: "Do I speak with Lisanne?". "No", answered Lisanne's mother, "Lisanne is in Panama." She hung up, confused. Then she called back and heard the terrible news that her daughter 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's and Kris' parents headed that same night to the Dutch police to report the missing case.
So they spent time in their bedroom without police escort or officials accompanying them on at least two different occasions. During the course of that first week, there have been photos taken of the girls' bedroom. Some say the guide took the photos, others say that officials later made some pictures, including an official EPA press photographer. They also photographed the girls' diary entries. Juan and I translated them for you in English, you can find them in part 3 of my blog series. But looking closely at the available photos, which were over time published in the media, it triggers you to play a game of 'Find the 10 differences'.. Because a lot of items have been moved around. Or messed up. This may just be the process of investigation which was documented. But we don't know, it may also have been (partly) the work of the guide and Eileen. Later also SINAPROC and even a press photographer went in the room, at some point. So we don't know for sure who moved around what exactly. But either way, there appear to have been photos of their room taken at different times. Pitti and her police team of course said that the ongoing investigation can explain the different photos with personal items having moved around. But it is odd to me that the guide roamed through all their private stuff already on Wednesday morning with Eileen. Then other people from Sinaproc. And finally the police came, days later, to make some final photos. They had NO clue by then what the room really had looked like when Kris and Lisanne last left it. And these photos also underline how not a single place or room was handled like a possible crime scene. No forensic approach, nobody even wore gloves and protective clothing to prevent contamination. The investigation was seriously lacking. Shouldn't things have stayed in place and shouldn't this room have been treated as a possible crime scene? By police and by the police only?Why was there no official inventory made by investigators of the beroom and its contents? Why wasn't that business card of the guide, which was photographed pretty prominently on the bed, checked for fingerprints? If the girls actually handled it and put it there themselves, you would expect to find one of their fingerprints on it. Nothing was ever published about this though, most likely because it was never investigated (just like the other fingerprints found on their belongings weren't properly checked with a national database). And these photos made their way quickly to the local media. Who leaked them and was money made from this? Let's face it: that whole room was contaminated even before the police arrived, days later. The first people going into that room should have been forensic specialists, period. Not well meaning tour guides, school workers or even Sinaproc, with all due respect. [Photo graphics of the probable lay-out of the house of Miriam, done by Power-Pixie. Notice how everyone in the family lived so nearby their guests. How is it possible that nobody was certain whether or not Kris and Lisanne had come home on Tueday the 1st of April or not?]
The bed on the left is from Lisanne, that on the right from Kris. This may just be a silly child's game, and investigators probably simply went through their belongings, but comparing the photos (why did all these photos end up in the media anyway?) I can't help noticing the different location of some items:
Picture 1. - red plastic bag stands next to sandals Picture 2. - red plastic bag is placed onto the sandals
Picture 1. - light blue booklet lies left from a Spanish language course book Picture 2. - light blue booklet lies on top of another black book, with the Spanish language course book now laying below
Picture 2. - shows a purple-white book with black stripes in the middle of the photo (Important! This is Lisanne's diary) Picture 1. - does not have this book in it
Picture 2. - on the right lies a pencil and next to it lies a black book and a white piece of paper Picture 1. - both have disappeared on photo 1
Picture 1. - on the right a receipt is seen Picture 2. - no receipt is visible
Picture 1. - on the right top of the picture you can see 2 books on the side Picture 2. - on the same spot there is suddenly only 1 book, and it stands straight
And in one of the top photos you can see that Kris' brown bag is lying on the end of the bed, with the bed covers mostly empty. Then the next photos show that the content of the bag has been spread out on her bed. F.'s business card (or a flyer of his) is now clearly visible and placed on the bed. Why did anyone do this? And does this imply that the girls had already met with guide F. and that he gave them his business card? Or did they get it from Eileen perhaps. Like I wrote above, were the girls' fingerprints even on that business card? Was this checked by officials? If so, why have we never heard a thing about it in the press.
Picture 3. - The planks with the girls' clothes on them look neatly folded
Picture 4. - The clothes look messy and like they have been moved and rumbled through
So the room has been thoroughly searched, which is also visible in the pictures of the shelves with the girls' clothes on them; one moment neatly folded (1st photo), the next overturned and messed up (2nd photo).
And why did Lisanne's purple and white diary disappear from the 2nd photo? It was given back to her family eventually, but were investigators able to read it right away? Was German Eileen perhaps able to understand most of the Dutch written in it? And things have been moved around in the different pictures too, or taken away, or added. For instance, in one picture a white business card is visible on the bed. But in another version, it seems to not be there. And some earphone (?) cables have also been replaced on the bed. Was it really left behind on that bed when the girls left the room? Or was it placed there later somehow? Everyone involved here was most likely looking for clues about where the girls could have gone. Although Eileen already knew about the girls' plans to walk the Pianista Trail. She knew that the girls had looked up information about the trail in the Spanish language school and F. had supposedly already discussed guided tour options with them (although his statements on this have changed over time). There is no consensus about whether or not guide F. even met the girls in person before they disappeared. His own statements about this have also changed over time; one time he declared to the media that Yes he met them before they disappeared: "I remember well that I saw the girls for the last time. One was laying in a hammock at the Spanisch language school, and the other was standing in front of a map of Panama and was looking where she wanted to go. Hola! I greeted them. That was shortly before they went missing." However in this Dutch newspaper article from March 2019, he is interviewed and flat out says: "I still have contact with the parents from the girls and I don't want to make them sad. I only wanted to help. I have never seen the girls." (Keep in mind that nobody was found guilty of anything in this story, neither the guide; people are innocent until proven otherwise).
MADE BY POWER-PIXIE:
And below you can see that a yellow notepad was put on the bed for one photo, while it was not there on another. In fact, before it was laying on the ground under a side table. Unfortunately, no photoshop program available enabled us to zoom in enough to be able to read what was written there.. Are there just general notes on them, or something more interesting perhaps?
In the below three photos, some very slight changes are also visible: next to
the backpack lies a black item with red and purple details. It is gone in the second one.
Something we may deduct from these photos, perhaps, is that Lisanne may have been the most neat and organized one of the two? If you see the wardrobe (before it was rummaged through), it could probably be organized by Lisanne as well, as things are very neatly folded and stored. Also see the collection of bottles in the room. The backpack that was retrieved was Lisanne's. The fact all the valuables were neatly stored therein, may perhaps even indicate that Lisanne was the longest survivor (although this is really very far-fetched, I will say!) and that Lisanne was the keeper of the backpack in a scenario where they may have gotten themselves separated. People also wonder out loud in comment sections if it is possible that someone was eager to go search their room soon after they went missing, in order to perhaps erase evidence, remove possible notes or plant things there? Or to take battery chargers along from their phones for instance? We do not know. The families also didn't mention anything about missing phone- or camera cables in their daughters belongings.
UPDATE: Power-Pixie made these excellent compilation photos and compositions of Miriam's house and the lay-out of the room of Kris and Lisanne
Power-Pixie, Dave M and I are even more surprised now, to see that Kris and Lisanne's room does not have its own, separate entrance (as was once reported in the press). Their room is right in the middle of the main house, and can only be accessed through the main door of the house. Guide F. therefore was told by Miriam where he could find the key to the main house, on Wednesday morning. Not a separate key for a separate entrance of this bedroom. It did not have a separate entrance. This raises the question: is it normal for Miriam to tell a local guide and Eileen how to get inside her house, while she herself was not present?
It also strikes us just how central the girls' room was within the house. There is literally no way for Miriam and her family to have missed the absence of Kris and Lisanne on Tuesday evening and night, or on Wednesday morning. I can only imagine that on Tuesday night, around or after dinner time, Miriam would have asked one of the kids to look inside the girls' room. As they were expected for dinner. And how easy would it have been then to verify the next morning if the girls had come home in the meantime (and left again) or not? But there is no information like that.
We also wonder: since Spanish by the River used Miriam's hostel more often, there must have been information available to Eileen about Miriam's address and phone number. We also know that Kris at least had Miriam's number on her phone (*Mytiam* plus phone number on her whatsapp). Can we therefore assume that Miriam also had the contact data of Kris and Lisanne? It is striking that at no point, she tried to call Kris or Lisanne on their cellphones, when they did not show up for dinner. Nor later that evening. Nor for breakfast the next day. Is that normal? Not that long ago, in my mid-twenties, I combined my normal research work for years with the running of a fairly large gite in the south of France, in a mountainous hiking area. And I can't imagine this scenario. If foreign young female tourists stayed over and said they would be back for dinner, I would call them on their cellphones to check how they were doing, later that evening. And if this failed, the police WOULD have been called by the next morning, if not sooner. It seems short-sighted that Miriam didn't at least try phoning Kris or Lisanne, to check where they were that evening, and especially as evening turned into night. Miriam would have likely been watching TV that evening in the room right next to the closed/empty bedroom of Kris and Lisanne, which looks like the place to congregate with the kids. Since the girls used the same main house entrance door, and had to cross this living room space to get in their own room, there would have been no possibility for them to sneak in unseen around that time. Miriam commented herself that Kris and Lisanne did not seem adventurous, that they appeared under the weather and that they did not seem ignorant either. Boquete is hardly Bocas, where could the two girls be as evening turned into night? It seems normal that Miriam would have by now asked her daughter about the girls. The daughter who stated to have seen Kris and Lisanne leave the house that Tuesday in their hiking clothes and with a small backpack.
And you'd think she would have also been aware of the absence of their presence in the morning: a lack of coughing from Lisanne perhaps, no Kris having to go to the toilet or using the shower, or just either of them doing their normal human movements. I myself don't remember ever 'forgetting' about tenants or hikers who stayed for some time in the gite. Yet Miriam calmly and casually proceeded to make breakfast in the morning. Her kids also get up to go to school, but without seeing Kris or Lisanne. Why didn't Miriam at this point try to call Kris or Lisanne? Or the police? Or Spanish by the River or Ingrid Lommers? Miriam also never gave any indication that she tried calling both women, and there is no available information in the case files even that she did. So she did not. Kris had Miriam's number on her phone. Miriam should have had Kris's number as well. Why rely on a tour guide and a fresh in town, young German girls to go through Miriam's private house, and then have them wait all day to inform the police by the evening of Wednesday April 2nd only? I still don't understand this part. It's also interesting how the media focused on the backpack, or rather Miriam stating that her daughter noticed they took one backpack. But why not give a description of what the girls wore? We haven't heard a single witness mention Kris' striking red and white striped shirt, for instance. Why is that? I don't think a single witness has so far detailed the clothes they wore that day correctly. [Note: the rooms other than the Kitchen, Living Room and Kris and Lisanne's room, are obviouslywell calculated but nevertheless imagined rooms. The door to the second room is 100% correct.]
La Prensa also criticizes the investigation of the bedroom
May 30th, 2014
Article. [I only print the highlights here, Scarlet]. "The officials of the National Civil Protection System (Sinaproc) who initially attended the case of the two Dutch tourists lost in Boquete, did not follow the proper procedures of a judicial investigation. Sinaproc overstepped the line in the Dutch investigation. This was announced by Rafael Guerrero, head of the Complex Cases Unit of the Public Ministry (MP), who since last Monday has been in the Chirican mountains along with the multinational search teams, trying to find the whereabouts of Lisanne Froon and Kris Kramers, lost since last April 2. "Sinaproc carried out proceedings that were not for them to do, without the endorsement of the MP," Guerrero explained to this newspaper, indicating that Civil Protection officials entered the room where the Dutch women were staying, without the company of criminalistics technicians. This action, he affirmed, prevented the scientific collection of clues that would have allowed for a better orientation of the investigation. “The alert for the disappearance was already being investigated by the MP. However, Sinaproc unilaterally began a process of interviews and judicial investigations. They even entered the residence where the young women had been staying. It would have been preferable if (they asked for the help of) the criminalistics technicians. (Thus) more scientific information would be obtained ... more evidence”, he added.
Guerrero also believes that if Sinaproc had initially entered the bedroon in the company of technicians from the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, it would have been clear [now] if it was a case of disappearance, kidnapping, homicide or if "they simply left Boquete".
“If Sinaproc had entered with the technicians, we would have a fingerprint survey. We could have seen in the garbage cans if there were written notes, cigarette butts or any other evidence that would allow us to have clearer theories," added a source from the Judicial Investigation Directorate. “Obviously what happened was a mistake. I don't know why Sinaproc did that, considering they only have to deal with emergencies and disasters. The investigation processes do not correspond to them. I think they rushed and got carried away with urgency," the source added. When asked about the statements of the representative of the MP, the director in charge of Sinaproc in the Chiriquí region, Francisco Santamaría, denied the information. “I don't know who collected the belongings. We didn't go. We are not empowered for that,” he replied. Despite this information, the head of the Complex Cases Unit of the Public Prosecutor's Office ratified his statement, and pointed out that Sinaproc's detailed actions appear in the case file, which already reaches a thousand pages. "Sinaproc even asked the police not to participate at the beginning of the search operation and when they inspected the Dutch girls' room," added Guerrero. On this matter, the director of Sinaproc, Arturo Alvarado, confirmed that officials from the Boquete delegation entered the room and took photographs and even questioned some witnesses before beginning the search. He explained that, in his opinion, his officials did not do anything inappropriate “because at that time there were no yellow tapes on the house. (When we entered) a criminal process (sic) had not started, ”he continued. Alvarado stated that to start a search "Sinaproc must carry out a preliminary investigation."
“If Sinaproc had entered with the technicians, we would have a fingerprint survey. We could have seen in the garbage cans if there were written notes, cigarette butts or any other evidence that would allow us to have clearer theories," added a source from the Judicial Investigation Directorate.
Through the photographs that the officials took, "we saw that their passports, toothbrushes and cream were there." That allowed them to "deduce" that the Dutch had not gone a long distance, since their backpacks were still in the room, he asserted. “Sinaproc was notified 44 hours after they were lost. We talked with the owner of the house and started the search. We delivered the photos to the MP two days later. We did not go in with the criminalistics technicians, because there was no crime. Still, one imagined that they could be in a restaurant... we did not touch anything, "added Alvarado, indicating that the officials of his institution walked 944 kilometers in search of the girls."
Video (2014) from a volunteer who found a plastic bag with what looks like the sole of her shoe
February 7th, 2020.A great find from Juan, is the unearthing of a volunteer video from April 10th, 2014, which was long considered lost by us. We knew from this April 12th 2014 article in Dutch newspaper the AD, that volunteers found a plastic bag with food items and wrappers, as well as several long hairs. Dutch news channel RTL spoke of "red or blonde hairs" (hair colours which are quite rare among local Panamanians), while another Dutch news channel ('Hart van nederland') spoke of "red hair". They were said to have been found at 1,5 hours of walking distance from the Pianista Trail. The article also states that the plastic bag had been left there about 4 days before it was found and that flat grass indicated that people had rested a bit. But where were the video images? Nobody mentioned it for a very long time. It got snowed under mostly. But now Juan and his Human Super Computer project unearthed it again. Here is the video (left) and on the right I like to add Juan's video on this matter:
Local Panamanian spokesman Elmer Quintero denied however that any hairs were found along with the plastic bag. The Dutch prosecution echoed this news quickly; no hairs were found. But people who were in Boquete and spoke with the commander in charge, had another story.
Here you can see a short interview with the person who found the plastic bag and the hair. He is named Carlos V. in the police reports and says: "It is forest, an area far from the trail. At that spot was some sort of hiding place or shelter. A sort of small cave, where people sat in." The Dutch interviewer asks: "What did you find there?" He replies: "We found food, leftovers from cookies, juice and other things such as potato chips." Reporter: "And hairs?" Answer: "Yes, we found a hair on an insole of a shoe. But we don't know for sure if it is from one of them. That is now investigated." And correspondent Marc Bessems who was present there at the time, told the Dutch news channel that after this finding, the coordinators immediately sent several rescue workers to this location. This was on Wednesday April 9th. But the coordinator of the rescue operation told the reporter that it was very difficult to find the exact location of the plastic bag and shoe sole again. "Because it was a volunteer who found this plastic bag and shoe sole, at approximately 1,5 hours from the Pianista Trail. The same trail where Kris and Lisanne were supposedly last seen. And then it took a long time before he could report this to the coordinator. They all went back then, and they have not been able yet to find the exact finding place again, but in the wider area where the plastic bag and the hairs were found, they also couldn't find any new clues. It means in any case that they will continue tomorrow. They will send manpower to the region and they will also schedule several helicopter flights over the area." And press officer and reporter Casper van der Kruit tweeted the following (I translated in red):
As you can read, Casper seemed to have boots on the ground there during the search operations, and stated that "According to the commander a plastic bag with garbage was found and a possible sleeping location. Not known if these are traces of Kris and Lisanne." He updated: "Breaking. With the found plastic bag from the jungle, a red hair has also been found. It was sent to the lab for DNA testing."The plastic bag and its content was investigated for spores or traces from Kris and Lisanne. But we never heard about it again, as far as my knowledge goes, and searching the net again now I find no more news articles on it either. Was it not officially linked to Kris and Lisanne therefore? (*Update; I found the reason why we never heard about this again... I added the respective newspaper which explains it a few paragraphs further down..). Despite the fact that this plastic bag came from the same local supermarket in Boquete where Kris and Lisanne had shopped that fateful morning of the day of their disappearance. They were seen there on CCTV footage, according to Ingrid Lommers, head of the Spanish school they attended, but this footage had been overwritten accidentally before police could investigate the images. She posted that unfortunately, the CCTV was accidentally overwritten. In this Dutch newspaper it is also stated that police confirmed that the girls had been caught on CCTV camera in Boquete, nearby a supermarket and shortly before they started their hike. Correspondent Marc Bessems also told Dutch news that Kris and Lisanne were seen in a local supermarket on the day of their disappearance. Ingrid also posted that several camera systems recorded the girls "walking towards Romero Supermarket". Which is exactly the logo on the plastic bag which was now found [so on the morning of April 1st]. (2nd and 3rd photo also made by Juan; big thanks).
So could this bag be of the girls? Casper the tweeting reporter also wrote that "A mountain guide told us that he saw vultures circling above the jungle. That would be less good new."Here you can see the guide discuss it on camera. But he says in fact to the reporter that he has notseen vultures fly over*. If the girls perished out there, he had expected to see vultures. And that people must have participated in something that is no good.. Which is a peculiar comment in all this, considering how the guide later on always made a case for an accidental fall in the river. The guide made also other conflicting statements (although he was interviewed a lot, so then you can also more easily say conflicting things) about having met and greeted Kris and Lisanne shortly before they disappeared, followed by an interview in which he stated that he never met the girls at all. Guide F. also stated as soon as the backpack was found, that that should be enough information for the parents and that tour guides and locals should no longer "risk their lives" trying to find the girls' remains at that point. (All linked to and described in part 1 of this blog series). He also tried to steer the investigators to the Il Pianista area from the start and he then summoned local investigators in interviews to search abandoned and closed off houses in Boquete. The person who found the plastic bag, has been pictured working for him in the past. That does raise the question whether or not the bag was truly left there by Kris and Lisanne, or if it was left there by someone else entirely: planted there by a third party perhaps even, who were involved in their disappearance. By the way: I am beyond the whole questioning by now of "why would a perpetrator not just destroy the camera and the phones and the bag??" I believe this disappearance case received way more (inter)national attention than any 3rd party ever anticipated and that they decided to use the belongings to set out a fake trail. The phone data, the belongings and night photos all tell us very little. But the fact that these photo loving girls left no visual/audio/text evidence for 11 days that they were actually lost and alive and out there, plus the absurd state in which their bones were found, could still indicate that it was all staged by others.
And where was the bag exactly found?Juan and Jeremy figured out the location based on the things Elvis Gonzales, publisher of the video on facebook, wrote about it. It lies roughly in between the Pianista Trail, the trail towards the Lost waterfalls (more on that trail a little bit further down part 3 of this blog post series, made with the help of Jeremy S) and ... the hamlet of Alto Quiel, which is where tour guide F. is reported to have his coffee farm. And where he brings tourists to sometimes. Ingrid Lommers first told police that the scheduled trip from the girls with this guide was to her knowledge going to "a ranch in Alto Quiel", the same place where the plastic bag, long hair(s) and a fuchsia red shoe sole were found later on. Alto Quiel is in the opposite direction of the Pianista Trail, however. Jeremy wrote me about the location and that he based it partially on the comments that were placed under the facebook post of Elvis. The volunteer found the bag and sole of the shoe around 3 kilometers from the crash site of a small plane, years ago. Jeremy wrote me; "There are a number of key items in the words, such as the bag being found in an area that Sinoproc hadn't searched and weren't planning on searching (obviously only based on Sinoproc plans at the 10th April). The key item for me though is the description by Elvis, he states: "Video echo por voluntarios que se suman a la búsqueda de las jóvenes holandesas (área entre cerró orqueta y donde callo la avioneta ) como tres quilometros dentro comenta no ver rastro de búsqueda reciente... " Google Translate tells that me this means "Video made by volunteers who join the search for young Dutch women (area between closed orchestra (forest?) and where the plane fell) as three kilometers inside comments not seeing a recent search trail ..." I've done a lot of searching and there's only one plane crash in the general area and it was into Baru in December 2007, it was a big story because whilst a small plane with only 3 people and a pilot, the passengers were American so American media descended on Boquete. The first link is the most complete and told from the local perspective, it includes pictures, the other two are ABC News which are US TV crew who followed the story most closely. First link, Second link, Third linkSo, unless there's another plane crash before 2014 which I can't find or unless Google Translate is mis-translating it appears [this is it]." - So, 3 kilometers from "La Pandura" he found this plastic bag. Below I show you the locations found by Juan and Jeremy and in the last photo I roughly drew the important locations on this map. Update: In the police files, the location of the discovery of this plastic bag is named as Cerro Horqueta. Well done to Juan and Jeremy and others for finding it years prior already through good sleuthing.Please scroll further down this blog post to read more about this plane crash. Subtopic named: "About this 2007 plane crash in the Baru volcano area. "
In the comments under his video, Elvis Gonzalez also made an interesting statement:"In reality what the volunteer who made the video says, is that although the effort they [the search teams] are making is arduous, they are only looking on the trails and not away from them ... and the local people of the area who know a lot about these mountains should be recruited." - So, the searching was intense and arduous, but they only focused on the trails and didn't go so much off trail. Again, this was the situation at the start of April; searches became more widespread as the weeks and months progressed. Marcelino gives also an interesting reply (also translated) and seems to criticize the search teams for what sounds like incompetence: "We know of its existence and remember that in previous years there have been other disappearances and they have not been found. That has been a very closed issue at the level of the FFDD. My suggestion is to look for personnel who know the areas in depth and know the bright that leads that search and how to do it."
Now over to the content of the plastic bag. Considering the girls had for a fact visited the same Romero supermarket the morning of their disappearance, and considering the commander in charge of the search operation has stated that there was a long hair found, I am leaving the option open that this plastic bag did belong to Kris and Lisanne. Going against this however is the knowledge that this plastic bag has always been considered a dead end by the Dutch press and according to the Prosecution and parents. But let's look more closely at the bag's content. Empty wrappers from cookies, an empty can of Pringles ships, something looking like an empty bag of taco chips of the brand Picaronas, an empty plastic bottle of pineapple (papaya?) flavoured yogurt drink. And more empty plastic (fast)food wrappers. We also saw the loose sole of a left shoe, laying nearby out on the leaves. It is placed there upside down, but once the volunteer picks it up, you can see that the sole has a red/pink colour (fuchsia). It is clearly worn and to me seems to belong to a rather large shoe. I'm no expert, but I have shoe size 39 myself, and this sole seems slightly bigger. Considering Lisanne's length, a good 10 centimeters taller than me, I'd say this may be a size 40. And what's more; the found Wildebeast shoe of Lisanne had a similar fuchsia coloured inner lining. There seems also to be a small hole in the sole, perhaps a puncture mark of sorts? Could she have stood on a nail that punctured her shoe and her foot, injuring her perhaps? Who will say.. Unfortunately I don't speak Spanish so I can't hear if the volunteer has more findings he tells about. But from Jeremy I got the impression that no great secrets are told in the video.
Could this be their bag? Lisanne drank such yogurt based fruit drinks; she was even pictured with one such a drink (Vifit) in her backpack at the airport, before boarding to go to Panama, .
Also her walking shoes have a very specific colour of lining, matching the colour of this sole. Her shoes were only available at the time in a Dutch store called Perry Sport, and is of a brand called Wildebeast. Panamá América also reported on this here. Below you can see what it looked like new and when the shoe was found in Panama eventually. As usual there was a lot of fog and unnecessary doubt strewn around in this disappearance case, because how simple should it have been for investigators to immediately confirm if the sole was from Lisanne or not. DNA testing should have solved that quickly, and if that wasn't possible for whatever reason, then investigators should still have been able to link the sole through fibre testing to the found left shoe from Lisanne in June 2014. A new Wildebeast shoe could have shed light on the type of sole in this shoe. Or Dutch sniffer dogs could have probably verified if the sole belonged to Lisanne. But nothing was further published or released on this matter and for all we know it was never even investigated by Pitti. Just like scientists have declared openly how they wanted to test the blue shoe that was found, linking it to Kris or not, and Betzaida never gave the order for the testing or to send the shoe to the lab. And thus, the shoe wasn't tested. And why were those two blue shoes that were found splashed all over the media, but this fuchsia coloured sole which may very well be the lining of Lisanne's shoe not? It took years for someone to find that obscure video again. But this upload from Elvis is real, and the date he posted it, without any signs of editing, shows also that his upload is real.
And then there is the Pringles crisp can. The same Pringles crisps in another flavour were found on the girls' room (on the table between the beds). But then again, who doesn't eat Pringles?
Could this plastic bag perhaps have been theirs? It could be a coincidence of course, and I am not sold on this tbh, but things seemingly fitting are the bigger sized pink sole of the shoe, the Pringles chips and the yogurt fruit drink. Of course, we needed simple and effective DNA investigation of this bag and its content. Did Kris or Lisanne drink and eat from these food items, yes or no? Unfortunately, as usual in this case, we haven't seen the test results. And how about the content of the bag; was there a receipt perhaps? Matching in time with the moment Kris and Lisanne were seen on CCTV images (later overwritten unfortunately)? I mean, it not only seems odd that they went out hiking without food in their bag, but it also seems odd to go for just an afternoon hike with so much food in their bag. All that fast food... did they really buy all that at Romero that morning to bring it along? Surely the shop had CCTV footage which could have helped us confirm that? But that footage was overwritten before police could investigate it. What is interesting however, is that this video of the volunteer showing the content of the found plastic bag has long been considered gone. People couldn't find the video anywhere and the media didn't show it either when they reported on this plastic bag finding. They reported on the finding, but they had no images or clue really as to what was found or where. Was this video simply ignored from the start because no genetic link between the girls and the bag was ever presented? Someone from the Dutch prosecutor's office has stated in writing to Juan that Panama was leading in this case and the Dutch let Panama decide. Only when Panama asked them specifically to look into the memory card of the camera and of the phones, did the Dutch step up and investigate something.
I understand that this find and video will make a lot of people believe even more firmly in a Lost scenario, where Kris and Lisanne dropped their food wrappers in true Hansel and Gretel style, but to me personally it changes nothing about my crime suspicions. I also suspect that if this bag with food wrappers and the hair were in fact from Kris and Lisanne, the bag and food wrappers would have been pictured by them in at least one of their photos. Especially if the girls left the plastic bag on purpose, to mark where they had been. If they had the time and the opportunity for this, then why not make a photo of the bag before leaving it behind? 'See, we left the bag here. This is what we encounter along the way of this stressful period in time.' And if their DNA was in fact on these items then I still suspect that a third party had taken their freedom away, and planted this bag in the same fashion in which they later planted the backpack. Drawing rescue groups to one side of the region, when they probably had to look in fact in another part. But this is of course well-motivated speculation. Nevertheless it is the same pattern again and again; throw out as many contradicting statements and pieces of evidence as possible, so that not even the truth among it is recognized and trusted in the end. So here one person says "it was a red hair!" and another says that no in fact it was a blonde hair. Another talks about multiple hairs while a 4th insists that no hairs at all were found. Sigh..
I attach a great photo from Mutinyonthekitkat, who proves that the mirror in the SOS photo is truly the underside of a Pringles tube. (Meaning that Kris and Lisanne would not only have carried all that fast food, which wrappers were found in the plastic bag, but also at least TWO tubes of Pringles crisps, because one tube was found in the plastic bag and it still was in one piece, so they would have needed to have brought at least one more tube to make this mirror out of).
Could this found bag mean anything? Perhaps. Although perhaps this bag was not left by Kris and Lisanne but by someone else entirely. Maybe strangers who had nothing to do with them, or perhaps the girls had already ran into other people, who provided them with this food and these drinks, but kept them under control and prevented them from returning to their host family. Perhaps Kris and Lisanne truly secretly left the bag and sole behind as a sign that they were there, or maybe a 3rd party planted this bag themselves, just like they did 2 months later with the backpack. If this location of La Pandura is correct, then the bag was found near the hamlet of Alto Quiet where 8 people live and which has one coffee farm. The bag was found rather close to this coffee farm. Another problem with this new location is that it is very hard to imagine that Kris and Lisanne walked there, lost supposedly, passing inhabited hamlets and villages as well as trails, in a week where it was very nice weather in the Boquete region, and that they did not run into a single human being who could help them... Despite the word being out that they were missing, posters placated everywhere and rescue teams looking for them. Despite them having a bounty reward on their head and being searched by Sinaproc, helicopters, dogs, their families and mostly everyone else living there. And it gets even more strange because we have to also believe that while this bag was found south-east of the Pianista Trail, close to the town of Boquete, that going by the location of their fewfound bones, they would have also walked BACK to the Pianista Trail again, and walk beyond the Mirador all over again, to end up 15 walking hours up north near the village of Alto Romero. Anyway, I wanted to update here on this new finding from Juan. Update:Forensic investigation of the bag and its content resulted in no detection of DNA traces to work with, according to the case files. No biological traces of Kris and Lisanne were found either, according to the police. The pink shoe sole was attributed to a shoe from another brand.
Oh and regarding coffee farms:A Panamanian clairvoyant (psychic), Marcia Smith Del Rio (45) claimed on April 15th of 2014 to a Dutch newspaper that she saw Kris and Lisanne in a dream. She saw them at a coffee plantation near Boquete and not far from the Pianista Trail. The first dream dated from April 7th, 2014:"I saw a girl with light-colored hair that was grabbed by a man in a forest setting. He was wearing jeans and work shoes. His hand had the color of a latino. The girl screamed and was dragged roughly by her hair behind a house or cabin. So rough that she was bleeding. I saw dark, chocolate-colored earth moving and I felt a stabbing pain in my stomach. This pain was so intense that I woke up crying." The Panamanian woman claimed she had a second dream on April 14th, 2014. In it she saw a mountainside and plants that she thought looked like coffee bushes. "I saw one of the girls through her own eyes. They looked up at the sky. She lay on her back among the bushes and was very calm. I think she's dead", said the clairvoyant who got overwhelmed by emotions at this point. Marcia had useful tips in the past for the police that led them to find her lost sister and a murdered local Indigenous person. In order to find the coffee plantation she saw in her dream, Marcia went to a coffee plantation on a mountainside near the Pianista trail with a private investigator. This happened a week before she spoke to the Dutch newspaper, so in the week of April 8th. They also searched a few houses and huts but found no traces of the girls. "I didn't get a special feeling there either. I hope to get that at the plantations." - Perhaps Marcia saw the coffee plantation of guide F. in Alto Quiel, close to the finding spot of the plastic bag with food wrappers, in her dream? - You can read the whole article further down this blog post.
Closeby screams were heard.. This place of La Pandura can be linked to a blog of two French speaking tourists and bloggers who walked the same trail on April 6th, so 5 days after the girls went missing, and they declared that a local told them not to get into the tropical forest as he had heard someone scream the day before; screams coming from the jungle. This is their blog. Important passages translated from French: "The problem at the moment is that two 23-year-old Dutch girls have been "lost" for the past four days, and they put this argument forward to discourage us from hiking without a guide. The hike begins with a track that goes down. We cross the Rio Caldera and then we enter a path that sinks into the beautiful rainforest. The path is flat at first and then climbs up to another guard post, which we reach after 3h30 of walking and more than 1200m of elevation. It is then possible to go down on the other side, towards the village of Cerro Punto and to take buses to return, but it takes 3h of transport. At the guardhouse, we meet a guy who, the day before, heard frightened screams from two girls, then a loud crash, and then saw three guys on the trail.This explains the presence today of many cops and rescuers on the trail in search of the girls. After the picnic we go down the same path, a little troubled by this story and the possibility that the two Dutch had a bad meeting in the area. In fact, it is almost impossible to get lost on these well marked trails, and it seems even less possible to stay lost here for the duration of 4 days ... This hike, which is announced as one of the most beautiful in Panama, did not really dazzle us. We left very early to try to observe the wildlife but we did not see much, only some birds and cows, sheep, cats, dogs and hens not really shy and not really wild .. Although others stated to have walked the Pianista Trail in the night (!) of 1 to 2 April 2014, and they heard or saw nothing unusual." - Juan noticed that this place where the screams were heard may link to the location where this plastic bag was found, as it isn't very far away and on the same route. Not all that far from the Pianista Trail either, leading toward the Lost waterfalls in direction, as well as the volcano; Sendero Quetzales, Sendero Piedra de Lino, Volcan Baru... Cerro Horqueta is a more mountainous top and apparently where you end up if you go left on the Y-crossing at the Pianista Trail. It's not that far from the Lost Waterfalls. - The source of this claim may be the following: in the early days of the police investigations into the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne, there was also a statement made by a German tourist, Marcus M., who claimed to a local forest ranger at a control station that he witnessed that Kris and Lisanne had been beaten and thrown down a ravine. This may coincide more or less with the information the two French tourists were given. Marcus had arrived in Boquete on April 4th and this event had taken place on April 5th he claimed, at Cerro Punta at the Quetzal Trail. He was the one who claimed to have heard a female voice screaming for help, followed by a loud bang. He then claimed to have witnessed two men crouching and hiding in the bushes, after which he ran away in fear. Senafront did visit the spot in the evening and searched for the women, but they found nothing (aside from the German tourists own plastic water bottle). At the end of the day I personally do not believe that the plastic bag with food wrappers was left behind by Kris and Lisanne. I don't believe that they were out on this trail and not even the fuchsia sole of the shoe may belong to Lisanne. The media largely ignored this find probably because there was nothing to it. But why have we not seen the test results on these items?
ThisPanamanian news article updated in May 16th 2014 that the test results of the plastic bag and shoe sole GOT LOST:
Friday, May 16, 2014 - 12:00 a.m.
Chiricanos media say that ‘clues are being sown’, and today the Public Ministry will hold a press conference to clarify ‘rumors’ that disturbed the tranquility. "They find clothes that could be theirs. Search block is abandoned by the Police. A strand of blond hair and the sole of some shoe or slippers are some of the things that had been found in the first search of the Dutch girls Lisanne Froon, 21, and Kris Kremers, 20.
But Lisanne's family now complains that all this material and the results now mysteriously disappeared when handled by some people of Boquete.
Days after the test results got lost, the authorities suspended the search for the girls entirely. It is for this reason that family members decide to set up a privately funded search team, which has been in the mountains for the past two days. Part of this group is a staff member of the newspaper El Siglo, after having been asked to join and report on this search initiative. The private detective Martín Ferrara, former PTJ and bodyguard of Guillermo 'Billy' Ford (qepd), has always stayed in contact with the family, and it is he who has collected the evidence, both the evidence that was lost (although the finding of the items was filmed) as well as new evidence which may now be gathered. Ferrara was the one who could retrace the steps of the girls during the last day that they were seen alive, the vehicles in which they were transported, and name of the guide who would accompany them the next day. There is another detective hired by the Froon family: Emigdio Miranda. On Wednesday, the private search team went for another tropical forest trek inland and they found something: physical traces. And they heard voices (sounding more like screams) at the bottom of a ravine.The group is led by Verísimo Fuentes, a man who has been living for more than 38 years in the area, and with a lot of experience in search and rescue. The Boquete Police did not lift a finger - The girls were seen entering the path known as El Pianista, in the northern part of Boquete, in Chiriqui. That search was restarted, before the sun came out, on Wednesday. When the search group was about to return, as it was getting dark, two of its members sensed a strong but pleasant smell of perfume. It looked like a sweet women's perfume. Fifteen minutes later, everyone in the group heard a sound similar to that of a can hitting against some object. The noise lasted shortly, less than a minute, which in the forest is an eternity. When the sound of the can stopped ringing, a scream was
clearly heard, a very high voice.The group was astonished for a few seconds, and then they launched in search of the origin of that 'call'. The voice seemed to come from the bottom of a ravine, which is not part of the path. They reached a clearing. Nothing. They decided to walk around and it was then that they found a kind of blue coat, with visible signs of tearing, and without a sleeve. This garment could reinforce the idea that the girls fell down the ravine and were very injured, and it could mean that they were alive. However, Lisane Froon's parents do not recognize the clothing. [It was neither from Kris, Scarlet]. Official disinterest? - After finding this garment, it was decided to leave the place for the time being, due to the hour, it was very late. Without anyone knowing who warned them, a helicopter from the National Aeronaval Service arrived at the place. When they were told about the findings, they said they would participate, and promised that they would return to the place with the private explorers hired by the family. never arrived at the place where they had decided to pick up the explorers on Wednesday. They even said they would send 50 men to help. But late into the day, yesterday, they said that a strong wind prevented them from taking off.
The private search group found a letter ‘K’ carved on a tree. (From Kris?) They saw it yesterday. The marking appears to be several days old, and is about 4 centimeters in size.
According to the version of the Public Prosecutor's Office, the girls searched throughout the day for a guide to accompany them on the path, but they did not find one. Those who saw them in town agree that the girls were exceptionally beautiful. The next day, when the girls went down to their hostel, defeated because they didn't find a guide, a vehicle stopped and they got in. But the car did not take them to the center of Boquete, but instead returned to where the El Pianista trail begins. Residents of the nearby area confirm "having seen the girls standing there, at about 4:45 p.m., and saw the vehicle leave but without the girls."
So that is an interesting news article.I doubt that everything mentioned in it is correct, but there are quite some revelations made; about a carved "K" in a tree, the sound of clickety clang on a tin and screams (I posted about that already before on this blog). And of course the information that the plastic bag, its content and the sole of the shoe got lost while being handled by the Panamanians?Update: police files claim that the plastic bag was only lost for a short amount of time and was later found to be stored somewhere at the Sinaproc office. Forensic investigation of the bag and its content resulted in no detection of DNA traces to work with. No biological traces of Kris and Lisanne were found either, according to the case file. The pink shoe sole was attributed to a shoe from another brand.
This reminds me of a blog from two tourists, who walked the Pianista trail on April 6th 2014 and heard some strange things from a local
Two French tourists (Boris and Edith - French) walked the same trail on April 6th, and they declared that a local told them not to get into the woods as he had heard someone scream the day before (so on April 5th); screams coming from the jungle.None of these people have been questioned however by authorities. This is their blog. Important passages translated from French: Quote: "The day after our arrival [in Boquete] we explore the place. We are desperately searching for an information office which does not exist, at least not in the center. We grab information in the tourist agencies, who each time recommend us a guide, but we know very well that the hikes in the area are quite feasible alone. The problem at the moment is that two 23-year-old Dutch girls have been "lost" for the past four days, and they put this argument forward to discourage us from hiking without a guide. On April 6 we leave early by taxi to do the Quetzal trail [which is west of the Pianista Trail, Scarlet].The hike begins with a track that goes down. We cross the Rio Caldera and then we enter a path that sinks into the beautiful rainforest. The path is flat at first and then climbs up to another guard post, which we reach after 3h30 of walking and more than 1200m of elevation. It is then possible to go down on the other side, towards the village of Cerro Punto and to take buses to return, but it takes 3h of transport. At the guardhouse, we meet a guy who, the day before, heard frightened screams from two girls, then a loud crash, and then saw three guys on the trail. This explains the presence today of many cops and rescuers on the trail in search of the girls. After the picnic we go down the same path, a little troubled by this story and the possibility that the two Dutch had a bad meeting in the area. In fact, it is almost impossible to get lost on these well marked trails, and it seems even less possible to stay lost here for the duration of 4 days ... This hike, which is announced as one of the most beautiful in Panama, did not really dazzle us. We left very early to try to observe the wildlife but we did not see much, only some birds and cows, sheep, cats, dogs and hens not really shy and not really wild .. Although others stated to have walked the Pianista Trail in the night (!) of 1 to 2 April 2014, and they heard or saw nothing unusual."
New info Interesting update through Juan. He received information from someone in Boquete about a local young man the girls were seen with, the already earlier mentioned E. They were reportedly seen being picked up in a pick-up truck by him and given a lift to another part of Boquete; downtown, where their host family also lived. He is the relative of a local restaurant owner and multiple people from the area mentioned him in anonymous tip offs. Which in itself does not make it more than gossip without actual evidence. He and his friends are claimed to have been questioned by police, but were released. He has been linked to the person who leaked info to the swimming photo. Vivian is the daughter of someone who had rented her house to masseuse Sigrid. Vivian was present there when the girls came round on March 31st for their massage. She overheard them while doing some chores in the house and also noted that one of the girls had a moderate sunburn.
The Boquete source writes: "I want to tell something about E., the el sabroson restaurant owners' X. [..] I found one testimony from a young lady from Boquete named Vivian. Sigrid, the Dutch lady who was working giving massages, used to rent Vivian's mother's house. Vivian met Kris and Lisanne the day they visited Sigrid, but she didn't talk with the girls, only with her father. Later, Vivian had a conversation with Sigrid about the girls, she mentioned something about how she didn't understand why Kris and Lisanne changed their plans, about going to the Pianista Trail. Vivian also mentioned that she finds E. a very suspicious guy because some people from Boquete saw him picking up Kris and Lisanne, he was driving a pickup, giving them a ride to a place Vivian called "bajo pueblo". I think it means downtown. Boquete's people know that E. doesn't behave well. I'm confused about E. and the Pizza restaurants owner, placed in the beginning of the Pianista trail. One of them has been linked to gang activity. Or maybe both?"
One possible new scenario
[On the right are two new photos, taken by Kris and Lisanne] One possible scenario is that the girls climbed the Pianista on Tuesday, and then decided to go swimming afterwards. The girls were said to have been seen at the trailhead again by multiple witnesses during the afternoon of the Tuesday they went missing. They were also reported to have been seen by witnesses with two young men in the days prior; once in what appears to have been Nelson restaurant in Boquete and another time outside in the street. For what it is worth, because not all witnesses could have been correct with their wildly varying testimonies, and some people believe they were all wrong. Or perhaps they met some people during the Pianista hike and then were hot and sweaty from the hike on this warm day and were invited to come for a swim. Did Kris and Lisanne make it to the summit with help along the way from locals? Who gently pushed them to walk the trail beyond the Mirador, promising a waterfall perhaps further down the road? Kris may look annoyed in those photos because she wasn't impressed with this additional hike. Just a theory.. The girls were perhaps invited afterward for a refreshing swim. Or maybe they had heard about this local swimming spot and went there on their own initiative. Either way; they returned down the mountain for this theory. They were seen by several people at the start of the trail again around 15:00 - 16:00 pm, asking for a way to get back to Boquete. This would mean that the new timeline is the correct one: Kris and Lisanne were on the summit at 13:00 and at the location of photo #508 at 14:00. It is a downhill walk to get back to Boquete and 1,5 hours is enough for this from that location. Other people who have walked this trail managed to get back down from the summit in approximately one hour and they often walked it under worse conditions. Then from there on, they were reported to have been seen with a taxi driver again, back at the trailhead. So they didn't walk to the Caldera hot-spot, no they were driven there. Either by the local youth they were seen swimming with in that photo, by a local in a red truck perhaps, or by taxi. It is no more than a 30 minute drive by car, making it possible for them to arrive at the swimming spot around 16:30. This time matches with the low, and some would say almost golden sunlight that can be seen in the swimming photo. Light from the late afternoon, if you ask me; lower and softer. Consequence of this would be that the data regarding their phones never having made contact with any cell tower again after the early afternoon of April 1st may be... sketchy. Or false. Or conveniently incomplete. Or they both had powered their phones off or set them to flight mode during their descent from the Pianista and during their swimming activities. Maybe they realized that their phones' had little battery life left.
There have been many witness accounts which always seemed to be entirely 'off', but perhaps some were true after all? For instance on this local Boquete message board, it was reported that on April 7th, 2014, Lee Zeltzer had a word with one of the volunteers searching for the two missing Dutch women in Boquete. "Phil [..] said the owner of Il Pianista, Giovanni, had spoken to the women on April 1 and told them where to catch a bus back to Boquete. This along with other rumors drove me to drive to Il Pianista. (Il Pianista at the road to the trail). Giovanni was not at the restaurant but his wife Doris was. This is what she said: Giovanni saw the women on 1 April near Don Pedro hitching toward Il Pianista. An employee at Il Pianista saw them start-up the trail between 15:00 and 15:30 PM. - They may simply have hung around the trailhead then, waiting for a taxi. A bus or taxi was recommended to Kris and Lisanne after all; they asked about it again at a small cigarette store nearby; the shop owner also suggested a taxi to them.Maybe these witnesses were right and the girls were indeed at the start of the Pianista trail after actually returning from their hike. Neither of the girls spoke much Spanish. Perhaps they took a taxi around 15:30 to go for the swim, which we now have the photo of (although this can be disputed of course). But there is not too much specific information about anything regarding this swimming. The location seems to match the Caldera but it could probably be another location also. Mind you; there were signs indicating the Caldera hot springs in Boquete and near the Pianista Trail actually, and several witnesses have stated that they saw Kris and Lisanne in the Caldera hot springs on March 30th or 31st. This may be reliable info, or it may not be. On this local Boquete forum it was stated: "The latest search, which entered its fourth day with no trace of the young women, was dispatched with rescuers from the Netherlands in the company of dog to the area known as the Hot Springs in the village of Caldera, where some witnesses have told area units that the Dutch would have been there on Sunday March 30 before being reported missing. "Several sites have been tours this Friday as The hot springs in Caldera, the Canoping in Palo Alto, Los Naranjos known as the Wye area, and Sky Star to Paradise, all in the district of Boquete, tourist sites where witnesses have stated that the girls have been seen." And in this news article from September 9th, 2014, a Dutch newspaper cited the Panamanian newspaper La Estrella, who had the information published that "an inhabitant from Altos de Romero tried to take Kris and Lisanne to a house in the neighborhood. Altos de Romero is lies close by to the location where the girls' backpack had been found."
Other than knowing where the photo was taken, who the boys in the photo are and that they were both dead within a year, there is nothing more known about when that photo was taken and what may have happened afterwards. They all look happy and cheerful in it. It may simply have been an innocent afternoon swim at some point during their Boquete stay, before their Pianista hike, which they didn't feel like mentioning to others. But the fact that none of the investigators or the parents ever even mentioned this swimming photo, seems odd and a bit suspicious to me. The Dutch investigators let it slip to Juan in an email that they already knew of the existence of this photo for quite some time. Supposedly... So why was it kept out of the press for all that time? It is of course possible that it has been proven behind the scenes that this swim took place days before the girls went missing. Or maybe the fictitious doppelgänger lookalikes really do exist, but the evidence was all hidden from the public. But the lack of transparency makes me wonder. Perhaps the Dutch just wanted to cultivate a certain image of their daughters; of cautious and serious and somewhat shy girls. And perhaps swimming with strangers didn't fit in that image. I don't know. They swam with new made friends in Bocas del Toro, and they swam with new made friends in Boquete, seems to be the safest conclusion now.
Some new questions: *Why did this swimming photo suddenly turn up now? And who released it?
*Why have we not heard a single investigator or family member mention this swimming photo ever in the past 5+ years?
*When was it taken and by whom?
*In previous days the girls have been seen talking with (never further identified) local young men in a Boquete restaurant, among other places. There has also been a witness who stated that the girls had an appointment with two local men to see the waterfalls. Are these young men in the swimming photo perhaps the same locals which have been mentioned by multiple witnesses?
*How come everyone in that photo was dead within the year?
*What could be the implications of this photo? Were the girls not alone on the Pianista Trail perhaps? Did someone invite them for a swim or did they go there of their own accord?
*Was this in fact the last daytime photo taken of the girls? Or was it made on one of the previous days?
*Is it possible that the nighttime photos were also taken at another location entirely then?
*But if that is true, and Kris and Lisanne did walk or travel back from the Mirador and Pianista trail, then how come their mobile phones never made cell tower contact again after Monday 13:38 pm? They should have then. Unless both the phones were powered off, or these phone data are incorrect altogether.
*Does all of this affect the Timeline as we have known it until now?
Let's not forget that there are still many other scenarios possible; we have no direct evidence that this swimming photo is related to the girls' disappearance. There is also the taxi driver, the men in his taxi at the time that Kris and Lisanne stepped in (according to the taxi driver), there is the possibility that they ran into a drug cartel while out walking, or criminals of some sorts. Organ or sex trafficking has been mentioned often as a possible cause of their disappearance. Indigenous people may have been involved, local farmers, state officials, you name it. People go missing and die there all the time, often due to ill-willing individuals of sorts.
Check out this new info directly from the man who published it, in the new video from Juan 😮 And a magazine article/ interview here
Writer Ramón Hernández published a compilation book in October 2015 about the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne and has his own thoughts on what likely happened to them
Source. Writer and journalist Ramón Hernández wanted to clear up the case of the missing Dutchwomen. His compilation book is called "Mystery in the Path of the Pianist", and it is a compilation of the journalistic Panamanian publications on the girls' mysterious disappearance. Hernández selected relevant news articles and photos that were published between April 29th 2014 and October 2015 for his book. Hernández is called 'one of the heroes from November 3rd 1959, when he and Aquilino Boyd led the "Operation Sovereignty".
"Their death was a crime and not a disappearance, as the prosecutor in Chiriquí says". Hernández added: "I think that the public prosecutor did not know from day one how to lead and carry out this investigation. I am asking that the fact that this was a crime is further investigated. Because in my opinion, it may not be possible for the murderers to be free."
But Ramón Hernández said that he also wanted to reflect in his book "the failure of the investigation system in our country, and the confirmation what the lawyers of the young Dutch women's families state about the death" - Hernández agrees that they died as the result of a crime; of foul play. Hernández also talked during the book presentation about another - older - disappearance; that of Betsy Marlena Mendizábal, who disappeared on Juanary 30th, 1976 in the region of Mariato, in the province of Veraguas. Update: a Dutch forum member bought and read the book of Ramón Hernández and summarized it as follows [translated from Duch]: "The author is well known in Panama's history. He is/was of the opinion that the girls have disappeared in a suspicious manner and that the investigation led by the then Panamanian fiscal was far below par. He is/was of the opinion that the tax authorities at the time had wrongly labeled the disappearance as a case of getting lost and he strongly suspects that those who are to blame for the disappearance of K&L are still free. He is of the opinion that as a Panamanian he recognizes certain practices well and that he is able to interpret the Panamanian train of thought / mentality."
And some more information on just how shoddy some aspects of the case were managed by Betzaída Pittí, see this news article
'Serious doubts arise about the Prosecution's evidence. Prosecutor Betzaida Pitti attached to the file a blue shoe that, supposedly, belonged to Kris Kremers.'
By Adelita Coriat
"On June 18, on the banks of the Culubre River, located in the province of Bocas del Toro, a shoe was found in the style of a short, dark blue boot with a white sole. The footwear was dry and showed great deterioration. Seen through the photographs taken by the media in situ, it seems to correspond to the right foot. This was the second footwear found by locals on the banks of the river. Two days earlier, on June 16, a brown boot containing skeletal remains had been found. The blue shoe was handed over to the Public Prosecutor from David, Chiriqui, where an investigation into the case of the missing Dutch girls was being conducted. The prosecution was interested in determining if the skeletal remains belonged to any of the girls, Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers, who disappeared on April 1 while they were walking the El Pianista trail in Boquete, Chiriquí. Since then, the trail of the girls has been reduced to the belongings and skeletal remains that have been appearing spontaneously on the banks of the Culubre River, located at a twelve hours walk away from the path that the girls initially took. The first found brown boot contained bone remains from Lisanne, verified by a DNA analysis by the Biomolecular Laboratory of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (IMELCF). The forensic reports indicated that it contained soft tissue and was degraded. But errors were made. According to forensics, consulted by La Estrella de Panamá, these tests should have been subjected to analysis of fluid, cell or other traces that could be related to the young women and shed light on what happened. The Office of the Prosecutor [Pittí] seems to have skipped these steps. Prosecutor Betzaida Pitti, in charge of the case, also obviated a basic procedure in this type of investigations: ordering the same DNA tests on footwear. This new blue boot has been attributed by the prosecution to the other girl, Kris Kremers. According to news reports, this shoe was found by Ángel Palacio and guide F., two residents of the area. In this case, and despite the fact that there is no forensic scientific evidence that links both shoes to the girls, the Office of the Prosecutor saved it as part of the body of evidence. [..] Now doubts are leaking about blue shoes. The main one is that the Prosecutor's Office lacks a DNA test to prove that the boot belonged to Kris. The Star of Panama confirmed that the IMECF, the only laboratory in the country where biomolecular analysis of the required type is practiced, has not received the shoe in question to submit it to the tests. Nor is it known if the prosecutor has shown the shoes to the Kremers family to recognize it as part of their daughter's belongings. In the photos where Kris appears, both at the airport and during the visit to the trail on the day of his disappearance, it is clear that he is wearing brown boots, with sole and black laces. Can the prosecution prove that this was the shoe that Kris wore, despite the change in colour? How would the prosecutor explain the transformation from brown to blue? (Pitti said that it had been laying in the sun and that this caused the severe bleaching of the shoe: I think that is nonsense as the shoe was bleached in colour all over, not only on one side that faced the sun). What size is the boot and what brand is it? Was the shoe presented to the Kremers family for recognition? What was their response? And, if not, why? The doubts would vanish with adequate expertise, which, among other things, contemplates a forensic examination."
Some comments below the article (translated): "This is serious, because look at the time that has passed, and previous months only spread the big lie that the girls died accidentally; a big lie that Holland has not been believing, because they are still looking for answers. And as a citizen of this town boqueteños, I think the same thing that has come out of the investigations, that they were murdered. I think more than the clues and testimonies of the people who contributed the missing MP, I do not see them have an interest to communicate the truth. That lady that brought them to those teaching practices [Eileen], where is she??? She fled??? [Yes she did] Where is the guide?? What doctor cared for those girls??? What restaurant did they visit? What friends did they call??" And: "I always saw this prosecutor as an actor, I think that for these cases there should be a multi-disciplinary team and not a television crew."
Why would an investigator not do that simple research?
Kris' father seems to think that it was in fact the shoe from Kris. He included in an interview shared further down below this blog post, that he and his partner do not want to cremate "a few bones and an empty shoe". Going by the shape of the shoe, it may very well be the same one as the brown shoe worn by Kris on the photos of that day. But... it turned blue in colour and the sole went white. Without Betzaida ordering DNA research on it, we still do not know if Kris wore it, yes or no. But also important to me seems this: Could chemical bleaching (say, phosphates or lime or lye) have caused the brown shoe to go blue in colour, and its sole to go white-ish? It enters the trail as brown and comes out blue with white sole. What is wrong with verifying whether it is the same shoe that Kris was wearing on April 1st and whether it therefore has changed colour? Why should you not do that simple piece of research as a general prosecutor and chief investigator? When the pathologists are reported to have been waiting for the shoe and the order from Pitti. Without this research, we also don't know if the dramatic change in colour could 'just' have been the result of bleaching from water and sunlight. Although, with sunlight you would expect more of a one-sided bleaching effect; not evenly all over the shoe. Which I do not see in the photo to be honest. Or could it have been bleached by something else? Given that Kris' bones looked bleached and have been confirmed by forensics in the morgue to contain amounts of phosphates (which weren't present in the local soil), a substance used to bleach and dissolves carcasses and such, why would we be surprised that her shoe is also looking... very bleached? Or perhaps it is possible that Kris had dyed her shoes brownish, and that the blue rim visible on the close up photo #507 shows us the blueish original colour of the cuff of the shoe, the top rim so to speak, enclosing her leg above the ankle? Could that shoe polish (?) dye (?) have been washed off in the tropical forest? All new sort of questions.. But either way, Betzaída Pittí and the Panamanian investigators left some opportunities here, if Adelita Coriats article is telling the truth. . Shame she declined to have that shoe checked for DNA, at the very least. And something else that suddenly stands out to me now: have there been 2 photos circulating by the Panamanian investigators of TWO different blue shoes? Incredibly I never realized or noticed this in the past months. Both these two shoes have both been attributed to Kris. One seems (?) to be a left shoe and the other a right shoe. I may be mistaken but they look different in both photos. Perhaps it has to do with the photo angle that distorts the image, and the brightened colours though. The photos are also taken against a similar type of background. So we have by all accounts now, and unlike what I initially wrote myself in this blog, not just one shoe from Lisanne found, but quite possibly also a left (but empty) shoe from Kris.
By the way, the brown shoes that Kris wears in those photos of her, may be Dr. Martens boots, going by these examples of Dr Martens footwear:
And in this close up of Kris' shoe Juan and I both noticed the almost marine like knot in those laces. It is like looking at a very old boot and she has very peculiar thick bootlaces visible. There is no denying that the blue shoe is the same one, with the same laces and knot... only turned blue. We have two such photos, which strengthens the notion that this isn't just due
to poor photo quality. Sunbleached leather looks very different, and online I found nothing about brown leather turning blue in the sun: UV effect on leather: if it's exposed to sunlight for long enough, will turn almost white, with a slight tan coloring. ... As leather remains exposed to UV light, it will begin to dry out. This is due to the fact that UV light evaporates the moisture from it. - Besides, this wasn't the Mojave desert where the boot and bones were found, but a cloud forest approaching the rain season. And sun bleaching does not typically happen evenly spreaded all over the object. What caused this massive and odd discolouration? What stings me most of all is that we never got an explanation for the blue colour! And that Adelita Coriat has written that forensic specialists were waiting in David for this blue shoe to investigate it, and Pitti refused to send it over!!! Didn't she want to know why it had turned from brown into blue?!
Tharindu messaged me: "This video shows“What Happens If You Spill Sulfuric Acid on Your Shoes?” See how the color of that shoe changes from brown to light purple. This might explain the condition of their bones and the blue color of Kris’s shoe. Sulfuric acid (H2SO4) is actually a strong acid and highly corrosive. It dissolves human flesh. There are other strong acids and weak acids like concentrated Hydrochloric acid (HCl), Nitric acid (HNO3) and Phosphoric acid (H3PO4)."
Oddities with Lisanne's shoe And how come Lisanne's shoe looks clean and dry when it was pictured right after it was found. But once the shoe is taken to the police office and is officially photographed, it is suddenly looking exactly like you would expect a shoe to look after having been 10 weeks into a rainy muddy jungle? Why is that shoe looking so different for the official photo session? There may be a rational explanation for it, but we couldn't find one in the official data. And are parts of the fabric of the shoe lit up in the jungle photo because of the sun shining on it? Or does the fabric look bleached in parts? (Photo credit to Juan)
(Thanks to Power-Pixie for the last photo collage)
Insight into the general bone autopsy report from September 19th, 2014
Screen prints from Romain/Sur les traces des disparues du Panama
So summarizing: The bones were tested for DNA and were matched with Kris and Lisanne. Biological tests were carried out on the personal belongings found, incl. the backpack. No biological fluids or skin cells from the girls or from anyone else were found on the items upon inspection. This is peculiar, because normally you leave some skin cells behind even when you hold something in your hand. The bag may have been washed? As was said by some local sources. During a second analysis more than a dozen fingerprints and traces of DNA were identified however on the bag's belongings. But Romain confirms that nothing was done to verify the fingerprints of each person who had been in contact with the belongings. Belongings that had not any DNA traces included a piece of blue fabric, a short jeans type of pants, two cell phone screen covers, an orange phone case, a green colored phone cover and a black camera case. The general bone autopsy showed that the remains were dry, without tissue or fat and very decomposed. Kris' bones all had a white discoloration, indicating that that they were either "exposed to the sun for a long time or that the burial site corresponded to an area of very basic chemical elements, affecting the phosphates and calcium carbonates from each of the bone components, causing the whitish coloration." Also claimed to have been concluded: the autopsy showed no marks on the bones of footprints left by animals, nor evidence of the actions of human beings. No cause of death could be determined from these limited bones. No traces of human action were found; no trauma caused by pointed, sharp and close-range objects and by projectiles from firearms. Also no signs of cuts or blows to the bone. Also, according to this information,the rib bone of Kris had no root marks or markings from rodents or animals, but her pelvic bone did. Lisanne's bones did not show any animal markings, only some root marks.Root marks are the marks produced by rootlets growing on the bone after burial. It usually indicates that the bones were buried in a shallow grave, or as this paper calls it: "These traces would indicate the development of a herbaceous cover on the soil where the remains were deposited and later buried and may be another feature helpful in the identification of these paleosols. The second type implies a surface dissolution of the hard substrate, which in this case is the fossil itself." If anyone specialized in this can explain things better, I'd love to hear :) Or as Romain described it: "When roots grow in the soil, they produce acidity. This has the consequence of producing very distinctive marks on the bones. In this case, is it normal to find these traces on bones found in the open?" I do wonder as well; isn't this something more often seen with bones buried in a shallow grave?
He also wrote about a tour guide BOQUETE, PANAMA, LATE 2014 "Here I am going to tell you a testimony that was personally reported to me about guide F. During my stay in Boquete, I met a native by the name of Ernesto*. At first he only asked me for cigarettes in the street, but then I ended up meeting him again several times. One day, I explained to him that I wanted to hike the Baru volcano with F. Hearing the name of this guide, he cut me off and advised me not to go with him. Annoyed by his assertion, I explained one thing to him: if it is in relation to Dutch women and his inappropriate attitude with single women, then I already know about that. Plus, as a man, I don't owe him too much. Ernesto then explained to me that this man is bad. I tried to interrupt him but he continued without even letting me speak. He told me about a disturbing event with F. One day, at the end of 2014, he was talking in front of a bar with a friend who was explaining to him his intention to go hiking on El Pianista next weekend. Innocently, he asked the following question: "Isn't that where the Dutch girls disappeared?" His friend made a face grimace, motioning for him to be quiet. What Ernesto didn't know was that guide F., who he didn't yet know existed, was nearby talking to someone. Hearing Ernesto ask this question, F. turned around and kept his gaze fixed on the two friends without saying a word. In the evening, Ernesto's friend got a call from guide F.. The latter threatened them, and told them that if they continued to talk about the Dutch, it would end very badly for them. Hearing his story, I was very surprised. It is strange this attitude, especially coming from a guide who had helped the investigation so much and who accompanied the parents of the victims."
*Ernesto's first name is of course a fake name used to preserve his anonymity.
Video about Boquete, 'village of crime, without a capable police force'. "They don't know the bad boys in town."
Een Vandaag, May 15th 2014.
Presenter: "Boquete, is the name of that village in Panama where Kris and Lisanne disappeared. Initially the village was portrayed as touristic, but on closer inspection it looks like the Dutch women ended up in a drug den where police do not have the means to tackle the criminality. And neither has the means to properly investigate the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne." Local: "Those people have to search over there." Manuel Burac, supervisor forest Boquete: "My mind says that they are not here. But in my heart I still have hope. Maybe there is still a small possibility." Presenter: "Manuel Burac is sent into the forest every day by the municipality to look for traces of Kris and Lisanne. He searches with all his heart, but at the same time he knows that what he does is pointless." Manuel Burac: "I think that some people with bad intentions have maybe taken the girls, you know. I don't think that they are still in these mountains." Presenter: "Not only the team of Manuel is searching for the Dutch girls. Rich foreigners are also helping along." Caesar Sherrard, president Alto Al Crimen: "When I first got here there was almost no crime that I knew of. And little by little we started witnessing some burglaries." Presenter: "Caesar Sherrard is the founder of Alto Al Crimen. An organization that investigates crime in the region of Boquete. The main reason for this: he believes that the local police does not have the capacity to do so." Caesar Sherrard: "Well they need all the help they can get. Let's put it that way.. The finances are limited, the number of vehicles they have are limited. Sometimes a vehicle doesn't start. There is usually only one vehicle in Boquete. And it is a town of 20.000 people. Sometimes you don't have a battery to start the car, or the car won't start, or you need gasoline..."
Presenter: "Sherrard works closely together with the private detective who is put on the disappearance case of Kris and Lisanne. Contrary to police, this detective does know who are the dangerous young men in the village."
Caesar Sherrard: "They're rotated regularly [the cops]. They're not here permanently, like in some countries where the police are from your town. And they know the bad boys. Our investigator is from here. He's lived here many years. He knows a lot of bad boys. He knows taxi drivers who maybe smuggle stolen stuff out of here. And it's a dangerous job. Well because the bad boys know that you're the detective. And that you might be turning them in to a jail sentence."
"Former police chef Erik Westra also believes, just like everyone with any expertise, that we're dealing with a crime in the disappearance case of Kris and Lisanne."
Presenter: "We travel to Volcán. A Panamanian small town where former Dutch police chef Erik Westra lives. He also believes, just like everyone with any expertise, that we're dealing with a crime in the disappearance case of Kris and Lisanne. This is not so strange, because touristic Boquete, where the girls disappeared, is less charming than many people think." Erik Westra: "Well I also thought that Boquete is a pretty idyllic village, in a beautiful valley. But when you truly have a look behind the scenes there, you find out that there's a lot of trouble going on. The cocaine, which is freely available there. And the organized crime, which has settled there." Presenter: "Westra says that the Pianista Trail, which Kris and Lisanne hiked and where they were last seen, is not as safe as people usually think. This year there were even armed robberies on the trail. For decades, maybe for centuries, there has been a connection between Bocas [del Toro] and Boquete. So it is not just a tourist spot where you can enjoy the views. But people walk back and forth between both places. That will take you a few days, but people have the time here." Presenter: "So it could be a route where drugs are smuggled?" Erik Westra: "Yes... Yes, I say yes because although I never knew it before, I found this out now that I have been involved with this disappearance case and have spoken to many people. And I hear this more often from others." Manuel Burac: "This is not a crime ridden town. My family lives here. There are some cases of robbery. But no serious crime. No rapes. I think it is for 80% a healthy town. In this case we don't have any trace. No sign that the girls are still here." Presenter: "The fate of the Dutch girls touches everyone here. But despite the $30.000 reward, mouths remain closed. And that has a reason in this country."
"They are afraid of retribution. So it is hard to get information out of people. Because everybody in a little town like this knows somebody. So if you give up information on somebody, they might come back at you.And.. it could get ugly. So people are very slow to give up information. They are very afraid."
Caesar Sherrard: "Because they are afraid of retribution. So it is hard to get information out of people. Because everybody in a little town like this knows somebody. So if you give up information on somebody, they might come back at you. And.. it could get ugly. So people are very slow to give up information. They are very afraid."
Erik Westra: "People are afraid. And people as a rule of thumb do not trust the authorities. The Police, so to say. People don't easy go to the police to talk. And that is perhaps the reason why I do sometimes have a chat with someone who has something to say."
Presenter: "Kris and Lisanne have been missing for weeks now. As a result, retired police chef Erik Westra has gone back to work. He is in daily contact with all sorts of people, with regards to this disappearance. The case which holds the whole of Panama in its grip has to be solved."
Erik Westra: "I have a daughter myself and she is slightly older than Kris and Lisanne.. But imagine what it must feel like to lose your child while she is on holiday. It is impossible to live with that uncertainty. And that's why I do this."
Presenter: "The private detectives of Alto Al Crimen stay on the case, as long as money keeps being paid."
Caesar Sherrard: "As long as they keep providing funds from Holland, we will keep him on. Because this case will never close, until we find something."
Manuel Burac: "I feel for the parents of the girls. And then I want to give them some hope.
Presenter: "Boquete. The search there continues."
The views of one of Holland's best known crime reporters on this disappearance case
This is Peter R. de Vries versus the Kremers family; Accident versus Crime. Despite having defended the Lost theory in the past, Peter R. de Vries also states in this actuality news video from August 4th, 2014: "What seems strange to me, is that when I heard that they carried their phones and a digital camera with them, that I thought: imagine that they had an accident or got lost. And that they slowly but surely weakened. Then I would have expected - and I do believe these girls were sharp enough to come up with this as well - that at some point they would have said to each other: we need to make a short film on our phone, or we need to make a (voice)message. Because suppose that things will end badly for us, then there is a chance that our phones or digital camera will be found. And then our parents will at least have the chance to learn something about what has happened. So I expected to find some sort of message or recording from these girls. And they didn't leave any of that. And this raises some question marks for me.. Especially now that I hear that this mobile phone has been used for multiple days after they went missing. Or at least; that someone has made attempts to call an emergency number."
However, Peter R. de Vries soon after pushes the case back to an accident. "But characteristic of these types of situations is in fact, that one does things which are not logical. Because one improvises and is in a state of panic. I am inclined to say that a lot seems to point towards them having gotten lost. But you cannot objectively determine this."
In some photos on the Pianista, Kris wears a black earring in her left ear (right for us viewers) and a grey one in her right, and in another photo on the same trail.... the earrings are suddenly reversed
This was discovered by Juan and mentioned in his excellent google album on this case. Did she take them out mid-hike to put them in opposing ears? That seems ridiculous. So who has been mirroring that photo of hers (perhaps in photoshop)? But in both photos the background looks right; you cannot reverse that viewpoint on the Mirador, because this is exactly what it looks like in the background. The same applies to the grassland part and the wooden fences in the background of the other photo. You cannot just flip that background horizontally, because that is not what it looks like in reality. So was only Kris' cut out photo mirrored by someone using photoshop? Or were these two photos taken at different days? One day she put both distinctively coloured earrings in differently, in different ears, than the other day. But then the question becomes; would Kris really wear the same exact set of clothes on two consecutive days? With all the different clothes they took along? Perhaps the angle of the photo obscures part of Kris' earlobe and we just don't see properly that a black and a silver earring were perhaps worn in her left ear (right for us)? In the photo on the left I don't even see a hint of a black earring in the right ear* (= Kris' left ear). And likewise, I don't see a hint of a silver earring in her right ear* in the second photo either. Maybe other people do, or have another good explanation for this earring matter.
Eileen was contacted by some people who follow this case, and she even responded to some questions - I saw the screenshotsof (some of) the dialogue but will just paraphrase its content. She was asked about the exact time and date when she last saw Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon in 2014 in the language school Spanish by the River in Boquete. And the person asking the questions emphasized that he understands that Kris and Lisanne left the school around 13:00 PM on April 1st, according to a witness. But that this time contradicts with the official story, as reported by the authorities at the time. Eileen was asked whether or not she can function as a second witness here. She answers that that is not possible because Kris and Lisanne did not leave the school at the first of April, but the day before. The person responded to her that that is interesting, and asked whether or not she knows Ingrid Lommers? "Of course". "The girls must have gotten lost. That's all I know, and believe." The other person showed Eileen screenshots from Ingrid's facebook posts at that time, confirming that she had been told by her own staff in Boquete (Eileen and Marjolein those days) that the girls left the school around 13:00 on April 1st 2014.. Eileen responded to this picture: "Okay. And now?" The other person wondered out loud; who is telling the truth? To which she responded that it has been a long time and that she doesn't know the exact days and dates anymore. That she would have to read the reports again for that. She tells that she was the one who went to the police but that whatever happened after that was out of her control. But that it doesn't matter in the end, because there will always remain this gap, of which no-one knows what happened. Fair enough. It has been a long time and a lot was going on back then.
At the end of the day, Eileen was never investigated by professional officers, but instead by two internet detectives/vigilantes, who only knew the details of this case from online sources. Horrible. She told them first that the school was closed on Tuesday April 1st, then that she would look it up and then told them under pressure that yes, the school was open after all that day. And that she worked in the language school that Tuesday April 1st, but that she never saw Kris and Lisanne there. But of course, she could have told these internet sleuths anything. Nevertheless, it's been 5 years which is a long time. But it's not like she was someone completely on the side-line in this whole saga. She didn't just see Kris and Lisanne pass by fleetingly. She met them already in Bocas del Toro, she made their appointments with guide F. supposedly, she joined him on the morning of April 2nd to visit the girls' bedroom. She spent a good half hour inside that room, she went to the police with him after that. She spent part of the afternoon with F. by many accounts, either joining him in his jungle farm (finca) or by some other account going to a coffee farm with him, before going to the police in the evening and then going back together to the bedroom from Kris and Lisanne a second time, to fetch something for the police. She called Lisanne's mother, seemingly (according to mum) thinking she was calling Lisanne's phone. She left Boquete already on April 5th (she was not even working there for 2 weeks at that point). Afterwards she is said to have told some people on a Dutch forum that she left because she was afraid, or uncomfortable at the very least. That she wanted to leave Boquete right away. A coworker called Tim who was stationed in Panama City is said to have switched places with her and moved to the language school in Boquete (but this is unverified). So right at the time when she was there and when her memory was still super sharp, she was asked about this very same detail, by her superior Ingrid. It was therefore known to her that this detail was important.She was asked when she last saw Kris and Lisanne by her direct boss, who then at the time said to the local news that two teachers at the school had confirmed to her that Kris and Lisanne left there on April 1st shortly after 13:00 PM. Or that is at least what Ingrid claimed.. Here Ingrid states in this news video that the girls were seen in the school in Boquete 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." So this disappearance was a major event there, right from the start. The police would have asked her the same thing as well: when was the last time that you saw Kris and Lisanne at the school? Maybe she was stressed and didn't memorize it well. Or perhaps Eileen has long moved on from this stressful episode. But we are dealing with many inconsistencies still. For instance; despite it being reported she said that the girls wanted to hike the Pianista Trail, local Local Boquete resident and interviewer Lee Zeltzer noted down the following from Eileen on April 4, 2014:"I spoke with Eileen at Spanish by the River in Boquete who confirmed that the girls are missing. That they told no one where they were going but they think from brochures and the internet sites they are reading they were heading toward the Quezal trail or someplace in that region of the mountains. For those not familiar with the area that is a very remote mountainous area north of the pueblo."
What if Kris and Lisanne really were last seen in the school on Monday? Before Eileen came round and said to the sleuths who questioned her that she did in fact work that Tuesday and that the Spanish by the River school was in fact open that day, we discussed it all on a Dutch forum, FOK, and wondered what the implications could be IF it is true what Eileen initially answered. What if Kris and Lisanne never visited the language school on April 1st before heading up the Pianista trail, but instead went to the language school on March 31st at the latest? Juan emphasized thatthe Dutch forensic (NFI) report indeed mentions March 31st as the day that the last WIFI contact was made there by the phones of the girls. At 16:44 to be more precise. [*Update: Matt revealed new case info from the police files, and revealed that Lisanne's Samsung phone last made a connection with wifi at 10:10 on April 1st, the day they went missing. This was probably at the Spanish language school, but that was not further specified]. If they weren't checking out info on the Pianista Trail and weren't making last moment decisions on April 1st in the language school, then it would also be theoretically possible that Kris and Lisanne in fact climbed the Pianista Trail on March 31st. A far-fetched, unlikely and normally discarded theory. Something which was also stated by some eyewitness. Pedro Capon of Casa Pedro saw them walking to the beginning of the trail on March 31st, but Pedro showed the Tierra Lino hiking route to the girls, and saw the girls again shortly after walking back. So it is possible that the girls never really started the Pianista trail that day, but walked a part of the Tierra Lino hiking route. He also stated that he talked to them on Tuesday April 1st, but it is possible that he instead only saw them on March 31st and that can also explain some other witness statements that were off a day. They heard this day (Monday March 31st) also that they could not start their work week as volunteers at the children's school in Boquete. So if Kris and Lisanne in fact walked the Pianista trail already on March 31st, then that could explain Lisanne's breathing issues that evening, according to host family mother Miriam. But then we have to wonder; why wasn't the hike described or mentioned in their diaries? Nor tell their families about it. Difficult... Kris and Lisanne did visit the language school on March 31st, to complain about the way they had been treated by the children's school. But I don't think that was the last time they went to the language school. Because if that were true, it would also mean that Ingrid was badly informed and that another teacher who saw Kris and Lisanne leave the school on April 1st.... were super wrong? And then the taxi driver would have lied, because he confirmed to have picked them up and dropped them off in the afternoon of April 1st, on the side of the road next to the school.
By the way: It turns out that aside from these Canadians, there are others behind the scenes who pay private money to buy case information. And then trade it. I am fairly open minded but I don't think I will ever be able to really understand people like that. There is something cynical in investing your money into information that is private and kept back from the public, just so you can feel like one of the chosen ones who knows more. But can't talk about it. Because they do not want to publish that information. No, that would be like splashing your cash down the drain. They instead see it as an investment and are always worrying who will sell your secret and all that stuff. Like Juan did. Let's just hope that the people gambling and negotiating with this this type of case information will see it fit one day to share it with the bigger public.
Gaby Gnazzo, a Panamanian journalist, actress, singer, producer, radio and TV personality and self proclaimed activist and humanist, stated that Kris and Lisanne had been raped and murdered on the Pianista Trail.
She made the twitter comment in April 29th, 2018 as part of the "Story" campaign, where female leaders, feminists and influencers decided to tell personal real life stories of violence against women that never led to judicial justice.
We wanted to go to Panama to learn Spanish! But in the end we were raped and killed when we walked down a path in Boquete. The worst part is that many said it was our fault because we never should have walked around alone. I tell it because Lisanne and Kris can no longer. #Cuéntalo
The Dutch ambassador Dirk Janssen (also mentioned in this radio investigation show as a bit of an incompetent, issue-dodging career diplomat) was quick to remind her that rape nor murder were ever officially proven, and he scolded her for making "unfounded suggestions". But in the comments below her twitter post, Gaby Gnazzo insisted that the rape and murder of the girls were a fact and that the case was only closed because the Panamanian Prosecutors didn't do their job properly (due to lack of evidence), and because the girls' families had decided to leave the case to Panama to solve. She added that a documentary will come out in due time, proving - with new independent evidence - that the girls were in fact raped and murdered. She also wrote the following in her replies to comments: "Unfortunately I am not mistaken... Lisanne and Kris were killed in Boquete and Catherine Johannet was murdered in Bocas del Toro... And believe me there are many more. #Cuéntalo" - "I understand that the family desisted from the investigations in 2017 because the public ministry does not help at ALL! The case is unfinished and the last thing that could be found independently (for a documentary that is soon to come out) is that they were raped and killed." - "It is a fact that these cases occurred, it is a fact that there are many cases of rape, harassment and abuse in these areas of Panama, forgive me but to tell me that I should hide them and not mention them in favour of "tourism" is really disgusting of you to suggest."
In thisblogpost, backpacker and explorer Jackson makes great descriptions of the Il Pianista trail and added beautiful, atmospheric photos
He writes about how he had read about Kris and Lisanne's disappearance case the day before his hike in July of 2018. In his blog he describes the Pianista trail climb. Jackson hiked during different weather conditions from when the girls were there. They hiked during an exceptionally good week, with high temperatures, sun and dry conditions. Even the trail looks dry and solid in their photos. But normally this cloud forest terrain is more humid, cloud filled and wet. Jackson writes: "El Pianista Trail is one of the moodiest cloud forests I have ever adventured into. I have a new favorite type of trail. Take me to the cloud forests because I love them. Rain droplets falling to the ground from every leaf and branch while mist floats through dramatically. While this is a cloud forest trail, the hike begins near the IL Pianista restaurant and begins down a massively long driveway. The early stages of the hike are open fields, with mountains on all sides. You can already see the clouds hugging the summit of the mountain. You know what you are heading into. I enjoyed the early parts of this hike with the beautiful hills on either side and the sounds of the river cascades to the right. After about 15 minutes you will have made your way to the entrance of the forest. Here you will begin the ascent of more than 2000 feet over the next three kilometers. The trail was very muddy but would have been much worse had the rains been stronger in the previous days. Definitely try and do this hike on a dryer day or after a few days of smaller rains if possible. Almost immediately after entering the forest, we were engulfed by the lush greenery on all sides. We walked through the tunnel of vines and trees, keeping an eye out for Quetzals, snakes, howler monkeys, wildflowers and strange bugs and critters. There is a small junction where you will need to make a decision whether to go left or right. The trail to the left goes uphill and the train to the right goes downhill towards the stream, which you can hear. Head down the stream. Luckily for us, a local walked past at that very moment and I asked him which way to go and he pointed across the stream. He was the only person we saw all day on the trail. Below is the photo, you can see both directions of the trail. Josh is on the right trail going in the correct direction, heading down towards the stream. Once we reached the stream it was such a magical little spot. As we ascended higher and higher the mood and the atmosphere began to change. The fog and the wet conditions added an element of mystery to the surroundings. I really got into looking for unique flowers from this part of the trail onwards as they are truly strange and look amazing in the damp conditions. The fog was really rolling in now after we were two-thirds of the way up the trail.
We felt like our path was leading us through an undiscovered island. It was a truly immersive hike and being in the cloud forest was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I’m sure there are plenty around the world but I will really be seeking them out from this point onwards. We were now in the thick of the clouds and near the summit of the trail. The sides of the trail began to rise and before we knew it we were being dwarfed by the trail. We were inside it. It must have been carved out because there is a definitive trail through the earth. It’s quite remarkable and at times it was above head height, which is a strange feeling hiking beneath the surface of the earth. Once you reach these mini-canyons you are within reach of the summit. It should be about 4.2 kms to the top according to our tracking as it was an 8.4 km return trip. After a few hours (slow photographer pace) we made it to the summit. Not surprisingly we were completely ‘socked in’ as they say. Otherwise known as inside the cloud and cannot see a damn thing. The funny part about this trail is that you enjoy all of the trees, vines, flowers, canyons, critters, and scenes on the trail and the viewpoint is just expected to be a blanket of white clouds. Normally on a hike, you hustle through the trail for the reward, which is the viewpoint. On El Pianista you enjoy the trail and have a quick break at the viewpoint before getting back into the trail. It is said to be very lucky to get a clear view of Boquete from the top of the El Pianista trail, although when you do it is supposedly one of the best views in the region. This trail harbors some dark secrets. In 2014, two Dutch girls in their early 20’s made it to the summit and then went missing. There was no sign of the girls until a few weeks later. There are huge holes in the story of what happened and how the investigation unfolded. The girls’ backpack was found 8 weeks later, bones including a foot still inside a boot were also found weeks later. The girls had hiked down past the summit into the continental divide. The area between Costa Rica and Panama. The Ngobe tribe were the people to discover the backpack and would have been the first contact for the girls had they come into trouble and be looking for a way out according to the reports. The conclusion from local police was that it was a hiking accident. However, some locals and sources think there was a third person involved and the girls were met with foul-play out in the tropical forest. There is now a memorial for the girls at the top of the summit."
Seth wrote in a comment under the blog from Jackson, on April 28th, 2020:[In response to Jackson commenting: "Sorry, I’m not here to be part of the murder-drama. I just did the hike, there was nothing suspicious that occurred"] "No one is trying to play into any murder-drama, and calling it that when you have a lot of people who are seeing the red flags, is very alarming. It is still unsolved, do remember. A cross with flowers is nice, but doesn’t answer the question of why or how they are dead. Look, all over central and south America, well organised drug cartels (usually drugs) operate. They’re generally ruthless and indiscriminate when it comes to victims or violence. Governments usually don’t talk about them because of retaliation. In Mexico, heads of police were left in suitcases on the doorstep of their wives and teen daughters, wives are taken for obvious reasons, never to be seen again. Politicians who do speak out against them do so at great cost, which includes sending their whole family away and living in constant fear. Years can pass and their names are still on the hit list. We’ll never know what happened to Kris and Lisanne for sure, but in all likelihood, they were forced to go down that trail because they were avoiding going back to him, or, he had chased them down/lead them down and made them go into the wilderness. And you have to remember Occam’s Razor. The simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation. Their bras were found, their underwear was never found, and they’re dead. I would be willing to bet anything that they escaped temporarily, took pictures to try to leave for evidence figuring they’d probably be caught, were recaptured, raped and killed. No one is trying to ruin your trip or saying stop traveling. We’re trying to tell you to be safe because we care about you, even if we don’t know you. I don’t think it’s fair that women are in more danger in these situations, but it’s the truth. These countries are great in their own right, but societally speaking, it’s night and day on gender issues. It doesn’t take that much to take down two girls."
Jackson, the blogger himself, replied on April 28th, 2020: " Hi Seth, It is a murder drama. Simply by doing this hike (done by many every day now) I have random dudes messaging me on facebook for details and photos. They are obsessed with this case and the girls and it’s honestly weird. They have never even been to Panama or know the girls. I never made any comments about what I think happened. Just because there is one instance of a (possible) murder on a trail doesn’t mean we need to reference Mexican drug cartels. We don’t know what happened, but I was safe, had no issues and the people who are obsessed with this case are genuinely quite odd. Some of the emails and questions I’ve been sent purely from just walking along the trail are bizarre. It has definitely become a murder drama and that is clearly evident from the obsession many people not even from Panama or Holland have with the case."
Haraldo replied in a comment under the blog from Jackson, on November 12, 2020: "Congratulations, the only sensible comment about the two girls who disappeared. As a traveler and adventurer, seeing this trail, I say with conviction that it was a completely reckless and extremely dangerous attitude for these girls to have ventured without a male companion. It is unbelievable the naivety of certain tourists who act as if they are in their own country, dressing in the most inappropriate way possible; in the city nothing will happen to them, but just get a little bit away from the civilization that the picture completely changes. Europeans are the most likely tourists to fall into these traps due to the strongly leftist education in EU schools that instilled in their heads that all people are equal and good and the most needy should be helped – both were on a voluntary work trip! However, due to the little information I have, the most likely hypothesis is that there was an accident after getting lost, although some doubts remain. However, even if there was no crime, the situation is the same: extremely dangerous for two foreigners or any women to enter a forest like this, inhabited sporadically but far from any help. Women should not be unaccompanied by male companions in remote places anywhere in the world. It is not a sexist attitude, but one of indispensable prevention if you want to return home alive. It is not necessary to be in a jungle. Take the case of the two teenagers murdered on the Monon High Bridge Trail in Indiana in 2017; they were very close to home, but on a deserted trail in the woods. I could mention many other similar cases, but I have gone on too long."
Gazza replied in a comment on August 1st, 2020: "It is an intriguing what happened to Froon and Kremers, but anyone who’s looked at the case saw that they were not prepared for the hike they undertook, they were, sadly, an accident waiting to happen, comments on this very article has indicated that even in 2020 people can still take a wrong path…and I’ve seen and known youthful nonchalance, naivety and even arrogance, lead to disaster and near-disaster many times in my lifetime, we do not need to invoke drug cartels, to explain their deaths.."
Ana Christina replied in a comment on May 23rd, 2020: [Translated from Portuguese] "Hello guys, I'm from Brazil, Brasília-DF. Look everywhere, there are good and bad people, that's a fact. However, I really agree with Seth. There are cultures, ways of acting, ways of the people of each place. You really should be careful. There have already been tourists in Brazil, who were killed, for nothing, or rather they were mugged, or they entered into an argument. All Latin Countries, or those who speak their Latin languages at least, I don't know, seem to be “hot”, warm, you understand? We must not trust anyone and at the same time not show it, be wise. The girls were alone in an unknown country, taking pictures with everyone, as if everyone were nice. It doesn't work like that, we have to be friendly, pleasant, but suspicious. The girls are victims, I feel very much for everyone, especially for their family. However, here's the tip, always go with an adult family member, father, uncle, preferably a man. Sorry, but I'm a woman and I know when we have less clothes on, of course on the beach we should wear bikinis or swimsuits, and they are young girls, I’m already a more mature woman and I couldn’t wear anything smaller, but I’m not a prude, but we must always guard ourselves. Anyway, walking in a group also works, as the girls walked in places they didn't know, they never went to Panama. The lady they (the girls) were staying with should have talked to the police on the same day, even though the girls are not their own kids. For me, if someone stays at my house and I should come back around 16:00 and the dog came back alone and the girls didn't come back, then I would speak to the police immediately. That's it, I'm sorry, but Seth's tip remains important. Jackson, I admire his travels, his fight to defend the girls' honor, it’s valid, I’m not condemning you, however, we don’t have all the wisdom, I’m Latin American too, Panama is in Central America, however, we have almost even walking, of course Brazil is very different from Panama, however, I know a little about the danger of some peoples, including my People." - Notice by the way how they got Kris' name wrong on the memorial plaque
A graphic designer sent me interesting photo compositions
Raghab worked on the hair photo from Kris and I like to share his great work, with his permission. I realize that many people will think that this was just an odd photo taken by Lisanne of her friend; possibly while she was walking ahead of her. But another group of sleuths thinks that a 3rd party took this photo. Raghab believes so too. He is strongly convinced that the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne is a case of "Murder in cold blood", and that there may be more than one person involved. He also believes that at the time this photo was taken, Kris was already dead. There has been a lot of online debate about this photo. Jeremy Kryt claimed to have seen the original and there was a head wound visible. The full photo I have shared (acquired through Juan and leaked by someone close to the investigation in Panama) does not show a clear head wound, however. Going by this leaked photo, we could determine for ourselves that no clear head wound is visible. Aside from some vague markings under the clean looking and dry hair. What is visible vaguely under the hair is up for debate. It may just be lit up and underlit hair, creating contrasts. But many people think that they can see the outline of a nose (nostrils). Others see a mouth, a jaw or a wound hidden under the hair. (2nd photo credits to Marcos).
Raghab believes that gruesomely, we may be observing the severed head of Kris. One person is holding her head up by the hair and another person took the photo. R. thinks that this photo was later cropped, to get rid of evidence about the surroundings. He told me that we can see the hair outline, eye socket and lips. He compared the proportions to a superimposed picture of Kris, taken at the Pianista summit. As he sees it, Kris' hair is being pulled at the top, as if someone is holding up her head by the hair. So part of the hair is pulled, while the rest is covering her face. In fact, R. thinks he has the evidence for this because we can apparently see the killer's right hand thumb and left hand index finger at the bottom of the photo. R. added photos to visually explain what he means.
Thanks for your work Raghab! And thanks so much for sharing. There is a death mask feel about the photo, I agree. Whatever is lingering under that hair, she looks unfortunately deceased. I ain't sure myself if her face can be seen under the hair or not. But R. makes an excellent case here for a normal positioned face underneath the hair. I wondered how Raghab estimated the chance of it being Kris' jaw on the right and her face lying like this? (See photo on the right; says first 'nose', then 'open mouth') Because I am still unsure about that row of white, as I see it? Which in the vertical photo on the right looks like it could form a row of teeth in the lower jaw. What could they be in the horizontally flipped photo which R shared? They don't match an ear or anything in his excellent overlap. Raghab replied that my vertical face orientation (90 degrees clockwise) suggestion is a good one, but that he sees problems with it. He sent a basic anatomy image of a frontal human face and used it to make an overlap image with my 'vertical photo'. Problems he sees with it are that Kris' forehead would be missing in my version. Also, the teeth would not be in a normal proportional line in accordance to the human anatomy, but would have had to be shifted to the left (marked in green in his overlap photo). And the supposed open mouth (marked in pink) would have shifted to the left (marked in white). He thinks this is only possible if her jaw bone would have been broken and dislocated from her skull joint (yikes!).
On the right here, in Raghabs ('horizontal') photo orientation, he marked in green the place of the ear with the black earring. In red he indicated the right height for the top of the ear. He explained that when sketching facial anatomy, a single eye is used as a measurement unit. For instance, to determine the gap between both eyes (which is equal to the length of one eye), the width of the mouth (generally equal to the length of 2 eyes) and the width of the nose (1 eye). The height of the ear is measured by the distance between the eyebrow and the base of the nose. And the distance between the nose base and the eyeline equals 1.5 eye length. Taking all of this into consideration with this photo, R. considers the 'horizontal' photo orientation the best option. The white mark - which I considered to be teeth - is present here on the frontal cheekbone and R. thinks it may be a wound that was treated with bandage or tissue paper.
But then that wig would be a real good match in colour and texture.. How would someone in Boquete Panama purchase such a perfectly coloured and textured (wig) match in that short timeframe? Nah..
I replied that I see what he means and that he made a good case for the proper proportions of Kris' face to better match a horizontal composition. I wondered why the top of the head, where Kris' hair is cascading from at the highest point, looks so very far up. R. explained this by letting you imagine a head that is being pulled up by the hair, so to speak. He also believes that we can see the shapes of fingers near the right bottom side of the mouth and at the hair bundle. He believes the photo was cropped, to cut out more footage of the people involved, as well as hiding deep cuts and wounds from the photo. I also told him that I keep the option open that the two girls were both lying there, next to each other (or over one another), and that the hair of the one is flipped over the face of the other. I even wondered out loud if this hair may be a wig perhaps? As it is looking so clean and dry (albeit a bit tangled), for someone who wouldn't have washed it for over a week? But then that wig would be a real good match in colour and texture.. How would someone in Boquete Panama purchase such a perfectly coloured and textured match in that short timeframe? Nah.. I also wondered why a perpetrator who seemingly goes to great lengths to hide his crime, would allow such a photo to be made if it gives clues to Kris being dead? Raghab thinks these photos were probably taken for fun and later submitted in order to divert police verification. He thinks that the spot where these photos were taken is also the place where their bodies were dismembered and disposed of. "All those photos were clicked hurriedly, so we can see the fingers on the lens (bright blotches) on some photographs." He also considers it possible that the two girls were indeed lying there, next to each other or over each other, and the hair of one of them was flipped over the face of the other. Or that both of the girls' heads may be tangled by their hair. In the right bottom corner you can see what look like strings of brown hair, roughly bundled into a single mesh, contrasting with the other strawberry blond hair. So all in all, R. believes that this photo indicates that Kris and Lisanne met foul play. I am not sure if this interpretation from this pivotal photo is correct or not. But R. makes an intelligent and well-motivated case for it. This whole disappearance case is, in the end, a very sad and murky one. A lot of details are known, but nothing really adds up. There is conflicting info along every bend of the way. Highly tragic, whatever scenario someone may believe in, Kris and Lisanne must have endured horrors either way 😨😩
And blog user Matt also sent me an interesting version of the same photo Matt adjusted the hair photo in photoshop to work out the "neck" area some more. All colour adjustments and colour manipulations of this photo were done global, meaning that they affect the entire image in the same manner. These colour adjustments are therefore not just applied to the neck area: it affects all parts of the image equally. In this manipulated photo, it does seem like we are looking at the back of the head and the back of the neck of Kris. And that there are wounds visible on her neck, underneath her hair. Dark holes. They do not look like gunshot wounds, but like larger wounds from being struck with something heavy. But there is no blood visible in her hair. This "wound area", with its redness now exaggerated, stands out and has a different red hue than the hair. Matt wanted to separate the wound area from the hair to be able to see its details better. Of course, due to the manipulating effect, one can wonder if this result is realistic or just a side effect of the colour adjustments. Nevertheless, this photo result may discard the notion that we see Kris' face under the hair. Matt himself doesn't think that we are looking at nostrils and an upper jaw. The distance between nostrils and teeth doesn't fit in his opinion.
Also, Dave M. looked very closely at this photo and noticed some things under the hair. He wrote: "Looking at this picture of what we must suppose is Kris Kremers' hair isn't the most pleasant of pastimes, potentially a snapshot of her lying down and either seriously aiming or already deceased it stand out from the collection of other photographs on that night of 8th April as it is the only one of those three hours of shooting where the Photographer decides to show something human. An indicator that there IS actually a person here. Or is it....? Enough has been said on this picture's strangeness as a shot, and the decision of the photographer to shoot it. I myself am very wary of its provenance, its lack of clarity and the utter impossibility of working out any orientation of the head supposedly beneath it is deeply worrying. It is automatically assumed this must be a shot of the back of the head, but then perhaps it is the top of her head, but wait - look to that long lock of hair that falls along the bottom of the picture from right to left - surely then that is the 'floor' it lies across? That is the bottom and the 'head' must be laid on its side therefore? But what CAN we perhaps see in this image? We can see that the colour and texture is a near enough match for Kris Kremers hair certainly. We can see that the shot is taken very close-up, which may tie in with the other three hours of photography as it appears the person taking these photographs is probably seated on the ground, with a restricted room to move in, perhaps wedged between a rock wall and a boulder, and so the choice in where to aim and shoot is very limited. For an image that is so vividly indicative of Kris Kremers on the night on the 8th April this is a shot that shows, well, nothing really. A formless mass of hair, little to say whether it is attached to a head, where that head might be, and whether Kris is aware and awake. So on the surface of things it shows us nothing actually. But like some game of "Where's Wally" this is an image that contains a number of hidden add-ons. Strangeness isn't just confined to the choice of the Image itself, but to what lives within it...
Things I noticed: To the left of the image a strange watermarking can be found. Lettering apparently. Strangely for something that must be an overlay the overlay has strands of hair apparently overlaid over the top of it! But it is the bottom-right corner though that is the most mysterious area of the image, half obscured in shade and murk it may or may not show some evidence of photoshop work, but it is by far the busiest and most baffling area of the picture as this is where the 'Bun' is seen and contains one or two surprises. At first glance the sight is that of a conventional 'Bun', of the hair being wound up, but apart from the photographic evidence showing that Kris Kremers never tied her hair so extravagantly (just a simple 'knot' was enough) it is when you zoom in closely that the fuller effect becomes apparent. Beneath the wound-up hair (curiously appearing partially black, partially blonde/red) we see a white ivory coloured object. This object, whatever it is, is what the hair is wound around, and appears to have some form of patterning or rough etching on its surface. You can see the overall effect best when you tip the picture upside-down. And you see that whatever this white Ivory item is it extends around the under-edges of the 'Bun' and again appears to be marked with some patterning, or perhaps writing. It is distorted, stretched, but whether this is a result of the conditions at the time, or evidence of Photoshop work, it raises several immediate questions - what IS this object? Where did it come from? What is its Purpose? And who placed it so...
All food for thought, but there's more. Just to the left of the Bun - - is something just as remarkable. Perhaps it is connected to the object beneath the 'Bun', perhaps not. But this is something I spotted and initially felt it was another trick of the light and shadows that perpetuate these pictures continued fascination. When looking closer the suspicion that this was something other than an optical illusion grew stronger, and it was while toying with the overall picture by splitting its colour contrast using a CMYK tool that the suspicion became conviction. CMYK is useful in these situations as it can work like an x-ray, showing greater clarity and detail than the standard colour image and revealing hidden objects. The colour original, once you know where to look, shows a small object that is probably rectangular and seemingly with a speckled surface. This put me in mind of Kris Kremers' sunglasses initially, but a check and comparison makes this seem very unlikely in the end as the glasses are very different in shape and texture. What this object is is anyone's guess. As with the White Ivory object beneath the 'Bun' I offer no theories or suggestions as I haven't a clue myself! I really do have no idea what to say on it all."
And one person wrote about this photo: "The pixelation of the night hair photo is too detailed to be a cropped fraction of the original. Even if the camera was at a max default setting of like 5000x3000, to crop it down and still retain the amount of detail the night hair photo has, at 1074 width? Unlikely. You could make it look like a night photo IF you had some people with more experience than simply dragging an exposure bar. Certain things in the night photo seem legit. The strawberry blonde hair has a luminescence, a transparency, that the camera flash demonstrates in the night photo. This happens with very light hair when a light source is applied at night. Instead of listening to people on the internet, including me, find the real "bun photo" in question and compare for yourself. Lisanne's jawline is also in the night photos. She has a tiny, almost unnoticeable mole or bump on her chin. That is one of the ways you can distinguish her jaw from, for instance, one of the girls' arms. Her skin texture gives it away too. I am not sure if it is a fake. After taking so many photos of one's own face, it is inevitable that you will see duplicate angles. I don't think the night photos are photoshopped. At most, if anything, they are staged. I have a feeling one or more girls is already dead or very close to dying at the time of the night photos, whoever took them."
April 4th 2021: some people online uploaded their version of the night photo. Unfortunately their posts have been removed again, but one person showed a cropped version of the nightphoto of Kris' hair placed vertically, and believes we are looking at nostrils and teeth. Another photo is a good photo comparison, insinuating we are looking at the bend head of Kris, looking down slightly and that we see the top of the head as well, which could explain the 'high forehead' issue (click on photo to enlarge):
About the 2007 plane crash in the Baru volcano area
Aside from being extremely tragic, this crash site is important because it is in this area where the plastic bag with food wrappers was found (mentioned near the top of this log post). The bag and its test results went missing, and the place was never found again..On December 23rd of 2007, a small single-engine plane took off in very windy weather from the Panamanian resort island of Isla Seca, just off the Pacific coast. It had 3 Americans on board as well as a local pilot. Michael Klein, the owner of a luxury eco island resort and a successful investor and hedge fund manager; his 13-year-old daughter, Talia and her 12-year-old friend Francesca Lewis, better known as Frankie. The pilot was 23-year-old Panamanian Edwin Lasso. It later turned out that he was named "Dr Death" by locals, due to the amount of accidents he already had during his short pilot career.. The father, daughter and friend all planned to return home to Santa Barbara in the United States for Christmas the next day. But that morning, they had gone on an adventure, and were heading for the town of Volcan on a short sightseeing flight. A Boquete resident who knew them blogged that "They left Isla Secas that morning for what was supposed to be about an hour flight to the small town of Volcan on the western slope of Volcan Baru. Instead of flying directly to their destination, they decided to sightsee around the Boquete area, which is on the eastern slope about 20 kilometers on the other side of the volcano." But they would never arrive. It was extremely windy in the mountains — not a day fit for light aircraft, especially around the Baru volcano — and the charter flight went down. It took many days before anyone started to look for the missing place. Talia's mother, writer Kim Klein, said in an interview that as soon as she heard that the plane with her ex-husband and only child on board was missing, she had to get to Panama asap. Together with the parents of Frankie she arrived the next day and was very surprised and horrified that no search operation had been organized yet.
“I was terrified. It was Christmas Eve and nobody seemed interested in finding my daughter. I felt like I had landed in some horror film.”
In order to get the Boquete officials and locals moving, Kim did exactly what the parents from Kris and Lisanne would do 7 years later, and she decided to offer a $25,000 (£15,700) reward to whoever discovered the plane. Yet nobody seemed too hurried. Despite the possibility of survivors waiting to be found, it was only the next morning that a search got under way. By then the plane had been missing for the best part of two days. Yes, where have we seen this as well.... In the Kris and Lisanne case it took several DAYS also before search troops started to move. In this case, eventually reports came in that the small plane had been found close to the volcano where it had crashed. And the parents were then told that one young girl had been found alive. But they didn't know her name. Both girls' parents then had to live between hope and fear for another day, all the while supporting one another. “I remember one of the rescue guys telling us that a young girl had been found alive,” recalls Kimberly. “I just felt it had to be Talia.” But the girl who had been found alive and who was the only survivor was Frankie. Talia, Michael and the pilot died instantly in the crash. Miraculously Frankie had been discovered curled up in the plane’s crushed cabin. She was delirious and badly dehydrated but somehow she’d come through the crash with only superficial injuries; a broken arm and hypothermia. Rescuers spent two days combing the mountainous area before finding Francesca and the bodies of the three others. This Boquete resident blogged about the whole operation and wrote that there were in fact early search operations (before Sinaproc got organized and got involved), but they were mainly from scattered around volunteers.. The blogger observes that: "The Sinoproc Boquete office is wholly unprepared for large emergencies, let alone a plane crash in the high mountain regions of this province. The lack of resources became obvious as we watched the volunteers prepare to go out into the jungle with little or no training, no radios, no first aid kits, no GPS, neither binoculars nor a compass. It was as if we were 50 years behind modern civilization. Even with access to technology and equipment that would make the search productive and safe, we had nothing more than volunteers in rubber boots. [..] The search covered an area of over 300 square kilometers of extremely rough terrain. Vast rainforests punctuated by deep canyons and hundreds of rivers did nothing but add to my worry over the fate of the four people who were lost in the high mountain jungles."
And by day 2, it is still only on the shoulders of volunteers to try to find the plane and look for possible survivors: "As darkness fell, it became clear that a second night would pass before we could get on with our search. The base was getting more reports of sightings of the plane from areas as far away as 20 kilometers to the south. Rather than becoming smaller and more focused, the search area was growing. Soon the base was bustling with about 20 tired volunteers who had returned empty handed from the northern trails." Eventually the plane was found, 48+ hours later, with the help of Sinaproc on the northern face of the volcano. "Two brothers, Miguel and Manuel Burac, had found the plane on the north side of the volcano in Alto Quiel." So yes, Juan and Jeremy did find the correct Alto Quiel on the map, thank you guys!! But then cold, wet weather prevented the immediate evacuation of lonely Frankie, who had stayed alive in the cold storm for over 48 hours by then. She was initially treated in a makeshift shelter and had to stay another night on the Baru mountain, together with rescue workers, before being carried to safety. It's hard to imagine how a child survived over 50 hours alone, trapped in the wreckage of a small plane. Some of Frankie's memories were sketchy, but others are clear, like the moment just after the crash. "I started screaming, trying to get other peoples' responses, calling Talia and Michael's name. But no one responded, so then I knew I was alone," Frankie said. "I didn't understand that what was on top of me was my seat. I didn't understand that what was above me was the bottom of the plane." Apparently, if Frankie had freed herself and in fact would have decided to wander through the jungle in only her t-shirt and shorts, "she would have died of exposure". Absolute tragedy and RIP to the victims :(
How most of the night photos all fit into one big photo
January 26th, 2020.
For a long time it was assumed that the following shape could be that of the body of Kris, laying down in a ravine of sorts.. But now that many more night photos have been leaked, we can see that this same outline has been photographed from many different angles. And it is clearly not the outline of a body, but the lit up shape of a leaf. I also found how almost all these night photos, except for the one of the plastic on a stick, the photo of the back of the head of Kris and the ones with round lit up shapes, all fit into one big photo. I will add it at the end of this video. In the following video I will highlight this specific leaf, as well as another leaf right next to it on the right, by drawing the same sort of red line around them. So you can see that the same things have been pictured over and over again: a tree and this foliage. What do you think: should we place the overall collage image horizontally, or vertically? I think that whomever took these photos aimed the camera upwards and not downwards. At the sky and not down a ravine. The majority of the photos seem to have been taken 'horizontally' in composition, I'm inclined to think the rock wall is on the left, not bottom down. We can also rule out the scenario that the girls fell in a ravine and were stuck: if that were the case, the reflection light of the flash would have bounced back from the right hand side. It does not. It is still theoretically possible that there is some ravine behind them; we cannot see everything as the camera is aimed upward. But whomever took these photos was able to move around and change positions. Difficulty with these photos, is that the flash light distorts the image, to some degree. Using a flash in the dark, can make some things appear closer by in the photo than they actually are. Another major thing to keep in mind with this collage photo, is that I did connect all the photos by exact overlap lines at the edges, but that the collage is ultimately not the same as one photo. All the individual photos that are combined in the collage, have been taken from slightly different positions, perspectives and angles. Therefore it is very artificial to glue them all together and the end result may not be the same as when you were physically at this location yourself and simply stepped back to overlook the scene. I'm just trying to show that these photos were taken at the same location and that the photographer took meticulous shots from this one lookout, moving the camera bit by bit in order to capture the view.
Thiagowrote me that he is a botanist and that in his opinion the correct position of the end (collage) image is the one with the ground placed horizontally: so the vertical picture on the right. He thinks this, because plants always grow towards the sun, even when they grow in slopes or rocks (this mechanism is called positive phototropism). "With that in mind, if the rocks were in a vertical position, the plants would not be growing perpendicularly to the rock, but parallel to it instead. So I am convinced that the rocks are horizontal. The trees in the right side of the image look like vertical trees in the separate photos. But in the collage image they don't look like entire trees, but like horizontal branches of a vertical tree. There is also a long branch in the top left corner. If the rock is vertical, this branch should be pending and not erect I think..". He added some photos he took while out during a field expedition. "I imagine that the night photos were taken in a place like this - but not so high; the rock in my pictures has more or less 300 meters of elevation. In my opinion, based on experiences in places similar to this one in Brazil... these photos seem to have been taken on the summit of a peak. And the rocks appear to be on the edge of a precipice." [..] "The position of the rocky ground and the type of plants growing on it, as well as the position of these plants, suggest that the place is not too slope (more for a small ravine than a precipice); the trunks and branches at the bottom of the night photos suggest that the place is somewhat open from above, but surrounded by dense vegetation, with tall trees with long and hanging branches. Water droplets caught on the photos can be from rain or a possible waterfall. Putting all these conclusions together, the possible location of the night shots would be something very similar to that of this image from Juan of a waterfall." - Image added here:
Thank you for that, Thiago. Very interesting, also to see the way plants can grow on top of rock formations. I guess I wonder also if it could be true what the parents and their lawyer initially said: that these photos were taken from a cave? That's what they thought. I'd say that the horizontal collage photo "may" show a cave, with the big rock on the left. Although I am also doubtful about this at the same time, because of the lack of reflection of flash light from some angles. Same for the head photo of Kris' hair; if that was taken at the backdrop of rock or anything really, wouldn't this rock have lit up too in the flash of the photo? Now the background is just darkness.. But the right, vertical collage photo looks much more like the top of some summit indeed. I would say; the top of a waterfall perhaps even. Could the combination of the rock, with the water droplets all through the sky in many night photos (yet Kris' hair is dry so it wasn't a downpour of rain) with the vegetation and the direction in which it grows indeed lead to an area near a waterfall? Or a deep, dry riverbed?"
**I must add that I do not believe that Kris and Lisanne took these photos themselves..I think they were taken by someone else, and staged, as if to show the investigators that these girls were still out there alone by day eight. If that were the case however, then I'd assume at least some photos that could identify them. But there is very little there to identify them. Aside from the strange back of the head shot from Kris and vague lit up profile of what may have been Lisanne, or which could just as well be the lit up finger or knuckle from a man with some fine hairs on it. But they are so abstract and tell us very little... The most plausible reason to choose for such vague dark shots, to me, is for a 3rd party to make a false trail. There is no indication or proof that helicopters flew at night in that mountainous forest terrain and neither that search teams were out in the dark. These are also not the last dying actions from the girls, because Kris' iPhone was activated for a whole hour on day eleven, so four days after these night photos were taken. But if Kris and Lisanne really were stuck in some place on or next to a rock formation, and they couldn't move anymore (because mostly all the photos were taken of the same things), then their bodies should have been found there as well. Together. Not a few bones 14 walking hours up north from the Pianista Trail's summit, in a place where there are no direct ravines or water falls. No microscopic animal claws or teeth or anything really visible on those bones. How did two girls get trapped in a ravine of sorts, unable to get out supposedly, but their bodies naturally managed to end up many kilometers up north? So, I have little illusions about these night photos. All that truly interests me is where they were taken and by whom? Juan has found some very interesting possible locations of interest, in and near the Caldera hot springs region:
Guido Steiner wrote me in response to the night photo collage: "Literally putting the pieces together.👍😊 It also makes sense that whoever took the pics did not move around through difficult terrain in the midst of the night, neither girls in acute distress nor perpetrators aiming to create a halfway credible deception. By the way, has anybody ever tried to generate a list or tree like summaries of all theories around certain aspects of the case, with some subjective assessments of likelihood Like, in the case of these night photos: Group 1: Shots were taken by (one of) the girls. In this case, the Intention was most likely not to depict anything special, but to take the pictures for a specific side effect. 1a. Illuminating the path taken. Can be ruled out by the fact they did not move around at all, a blinding flash would not also not have helped much.
1b. Beacon theory. (One girl moving around, the point of return marked by the other one by repeated camera flashing). Unlikely to risk that shortly before daybreak, unless acute emergency and concrete expectation to achieve anything.
1c. Attracting help theory. (Possibly targeting small planes flying over or search teams heard from a distance.) - Unclear if any of those targets existed. Photos taken exactly in time window were most people are in deepest sleep and lowest chance to alert anybody. Unlikely that search teams would have missed signals if close by. (Possibility though that they ultimately attracted the wrong type of people.)
1d. Scaring away animals theory. Not completely implausible at that time in the night, but occasional shots that light up objects in the foreground also render this less likely. (Pointing the camera up in the air or towards a steeper escarpment: night active birds that make strange sounds?)
1e. Flashing emergency signals with camera. (Like SOS or international distress signal) | Unlikely at that time in the night, much better chances that signal is seen when early evening or morning. Exact time stamp pattern of all shots would still be interesting to be analyzed (if available).
1f. Leaving behind a message. Except saying "we spent another horrible night out there", nothing meaningful could be decoded by anyone in these images and there are obvious possibilities to have left a really meaningful one. Can be ruled out safely, probably.
1g. Total desperation (intolerable state of anxiety, panic or boredom during a sleepless night that causes the camera to be used just because there’s nothing else to do and this helped to calm down nerves and give a remaining sense of freedom of action.) | Possibility should be assessed by expert, but probably has to be taken into account as well in case of absence of more convincing alternatives.... And similar for the obvious group 2. Anyway, could be useful to get a quick glance of what has been thought of yet."
I replied: "Hi, I have covered as many theories as I could think of (not all the ones you now name though) in my blog, when investigating this case in detail. But maybe your idea could serve for a video of your own? The more people report on this case the better :) Based on the info we now have, I would say that mostly all of your suggested theories are unlikely to be true (just my opinion though). 1a: the first and the last photo and mostly all the photos in between show the same area; the same tree, the same foliage. There was no moving around depicted. I dismiss therefore by now the theory that the flash of the camera was used to illuminate the path, while on the run for something or while walking in the dark. (Which would be a very unwise and dangerous thing to do in a foreign jungle anyway).
1b: exactly; unlikely for that to start around 01:30 AM and stop shortly before sunrise; but a good suggestion.
1c: there is currently absolutely zero evidence that a helicopter flew at night (too dangerous) or that search teams were walking in the dead of night in the tropical forest. Very unlikely that they would flash for almost 3 hours, if that were the case. Sound travels a lot further also.
1d: not realistic either probably; none of the photos show any evidence of an animal. And you wouldn't scare it away for nearly 3 consecutive hours, sometimes flashing 5 times in one minute. Then there would have been an animal pictured at least on one of the photos, you'd thikn..
1e: like 1c; no evidence whatsoever that anyone was out there searching for them at night. And voices and shouts would have reached much further than a camera flash aimed at the sky
1f: they had a camera with photo+video option: if they wanted to leave a message, all they had to do was record or photograph one. Their camera would have been found no matter what. And if they were still walking around then there are easier ways to leave a message behind", such as using sticks to form words, using rocks to scrape messages onto other rocks; they had paper also it seems.
1g: if the photographer was nearly delirious, the photos wouldn't have been made conscientiously of the same things over and over, for such a long time. You'd expect more erratic photos; more unsharp photos taken while moving an arm for instance. I don't understand the boredom theory... They could have viewed their own holiday photos, hundreds of them by then, if they were bored. Why not make a photo then of your leg, arm, your bag, all of your surroundings. These were highly intelligent girls, they would have put some variety into these 99 night photos if they just shot away out of boredom or psychological distress I think.-Well, not a lot of pure objectivity in the answers, as you can tell :) That one is more difficult than often expected." - More photos of a waterfall which may be a possible match with the elusive and mysterious night photos, Charco La Cascada. Credits to Juan who found them all, these are his photos also:
The night photos revisited
February 6th, 2020
I received two photos from Mutinyonthekitkat, in which he shows and explains that the night 'SOS photo' fits in with my previously made night photo collage. Very well spotted and thank you for the heads up. I have worked on his suggestion and now show you my thoughts on it all, also messing about in photoshop to show you how this photo could fit in with the collage. This new match confirms once again that these photos (taken between apprx 01:30 and 04:10am on April 8th, so 8 days into their disappearance) were all taken from one and the same location. So the camera and its flash were not used by the girls in order to light their way, while on the run for instance. Also no photo evidence of any animal has been found on these photos, making it also unlikely that they used the flash to scare off animals. If they used the camera to signal someone, it begs the question who that could have been, because helicopters didn't fly in the dark of night in the mountainous tropical forest and search troops haven't been reported to have searched at that time either in the dead of night. Zero evidence for that. I also explain at the end of the video that even though I myself am not convinced that Kris and Lisanne took these night photos, I do think it is important to get a very clear image of the location where these photos were taken. Because it would be a step
forward in this disappearance case if someone would be able to positively identify this location. Also, I am not very computer savvy and it did take me a lot of energy and time to make these last three night time videos (and they are still amateurish), but for me, their 'value' may lay in the fact that it should now be visually clear to everyone that there is no reflection of the body from Kris down in a ravine in those night photos. It is 100% proven now that this shape is in fact a specific leaf, which has been photographed throughout the many nighttime photos and from different angles and perspectives. So lets put a big heavy No Entrance beam in front of that (Body of Kris-) side avenue. The same story for the theory that Kris and Lisanne were walking at night or trying to find their way in the dark, or were fleeing from someone and needed the flash of the camera to light the way. No. From the first to the last photo, taken over a time-frame of more than 3 hours, the same view was pictured over and over. The same distinct trees, the same rocks, the same sky. Here is my youtube video on the matter:
Some interesting comments I received on my youtube channel about the night photos:
"Looking at the bigger format version of the 'round mirror and tissues on the rock' photo (not included in your nice panorama here), across on the left edge of it you can definitely see the same rounded top of the rocky wall visible bottom right at 0:48. There's a distinctive bright-lit little plant with four tiny leaves in a line against the blackness and two unmistakable dark lines in the rock near the top also visible in some other photos. It shows that the mirror and tissues and the backpack strap on the flat rock are directly to the right and close to the camera. If you look at the dull rocks and little plant on the left side of that first photo link they can form an overlapping panorama with some of the other bright foreground wall photos and this seems to prove the mirror and paper on the flat rock are close to the right of the camera. It must also prove we're looking upwards at the bright foreground wall and plants rather than across a horizontal ledge and down into darkness. I don't understand where the 'twig with orange plastic' fits into the rest of the pictures. Its the most mysterious one of all I think. As the relative order of the photos is uncertain (I seem to remember reading), it makes it even harder to see where it fits in with the other night photos. In trying to make sense of the photos I've put together a v. crude panorama of my own."
David M. wrote: "That's Excellent detective work! With nothing to orientate yourself with in these pictures it has always been near to impossible to tell whether you are standing at height and looking over a precipice, or looking up at a rockwall and the Sky. When I first saw these photographs the natural assumption was that it was looking over a drop and into the forest below, that changed to thinking it was a rockwall, but examining these photographs now, in this context, there are some small details about the photographer that become evident, particularly if you take the view that we are looking over a precipice and drop to down below: *Most or all of these photographs are taken looking in one direction, we can now tell this as between the distinctive 'fork' tree and the plant you highlight that appears in all of the images the photographer is not seated, but stood. We can be sure of this as the girls never used the zoom feature and so whoever is taking these images is stepping around slightly to peer over the edge. It is also clear that the Photographer is not taking static shots - the camera is apparently being used both vertically and horizontally. and possibly even diagonally as they are taking the shots from one perspective, and wherever they are is only allowing for left-to-right views. And this is what is dictating these shots. *Again if we stay with the idea this is a precipice we are looking over then it raises the question as to what is behind the Photographer? If the set of photographs is all the same location where does the Boulder fit in, and for that matter given the forced perspective of that image could it be something other than a boulder? I would say it has to be a boulder due to its shape and texture, but it is very different to the rockwall we see.
*One other detail that supports the precipice idea is that for the most part the camera lens stays clear. If this was a wall of rock we were looking upwards to, with the photographer laid or sat down, then most of theses images would be distorted by raindrops hitting the lens as the Photographer spends so much time pointing it at what we think is the sky it actually make little or no sense that they would point it at the heavens! So a precipice, the camera looking downwards would mean minimal rain on the lens and so the quality of pictures we see here. *With so little movement from the photographer - essentially just left to right photography as seen here - is this indicative that they are based on a ledge somewhere? We never see what is behind them, we can only wonder where the large Boulder fits into this location, but if you consider the 'SoS display then if these shots were looking upwards then that tree cover we see would likely cover any chances of arial sightings from rescue craft of the display. It's impossible to say but you do get the impression that if this is Lisanne and Kris they may have instinctively headed for height, and this then isn't necessarily by any river but is somewhere with height. We cannot know either way. But it is curious that the photographer is clearly very limited in what direction they can shoot in here. It is left-to-right shooting, over what might be a deep ravine. And on balance I do now return to the idea that this is what we see here, not upwards shooting and a rockwall above them, but an attempt at gaining height that has ended with them perhaps now on a ledge and with very limited options for moving...
David M. continued: "[..] Like me If you try to study them you do quickly end up with a frazzled mind, they [the photos] are migraine inducing if you try to study them in sequence and in detail, as while many show something none of this 'something' means a thing. I've realised the problem is your mind is trying to make sense out of nonsense. There is no real logic or reasoning here, just visual static. Whether we are looking down over a ledge, or upwards with a rockwall, is something you can play either way. Studying the photographs again with the plant as a reference point does bring a little more sense to some of them as you can then grasp nearly all of them are taken from that one very narrow spot, looking over(?) a ledge and into the trees that fall away below. Is it a cave they are in, somewhere with an overhang? The ledge the photographer is stood on would be very small, and potentially very dangerous. I can't make sense of the Boulder photograph in this context however, and even the 'SoS' display looks dubious again in this context. One of the problems with this set of photographs as we've said is that it lacks any human touch or indeed proof either of the girls is here, and they filled around ninety photographs with scenes that are suspicious in their apparent composure and framing, it may be a set of pictures filled with chaos and static but the framing of many of the images is deliberate. But as a location? There is virtually nothing here. No clues as to where this place might be, there is no way to be completely sure whether we are looking upwards, or downwards. No sense of place - as in what the immediate area looks like around the photographer. Just a fascination in shooting off over that ledge and into the distance.... as I've said, it is as if the camera and the phones are in two different places, being worked by different people. And the strangest aspect is that neither of these two bits of evidence has any sense of passion or purpose to them... both show a user who is curiously unconcerned by the situation they are in and are seemingly detached from their apparent predicament. It really is strange as a record."
Davesco wrote: "Anyone who thinks about this for a second after watching 2-3 videos should come to the conclusion that this was a crime, not an unfortunate accident or them getting lost. Too many things do not add up in the getting lost scenario. Them getting lost on a trail that you basically can't get lost on. Dozens of people use it every day according to locals, I saw a video of it and it seems indeed impossible to lose your way there in broad daylight, so they would have had to intentionally venture into the jungle, but that seems highly unlikely because not only do I doubt they would have randomly gone deep into the jungle on a whim without an experienced guide, they also did not have the supplies for a long and hard hike through the thick jungle. I mean I know they were naive, but it is at least questionable to assume they were that stupid.
- Having a guide dog with them but supposedly still getting lost on that easy trail or venturing into the jungle without using the dog to find their way back. If the dog was indeed with them, he went back because someone scared it away.
- Police not looking for them for several days. I know this is Panama and people there suck, especially the corrupt police, but the amount of time waited when there was a clear indication that something went wrong seems too high even for central american bum standards.
- Their entire photo making behavior changing. Almost all of their photos before the night photos are either selfies, or photos of each other, some people just develop this habit, especially girls, but you wanna tell me they suddenly stopped making photos of themselves or each other entirely when they realized they were in danger? I am sure someone else took these photos, as it also explains all the attempts to get access to the phone. If they had done the photos they would have turned out differently, they also had no logical reason to delete a single photo from their phone in that situation. Also them doing dozens of pitch black photos when they were supposedly trying to save batteries is bullshit, as if they were trying to continue moving through tricky terrain during the dark night. If they really survived for so many days, they had to sleep at some point, I can see them successfully fighting against exhaustion on the first night, but no way they made it several days without using the night to sleep if they indeed survived for this long.
- Them supposedly surviving for 10+ days in the wild jungle despite having no survival skills or equipment with them. They would have died 2-3 days in tops and thats already very generous, jungle is a very hostile climate, they would have broken down quickly due to the heat, lack of food and especially water, walking non stop in this environment takes a ton of water to keep going, no way they managed to get enough for that. Also if they went walking around for many days, it is insanely unlikely that they never came across other hikers, Indigenous people who live in the area (like the one that supposedly found the backpack) or just found any type of civilization on accident. The search, when it was actually started, would have managed to find them if they were still alive, there were aerial searches and signals sent that would have gotten their attention, and one of the many people searching through the areas would have found them.
- the backpack was found at that location very close to a village, without a lot of signs of weather damage despite supposedly lying around in the open for weeks, with the bras they wore on some pictures and phones inside it. This makes zero sense and screams foul play, especially given that the backpacks distance from their starting point was ridiculously far, way too far to make it in that terrain with as little experience as these two had in traveling such a landscape, their lack of energy due to low food and one of them supposedly getting injured early. Their bones being scattered around at the same location, with traces of bleach being on them confirms it. It was often said one of them died earlier, but the bone fragments were found together, which makes no sense either. For me, everything screams murder. They were most likely stalked, maybe even hunted and then captured on their first day in the jungle. Maybe they were kept alive for a while, but then were killed and disposed of anyway as to not have any witnesses of the crimes most likely committed against them in their final hours. Everything else, the photos, the backpack, the bone fragments with the bleach, that was just the aftermath, probably was the intention to make it look like everything was a tragic accident."
David M. wrote about the back of the head photo of Kris' hair: "It was shocking when I saw it, but I don't believe we can see an actual face - the 'nose' is too far away from the 'mouth' for one thing, and while Kris had long hair it wasn't that much of a mass as to be able to be piled up on top like that. So I put it down to an optical illusion. It will remain unsettling however as once you 'see' it it can't be un-seen. If I were perfectly honest this picture is another example to me that adds weight to my doubts about this set of photographs, because like every other photo in the set it is so conveniently framed and deliberate in its purpose to show us everything-but-nothing that it bends my sense of credulity to the absolute limit. I mean what are the odds? What are the odds that Lisanne (or Kris?) would spend three hours taking snaps in the dark and not one of them shows anything of themselves, or anything useful or informative? It may well be as I say that they have been edited at some point after the fact, with one photo being deleted, possible photoshop work to hide certain details, and others (like this one) carefully cropped to remove its context and limit its information and usefulness. But looking at the photograph with a serious eye and assuming this is Kris with Lisanne the most likely scenario is that this indeed shows us the back of Kris' head, it may be a deliberate shot, or it may be that she got in the way of the intended shot, either way though this has to be the back of her head in extreme clos-up. Could that be the remains of a bun in the bottom right corner? It seems too dark for that, but I'm at a loss otherwise. Perhaps rather than dwell on the 'face' another line of reasoning I suggest is that this is the back of her head yes, that may be the remains of her bun in the bottom right corner, and just to the left of it, that white spot, could just be Kris' ear-studs catching the light of the flash, with her jawline appearing just below it.... It's a stretch yes, but just as valid a sight as the 'face'. Really though there is nothing to see or say with this image. Like the rest of them I can't put much stock in their weight as they raise far too many questions about how legitimate they are and to what extent they have been edited and worked on. And I have little doubt that they have been edited, missing Photograph #508 is no coincidence in this light.
I replied: "Well you may be right there and indeed do those open mouth/nostrils images only come up after long staring. They are pareidolia most likely, as Juan calls them. But there is something under that hair. In what could then be the neck instead of vertical face with open mouth and nostrils. A dark spot under the hair, without a doubt. Someone suggested it could be a wound from a stem gun type of injury? Is it a wound you think, instead of just a shadow? Another suggestion that keeps coming back is that in the bottom right corner, some darker hair can be seen. Either it is from Kris and from the back of her neck where the hair can look darker, or many people have suggested it may be the hair from Lisanne, which was more light brown-ish. It is indeed so that this is just another of those photos which appear to show a lot at first glance, but then flourish mostly in vagueness and mystery. It makes no sense to me why it would be made by Lisanne; it is not an accidental photo however because it is a sharp photo, not a blurred one taken while moving the camera about. Perhaps it could even be one of many 'fill up photos', possibly because more than one photo was permanently deleted (not just photo 509 therefore), which had to be filled up with photo after photo showing nothing but the hint of two girls lost in wilderness? Oh and I keep wondering how it is possible for the hair to look so clean and so dry after 8 days and nights in the wilderness? No dirt or tree branches in it, not wet from the rain, not even too messed up in structure. Its bizarre when you think of the Lost in the Wild circumstances she was supposedly going through for over a week by then."
David M. replied: "I don't see anything like a wound no, but I do agree that there are little hints of 'something'. Those little white areas that I was wondering might be her ear-stud are not looking like natural light reflection from her hair for example, and neither perhaps are the little white areas that we see as 'teeth' any light bounce-back from her hair either, but apart from her ear-stud I have no other ideas what they might be. One good frame of reference I suggest however is to look at the close-up of Lisanne and Kris taken back on the mirador peak, with them both smiling into the camera. It acts as a very good demonstration and frame of reference as to how Kris' hair catches and deals with the light, and shows off as different colours and shades as a result. Despite the bright light of the sun her hair still shows as dark when not catching the direct light from above and only reflects the light at certain angles where the light is falling on it directly. It's a useful comparison to look at when trying to get anything out of this image here on the 8th April... for instance although the 'bun' in the bottom right corner looks too dark and odd in this picture, when you look to the Mirador photo as a reference it actually isn't necessarily all that unnatural at all. If her hair doesn't catch the direct light of either Sun or a flash it does indeed turn dark like that. And the photograph on the 8th has the flash focused naturally on the left-hand side rather than the right, so this is one possible explanation for that strange dark 'bun' and its oddness. I refer to it as a 'bun' by the way as I don't have any other idea as to what it could be otherwise. The hair is being wrapped around something, there is also the hint of something just under it, something artificial. The image does such strange things in that extreme bottom-right of the picture though that if you look closely it suggests the possibility of crude photoshopping to cover something over - the picture just disappears into such indistinct smeared murk, which is at direct odds with the clarity of the photograph as a whole. But like every other photograph in the set this one is far too convenient in its framing, its complete lack of any context or information. It's frustratingly too deliberate a shot and feels and looks as if cropped after the fact... how difficult is it to take a photograph, a set of pictures, that shows and tells nothing at all? Why bother to take such an extreme tight close-up of the back of your friends head and nothing else of her or yourself? It seems pointless to do. Imagine for a moment if you could draw backwards from that shot, pull back from this extreme close-up and try and imagine what you would see if you took two steps backwards. I have tried, and I draw a blank. I can't imagine what it is I might see if I drew backwards for a complete view. And Maybe that inability to guess what we might see is telling us something important... that we aren't meant to know what it is showing. I don't quite know what it is I am saying here but even with the enormous psychological and physical pressures of an eighth day lost in the wilderness like this these shots are just too calculated and well framed to be someone at the end of her limits and lost in despair and desperation. But perhaps as I suspect the truth of the matter is that what we are seeing is an edited version of events, the results of careful cropping and adjustment. Either way these photographs, unlike the phone records, don't really bear up to being worth the attention and scrutiny, as the evidence is there to show us that the record they held has been edited and manipulated to remove information and alter what was there originally. Somewhere, at some point between handed in to the Police and then being handed to the News outlet that broadcast them, is where the editing took place. And I do think it quite possible that this is the time and place that perhaps a back-up cache of the Camera contents was made by journalists and editorial, that perhaps somewhere there might be a disc or folder with the contents still as they were when the camera was accessed. It's a wishful hope, but not an impossible one.... someone at that news station, or in the police may have seen the set in their raw state, did anyone note that one photograph was missing? Or did the erasing take place after this point? Fascinating questions to think on, and possibly the answers might just be out there in Panama, if only someone was in the position to pursue and ask them. Either way though the set has been interfered with, edited. I have little doubt about that."
Tonight, Sunday December 29th at 11pm/10c on Travel Channel and Hulu: an episode from the Travel Channel, called 'Lost in the Wild', about the Kris and Lisanne case!
Juan and I have been contacted by someone from this channel, a little while ago, for information. We couldn't provide more than we both already have written and talked about in blogs/youtube videos etc, but we're both super happy that despite so many people coming with plans for such things, the Travel Channel actually has delivered! The episode that airs Sunday December 29th at 11pm/10c on Travel Channel and Hulu. Below are two teaser clips, which were uploaded today on youtube. I cannot wait to watch it tonight! The trailers show how these two investigators went to Boquete and flew with a helicopter into Alto Romero, unannounced, to talk to the woman who found the backpack of Kris and Lisanne. They also talked to witnesses and at least one is put on camera while requesting to stay anonymous and unrecognizable. And that is only what we can determine from these two teaser trailers. This is promising to be a great show tonight and at the very least we will all see exactly what the area behind the Pianista looks like! What the area where the bones were found looks like, the rivers behind the Mirador and the hamlet of Alto Romero will also be highlighted properly. And besides that, I have hopes for perhaps more revelations. Exciting. See more on the two hosts and their program concept here. And I'll try to record the episode and somehow upload it somewhere.
Some stills from the trailers:
Flight by helicopter to Alto Romero
Nicely made program! A few good specialist mini interviews (Dutch pathologist Frank van de Goot, quoted here numerous times, as well as the anonymous pathologist who investigated the girls' bones), mixed into a trek beyond the Pianista Trail, going all the way to the first cable bridge. Including an overnight stay in the jungle. And the husband of the woman who found the backpack makes a startling statement. And one guess about who showed up first on camera, casually passing the presenters with some tourists on the top of the Mirador: exactly, a tour guide. I guess he had to make sure that he was the first person to see what these American TV-makers were doing up his mountain. Which seems typical, considering he was involved in every step of this investigation so far, short of doing the actual autopsies. And the fact that the TV makers decided to keep him in the show may also not be a coincidence. I won't reveal everything about this video yet, in order not to spoil it for you, because I'm trying to upload the entire video in good quality on youtube now, but not sure it will be able to stay up. Otherwise I will upload the video in parts on my vimeo channel.
Summarizing, these are the most important findings and quotes I got from the show:
The makers and "veteran explorers" J.J. Kelley and Kinga Philipps did a really good job I thought, in showing us viewers what Boquete looks like; what the Pianista trail looks like, which sheds you pass on the way up. And of course they went further than most others have done so far when reporting on this case: they slept beyond the Mirador summit and they walked to the first cable crossing, even showing us on camera how long it takes to get there and how feeble these ropes are and how totally illogical it was at that point and stage to decide to walk over them. And to then both fall off and drown, according to the Panamanian officials.. This theory seems even more illogical than ever before, now that we have seen this footage. Sure thing, there were a couple of dramatized and staged cringey 'cliffhangers' in the show, such as the sound of cracking branches in the dead of night (wouldn't be surprised if that was their camera man, trying to create some buzz for the episode), or the 'near fall' of Kinga from the rope bridge (seemingly just her pretending to slip). And they sensationalized things a bit with spooky mysterious music here and there. But those are just innocent directors tricks I think, to keep this show thrilling to not just the small legion of Kris and Lisanne 'fan boys and girls' out there. Meaning; everyone who is searching the net for more and more and more info on this case. So what really were great additions in my opinion, were the short interviews incorporated in the show. Dutch pathologist Frank van de Goot - more often quoted in these blog posts - showed up and spoke with pathos and a bit of drama about the dangers of the river crossings and about his suspicions of what really went on there. Criminologist Octavio Calderón made his appearance (he is also quoted elsewhere in my blog posts), as well as the same anonymous pathologist specialist who was also interviewed by top notch Panamanian journalist Adelita Coriat while doing the autopsy research on the bones and skin from the girls (you can find his forensic findings in this blog post when you scroll down to the subheading 'Three interesting and important Panamanian news articles from the fall of 2014'). Then Sinaproc rescue specialist Verisimo Fuentes was also shortly interviewed.
So not everything was covered in this show, but the presenters did highlight the bottlenecks of the investigation: the timing of the first two distress calls; the location where they could have been if they had kept walking beyond the Mirador. They confirmed that around the time when the first emergency phone calls were made on day 1, Kris and Lisanne could have categorically been nowhere near the first monkey bridges; that much is proven without a doubt now. They also highlighted the missing photo 509 and they used the exact same Canon camera as the girls to show that when you manually delete a specific photo and then take new photos, that the next new photo automatically gets the file numbering of the previously deleted photo. In other words: if Kris and Lisanne truly had deleted the original photo 509 themselves and then continued to take the nighttime photos on April 8th themselves with this same camera, then we would have never even known that there ever was another photo 509. The first nighttime photo would then have received the number 509. This tells us that photo 509 was deleted AFTER the nighttime photos were made. Which in turn strongly points towards a 3rd person who got rid of the photo. (Unless you believe in an accident, then none of this is evidence of the contrary I think). Perhaps because the girls managed to make a shot of their attacker(s)?
The presenters also showed that these wonky cable bridges are far from inviting to pass. ("That is not a bridge: that is a wire" There is no way the girls made it out this far before making that distress call"). And that there is a very very small chance that Kris and Lisanne actually decided to cross them, instead of just turning around and returning on the one distinct trail back to Boquete. Which is exactly what most youtubers and bloggers and other followers of this case have stated all along. The presenters also stress that the location of the first monkey bridge over the Serpent River is many hours away from the point of photo 508; they know it because they just walked it themselves. They had to have an overnight stay in order to reach the first river crossing and monkey bridge the next day. So to think that the girls made it to the monkey bridge on the first day, during daylight, is as good as debunked. If they did walk on to this river then they would have arrived there after dark on the first day. Then I was stunned that the presenter team managed to get in contact with the woman who found the backpack: Irma Mirando and her husband Luis Atencio allowed for a short interview, in the hamlet of Alto Romero, of which we now have precise map locations and imagery. The knockout revelation made by this local woman Irma and her husband, is that they looked at the enlarged and brought along photos 507 and 508 of Kris passing the small stream (or so the editing wants us to believe, we cannot be sure which photo the couple respond to as it is not explicitly shown to us in the same moment), and stated - after first having consulted their tribe members in hushed tones - that this spot is NOT on the Continental Divide. It is not located beyond the Mirador summit, they say, but instead on the Boquete side of the mountain. This was very surprising, because all along we have heard and even seen in the video made by Kris' parents, that you reach that stream when you walk onward from the summit, for an hour or so. Didn't we see with out own eyes here that it is beyond the summit? So everyone has it wrong there? I am not so sure to be honest that this couple is telling the truth. Didn't we already see that the screenshot stills taken that the Kremers video corresponds with the location of photos 507 and 508? You can make up your own mind about this, here are the photos:
Comparison of the first stream beyond the summit as the TV crew found
it, with photo 508 of Kris (I think THEY were at the wrong spot, possibly):
[On the right here photos from Power-Pixie, who made composites of still images from Hans Kremers' video and the Lost in the Wild video 5 years later, and placed them on top of photo 508]. - But such streams as in photos 507 and 508 can be found on other parts of the trail too perhaps, and during the time the parents from Kris went there, at the start of August and only a few months after the girls went missing, the place already looked quite different if you ask me, as shown in the above photos with only mild guesses for "matching stones", which often don't fully match at all. Any selection of rocks alongside a small stream could probably look similar over there. Makes me also wonder how this man can even remember what that stream looked like in April of 2014, so more than five and a half years ago, when these photos show just how much that stream can change in appearance within just a few months, once the rain season starts and the rivers swell. With the changing water volume it is very hard to be certain therefore. I always felt that the crossing pictured by Kris' parents in that video really WAS the same as in photos 507 and 508. Yes, some stones moved or got dislodged, but some specific looking stones were still present. And the manner in which the trail winds up in the background also seems to match. I think it's the same location, also look at the similar stones on the left, next to the stream coming down. That is a match, if you take into consideration that there was less water floating when Kris and Lisanne walked there. The girls had been there during a very dry period, just before the raining season started. And there even was an earthquake on day 2 of their ordeal. Quite a bit away, more towards the city of David, but still, very noticeable in this area. So well, why would the Alto Romero couple be so staunch about the crossing being on the Boquete side of the mountain instead? After having first had a short village vote about something? Maybe to make sure that no more interviewers come down to their side of the mountain in helicopters? You guys need to be on the Boquete side, now go away again! - In fact, I just compared the entire photo 508 with another shot from the Kremers video Looking for Kris, and I am fully convinced now that the stream behind the summit of the Pianista Trail, the one which Kris' parents also identify as the same place where photos 507 and 508 were taken, is (in my opinion at least) 100% certain the right place. Because just look at the little trail and the specific way in which it leads upward after the stream itself. It matches perfectly. Also, look at the big diagonal slope of rock with moss, left from the back from Kris; it is also visible in the Kremers video. This is the same spot, no doubt about it. And this spot is therefore not on the Boquete side of the Pianista Trail; meaning it is not before the Mirador summit (where the girls took all their happy selfies), but in fact an hour or so after you keep walking onward from the summit.
And here are two photos from Toni B. on this subject:
I quote Romain further down this blog post who went to Boquete and walked the Pianista trail. He commented about the Alto Romero couple's comment that photos 507 and 508 were supposedly taken at the Boquete side of the mountain: “In this report we can see a native of Alto Romero village claiming that photo 508, and therefore the last normal photo of the girls, was actually taken between the Mirador and Boquete. This statement does not make sense since when you enter the jungle from the Boquete side, there is only one river that you cross three times. None of these crossings correspond to photo 508. I take the liberty of raising this remark because this report has created many doubts among Internet users.” - Another thing that has always struck me is how the girls did not take a photo (as far as we know) of the super photogenic and slightly creepy wall off stone and moss. The TV makers did shoot footage of it, but there is no known photo from the girls of this place, which they would have passed fairly soon after deciding to continue walking on the summit. Here it comes:
To me it does look like the girls walked beyond the summit and took some photos at this first stream. The subsequent rainy season may have contributed to some shifting about of those rocks. Then I think they could have in fact turned around and returned to the summit (extra photos were taken there, now with a clouded background, which were later mixed by a 3rd party with the previously made summit photos with a near blue sky). And after that they were seen by several witnesses at or around 15:30pm at the base of the mountain again. I know that we're in subjective territory now, but I dedicated part 1 of this blog mostly to the main facts and some mild interpretation. And by now I just include my personal beliefs about what most likely in my opinion - but not certainly - has happened. They probably went for a swim then with their potential killers I think, and were taken by those people who gave them a lift to or from the swimming spot. - But back to this Travel Channel episode; the implication of what these two residents of Alto Romero say, (unless we got the definition of 'the Boquete side of the mountain' collectively all wrong) is that Kris and Lisanne never even were behind the Mirador. Not on April 1st and certainly not on April 8th, when those nighttime photos were taken with their camera. If that is true, we can wonder if the search troops and the officials and the families were tricked into spending mostly all their resources, helpers, dog teams and funds to comb through this stretch of nature behind the Il Pianista Trail (when in fact the girls were never there). Now, that is something which I myself and many others have stressed all along as well. So to now hear it from these villagers, who know those trails like the pocket of their trousers, is interesting. More doubts and possible gaslighting. Someone else who underlined this, were the people who got interviewed:
Dutch pathologist Frank van de Gootalso stressed that "There is no way to get lost. You actually don't need a guide." And with regards to the official theory that the girls fell both off a monkey bridge and washed away, Van de Goot said: "No way. They would never ever go on it."When Kinga mentioned to Frank that "this area has a bit of a reputation", he replied: "Yes, I know". Kinga: "There are other people who have gone missing here." Frank: "Yes, correct."And criminologist Octavio Calderón says about this: "There's hundreds of cases like that."Van de Goot also says: "When you're looking at the Pianista Trail, there are little farms everywhere. There is no way not to be noticed up there. You are actually passing through people's backyard." Kinga: "So you do think they were alive for several days after they disappeared?" Frank: "Yes, unfortunately yes." Kinga: "What do you think went on in the girls' head at this point?" Frank: "Waiting, yes. Panic, yes. Fear, yes." Kinga: "What about the photos from the camera? There were 90+ photos taken..of just random things.." Frank: "Yes. I saw them. They are creepy. They're Blair Witch Project. The part of the jungle out there is known by the guides as 'jungle hell'. Past the Continental Divide... people die, up here." [..] "When you are out there in daylight, there is no problem. When you are out there in the dark, it's game over." "You haven't seen the cable bridges. I'm a mountaineer; you're full mortal on that bridge." Kinga: "That's the official story from the government: that they fell from these bridges."Frank: "No way." Kinga: "You don't believe that?"Frank: "No way. No way. Because they would never ever go on it." Kinga: "Why, because it's so hazardous?"Frank: "Because they're sensible girls." JJ: "What would happen if you fell off of one of these bridges?"Frank: "Uhm.. first you break your neck, second you break your neck, third you break your neck and then you fall in the water and break your neck." JJ: "You're dead."Frank: "Yeh, quite."*Foot note: it was a bit surprising (but a good surprise) to hear Frank van de Goot now state that he thinks the girls did not have an accident on the monkey bridges. He himself has initially been leaning toward an accident. Not just on Dutch tv, but also in this interview with Jeremy Kryt. He said at the time that “You can’t really exclude a crime, but I remain [of the opinion] it was an accident scenario.[..] I can’t completely exclude a crime, but I have nothing to prove that. With an accident, there are a few possibilities, but I can’t prove it.” Would have been nice to also hear him explain what exactly he now thinks díd happened to them. And if he still believes that Kris and Lisanne could have fallen in a ravine, as he initially stated. I did not appreciate how Frank van der Goot changed his story over time, especially once interviewed by the Lost in the Wild crew. He sounded overly dramatic there, as if he wanted to impress Kinga or something. I don't like that sort of exaggeration by a scientist. Over the top statements like: "Uhm.. first you break your neck, second you break your neck, third you break your neck and then you fall in the water and break your neck." JJ: "You're dead." Frank: "Yeh, quite." - It showed me that he likes to create some effect with his words, instead of being clean and concise in his analysis. It also makes me weary about other stuff he wrote and said. For instance, initially he was convinced that these girls fell down a very specific ravine with a river crossing down the bottom. He said this in the media on several occasions, but never provided the hard evidence of this specific ravine, despite having been at the Pianista trail himself. One does not come up with such theories unless there is evidence of the existance of such a ravine, at a spot that was not searched by Sinaproc.
Sinaproc rescue specialist Verisimo Fuentessaid that it is not logical to get lost on the Pianista Trail: "No, not at all. There is only one road."
Criminologist Octavio Calderón: "We know that by 16:39 they start calling and something is wrong." When Kinga asks him about the other missing person cases in the area he answers: "Yes, there are hundreds of cases like that."
The woman who found the backpack. Irma Mirando and her husband Luis Atencioallowed for a short interview, in the hamlet of Alto Romero. Her husband explained that "when we found that evidence, we didn't want to talk about it because those girls were human beings, just like us. We don't want to remember it anymore." The translator who came along added that the villagers said that a lot of time has passed since this happened and they really aren't keen to relive what happened back then. Also, one of the things where the villagers of Alto Romero have been really resentful about, is the fact that at one point when this first started, there was an offering for a 30.000 dollar reward. For those who found the girls. And they are the only ones who found evidence. But nothing has been paid to them.. So the villagers are still very suspicious of anyone coming to them and telling them to do something for them, because when there was a reward offered, they were the only ones who found things and no money has ever come through. To which Kinga says rightfully and respectfully that it makes her mad for them, on their behalf. Luckily the couple do decide to talk to JJ and Kinga in the end. They say this: "My husband and I walked down to the river. I was going to wash clothes and bathe myself. And when I approached the edge of the river, I saw what looked like a backpack from the distance, trapped in between the rocks on the edge of the river." Her husband said that when they handed the backpack in to the authorities, he called a nearby cattle rancher (identified later as a tour guide) and informed him what he had found. He called the border police then and handed the backpack "directly over to the police". When Kinga showed the couple the photos 507 and 508, Luis says that those were taken "over at the Pianista. On the other side of the divide"*. He says that they were taken on thát side, not on their side. So on the Boquete side of the Continental Divide. This means that if what he says is true, Kris and Lisanne reached the summit at the Continental Divide, and then turned back. ("So how did their stuff get in the river, if the girls never made it there?") Footnote: The bag and all its content was also video recorded - supposedly by the middleman or this woman although it may have been Betzaida Pitti for all we know - and publicized in the media. The bag was even said to have been washed first by this woman, something which she doesn't mention in this interview, so it may be untrue. This claim may perhaps have been brought into the world initially to come up with an attempt at an explanation for the mostly clean and dry state in which the backpack was found. Of course that made zero sense, considering the thing was said to have been carried by the river and having spent 2 months supposedly in the rain season battered jungle. Oh and update on the reward matter:here it is stated that the parents flew to Alto Romero at some point to explain to the villagers that the 30.000 dollar reward was meant for those who brought the girls back alive. They settled the matter by offering to patch up the local children's school of Alto Romero, instead of paying out the 30.000 dollars. But despite agreeing with this, the locals seem still cranky about this 'deal' in 2019.. *I wonder if we truly know what their definition is of "over at the Pianista. On the other side of the divide". Perhaps for the inhabitants of Alto Romero, a lot further up north, this still includes the trail beyond the Mirador?
Anonymous forensic pathologist: When asked if he was the one who actually, physically, worked with the bone fragments from Kris and Lisanne, he answers: "That's correct. I'm an expert in the study of human remains. I figured out that the bones were fragments from the right rib, a left pelvis, the tibia, femur and a right foot"[Scarlet: photos of the found boot show a left foot and a left boot..]. Kinga asks if the fragments found are consistent with the story of bodies being broken up by a river. The anonymous forensic pathologist answers: "No. The state of the remains do not indicate that the victims fell in the river. When a human falls in a turbulent body of water, several breaks [fractures] immediately occur. Especially in the pelvis, the cranium [part of the skull] and the long bones." Kinga asks: "And you didn't observe that in the remains?" The answer: "No." About the officials statements that these girls fell from a bridge ("nothing more than a hypothesis") being unfound and never having been actually proved whatsoever, he says: "That's correct. In my opinion there is a murderer still out there. This information is based on my experience living in Mexico. When I worked in Mexico, part of my job involved closing down several labs associated with organ trafficking. I recently believe these girls were drained [all vital organs were removed], then later their bodies were dismembered and disposed of." He also confirms that it is correct that it is in the interest of Panamanian officials to keep this crime quiet, in order to protect tourism. But.. I have a hard time believing that organ trade was involved, mostly because it would have been a hard thing to pull off secretly and because it would require medical facilities and such.
Although Dorian also has a point when he writes: "Hmm, well Panama is on the border with Costa Rica, where there is an international organ-trading business going on, where kidneys are sold for more than 20 dollars. They are transit countries, linked both north and south and connecting to nations with very serious cartel groups. Brazil lies in the south; and Mexico to the north. This is what makes Panama (and Costa Rica) as a nation interesting; as it acts as a chain, or link, to the drug/sex industries. Panama City is proof of this, with kidnapped women routinely ending up there to drive demands. So why can't organ trafficking take place in Panama? It can, and it does. We simply don't know what happened to these girls after they went to Il Pianista. [..] Certainly, the pathologist who worked with the bones seems to think the few remains align with draining techniques, which suggested, to him at least, that organ removal had taken place. If there were no places in Panama, for example, to extract organs and/or safely deposit them for transportation, or even if there was no demand in the area(s) for sales, then I doubt this pathologist would have publicly mentioned this possibility. He would have logically dismissed it, but he didn't... "
I made a short video in which all these specialist statements have been put together, here you can listen to it for yourself. Also Juan's review of this show:
On the Travel Channel's facebook page I read the first comments under the trailers of this series episode, and there were a couple of armchair survival specialists already bitching about the show not being specialized enough, or not doing more in depth research and relying on sensationalism. I don't agree with that myself, I think they did a great job and unearthed some new clues and info which - again - (and perhaps only in my opinion) point towards foul play, rather than an accident. They interviewed the right people also; especially the anonymous scientist. This man did all the forensic autopsy investigation of the bones. He is an authority. A while ago I posted the entire articles about these autopsies, further down this blog post. If he says there is no physical, scientific indication on any of these remains of an accident, a fall, animal scavenging etc, then he is most likely the only person to be believed in this. Big respect to him for not being silenced. Some say he is dodgy for only testifying anonymously, but I think that in itself tells us how dangerous it is over there to go against the official verdict and to unearth truths that officials want to keep hidden. There have been many more reports about the bodies of Kris and Lisanne having been dismembered. So yeh, on the Travel Channels social media channels the mindless bashing of this show has already started 😄 Typical.. Kinga and JJ also did a great job. They were unlikely to find The Truth; the program showed exactly how hostile, suspicious and unwilling the atmosphere in Boquete is. Very few people were willing to help them. But word about their arrival - camera team and all - did go round like wildfire. I wasn't expecting them to cover the entire case in all its details, because look at this ogre of a blog post series; it grows into a 4 headed monster in no time; there are simply too many facts, too many details, too many story arcs to cover when you want to do it completely. They'd need more than one hour for that. And commercial TV does not have the luxury of droning on and on and on, like I do. They need to wrap things up at some point, and only touch the highlights. There were some staged cliffhangers added to the show at times (the pretend near-fall off a cable bridge, the noises at night) but at the end of the day, this is a commercial channel who went to great lengths to go to Boquete, show us the trail, show us Alto Romero and to interview a couple of important people in this case. I am happy with the result, it was very interesting.
In the end, these two presenters may not be 'certified state official' investigators, but I thought they did a great job. And what's more, they bring a lot of attention to this case, which it really needs in order to make even a chance to ever be solved. The specialists they managed to interview were interesting and have all done their fair share of research in this case. I understand that their trimmed down analysis of foul play is going to make a lot of Accident gospelers go in an instant spasm, but the forensic science in this case has always pointed to foul play, and not to an accident. We all know by now that there is a lot of smoke and fog and misinformation, as well as critical omissions in the available information. Which is probably why this case is still discussed by people to this extent. And frankly I don't even 100% believe the couple who was interviewed in Alto Romero. Who says they are telling the whole truth? Most villagers looked pretty pissed off, and were upset that they never received the reward money from the families. Which is a very sad state of affairs. And they first had a village meeting about the whole interview.... Who knows whether or not they were instructed to say this to JJ and Kinga. So that the whole media circus can now jolly move far away from them, to the other side of the mountain. Who is to tell whether or not they told the complete truth to a bunch of hipster Americans with a camera man, traveling in a helicopter? Or if they correctly interpreted the comment about the Boquete side of the mountain. Either way: great show. Thank you Travel Channel!
When I found out a year ago that there is so much more to this disappearance case than two girls who got lost and perished, and that the nighttime photos and the phone logs had all been made public, I was surprised how little detailed information was known in the English speaking section of the internet. So I wrote these blog posts based on kilometers worth of forum info, newspaper articles, documentaries, all in Dutch or sometimes in Spanish. I just wanted some English written online files where all this information was gathered in one place. with the near complete story, as it is known now. Juan is a fellow Dutchie who I got to know in the online world over a shared interest in this case. He is savvy with video making and likes to brainstorm in all different directions. I am not good at making videos and focus on this written blog mainly, as well as translating existing videos. We are both excited that the Travel Channel contacted us a while ago and now actually has made this Lost in the Wild show. And there appear new podcasts and youtube videos every week it seems, helped by all this English information on the case; the more people know about it the better. It's only 6 years or so ago that the girls disappeared and there are so many open questions still. I do still hope there will be a breakthrough at some point in the future. May even be someone on their death bed with more information, who wants to speak up, who knows. I’m also hoping for a sequel episode from the Travel Channel at some point, including the swimming photo in their reporting and all the new intel the show makers may now receive from locals and American expats etc (well, there is always hoping..).
Update: the presenter from the Lost in the Wild episode wrote this below one of Juan's videos on youtube about this episode: J.J. Kelley7 hours ago@Juan thank you! It's my hope that this story opens the possibility to a future episode as well. We'd worked hard to obtain the original memory card, but the family didn't wish to grant access. I respect this decision very much—the family's wishes are always paramount in each case—but I do feel we could bring closure to this case by analyzing the camera's memory card. Our hope was to offer the memory card to a top data recovery specialist to find the missing photo and further analyze the raw photos.The last time the Dutch government looked at that card was years ago, and recovery technology has come a long way. I do think there are answers on that card. Thank you again and I look forward to sharing future episodes of "Lost in the Wild." - Quite a shame that neither the families nor the officials are willing to reopen anything or share the evidence, at this stage. The parents from Kris have fought for years for more justice, better investigation and further truth searching, but there was a shift in all this recently. They are entirely entitled to this and have all the sympathy in the world from everyone I think, they must do what is best for them. But unfortunately the Dutch officials are closing everything off as well and refuse to reopen the case, despite multiple requests. And nobody is sharing these pieces of evidence for further investigation. [Update, Betzaida Pitti will co-author a book in the spring of 2021 and she will share all that info; the official case reports, the official photo files. Against the families' wishes, but that doesn't stop commercial authors]. Someone else, P., wrote me that he knows a top IT specialist who had told him that Kris' Iphone - even the 4 series - saves all the GPS data somewhere on a microchip for at least 10 months. Even with a dead battery.Even with a deactivated tracker and even without a connection on the mobile network, or when out of range of any antennas. Apparently this is similar for a Samsung Galaxy. He wrote: "so if the phones can be checked by a specialist in Holland, this will answer lots of questions, it will show the track of the phones."
Two more videos
I translated two Dutch news items. Reporters went to Boquete at the end of the first week of April of 2014, days after the girls were reported missing, and again at the end of June after their bag and shoes were found. In the first video you will see a Dutch reporter interview a witness who saw the girls walk the Pianista Trail, as well as local tour guides P. and a tour guide. Guide F. is mentioned as the first person who went out looking for Kris and Lisanne. He says: "I had an appointment with them on Wednesday at 08:00 AM. I went to look for them, but I couldn't find them. When we learnt that they hadn't spent the night at their host family we have reported them missing as soon as possible."The guide deems it unlikely that the girls have gotten lost on the Pianista Trail:"I do not think that it is possible that people leave the trail and go into the forest.. Hikers have no choice but to follow the trail. What is possible, and what is a risk, is that you forget the time and that you keep walking that trail on and on.But it is not possible to lose track of the trail and to wander into the forest without noticing." By the way, the tour guide does not tell the reporter that he already met Kris and Lisanne. In his later interaction with the media he has stated that he did meet them and said Ola to them as they were hanging around the language school, while in another interview he stated the opposite; that he never met them...
And guide P. states on camera:"The gentleman who lives there has seen them go up the trail. The river where their belongings were found, lies at approximately 2 days distance." If you know the way.. "Yes, if you know the way... If not then I don't know what could have happened. It is a difficult area to walk in. There's a lot of mud where you can slip on, there are many gaps and rivers. In this type of terrain, all sorts of things can happen." Guide F. thinks that it all went wrong when Kris and Lisanne tried to pass a river. After the backpack was found, he went into the tropical forest with some volunteers, and found the shoes. He states: "This is the spot where the shoe was found, behind the trunk of the tree, almost under it." Almost invisible? "No, if we had walked past it, without looking behind the trunk of the tree, we wouldn't have found it. The searches are very dangerous, because of the strong current and the difficult river passings. The cables, they turn. It makes you light headed or it makes you panic and then you can easily fall. And if you fall in such a river with strong current, you won't come out anymore. You won't be able to get up."
In the other video, reporters went to Boquete in the second week of April of 2014 and interviewed Lisanne's brother Martijn as well as Kris' father Hans. Martijn states about Lisanne that "She is quite the... well I don't want to say homebody, but she likes to stay home. This was a big undertaking for her. Weeks in advance she had made a planning of all the details of the trip. She had worked everything out in great detail. Because she wanted to be sure that nothing went wrong..." But something did go wrong, unfortunately. And Hans states that "They certainly aren't risk takers. They are responsible and sensible girls. Who in principle know what they are doing and.. And they took the time to consider where they wanted to go and where they wanted to do volunteer work. And they booked everything through an organization. So everything was neatly arranged. So there wasn't much that could go wrong. But apparently something has gone wrong anyway, or else we wouldn't have been searching for a week now..."
This writer from Boquete already wrote many articles on the Kris and Lisanne disappearance (many featuring or linked to in my blog posts series). On December 4th 2014 she had an interesting encounter
December 4, 2014 by Britt Vasarhely
She writes that she hired a service to pick her up from David airport and drive her to Boquete. [Quote] "This time we were collected by a very pleasant fellow who occasionally drives for the company but is first and foremost a professional guide who prefers serious trekking. In fact, that very day he’d walked for six or seven hours, accompanying a European couple over one of Boquete’s many trails. And then he came in a modern conveyance to pick us up. When I heard his name, I remembered that he was one of the local guides I’d read about as I’d researched the story of the lost girls. He was someone who had often walked the trail the girls had presumably taken. And, more than that, he routinely trekked between Boquete and Bocas del Toro, a trip of several days, from one ocean overland to the other. In fact, he’s so well known as a trekker that he’s chairing the ad hoc task force that’s been given the job of cleaning up Panama’s 300+ trails, posting new multilingual signs with international symbols, and rating each trail according to its type of challenge. It’s very important to Panama that no more tall, blonde European visitors simply disappear into thin air. [Scarlet: this was almost certainly guide P, she wrote this later in another comment also]. First off, we both thought narco-trafficantes were probably involved. The walking trails from Bocas to the Inter-American Highway and Costa Rica have been known for drug traffic, though its intensity varies with locale. The gangs in Colombia move cocaine North using every means at their disposal and shanks mare is decidedly one of them. Both the driver and I believe the girls happened upon some narcos, or at least some Very Bad Men, or perhaps, after becoming lost and disoriented, the girls came upon a place where drugs were stored or being used. There are many possible variations of this theory but the nub of it is that the girls and the hombres malos encountered each other, the girls were probably sexually assaulted, and then murdered. Afterward, (this is the guide’s belief) they were callously dismembered and disposed of here and there."
"It’s a grisly scenario and unfortunately dismemberment of murder victims is all too common here in Panama."
"CBS’ 48 Hours just did a segment on the dismemberment of a woman in Bocas del Toro. My belief in this scenario has been an instinctive one. I got the same tingle running down my neck when I first heard the story of the girls’ disappearance as I do when I make a wrong turn at night or walk down a poorly lit street. Every woman knows that tingle. But our driver had some interesting facts that, even if they didn’t directly support the murder scenario, at least took away from the other major theory – that the girls were victims of nature. This theory holds that they became lost and then either fell into a river, were bitten by snakes, poisoned by insects, or eaten by jaguar, etc., etc. However they perished, it was without leaving any messages for their loved ones or photos that documented their sad trip into the forest. (Both their phones and camera were found in the backpack in good shape.) The few recovered bones have also told no tales of dragging in a river or mauling by a carnivore. At the time I met the guide the case appeared to be in “irons.” There have been one or two indications that forensics are continuing on the boots, but that seems to be about it. So it was refreshing to hear what this energetic new source had to say. What the guide had standing behind his belief was experience, and one thing he related was very telling. It was the story of two men he’d agreed to take on an all-day trek. Unfortunately, they were forced to return to Boquete after only two hours as his clients’ boots had become hopelessly shredded. It was his experience, he said, that most foreigners do not buy boots that are capable of withstanding Panama’s arduous terrain. Although next to nothing has been recovered that belonged to Kris and Lisanne, two boots were found, blue shoe one – horribly — with a foot still in it. And while one boot showed medium signs of wear, the other was almost pristine in appearance. The girls, the guide believes, were abducted soon after they began their trek, perhaps not long after they crested the Continental Divide and headed unknowingly down the Caribbean side instead of back to their hostel in Boquete."
"The boots did not show enough wear, he thinks, to have endured a 15-hour trek to the place where the handful of bones, backpack, and footwear were finally discovered."
"Going back to the “Victims of Nature” theory — there’s been a lot of speculation that the girls were bitten by a snake or touched by a poisonous frog or attacked by insects. In my reading, I’d learned that there were four particularly venomous snakes that dwell in the part of the jungle Kris and Lisanne apparently traversed. The guide had a good laugh at that. Evidently, there are many more deadly varieties, subsets of subsets, and so on. But here’s the particularly interesting part. Our driver said that on his treks he routinely sees the corpses of horses and cattle and other animals lying intact and decomposing naturally. Why? Because they were bitten by snakes whose venom is so powerful it can poison an entire beast and render it completely inedible. But Kris and Lisanne were not found in that condition and the hunt for them was so massive it should have turned up their bodies if they had succumbed to snakebite. The same is true for poisonous frogs. Every frog in Panama is deadly to some degree and just touching certain varieties can, in fact, put you in the grave. A single Golden Dart Frog has enough poison to kill 10 to 20 humans, depending on their size. Our new acquaintance was fairly certain the women had not been killed by a serpent or frog or even a poisonous insect. Fascinating, I told him, and meant it. By the time we reached home, I had thoroughly enjoyed my serendipitous encounter, was full up with new and pertinent information — and felt heartened that none of this new knowledge had shaken my initial conclusion. In my mind, these helpless girls were murdered. I murder people every day on paper; it’s only natural that I would think so. But the guide, a trekker who knows all parts of Panama, its geography and its people, intimately – now that’s another matter. And that’s where I’m going to leave it. This case is a source of endless speculation here in Panama, huge-billboard-cut but the story has given of itself, in terms of plot especially, to its maximum. Unless someone comes forward with genuine, concrete knowledge of what happened to reduce these two bright and cheerful girls to a pathetic handful of bones, I’m leaving it here."
More things said by this local guide P. He also stated in interview 'Een fatale wandeling' with De Volkskrant,to have passed the girls himself on the Pianista path on the day they went missing. (The two photos on the left were also taken by the guide, on April 5th according to the date he posted them on social media, but they of course may also have been taken on an earlier date, as the weather was mainly this glorious on April1st of 2014, not in the days following. Notice the spot being the exact same one as where the girls were pictured, under the same weather circumstances and sun angle). Guide P. recalled to have seen Kris and Lisanne around midday. He stated that the two women said "Good morning", but he wasn't sure it were Kris and Lisanne as 'all Europeans look alike' apparently: "Sorry but you all look alike: tall, white, light hair and the same type of clothes. And always moving in duo's." Which could perhaps be seen as a bit of a strange comment, considering he probably passed Kris who had striking red hair and a figure hugging red and white striped mini shirt: her clothes that day were rather noticeable. Later he went back to police to retract his story. In their photos taken on the Mirador summit, the girls make several photos showing their thumbs up; a universal sign, but this tour guide P. made it his trademark sign. There are endless photos of him online making this same thumbs up sign, as well as the people he gets photographed with. Is it possible perhaps that he did meet them in passing. But that it was not on his way down the Pianista, but instead that he met them further up the mountain? Possibly even accompanied them on the summit? Many bloggers and travellers have stated all over the net that it is not that easy to find the right road up the Pianista. (Whereas following the road down the Pianista, on the 'wrong side' is supposed to be very easy again). He also sometimes works as a chauffeur on taxi or shuttle services. He is known to have been one of the drivers of the shuttle service between Bocas del Toro and Boquete. The same service which Kris and Lisanne used on March 29th of 2014. It is not said that he himself drove them that day, but if so, it would be very strange that he didn't recognize them on the Pianista Trail on April 1st. Because Kris and Lisanne stood really out there in Boquete, no matter generalizations that all European girls looking alike. You do notice a tree of a brunette like Lisanne and a redhead like Kris with her striking t-shirt in a place like Boquete.
This guide also helped the volunteers comb through the tropical forest for 17 days in search for Kris and Lisanne, just like guide F. who has also spent a huge amount of time on these searches. He was there on April 5th to look for them around the Baru volcano, he was present on April 8th and 9th with the Sinaproc professionals and took many photos on these days. Probably just a very dedicated person, giving his free time to help the searches. P. told Jeremy Kryt about the dangers of monkey bridges: “You’re always afraid to cross them,” he says. “The top cables move and throw you off balance. Even the Indigenous sometimes die on those bridges.” Guide P. also told Jeremy Kryt: "Any criminals in the area would face the same risks as the Hollandesus themselves. The general lack of mobility would cut both ways and all the trails in the area were searched at the time. If a third party was involved how come we never found any sign of them?" - I'd say: because the girls may not have been out there in that region at all. They may have been taken and hidden somewhere else, by people who know the area like their pocket. Just like what happened to the German tourist who was abused and held by three men of the search teams, of all people. Private dwellings were not searched by the Panamanian police. This was said by the way despite him telling local writer Britt Vasarhely earlier that he suspected the girls were murdered. (She spoke almost certainly with him, see topic below this one). Top photo of Lisanne pasted into guide P's photo, source: OkSympathy9074. Versus the real photo #499 below it.
He posted a lot of photos of the exact route which Kris and Lisanne walked in the years afterwards, some were very odd I think. You can see them near the end of my part 4 blog post. Below are photos he posted in the spring of 2017. When I saw the v-shaped tree branches I got the chills.. Could it be the same location, 3 years later? It probably isn't, but the similarities struck me. Although it most likely is a different location than our nighttime shots.The guide took these photos of the Sendero los Quetzales. Based on the similar looking V-shaped tree he photographed there, I wouldn't even exclude the (very small) possibility that those night shots have been taken at Sendero los Quetzales. This trail is located within the Volcan Baru National Park and connects Boquete to the east of the volcano, with Guadalupe town in Cerro Punta, to the west of the volcano, and can be hiked in either direction. It is not far from the Pianista trail and the Mirador lookout.
Sleuth _The pages unnumbered also discovered a video from guide P. which he posted on his instagram on April 11th of 2017, in which guide P. films a red haired tourist from behind.. Some see an eerie remembrance of the back of the head photo of Kris in it:
Dutch forensic pathologist Frank van de Goot, and his earlier views on this case
Video dates from March 4th, 2015. (Source). In the Lost in the Wild episode on the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne, Dr. Frank van de Goot did not sound as convinced anymore about the girls having fallen in the area of the Pianista Trail. Here you can view the entire episode, and here is the summary of the specialist statements done in the show. I have written a fair bit about this show already, but summarizing Frank's contribution, he stated in this Travel Channel episode from 2019 about the Pianista Trail area that: "There is no way to get lost. You actually don't need a guide." And with regards to the official theory that the girls fell both off a monkey bridge and washed away Van de Goot said: "No way. They would never ever go on it." When Kinga mentioned to Frank that "this area has a bit of a reputation", he replied: "Yes, I know". Kinga: "There are other people who have gone missing here." Frank: "Yes, correct." [..] "When you're looking at the Pianista Trail, there are little farms everywhere. There is no way not to be noticed up there. You are actually passing through people's backyard." Kinga: "So you do think they were alive for several days after they disappeared?" Frank: "Yes, unfortunately yes." Kinga: "What do you think went on in the girls' head at this point?" Frank: "Waiting, yes. Panic, yes. Fear, yes." Kinga: "What about the photos from the camera? There were 90+ photos taken..of just random things.." Frank: "Yes. I saw them. They are creepy. They're Blair Witch Project. The part of the jungle out there is known by the guides as 'jungle hell'. Past the Continental Divide... people die, up here." [..] "When you are out there in daylight, there is no problem. When you are out there in the dark, it's game over." "You haven't seen the cable bridges. I'm a mountaineer; you're full mortal on that bridge." Kinga: "That's the official story from the government: that they fell from these bridges."Frank: "No way." Kinga: "You don't believe that?" Frank: "No way. No way. Because they would never ever go on it." Kinga: "Why, because it's so hazardous?" Frank: "Because they're sensible girls".
Based on that airing, many people, me included, wondered if Frank van de Goot no longer necessarily believes that the girls fell down a ravine, somewhere in that jungle. But that something else may have also happened to them. A crime for instance. Although he never straight up says so. But Frank van de Goot nowadays no longer is certain about anything and insists that still no-one knows what happened and that all options are literally still open. They may have fallen, they may have gotten lost somewhere else entirely (they may have met foul play even). Let's look at what he said earlier on the matter..
My English subtitles to go with this Dutch news clip: Video dates from March 4th, 2015: "The parents from Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon are now convinced that their daughters died as the result of an accident in Panama. For a long time they suspected that a crime took place. They hired a team of specialists who investigated the case and have now concluded that the girls most likely died during a fatal fall incident. This is what the parents of Kris say about it today: Statement of the Kremers family: As a family we are relieved that we now finally have a possible and plausible explanation for all our questions about Kris' death. - Kris and Lisanne disappeared nearly a year ago, during a hike in the tropical forest of Panama. An ultimate attempt to unravel the secrets of the jungle. What happened with Kris and Lisanne when they walked on the Pianista Trail? After visiting the area, a team of specialists comes now with a list of possible scenarios. Frank van de Goot:
"I do think that, based on the investigations we did, we came to the conclusion that an accident scenario is the most likely one. Not getting lost; not a crime, but a fall is now thought to have killed the two Dutch girls. Directly next to the Pianista Trail is a steep slope. If one slips there and falls, one makes a 30 to 40 meter drop, under a 60 degree angle. You end up in a riverbed. On the cameras of the girls, a series of photos were found which show part of the riverbed, and parts of the surroundings."
"For more than a year now, the parents from Kris and Lisanne are living without knowing what happened. Some personal belongings were found of the two, as well as some bone remains. The families were hoping that a last search operation could perhaps bring answers to the many questions that remain, with regards to their disappearance. Frank van de Goot: "I hope that it is enough, for all the parties involved. To close this chapter now, and move on with life. Because regardless of all the misery; life goes on." Interviewer: "But you can also not give 100% certainty about the cause of death? Despite this extensive research?" Frank van de Goot: "No. 100% certainty I cannot give, unfortunately." - This last search operation did not result in new findings of the remains of Kris and Lisanne. The researchers believe that due to the nature of the jungle environment, nothing new will be found anymore."
Frank van de Goot not only said on Dutch TV that he believed the girls fell to their deaths, but he also stated it in this interview with Jeremy Kryt. He said at the time that “You can’t really exclude a crime, but I remain [of the opinion] it was an accident scenario.[..] I can’t completely exclude a crime, but I have nothing to prove that. With an accident, there are a few possibilities” And forensic pathologist Frank van de Goot, who led the Dutch forensics team in this case, hypothesized back in March of 2015 that the girls must have fallen into a ravine of 30 to 40 meters deep at the start of the Pianista Trail. He even went as far to make the quite outlandish seeming statement that "The geographical conditions, the social conditions and the technical facts as revealed by the forensic investigation make a crime in the form of a robbery, sexual offense, violent crime or kidnapping very unlikely."
And questions that come up, after reading dr Frank van de Goot's explanations:
*If this ravine is near the Pianista Trail summit; how is it then possible for the (few) remains of the girls to have been found at a distance of 14 walking hours up north? On flat land. Nearby one another, not stretched out.
*How did their remains get out of that ravine, with Kris having her pelvis broken in two and Lisanne having her left foot severely broken in most places? And with no microscopic animal markings on the bones, so no animal predation or dragging of the bodies?
*How come no sniffer dogs ever found their scent in the area that actually has ravines, despite combing through that entire Pianista area?
*How come volunteers and guides, who went down those slopes on ropes, never found the girls in the first week and neither found any (!) indications of a fall? No slip streams, no personal items, not even crushed vegetation?
*How come, if they made such a fall, that the jeans shorts from Kris were found many hours up north at a river, in a fairly good state? Without the sort of damage you would expect from such a 30 to 40 meter fall or slip? Not many tears or extensive slip marks were found on those jeans shorts. Same for their shoes that were found. And how did their backpack come out without extensive damage? The phones without a dent or scratch or any damage to the glass; even their plastic sunglasses were not broken from that fall.
*If these girls really ended up in a ravine nearby the Pianista Trail, how come skin from Lisanne's leg (shin bone) was found in late August of 2014, deep into the tropical highland forest? Well over 14 walking hours up north? Intact, in a very early stage of decomposition, 5 months after they disappeared?
*And why have their other skeletal remains never been found?
Two very important articles from pit-bull journalist Adelita Coriat on this disappearance, screensaved in full and translated.
For criminologist Octavio Calderón it is impossible that the river took the bones remains of the two young women, and deposited them next to each other again. -From Adelita Coriat.
"No matter how many times you repeat the story from the prosecutor about Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers being swept away by the river current, the prosecutor has no evidence to prove it. ‘It is an assumption without scientific basis, it is not based on anything,’ said criminologist Octavio Calderón. The specialist compares the results of forensic analyses to the bones, clothing and electronic equipment from the youth with the theory of fiscal Bethsaida Pittí, who assumed that after getting lost on the El Pianista trail, the girls were swept away and killed by the river Culebre, on whose banks their bones were found. Octavio Calderón is blunt in refuting the hypothesis of the prosecution with some key points: ‘nothing indicates that they were near water; besides: two bones from different parts of the body of two different people never just end up washed on the same sandbank, together. This shows that someone placed them there. There is no other possible reason. The version that they were supposedly in the river has no foundation; no proof. The fact that the clothes and wallet were found intact contradicts the hypothesis of the prosecution, Calderón insists. La Estrella de Panama tried to contact the Prosecutor Pittí Bethsaida, but the PR team for the prosecution did not return calls. The criminologist Calderon also rules out that the girls have been attacked by wild animals. It is based on the report submitted by the National Environmental Authority, which states that there are snakes, lions and tigers in the area. In any case, Calderon says, if the beasts had attacked, then where are the girls' skulls? These animals do not swallow a skull. Cougars, he adds, are solitary animals who avoid interacting with humans and if it had been a snake then it would have attacked one person, not both at the same time. The lawyer for the Kremers family, Enrique Arrocha, agrees. ‘If these young women were attacked by animals then why was there clothing found intact? If these attacks had occurred, there would be clearly visible markings on the clothes, and this is not the case, said the lawyer. Another shocking issue is the phosphorus found on Kris' rib. Arrocha requires an extension of the report, stating that the rib seems to have suffered the consequences of phosphates elements, as the environment where the bones were found is not volcanic soil. Calderón says that the phosphorus found on the remains could point towards the use of fertilizers or chemicals on the remains. Desperation may have led the attacker to use such substance to make the evidence ‘disappear’, he said. He didn't dare to draw a profile of the murderer. ‘The way in which the ankle and the bones have been found, could indicate that he is a young person who is inexperienced in these types of situations. An amateur improvising once presented with obstacles’. This could explain the presence of a pelvis and a wallet in the same place, he said. The Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences revealed that the bones do not show traumas from the effect of the use of sharp objects, firearms or laceration, caused by a dismemberment."
"13 samples were taken from the backpack, and it was possible to determine that two of them belonged to two unknown women.A dozen fingerprints were found on the Apple and Samsung phones owned by Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers, The Dutch who died in unclear circumstances after traveling the Pianist trail, in the district of Boquete, Chiriqui. The report prepared by the Netherlands Forensic Institute reveals that three of the fingerprints were found on the self-adhesive tape that connected the camera and the phones. One of the prints, of which a photo was sent to the Panamanian authorities, can be matched in the database of Panama. This fact seems to have gone unnoticed by prosecutor Pittí Bethsaida, who so far has not controlled and checked the fingerprint with the locals inhabitants or other possible suspects, who may have manipulated objects.According to the lawyer Enrique Arrocha, advocate for the Kremers family, the prosecutor has also not taken statements from people who gave the belongings to them, and the prosecutor also did not collect other DNA found on clothing and items of the girls. The Dutch forensic report failed to detect DNA profiles on the phones and camera. However, six samples have been taken from the bras found on the bank of river Culebre. Five of them were not good enough to allow to have their DNA extracted from. profiles; a sixth was from one of the employees of the Institute. From the backpack 13 samples were obtained, and it was possible to determine that two of them came from two unknown women. In the fifth sample a DNA profile profile was found which was a mixture of two unknown persons, of which at least one is a male. The theory of prosecutor Bethsaida Pittí is that the Dutch got lost during their hike on the trail and that they were killed during an accident. The prosecutor also referred to a report prepared by the National Environmental Authority which established the presence of wild animals in the area that Kris and Lisanne explored. However, in the report to the Netherlands no evidence of an attack by a wild animal was detected. The backpack and bras of the girls showed traces of leaves and soil material. The Dutch forensic institute failed to determine the source of these plants for lack of reference. The task was forwarded to the Panamanian prosecution, but, to date, Pittí has also not compared these botanical results with the vegetation at site where these objects from the girls were found, or the surrounding area. For criminologists, the evidence gathered so far is enough to begin a homicide investigation. The findings are indicative that the women were not lost, as claimed by the prosecutor, but that they were killed and their remains, bones and belongings, were intentionally planted on the banks of river Culebre -a 12 hours walk from the road where they were last seen. Arrocha reported that anthropological examination of the skeletal remains of young women determined that the rib from Kris was found in an area with the presence of phosphate, which would explain the whitish color on the bones. However, the prosecution has not established whether the bone was subjected to a chemical process intentionally or circumstantial. Recently, Pittí gave the bones (evidence for the prosecution) to Lisanne relatives. At the same time, she said that she was waiting for the Kremers family request to deliver Kris' remains to them. Arrocha said he will not make that request, because those bones are essential to complete the research evidence [and thus they must stay in Panama and Pitti should not get off further investigation so easily]. The European forensics also revealed that the girls made several calls to Dutch and Panamanian helplines, 112 and 911, respectively."
Heard a highly interesting radio interview. It shows us just how incompetent and unwilling the Dutch officials really were in the very early days of the investigation into Kris and Lisanne's disappearance.
September 8th 2014, 15:00 PM. Dutch Independent Criminologist Dick Steffens calls the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, to offer his services to analyse the telephones from Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon meticulously. He tells them that he can measure up to 4 meters accurately where their phones have been used. Steffens just needs their telephone numbers for this, among a few other things. At the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Steffens then sends an e-mail that is forwarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the embassy in Panama. Steffens receives a message from the embassy in which his offer is rejected. "Everything was already in order". And just as bad: the information about Steffens offer to help is not passed on to the parents. They only hear
months later about his offer. If Dutch people go missing abroad, a special team of former detectives must be ready to travel there quickly. This is what former police officers Juul van der Linden, Dick Steffens and Klaas Wilting want from now on. In the case of the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne in Panama, the first traces could have been picked up better, the former police officers believe. An earlier broadcast of EenVandaag shows that the parents of Kris Kremers do not believe that their daughter got lost in the Panamanian jungle. Steffens also argues that there are still too many unanswered questions to see them getting lost as the cause of the drama. When Steffens heard of the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne, he offered his help. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Panamanian authorities of the offer, but nothing was done with it. In Radio EenVandaag Steffens tells how expertise could have contributed to the Panamanian case. Here you can listen to the radio interview with Dick Steffens and former chief of police Klaas Wilting and I added English subtitles so you can follow it if you don't speak Dutch: Source: NPO Radio 1: "Opsporing Panama had beter gekund" ("Investigation Panama could have been better") from 8 September 2014. 'Simpar' is the name of the website of the organization these former cops did set up. It also repeats and emphasizes the qualifications of these former cops, now researchers for their organization Simpar, and the background experience they all have, which is impressive:
- Former police force police detectives, tactical or technical
- Intelligence service
- Forensic investigators
Some quotes from the interview with Dick Steffens
"The search operations: I mean they have now searched with a battalion of militaries so to speak... Who trashed with their soldiers boots through the area. Sometimes that can be an advantage, but here we have a serious disappearance case and... it could also be a serious case of abduction, it is truly not yet known what has happened here. Although I do have my thoughts on that. But with that method of searching, you destroy a lot of traces. "When you allow soldiers to march through these traces and tracks..?" Yes. You have to remember that the military are no professional detectives. And in the Netherlands we work differently than in Panama.. And one of the most important things you would learn in the Detective Academy in Amsterdam, is that when there is a crime scene, then you seal it off with tape and you do not allow anyone in, not even the mayor. "But here it wasn't immediately clear that it was a crime scene..." No that is true, but...
we as a commercial company had offered, but without commercial intentions, that we have the capacity to 'ping'. And 'pinging' means: we can trace a telephone if it is switched on and has cell phone coverage. When you do that, you normally know where the owner is, and then you would have a much more specific and concrete search area.
And if there is no reflection going on, we can trace the phone precisely." "Because you have a detective agency? And you have offered the officials ato trace these girls' phones in this manner?" Yes that is correct. "And did they take up the offer?" No. It was if I recall correctly April 4th (2014) that my wife and I were watching the news. And that this information was provided. Then my wife said to me: You have to offer your services there. At around 10 or 11 o'clock that night I called the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are able to analyse a phone if it fulfills the criteria I just gave. When you do that, you normally know where the owner is, and then you would have a much more specific and concrete search area. "And what was their reaction?" The first reaction was: 'Just write us an email'. The very first reaction, I have to add, was shocking to me: they asked me why I hadn't called sooner. To which I answered: it is only now in the news, how could I have called sooner?But I did write it down in an email and they sent it to the embassy in Panama.. Aside from the pinging I told them that we are also capable to trace payments done with bank cards or credit cards. Imagine that they were kidnapped and forced to make a money withdrawal, then you have a place where you can go to and work from. 'And the governments cannot check that?'The governments also have the ability to do so, but there are serious doubts that they actually checked all that in Panama. I got a message back from the Panamanian embassy, saying that "We thought of everything and everything was provided." I talked to Hans Kremers and the spot where the backpack was found, somewhere alongside the river. Then the place where the jeans shorts from Kris were found, 14 hours walking distance further. And I am talking then about the walking time for a native person from there, not 14 hours for someone like us, so that makes a big difference also. Then the place where some bones from Kris were found, which were found again several hours walking distance further. And then I say: that is not correct, that makes no sense. And the story we're getting from Panama is then: "Well, wild animals could have grabbed them". That is possible, but would a jeans shorts have then been found fairly intact? With only a few scrapes and holes.. Can then a shoe that was found be still so intact and undamaged? A wild animal rips apart everything he gets in his grasp. And in my opinion that didn't happen here." Hear the full interview in the video I added above.
By the way, on online forums some people have said sketchy stuff about private or former official investigators like Steffens. That they are 3rd rate investigators, and in it for the money or the fame. Aside from the fact that Steffens and his colleagues have a long successful career behind them with the national police and are respected investigators with a clean slate in terms of reputation, as well as being very well known over here with regards to his diplomatic role in the kidnapping of Freddy Heineken, you also have to look at the place where this disappearance took place.. Local Boquete resident and websleuths veteran and crime author Skidawayme wrote in that respect (from the Panamanian perspective): "Very interesting story. Here in Panama, when any gringo goes missing, is a victim of theft or home invasion, or has any criminal misfortune it's recommended that they hire a private investigator. There is in Boquete an organization called Alto al Crimen. It's composed of gringos who are former law enforcement officials and they work closely with the local police. But private detectives in the rest of the country are recommended."
It is highlighted how Dick Steffens was involved in the infamous Heineken kidnapping in the Netherlands. During his career with the police, he worked as an infiltrator in criminal environments. He now searches for missing persons all over the world. In 2014 he started Simpar with a former colleague, an organization of volunteers and he advises families of missing persons. He says the following in the article about the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne:"Speed is essential in a disappearance case. You must travel to the place where the person has gone missing as quickly as possible. If a missing person is of age, the local police often assume that someone's phone is broken, or that someone has willingly disappeared off the radar. And although that is often the case, there are also cases where someone does not return after a while. Then it becomes suspicious." If the disappearance case (abroad) is taken seriously immediately, a great deal still needs to be done before the Dutch police can help on the spot. First the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is contacted. The Dutch embassy in the country where the person went missing is then contacted. The Dutch police must apply for a judicial request to be allowed to conduct an investigation. This investigation is never independent. Everything is done under the supervision of the local police. According to Steffens, this does not always go as you would like. According to him, there is sometimes not enough control over the case in the first hours after the disappearance. “The work of the police is often criticized, but people do not know with how much impotence we are dealing. A detective simply wants to solve a case, and it is frustrating that sometimes we have to do it with very few resources." Steffens’ frustration reaches its peak during the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon.
“The parents of Kris asked if I wanted to look at the case and give my opinion about the official conclusion. It soon became clear to me that mistakes were made during the investigation and that there were many loose ends.” The belongings from Kris and Lisanne were found miles upstream from where Lisanne's left foot was found. “Furthermore, there are very few bodily remains to rely on. That is absurd if your conclusion is that they have fallen and had an accident" he says.
The river that was pictured on the camera of the pair was only examined two weeks after the discovery of the camera. "If you visit all the places where that person might have been within two days after a they disappeared, you have a greater chance that someone is still alive than if you wait almost twenty days," says Steffens. But the Dutch police is only allowed to intervene abroad with a missing persons case after three weeks.
One of the most controversial cases in which Steffens became involved is the disappearance of Dutch medical student Sophia Koetsier. In August of 2015 she had left for Uganda for her graduation internship. Three months later, on October 22, she disappeared when she went to the toilet during a road trip. To this day, nobody knows what happened to her. One of the few things found were black underpants hanging in a tree at four meters height. For a while there have been wild speculation in the media about the case. Koetsier sometimes had manic episodes due to bipolar disorder. How her trousers ended up so high in a tree, or why there were no mud traces on her shoe, remains a mystery. After a while the case disappeared from the media and eventually the police had to close the case without knowing what happened. The Koetsier family continues to look for answers. "If I read what has been done during the search for Sophia and if I watch videos of how the police worked, I cannot say that there has been hard work put into that search," he says. Steffens relies on a film clip made of the place where Koetsier disappeared, and a police file that lacks crucial information. A hiking shoe can be seen in the video. There is no mud on it, not even on the sole. A little further lies the inner sole of the shoe, which is brand new. According to Steffens, it seems that the shoe has not been used at all, but that it instead has been planted there later. "Then you see her underpants hanging four meters high in a tree." Steffens acknowledges Koetsier had episodes of mania in the past, “but I cannot imagine that in such a state of mind you will tear off all your clothes, crawl into a tree completely naked, and that then not a single trace of DNA can be found there. The scene was just too clean. It's no good, something is not right there", says Steffens. He also finds the conclusion that she was eaten by a crocodile absurd. "I have never heard of a crocodile eating someone without leaving a splash of blood, then bringing a shoe back and hanging underpants on top of a tree," he says. - You can read more about the disappearance of Sophia Koetsier in this blog post of mine.
Steffens always advises the family of a missing person to find a good local contact who can collect evidence immediately after the disappearance. Although, according to him, that is not always easy. "For example, the private investigator in the case of Sophia Koetsier asked $75,000." One aspect that often makes missing cases abroad complicated is the fact that the police can be corrupt:
“I went to Panama and Costa Rica this year for business and you can buy a lot there. You pay for information from a police officer or someone from the forensic investigation. Let me be clear: there are definitely also non-corrupt people, but in different countries, also in Europe, there are different rules for dealing with the police.”
According to Steffens, it is an advantage that he himself has a police background because it is easier for him to steer the local police. “In the case of Koetsier for example, it is always possible to even start a completely new case. Then you could also speak to the policemen who were working on the case three years ago." Mixing yourself into crime cases in corrupt countries is not without danger. For example, crime journalist Alberto Arce describes in his book the dangerous situations that you end up in when you, as an outsider, enter a world of corrupt agents and violence. "You have to be careful, yes," says Steffens. “I have never been in immediate danger, but you are aware of it. You should never go out investigating all on your own and always make a planning for the day and leave it somewhere, preferably on the internet, in case you yourself disappear from the radar." "On top of that, Steffens believes that it is important that you stay on friendly terms with the authorities. “If necessary, you pay them a little. You first give them a small amount of money, and then you tell them that you pay the rest if you have received the correct information. It is extremely dangerous to go out and about with a large sum of money."When I ask Steffens why he is still busy after a long career as a detective - he has been retired for some time - he says it is simple. “I just like doing it. I have to, because I can't let go. As a family of a missing person, you are at the mercy of the gods."
Were these night photos really taken in a riverbed besides the Pianista Trail? I doubt it
January 24th, 2020. I think these night photos may in theory also have been taken by a 3rd party. We do not have any proof that Kris or Lisanne took them, because there have been no selfies made, or any photo showing it was them, other than the hair photo. But the location of the night photos seems to be one place. I feel the person who took these photos remained for almost three hours in the same spot. Reason; the same characteristic tree with branches in a V-shape can be seen on many of the photos; from the very early ones to the last ones taken. In fact, some photos look pretty much the same, with minor alterations.Below are just a couple of examples out of many photos with this same tree in the right hand background. So why would Kris or Lisanne make 99 photos over the course of over three hours, but not a single actual selfie? We know that no helicopters were flying at night, so they couldn't have tried to flash a helicopter. There is no evidence either that search teams were out there between roughly 01:00 - 04:00. Is this actually Lisanne shooting photos? Or someone else entirely? Trying to make it look like the girls were still out there, somewhere (never an identifiable shot of where they were actually taken though), lost? Don't forget that the bag and camera were found around two months after the girls disappeared, meaning there was a sea of time for.. all sorts of things to happen in the meantime. Including camera content manipulation.
One thing that is certain now however, is that these photos were not taken to 'light the way'. Or while on the go. Or while fleeing for something. The person who took these shots remained in the same area for certain while taking these photos.
Why? Why so many of the same photos also? Why no selfies? Why no clearer view of that location? (Do keep in mind that the photo times and numbers have not been confirmed by the authorities). Big thank you and shout out to Juan, who first found and published all these photos. As for finding this tree and identifying the night photo location; if that tree still exists it may look different after six years, and if it were truly other people who faked these night photos, they probably got rid of the identifyable V-shaped branch soon after.
In video form:
Photo #511 (IMG_511)
Probably taken around 01:30 AM
Photo #553 (IMG_0553)
Taken around 01:40:32 AM
Taken around 01:44,12 AM
Taken around 01:51,56 AM
Taken around 01:55,01 AM
Taken around 02:00 AM
Taken around 02:15 AM
Taken around 02:31,25 AM
Photo #605 (IMG_605)
Taken around 02:46,16 AM
Taken around 03:09 AM
Photos #608 and #609 (IMG_608/609)
Taken around 03:22,47 / 04:10 AM
Some good suggestions made by Magnus:
"Well, for a start all droplet types can be identified: if it's rain, mist or from a waterfall or even a cave it's possible to tell one from the other, it's basic fluid mechanics. From how translucent the droplets are it's also possible to know what's inside them. Also, the rock shown in a photo has a specific curvature and pattern to it, unique to it, unmistakable in computer recognition software (they can do this with rocks on Mars so on Earth it's a piece of cake). Then the vegetation shown in the photos can be identified by a biologist or a botanist, lots of those in the Netherlands. There are issues when there is lack of evidence, not too much evidence as in this case, even if all evidence shows up clean. The position the person was in when taking the photos can also be determined, so reconstituting that night scene can't be hard. Note: from the weather report it's possible to know where it was raining and from the rain intensity to pinpoint the location of the photos." - I answered that unfortunately the Dutch Prosecution is done with this case and not willing to reopen it. If we want that, we have to personally write Betzaida Pitti in Panama with that request. She won't reopen either. So then it comes down to people who follow this case to find these things out somehow? If anyone has an interest in these subtopics described by Magnus, or is specialized in them perhaps even, feel free to shine your light on these photos..
David also had good suggestions: "Genuine or Fake. It says a good deal about these night-time shots that even a sit-on-the-fence like me is finding them suspicious. On the face of it these photographs do seem convincing and in line with what you would expect of someone who is physically and mentally exhausted, possibly injured, and certainly at the far limits of her ability to cope with the situation she is in. Camped outdoors, deep into the night-time, and it starts raining. There is some protection from an overhang or the trees above you but not enough that you can get any sleep and ignore the downpours. So remembering you have one, you pull out the camera and start lighting up your misery.... Really these pictures are as much a subject for a psychologist as a geologist. Yet despite their time frame and the conditions they are being taken in they suffer from one curious flaw - there are no signs of life in them. No legs coming into shot, no knee or arm, no boot or backpack coming into the frame, nothing. Except that shot of what appears to be Kris Kremers' hair, and because of this this is the photograph that is the odd one out of the entire set, the one photograph that shows something human (after a fashion). But why take it then? Over three hours of shooting, carefully and deliberately avoiding showing anything of yourself, or your friend, and you then shoot this extreme close-up of the back(?) or her head. Just the one photograph. You can analyze too much. And I am well aware that if this is Lisanne (or even Kris) then they aren't going to be in the best state mentally, so logic isn't necessarily a factor in the use of this camera. But still, to pull out the camera after seven days for a three hour-plus shoot, deliberately avoid shooting anything of yourself and your friend, then put it away again and never use it.... No, I accept that logic doesn't need to play a part given their situation here, and yet is it not telling that there is nothing human in these eighty odd shots? Nothing definitive. So well framed and perhaps even cropped that they really are eighty-odd photographs of nothing.... there is virtually no information whatsoever to be had here in them. And nothing to my mind that even definitively shows that Lisanne and Kris are indeed present here. Eighty odd photographs of nothing. I really don't know what to make of them, or even say about them...."
I replied: "Thanks for your thoughts. It makes no sense to me why any of the two girls would have been shooting the same pictures over and over again, for almost 3 hours, in the dark of night. People say that they may not have wanted to take selfies because it could frighten their parents, as they must have lost weight etc, but even if their hand(s) would have been photographed, it would have been able to tell us more about who took those shots. Now the only thing linking Kris and Lisanne to them at all is the back of the head shot from Kris' hair. And that photo becomes more scary every time you look at it. I can't believe thát is the type of photo you would make of your friend, after a week alone in the jungle.. A week without taking any photo. This whole nightly photo series seems vague on purpose. Yes! As Magnus suggested, we would all benefit greatly from the specialist help of a biologist or a botanist in order to identify the lit up 'droplets' in the sky and the vegetation on scene. But also a take on these photos by a psychoanalyst would be extremely interesting. True also; why does not one of those 90-something photos show their backpack? Their personal belongings? Their shoes or legs? Anything really that makes us able to positively identify them being there in person? Aside from the eerie back of the head shot, which reminds me more of a military execution scene than of the kind of picture you would normally take from your friend. And indeed, maybe they were hallucinating at this point, or in an erratic hysteria from the anxiety and hunger and despair. But we cannot let go of all logic in this; if that were the case, how come all these photos are sharp? Focused clearly on the same scene, the same tree. Not one photo shows a vague diagonal shot of the ground for instance, which you'd expect if you'd sling the camera around in terror and just shot pictures randomly. No, they are all taken with a steady hand and aimed at a specific composition. Thanks for your very good analysis."
David replied: "Yes! This is the sort of thing I was struck by with them, although I do bear in mind the psychological effects that might be motivating Lisanne or Kris at this point these are still deliberately framed shots. Some do have the rain hitting the lens and leading to strobing lighting from the Flash of the camera, but in general there IS a sense of some purpose to them. The angle does strongly support the idea that the photographer is either laid down or seated throughout, but beyond that it is difficult to read much else from them other than the fact that the shot of Kris' head is the odd one out of the set. With photoshopping possibilities and the lack of anything in the set that definitively identifies either Kris or Lisanne as being present it is right to be questioning these pictures. For one thing what does gradually become apparent when you look at the set in Juan's album, is that several of those photographs are in fact direct duplicates, you can play this game if you study the set closely - as the rain droplets are a dead giveaway. Duplicated photographs, were these duplicates a left-over from the other hands who have handled the pictures over the weeks/years since the event, or were they present when the Camera was handed to the Police originally? We will never know. But with one photograph deleted upon arrival and these several others showing duplication and possible manipulation it is understandable to me why many are suspicious of their origins and even reject them. [..] Over the year I have dipped in and out of this story so much has changed in how it is being perceived and reported that it has become very clear that the biggest hurdle any investigator faces with it is in being able to separate the assumptions now being taken as fact, and just what it was (and is) that the actual evidence is showing."
Juan found this early police statement
Dates from April 22nd, 2014. (Source). They added detailed information about April 1st and they use one of the earliest witness statements for it. A witness from local hostel owner Pedro, which was later cast aside or deemed incorrect. But what if he was telling the truth?
"Day of the disappearance On Tuesday, April 1, Lisanne and Kris visit the school which organized their volunteer work fairly early in the morning, to look up information on the internet about a walking route to the Pianista Trail. The girls leave the school at around 11:00 a.m. and around 13:00 p.m. they are seen in the neighborhood of the local school where they can work as volunteers a week later. Lisanne and Kris are walking in the direction of the center of Boquete at that time, and the last person with whom the girls have any contact, as far as the police have been able to find out, is a hostel owner in Boquete. The girls ask him the way to the Pianista Trail around 13.30 PM that afternoon. Sometime between 14.30 and 15:00 p.m. they are back at the same guest house owner. They are tired and tell him they want to go back. The man then advises them that it is better to take a taxi than a bus. He then sees the two girls standing by the road for a while, but cannot tell whether they have walked further into the mountains or back towards the village." The police then ask anyone who has spoken to Kris and Lisanne or who has seen them, specifically between 15:00 and 16:00 on April 1st while walking on the Pianista Trail or elsewhere, to come forward. Ok ... so according to the police they went to that Spanish school before 11am and so ... Not 13:00 PM as Marjolein and Eileen said. Although they were apparently seen in the neighborhood of the children's school Aura around 13:00; the school where they were sent away the day prior. This police information is simply old news it seems. But perhaps they also reported the truth. If Pedro's story is true, then that would confirm that Kris and Lisanne did indeed only walk the Pianista Trail for a short time; no more than 1.5 hours. That would then underline Juan's hypothesis that they have never been behind that Pianista. Juan believes that the photos of the girls on the summit have been photoshopped. I think those photos are real and that they were on that mountain, but that some photos may perhaps have been altered to some degree (perhaps to cut someone else out of the photo). In regards to the struggling with the timelines, as described above, it is an interesting notion that perhaps, just perhaps, Kris and Lisanne never truly walked for 3,5 or 4 hours on that Pianista Trail. Perhaps those photos could be faked, to cover up that Kris and Lisanne went instead missing in the Caldera area? I find this a real stretch to be honest, even though one has to keep an open mind for all sorts of theories and explanations, at this stage. I don't believe it is true. But there is no denying that there is such a puzzle now of conflicting witness statements, conflicting times regarding when
Kris still had phone contact with her boyfriend (14:00pm), contrasting with when the camera times tell us they were up on that mountain, conflicting with what seems to be a late afternoon swim in the Caldera area. Things just don't add up.
The families were prepared for this very important first tv interview. I get the impression that Roelie knows exactly what she is talking about when she corrects Hans on the time. Think we can rely on them having done their homework beforehand and being certain when that last contact time was. Pretty important detail after all, and it would be easy to retrace such info with the phone of Kris' boyfriend at hand, which I am sure they did in those frantic first hours and days after finding out that their daughters were missing in Panama. But mobile phone contact at 14:00 PM makes no sense with our timeline, because the girls were already behind the summit by then (going by the times on the photos), where there is no cell phone reception.... This case is maddening in the sense that we are overloaded with details, of which a portion simply cannot be correct. We're drowned in details, up til the point where you doubt each and everyone of them. (Which in itself can be a tactic, but that aside..). I have always been inclined myself to believe the old timeline: to believe the statements from taxi driver Leonardo and school staff and Pedro; to believe that they did indeed go up that Pianista Trail just before 14:00 pm. But then the swimming photo came along... Making it necessary for the New (and by now official) timeline to be correct. Or perhaps the girls went up the mountain and were then driven back down? Allowing them to be back at the trail-head around 15:30? My head is still spinning from this disappearance case..
SUMMERTIME - WINTERTIME
Chuckles sent me a good suggestion by mail. Chuckles wondered if the parents of Kris could perhaps have been confused about the exact time when Kris had contact with her boyfriend on April 1st, because on March 30th the Netherlands had adjusted their clocks. Before there was 6 hours time difference with Panama, but from March 30th onward the Netherlands were 7 hours ahead of Panama. "If the boyfriend forgot that the clocks had changed two days earlier, he might still have been in the habit of subtracting 6 hours in his head, which would mean that Kris actually contacted him at 1pm Panama time. I'm sure this has already been addressed, but I haven't come across a discussion of it yet, so I figured I'd ask you."Chuckles also connected this to the timestamp on the digital camera. "If the camera was set to Netherlands time (which seems to have been the assumption made by the investigators), and if the camera automatically adjusted for DST, then the pictures would have been 7 hours behind the camera time - not 6. One hour's difference wouldn't resolve the many inconsistencies in the timeline, but it might shed some light on certain aspects. Has it been verified that that specific model of Canon camera does not automatically adjust for DST? It's a 2013 model, so it wouldn't surprise me if it lacked that feature."
Great comment. Yeh I did keep the summertime change-around that time in mind, but I never put 1 and 1 together and applied it to that comment about contact at 2 PM. That interview was a few days after the girls went missing, so in Dutch summertime also. Before Sunday March 30th there was indeed a 6 hours time difference, with the Netherlands being 6 hours ahead of Panama. And from March 30th onward there was a 7 hours difference. Meaning, I think, that if the Kremers miscalculated things, Kris and Stephan could have had contact at 13:00 Panamanian time in fact. That would be possible as they were on the summit then and there was cell phone connection there. [Update: Although new police file information from Matt recently revealed that despite there being cell reception on the Mirador, the Samsung phone from Lisanne did not make a connection with the GSM network for almost the entire duration of their stay on the summit. It only reconnected briefly by 13:14 pm, so nearly a quarter of an hour after they reached the summit]. It would be a logical time also to contact your boyfriend, while happy on the summit after an intense climb. But with phones and clocks over here there usually is an all automated transition to summertime. And I would assume that certainly by April 1st they would have adjusted their clock and time settings, as by then they had been living for over two days already in a world where it is an hour later*. Also, I do think that the parents had enough time to prepare for this interview, one of the very first, and be very sure about which time Stephan had contact with Kris. But you just never know... As for the digital camera settings, I just don't know how that works for such a camera. Will ask Juan about it, who has the same canon camera as Kris and Lisanne used in 2014. - *I later realized that this was not entirely the case. Neither the Canon digital camera nor iPhone from Kris were set to the correct local time. But Lisanne's Samsung phone did have its date and time adjusted correctly to local Panamanian time. The digital Canon camera was set to 2013 instead of 2014 however, and also displayed a six hour time difference with local time in Panama, even though there was a seven hours time difference between the Netherlands and Panama at that time, not six. So this is probably the result of A. not adjusting the time settings properly manually when arriving in Panama and B. the additional hour time difference after March 30th when the Dutch distanced themselves another hour from Panama with their summertime changes.
How come Kris and Lisanne managed to have weak cell coverage on April 2nd?
Here is a low resolution coverage map for Digicell, which has the widest coverage of all the Panamanian cell phone providers that could be found back in 2014. You can see the important part, which is where the long mountain range in the middle, blocks the phone signal. Near Boquete there's a big mountain range, so the signal will cut off sharply as soon as you cross over the ridge (within 1.5km, according to the map) and beyond that there will be no signal at all. Not just an irregular signal, but no signal. The weak signal region is the purple region on the north side of the ridge. Only within that small region will there be irregular reception. Beyond that, there will be none at all, because the signal isn't fading with distance or blocked by irregular objects, it's being entirely blocked by the mountain. There may be a small variation of a few 100 meters, but that changes little. These maps show that the only place they could have gotten a phone signal, is near or at the top of the mountain ridge (or the south side of that mountain range). Translating for us in the Mirador summit, and on the ascent to it, on the Boquete side of the mountain, just like the local guides also said in the media. The first few phone calls that were made by Kris and Lisanne could not get a signal. This matches with the other facts we know - between their last known position (which was in the weak signal region) and the 1st distress call, they could've walked about 2-3km. Assuming they continued walking the direction they were going, this would put them about 1.5km outside of the purple region, and they would have zero signal. Not even enough for a GSM handshake. And that's exactly what we find. When they tried to make their 1st distress call - no signal. 12 minutes later they made the 2nd call, and again there was no signal. This suggests that at that 2-3km distance there wasn't just a weak signal but (effectively) no signal at all, and that agrees with the coverage map.
But on April 2nd, Lisanne's Samsung phone manages, according to some sources, to make connection with 112 for 1 to 2 seconds. [Although this is not stated in the official police files, so it may be simply an error from the journalists involved; they did have the other phone log data correct however]. Then the connection is broken off again and the phone is powered off soon after. And Kris' iPhone is then also not powered on right away, to try to make a new connection. So, if true and going by the theory here that Kris and Lisanne were out alone in the tropical highland forest, lost, then in order to get a weak signal, this must mean based on this map that between April 1st and the early afternoon of April 2nd, they must have travelled to a higher elevation, closer to the top of the mountain ridge, either toward the south or east (most likely south), as that's the only way they could have gotten a signal, going by this map.. Because north of the Mirador, all the way to Bocas del Toro, there is only white region of no cell phone reception. But this creates a puzzle: if after backtracking back up the mountain and starting to get a weak signal, how and why did they eventually end up back down the mountain on the same (wrong) side? It's not a matter of getting lost again, because they were already going the right way, and getting the phone signal must have confirmed that to them too. Of course, this isn't 100% proof. But it suggests a scenario which I think should be considered. If they did come back eventually within the purple region, what happened? Have to add that Panamanian officials have not done much to reliably read out the data from these cell towers. There seems to have been little interest in all this. Overall, none of the official investigators could locate the phones pinging in a specific place on any day of their disappearance. And the Dutch may not have pressed hard for this sort of local data either.
Update: Gaetan wrote me and stated that if a cell phone connects to the network for 2 seconds, theoretically, then the operator automatically knows many things. Because when a mobile phone connects to a network, many data are checked:. First, once the pin code is entered, the phone connects to the nearest cell tower. Your phone number is verified by the servers to know which operator you can get access to, then your subscription plan (or prepaid plan) is checked and once deemed valid, you can access the network. All this takes a few seconds. Then you see the network operator’s name on your cell phone. Considering that on April 2nd, Lisanne's Samsung phone was claimedto have had a few seconds of connection, this would mean that the phone was actually connected to a specific cell tower. Meaning that Panamese cell operators should be able to know which cell tower was used when this specific 112 dial was made. Of course, a cell tower doesn’t give you a precise localization like GPS. The accuracy depends on whether or not you are in an urban area (more towers, more accuracy) or in the countryside (less towers, larger radius). In the case of Kris & Lisanne, it would have helped to know if the calls were made from a city or a forest. It would also be good for us to know if a tower near the Pianista Trail pinged, or one near... let's say the Caldera swimming area. However, Panama supposedly found no info on this. Even though cellular tower companies should keep records or logs of established connections. As far as the public and the media are aware, Betzaida Pitti and her team failed to get this information. The Dutch investigators as a result had nothing to work with. - Gaetan also confirmed that if somebody needed to access the iPhone, a code and pin code were required. At that time, to charge or to connect the iPhone to a computer, you needed its non-standard 30-pin connector to usb-a cable Kris certainly left in her room. Another thing which Gaetan told me, is that in 2014, the iPhone4 (which Kris had) used iOS 7. Even now, people usually leave the tracking location services on by default. It means the iPhone regularly pinpoints your location using either cell or gps. There was even an app showing on a map where you’ve been to. It could be interesting to know where the 112 calls have been made. Hopefully Dutch forensics knew about this hidden tracking device and checked it and did their job.
Article in a Dutch crime-related magazine about the Lost in the Wild episode from Kinga Philipps and J.J. Kelley
Today a Dutch magazine published a long article about the American Travel Channel episode on the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. You can view the whole tv episode here. Journalist Carlo has received extensive information from our own Juan, who has updated him on all aspects of the case. Just like (and this is no misplaced vanity) Juan and I provided the Travel Channel team with detailed information on this case, some of which you also directly hear back in this interview with Kinga. So most of the information about the main story and the inconsistencies of this disappearance - as given by Kinga and JJ below - will be no news for you, if you already read my main post. But there are very interesting parts in the article, where the presenters reveal some things that happened OFF CAMERA during their time in Panama, or impressions which they could not air on TV. This article is based on conversations Carlo had with the Lost in the Wild hosts. It was published in Dutch, but here I give you the translated version (Thank you Juan, Carlo, Kinga and JJ! I also anonymized the names, Scarlet)
American Travel Channel explored the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne
January 13th, 2020. [Quote] "People are still preoccupied with the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. Also internationally. In every country there are several forums on which this case is still extensively discussed, and on YouTube there are numerous videos about the Dutch girls, who disappeared in 2014 after a walk on the Pianista trail in the Panamanian jungle and of whom only some bones and a backpack full of stuff was ever found. J.J. Kelley and Kinga Philipps are the makers of the American TV program Lost in the Wild, a series of broadcasts on the Travel Channel network about people who never came back alive from the jungle. The pair digs into these missing cases with a firm toughness which brings our own Dutch Peter R. De Vries to mind. And they dedicated the first episode entirely to Kris and Lisanne. Armed with a camera crew and helicopter, Kelley and Philipps left for Panama to investigate. The duo did a reconstruction of the girls' hike and interviewed both the local population and a forensic pathologist who had investigated the bones of Kris and Lisanne at the time. Mannen Magazine spoke with Kinga Philipps. "This is really a very mysterious case." Lisanne (22) and Kris (21) disappeared in April 2014 when they took a walk on the famous Pianista trail. When they reached the summit, they probably walked a bit further, with the intention to go back again via the same path. As a result, the two were supposed to have ended up lost in the jungle and eventually fell to their deaths from the so-called "Monkey Bridge", a bridge that only consists of two wobbling ropes above fast-flowing water full of rocks. After intensive searches, only a few remains of both women were found, including their backpacks which contained their phones and photo camera, with which ninety mysterious night photos were taken eight days after their disappearance. J.J. Kelley and Kinga Philipps made a reconstruction and spoke to various parties involved."
"It is impossible to get lost unseen there"
"This is a case where nothing seems to be right," Philipps tells Mannen Magazine. “Whatever theory you adhere to, it remains a strange story. Strayed? Okay, but why so few calling attempts then? And never during the night. Wouldn't any healthy, young girl do anything to avoid having to spend the first night in the jungle? Yet, they only made an emergency call at five o'clock [in the afternoon] and then again the next morning. No mobile connection in all cases. And never, in all those days, have they tried to send a message, which would have been sent even if their phones would only have made a second of connection with a cell tower. By contrast, do you believe in a crime? Then it is also very difficult to make everything right. Then the perpetrator took the night photos, but why is Kris's hair still clearly visible in one of the photos? It is all wrong and that is why it is such a big mystery, which keeps people all over the world preoccupied."
Honest opinion - J.J. Kelley and Kinga Philipps naturally have their own theories by now. But they could not air them freely in their broadcast. "You can't just accuse someone," Philipps knows. Quote: “You have to be very careful with that on television. Then you really have to have solid evidence. But if you ask my honest opinion, then we have reason to suspect that the guide F. knows more than he shows. He was the one who, on the first day of their disappearance, entered the host families' room of Kris and Lisanne on his own, to investigate the situation there. At leisure; he took his time. He claims that the girls booked him for an excursion, but did not show up for their appointment that day. So he went to their host family, asked for the key and went inside their room. To thén afterwards notify the police. A strange story, because what sort of guide does such a thing? Young people often do not show up for a booked excursion, especially if they have partied the night before. Wouldn't it be something if all those guides would then start to search through holiday homes and hotel rooms? This guide is also the one who found the bone remains of Kris and Lisanne and to whom the found backpack was handed over before it was given to the authorities. And he has a farm on the Pianista Trail. The man was literally involved in everything. When Kris's parents came to Panama, looking for answers for their daughter, it was this guide again who led the Dutch to the top of the mountain.” Already in the fourth minute of the Lost in the Wild episode about Kris and Lisanne, when Kelley and Philipps embark on their Pianista walk, we see guide F. pass by, looking timidly into the camera. Why has this man not been interrogated? "We asked if he wanted to respond on camera, but he refused," says Philipps. “He walked up the path in front of us, so we assumed that we would pass him again later. After all, he himself told the parents of Kris that there is only one path that leads to the top of the mountain. But we have spent the entire day and night on this trail and have never encountered him again. That means that he has taken a different path.” (Scarlet; but keep in mind that nobody was found guilty of anything in this story, neither the guide; people are innocent until proven otherwise).
Relative - There are many rumors in Panama about a relative of the guide, who is said to have been in a youth gang at the time and could also know more about the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. Quote:"That could certainly be the case," thinks Philipps. “When we approached F., I noticed how small and thin he is. It is hard to imagine that he could overpower two girls on his own, but on the other hand he is always carrying a machete. We think, however, that there is a greater chance that X. knew the girls and that the guide tries to keep his relative out of the wind. However, we deliberately chose not to appoint the suspicious guide in our broadcast, because it is dangerous to appoint a guilty person without having solid evidence for that. Yet I firmly believe that he knows more than he shows. Let's keep it at that." Now that Kinga Philipps has walked the Pianista path herself, she can no longer imagine that Kris and Lisanne would have lost their way and could thén have spent another eight days in the jungle, without encountering anyone. “The story is that they have reached the top of the Pianista trail, but instead of turning around and walking back, they walked a bit further. But for what purpose? With what goal? It was late, it would be dark soon, then you do not keep walking on like that. They also took a lot of photos of their walk, but not of the part where they would have lost their way. When we walked there ourselves, I kept taking pictures all the time. It is really spectacular there [beyond the Mirador summit], what a beautiful area. Yet there is not a single snapshot of this place on their camera (*See this specific place pictured by Kinga and JJ below). I simply don't believe it. I don't think they have been that far up on that side of the Pianista."
"And suppose they díd walk there and got injured, or even died, even then it is impossible to imagine that they were not found in all those days. We constantly ran into other people. People even live there. They keep an eye on everything. It is impossible to get lost unseen and never be found again."
Bras - Another strange thing. How was it possible that their backpack was found completely dry and in a beautiful state, with their belongings and bras neatly folded in it, while it supposedly had been lying in the jungle for months and was carried away by the water. "If they indeed fell from a bridge, as the Panamanian government claims, the bag would not have been in this state," Philipps knows this for sure. Quote: “With all their things neatly stored away. Also their bras. Why on earth would they take it off? That backpack was put there one hundred percent intentionally. It also only surfaced after the girls' family offered a reward of 30,000 euros. Suddenly, there were a backpack and bone remains. The villagers who found the backpack, by the way, never got paid and are still angry about it.” J.J. Kelley and Kinga Philipps would like to make a sequel of their broadcast about Kris and Lisanne. “This is really a mysterious case and has kept minds busy for years. We have already dealt with many strange cases, especially many missing cases, but we have not experienced anything like this before. A disappearance where there is a lot of evidence - a backpack with belongings, bones, photos and telephone data - but nothing seems to be right. It was very refreshing to walk in the footsteps of the girls and do that Pianista trail, but it has also made things even more confusing for us. Because as I said, why would Kris and Lisanne have walked on so far? I can imagine that they wanted to walk on for a little bit, but to really walk deep into the jungle while it is already getting dark, no, I don't believe that. And if they were forced to spend the night in the wilderness because they got lost, they would have stayed close to the path. There are also no dangerous abysses where you can easily fall in. The worst thing that can happen is injuring your ankle or something. So suppose one of them was injured, could not walk any further, and the other decided to stay with her, they would still have met someone. There are enough people walking there every single day. Although one of those people may also have been an opportunistic murderer, of course ... But then how do we explain all those emergency calls that were made for days in a row in the morning and afternoon? Never at night and never once to family or their host family. And never a text message. Or would a possible attacker have let them keep the phones, knowing that there was no reach [cell tower coverage] anyway? I can't imagine that either. Or have those emergency calls been staged and were they never even made by Kris and Lisanne themselves? But then those ninety night photos, which were taken with the camera after eight days, cannot be explained again. One of those photos really shows Kris' hair. The rest is black or there are only some rocks and vegetation on it. It is suspected that the girls wanted to signal with their camera for help. But where the hell did they fall, where the rescue teams could not find any trace of them in all those days?"
Psychologists - "Kinga Philipps has especially a hard time letting go of the "neat" backpack. "I keep finding it strange," she explains. “If those girls were indeed injured and died in the jungle, then they didn't make farewell messages for their loved ones in their last hours and moments, but then they díd take the time to tidy up their things?
We have talked a lot with psychologists for our programs. They tell us that people who know that they are dying always think of their relatives and leave something behind. No way that Kris and Lisanne would not have done that. They were very close with their parents.
"And to think that the bones and backpack are found miles apart ... this case stinks. Also the taxi driver who brought Kris and Lisanne to the start of the Pianista, and therefore would have seen them last, was found dead in a recreational lake, a year after their disappearance.” For Lost in the Wild, Kelley and Philipps have access to a true helicopter, which they used to fly to the village of Alta Romero, a mountain village on the other side of the Pianista trail. A woman from Alta Romero is said to have found the backpack at the time. Kelley and Philipps tracked her down and put her in front of the Travel Channel camera, after the village first held a mysterious "meeting" in which it seemed to be agreed what story to tell."After walking around this village, I now think these people know more than they say," says Philipps. “The Pianista area is their back garden. They know everything that is happening in the jungle. If the rumors are correct that drugs are smuggled along the trail, then this village is in the middle of the route. They need to be aware of that and they might get paid to keep their mouths shut.”
Forensic pathologist - In the broadcast, a forensic pathologist from Panama, who was involved in the investigation at the time, speaks. He not only claims that the bones did not show any signs of a hard fall at all, disproving the official story where the girls supposedly fell from a Monkey Bridge. But he also says he has reasons to suspect that Kris and Lisanne have fallen victim to organ trafficking. Exactly as the AD reported in 2014, but then had to rectify this story due to lack of evidence. Philipps:
“What this pathologist showed us off-camera was very convincing. He was really afraid for his safety, which meant we were not allowed to broadcast everything. Believe me: something much bigger is going on here than is suspected in the Netherlands and I certainly do not exclude the involvement of high-level people."
"The editors of Lost in the Wild conducted research into medical tourism in Panama. "A booming industry," said Philipps. “The first successful heart transplant took place there in 2016 and Panama has now become a popular destination for this type of tourism. Surgeons earn more than 300 grand a month there. A lot of money goes round in medical tourism. It would not be a bad extra income for a drug cartel to trade organs here and there. That is also what the forensic pathologist suspects. And if he is right, then people from higher up must know. There is no other way. Which explains why they have the means to stage such a successful cover-up. And why the government also claims that the girls have fallen from a bridge. However, after our own investigation, we are certain: Kris and Lisanne never reached that Monkey Bridge. They already turned around before that point, to walk back to Boquete. I maintain that they have been abducted. But by whom? We can only guess about this, for the time being. We continue to hope that someone there wants to talk and that more information will come out in the near future. Then we will definitely go back to Panama to make a follow-up episode." - The chance that this case will ever be reopened is small, by the way. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) in the Netherlands has recently announced that their investigation at that time only concerned a partial investigation into the camera. The total investigation was done by the Panamanian Prosecution. A possible reopening of the case can only be arranged by Panama ..."
And what did Enrique Arrocha, lawyer from the Kremers family back in 2014, say about the investigation and the finding of the bones by residents of Alto Romero?
[Wednesday 13 AUGUST] Enrique Arrocha files a complaintagainst 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) negative, and that false evidence was possibly being created and planted: "They are planting bones and evidence, something that is a crime and that worries us," Arrocha said. The bones found there turned out to belong to a mammal, a woman and a 3-year old child.
The useless Dutch
And what is worse: Juan just heard from the press-/spokes person for the Dutch Prosecution, that in this entire Kris and Lisanne Disappearance Case, the Dutch prosecution have by their own admission now only looked into the photo card from the camera and the mobile phones. And not by their own demand, no, but because they were asked to do so by Panama. They literally wrote that "Our investigation was only a partial one, a sub-study. The totality of the investigation was performed by the Panamanian prosecution. Led by Mrs. Pitti. Therefore they are the ones who can look at the new evidence material and decide whether or not to reopen the case." Yeh, small chance of that ever happening.. Shocking that the Dutch never did a second opinion check up of all the parts of the investigation. I mean, if Panama were the only ones to do the rest of the research - including the DNA testing of the bones - then who will be certain now that they did a good job? Here's to hoping that the Travel Channel or anybody else for that matter, will come with a sequel and will not let go of this case! Please ask the Dutch prosecution why they refuse to let new specialists weigh in on the photo card evidence? And why they refuse to use updated modernized techniques to try to reopen the case. Wished we could hire the FBI to take over.
Regarding the messing up of this investigation:
*FINGERPRINTS weren't properly investigated and checked. As many as 34 different fingerprints were reported to have been found; 13 on the backpack, 12 on the phones and the camera, as well as 6 different ones on the bras. They have never been further investigated, although in the media it has been published that one of the found fingerprints matched a Panamanian Database. However, no updates were ever given on this;
*No fingerprints were taken from the volunteers and those who found the girls belongings and bones;
*DNA from many different people was detected on the bag and its content, but they have not led to any suspects;
*SOIL: Soil remnants found on the backpack have not been thoroughly compared with soil samples of the spot where the backpack was located, to be certain if it had been planted there or not;
*WATER BOTTLE; the water bottle wasn't checked either, nobody knows if the last water remnants in it came from supermarket water, tap water or river water for instance. And if there had last been river water in that bottle, did it come from river water from behind the Pianista? River water from ANOTHER location? Priceless info, potentially. Waaaaahhhh!
*The jungle cabins including the one from the guide weren't checked by sniffer dogs or for evidence of blood or DNA.
*They may have interviewed some local people, but this also led to nothing. According to locals, the police did not go proactively after witness statements or potential suspects from the area.
*Camera footage showing the girls that day in Boquete was either never released or they were too late to prevent it from being overwritten.
*Sinaproc staff were well intending, but unwillingly messed up not just a possible crime scene in the jungle, but also the crime scene of the girls' bedroom for instance, by not entering it with criminal specialists or even the police.
It's great to walk around with a large force, but if you don't look at the right places, it leads to nothing. Spreading reasonable doubt about foul play and stating that "no indications pointing to it" were found, was enough in this case to steer the dominant and prevailing opinion towards an accident. Despite many little facts and details making no sense. Besides, local guides already went out for their own research before the large Sinaproc team arrived, in the first days after their disappearance. Uncoordinated and unchecked (from a police point of view).
Travel Travel author Susie Greene wrote in September 2019 that a new investigation report in 2017 ruled this disappearance case a homicide after all
"Between 2009 and 2017, over 24 other tourists have gone missing in this area or turned up dead. The case was revisited in 2017 in which there was enough evidence to suggest that these disappearances may have been linked to a serial killer. Leaked law enforcement reports suggested someone dismembered the young women and scattered their remains deliberately, which might have happened to others as well. After an eighteen-month investigation, the report said that the evidence pointed to homicide." I also feel that the fact that only a few bones from Lisanne's left leg were found in the end, together with rolled up skin from her shinbone, points towards dismemberment. This is also what locals have been whispering. - The Daily Beast also wrote about this by the way, back in 2017. Strangely enough practically all Jeremy Kryts articles on this disappearance case from Kris and Lisanne were free to read back in March and April 2019, when I wrote these blog posts. Not anymore now, they're all turned into 'members-only' now, meaning you now need to pay for them in order to read the info. Great... Have some info from this article nevertheless: Since The Daily Beasts original investigation, brand-new manifestation and eyewitnesses have come to light. Others have also turned up dead or went missing in the same region of Panama. Now new law-enforcement reports are revealed, as well as previously unknown maps and photos, and additional forensic information, including an expert testimony that cartel-style dismemberment tactics seem to have been used to dispose of the victims. "Finally, we can now place the case of the Holandesas, the Dutch girlfriends, within the context of more than two dozen other unsolved murders and disappearances in this same, principally rural region of Panama over the last eight years, with more than two-thirds happening since 2014, when Kris and Lisanne went missing." Victims include tourists from at the least three European countries, as well as local women and children, and most recently American citizen Catherine Johannet, 23, who was murdered in February of 2017. "And those are just the cases we can confirm. Other sources indicate the true body count might be far greater."
Update December 15th 2019; an interesting forum post from Romain who hiked the Pianista Trail in August of 2019
On a French forum, Romain wrote extensively about his trip to Boquete Panama, where he retraced the footsteps of Kris and Lisanne by walking the Pianista Trail. He gave very vivid descriptions of his hike up and down the Pianista Trail. Some things that stand out for me are firstly that according to him it is very easy to pick a wrong turn when ascending the Pianista (so before you reach the summit). And the fact that Kris and Lisanne seemed to have reached this summit in a good time, going by their digital camera/photo times, may perhaps indicate that they walked the route in one straight, error-less line, with some sort of help from locals. The author himself stresses the same thing. Quote: "If the girls could reach the summit within two hours, this was because somebody gave them instructions; either at the beginning of their climb or during the hike. They certainly were not alone during their hike. Note this: I am only saying that they must have met someone on the trail, at the very least. The question is now if they were accompanied by a third person who (..) pushed them to walk further, after the Mirador." - Secondly it strikes me after reading these posts, that this person ran into several local people during his hike, even though the weather was bad at the time. If you run into this many people when it is raining, imagine how many locals you could statistically run into on a day like April 1st, when it was sunny, pleasant weather and under dry (perfect) mud-less conditions for the trail?
This is the forum post:
(Translated from French): "On the day of the El Pianista hike, I was unlucky. It was raining a lot, from the start to the end of my walk. That's why I had to limit the use of my camera for fear of ruining it. As a result, I didn't take many photos and videos and I apologize for that. Before telling you all about my journey, I would like to tell you that I ventured alone beyond the Mirador viewpoint (the summit) for an hour. My goal was to reach the place of photo 508 (last normal photo after the summit) and I stopped where I thought it was taken. However, because I did not bring a print or copy of this photo along, I was unable to make the comparison. I realize that the place where I stopped is not the exact place I wanted. Either I passed it and I did not realize it because of the rain and the weather that changed the trail (5 year time span is huge, especially when we watch the video of the parents who walked the trail several months later and already we can see that the rocks on the right hand side have already disappeared). Either the small river was further away but I doubt it because in the parents' video, they make no mention of the place where I passed when it would have deserved it because it is a fairly large and striking passage on the path. Either the river has disappeared here over time, or the rain that has fallen has formed several small rivers. I walked for exactly one hour after leaving the Mirador. I only spent 5 minutes on the Mirador lookout itself, while the girls probably spent more time there, before finally reaching the water stream 1 hour after summiting. The girls arrived at 1 p.m. at the Mirador, and took photo 508 at 2 p.m. If they stayed on the top for.. let's say a reasonable 15 minutes, then it took them 45 minutes to get to this first small stream. So either it is this place I reached, which has then been largely modified by the weather and the rain, or I had already passed it because the rain changed the river in the meantime."
Pictures made on location:
"Something else I want to say first, is that this hike made me emotionally upset. I had not expected this, but to step into someone else's shoes so to say, is something very emotional. Before I departed, I saw the whole enterprise as a way to relive an event that touched and fascinated me. Not as something negative, but rather as something positive, in the sense that I could personally set foot on the terrain where something important took place. As if I lived and observed an event which had touched me. But when I had to turn around and walk back to the summit, I found it hard to leave. Once I put my feet towards the descent to Boquete, I couldn't take my eyes off the place where they posed so happy 5 years ago. I finally had to stay there a little longer so that I didn't feel like I was leaving too early. I felt like I was abandoning them. I saw them standing where they had been 5 years ago, and I remembered all their smiles on the photos, while they had walked this same trail I was now on. Eventually I could return to the town and conclude this day, while they never had this chance ..."
For his hike up and down the Pianista Trail, V provided a lot of technical details and very clear descriptions
I have translated it again from French and condensed small bits. August 15th, 2019. Quote:
"For this second attempt, I decide to leave a little earlier. I leave the house around 8:15 AM and take a taxi around 8:30 AM, heading to El Pianista. Around 8:40 AM I arrive at the trail entrance and give the driver $4. I take this opportunity to take pictures of the entrance and the restaurant dog, an orange husky. (The husky named Blue (Azul) seems to have died in the meantime that the husky that I see in front of me is certainly their new dog). I continue my way and decide to only make video recordings of parts of the trek. I film my crossing of the river, as well as the residential area I pass. I cross a small bridge made from scrap metal and continue the path towards the jungle. The sky is overcast but it's not raining yet. Unfortunately it doesn't take long before the rain does start to fall. I then put my camera in my bag to protect it. This weather bothers me a lot because it will cause me a serious problem with the use of my camera. I enter the jungle and quickly meet a group of cows. Frightened, they get a little bit out of the way. I manage eventually to pass them. I finally reach the junction where I took a wrong turn the previous week (during the first Pianista trek), and now choose the right direction, helped by some tags on the stone. I can see several huts now on the other side of the river. I notice that the people who live here can observe the comings and goings of hikers on this trail very clearly. I look behind me and realise that if someone would be following me, I would notice it. After a while I encounter a new fork in the road. One path overlooks a large river, and the other a staircase that seems to lead to a plantation. I take the trail that leads to the direction of the river, but after a few meters I change my mind. As soon as I turn around, I see a native appearing 5 meters from me, carrying a machete in his right hand. Unlike my previous conviction, I hadn't in fact noticed him at all while I was walking. I point at the river, asking "El Pianista?" He immediately confirms that this is the right path. I continue my way, with the native behind me. I admit that by now I am uneasy, being 'followed' by a machete carrying man in an isolated stretch of land. I notice that I advance a little faster than him, which satisfies me in a way, since I have the feeling to compete with a regular. Then I suddenly find myself facing a large tree which collapsed and obstructs the path. I don't know what to do and wait for the native man to catch up, in order to see where exactly he will pass this tree. When he arrives, he shows me a small passage on the right side, which allows us to bypass the so called "dead end". He continues to stay behind me, but I increase my pace again to create more distance between us. The reason is that I want to reach the summit before him, so that I can offer him a certain sum for guiding me beyond the Mirador. I advance faster and my heart starts racing, to such a degree that I have to sit on the ground eventually. My hands are shaking an I feel the urge to vomit. The native catches up with me and checks if I'm alright. He asks me if this is my first time here and tells me that the altitude difference makes it difficult if you are not used to this. Then he continues.
After a ten minutes break, I resume my way to the top. It took me a total of 2 hours from the entrance of the trail, just like the two Dutch girls. The mist hides the landscape and rain seeps into my jacket. A flowered cross stands on the summit, which the girls' names inscribed on it. A little further hangs the photo of Kris Kremer under a glass plate. I observe the misty and dark entrance to the trail which leads beyond the Mirador; the trail where the girls have disappeared. I tell myself that it represents their history well, and compare this entrance to that of hell because of the mist that circulates, and the ominous shadows caused by the bad weather and by the trees that covers the path. The descend down this trail is very muddy and I arrive quickly in the terrestrial cracks which make me think of tunnels and the kingdom of the dead in the Lord of the Rings. I recognize the place from the photos taken by the girls, and realize that this path is actually very beautiful. I do not come across any animal, but remain careful in case I run into a snake. The only animal I come across is a crab. The path that leads me further down is narrow but easy to follow." "The ascent is very simple, and much simpler than the climb between the entrance and the Mirador since it is actually complicated without a guide, to directly find the right path to the summit." "There is literally only one path to follow. I find it even easier to follow than the part from before the Mirador. It is impossible to get lost here. Moving beyond the Mirador, I walk for one hour, in search of the location of photo 508. After an hour, I decided to start my return, for several reasons. I did not realise how long it would take me to reach the paddock (meadow) if I were to keep walking onward. I imagine it would take me at least another hour. I do not feel there is much need for me to advance that far, since the video of the parents from Krisshowed the place very well already, and my goal was to instead go to the location where the last photo 508 was taken. And to understand that terrain.
But now I return. Nobody knows I am here, and my host family worries about me, and I fear that if I take too long, they will take the initiative to call for help perhaps. The cell phone reception network is also very poor here. A large part of El Pianista is cut off from communications because of the trees blocking signal, and only a few places like the Mirador have access to telephone signal networks. I also want to return because the path is frequented by natives who cross it every day and I do not want anyone to discover my presence in this inadvisable place. And if I do continue to walk on further, it will take me an additional TWO hours back and forth on my overall day. Having been here, I don't think the girls decided to continue walking for very long at this point, or very far after photo 508. I started earlier than they (~ 8:45 AM for me, and 11 AM for girls) and even I told myself that it was getting late and that I had walked long enough. In my opinion, they made the choice to return between photo 508 and the meadow (paddock). Just like during my descent, I don't meet anyone during the entire ascent back to the summit. I find the Mirador and stop there for a while before starting the descent to Boquete. The rain does not stop all day except for a few short periods. At some point I am surprised by a young native man showing up behind me, who runs down the mountain. I do not understand it: did he arrive at this path from beyond the Mirador? Or does he come from a house that lies off the trail perhaps and that I never saw because I turned around too soon? While I walk back to the Il Pianista restaurant, I meet a very nice native who tells me about the rain and explains to me that he has been living in a white cabin near the trail for 5 years now. Subsequently, I meet an American couple who had arrived at the entrance around 12:30 p.m. They tell me they lost direction twice, before finding the right path to the summit, but were ultimately unable to reach the Mirador because they did not understand that they could bypass the collapsed tree that I had crossed with the native.
"I like to stress once more that the only difficulty with El Pianista is not finding the way back, but simply to find the right way that leads up to the summit. Once found, everything flows naturally and there is absolutely no difficulty and no questions to ask. If the girls were able to reach the summit within 2 hours, it was because someone gave them instructions, either at the start of their hike or during the hike. They were certainly not alone during their climb. Look, all I'm saying here is that they must have at the very least met someone while hiking the Pianista trail. The question is of course whether or not they were accompanied by someone who gave them bad instructions on purpose perhaps, or who pushed them to move beyond the Mirador, further down. Hard to answer that question."
Oh, and about the Dutch-run Spanish language school in Boquete he said this:"This school is shady. Not that they are psychopaths, but the way in which they manage this establishment is doubtful."
You can read more updates and new trial photos and videos here,
in my blog part 4 with the Latest Updates in this case.
How to go about in a Cold Case (and why I think this case will never be solved)
I read an interesting article from a Dutch Cold Case detective called Harrie Timmerman. He blogged about some unsolved murder cases in the Netherlands, and also about the system he and his colleague Johan Stienstra developed to handle Cold Cases. His method is based on investigating Different Scenario's. When Timmerman and Stienstra are allowed to look into an old and unsolved case, the two men first carefully read the entire existing case file again. They also use the help of a national TV program called 'Opsporing Verzocht', which asks help from the viewers in crime cases. They pose some specific questions in this program, usually about details that spring out in the case in question, and appeal for witnesses to come forward. Anonymously if needed. The two investigators also revisit old witnesses. After they concoct new possible Scenarios, the men work very systematically. They do not want to focus just on one suspect.
First they make a clear profile of the suspect (called 'daderprofiel' here: offender profile)
You create a suspect profile based on the facts as you found them on the crime scene. For instance: was the perpetrator most likely an acquaintance of the victim or not? What could have motivated him/her? Did the perpetrator have a sexual, financial or other motive? What did witnesses describe? Was the perpetrator most likely from the same area or not? Did the perpetrator show self control or impulsiveness or rage, for instance? Did he/she leave any traces or revisit the scene of the crime?
Then they sift through all the newly made possible scenarios, to determine which of those are 'possible' and they then order them from most likely to least likely (For instance; the scenario where a young woman is murdered by a spurned lover). The third step is then to investigate whether the most likely scenario could have in fact occurred in reality. Based on this last step it is also possible to determine if there is a suspect, yes or no. If so, you investigate if you can prove that this suspect committed the crime, for instance with the help of DNA if possible. If so the suspect can be detained; if not, or if there is no suspect within this scenario, you move on to the next most likely scenario. And you start this process again. But before you skip to the next scenario, you first check if there are more possible suspect candidates within your initial Scenario. Only after all the possible suspect candidates within this scenario have dropped out, you can start with the next most likely scenario (for instance: the young woman in question also had work clients who she fell out with and who felt threatened by her work-related investigative powers). If there are no clients who could have matched with the perpetrators, you move on to the 3rd most likely scenario.
Only in cases where there is no clear indication in what direction you have to search and investigate, is the (time-consuming) Different Scenario principle handy. Timmerman also writes that he can tell from experience as a former cop, that police and Justice Department investigators have made a habit these days of stating that they "are investigating all possibilities and / or that all scenarios are being taken into account". They do so to avoid being accused of suffering from tunnel vision. This gives the impression that these officers also work with the Different Scenario's concept. But Timmerman writes that this is not always the case however. For each case, you first have to analyze the facts and then decide on that basis whether or not you focus on one scenario or whether you have to take several scenarios into account. So not all cases are the same and require his multi facet approach. Only in cases where there is no clear indication in what direction you have to search and investigate, is the (time-consuming) Different Scenario principle handy.
"The police are doing everything they can to prevent it being made public that they have made mistakes"
The reality of Cold Case teams.
With Cold Case Teams here, it is so that research can only be done after new information has shown up. For instance new information from witnesses who report on the case, or new information results from new forensic investigations. The reason for this is that the police are doing everything they can to prevent it being made public that they have made mistakes. That is why old cases can only be solved through new developments and not through new research.
So as you can read, these specialist Cold Case detectives rely on witnesses for a large part. In this Kris and Lisanne's Cold Case (as I'd like to call it), the witness part has been mostly entirely skipped by investigators. There were no official reports about witnesses interviewed by police, but on local forums people did complain that anyone who knew something had to go to police by their own initiative. Police invited people to voluntarily come to the police office to give off statements, but hardly anybody did. The police only spoke Spanish, discouraging English speaking expats in the process, and in the local culture of social control and threats nobody felt particularly motivated to voluntarily 'snitch'. So the police had little to go by in that respect. Although they may have found out a lot more in secret, which didn't lead to anything in that case. The suspect part was - officially at least - also almost entirely skipped. Houses were not searched, possible suspects were not called in for interrogation (with very few exceptions; apparently some of the local youth mentioned elsewhere were shortly detained, only to be released again), nor were their properties checked. DNA and fingerprints were not collected from the volunteers involved in the search parties, so no matches could be made or excluded with the 30+ DNA samples and fingerprints collected from the girls' belongings. And I doubt that Panamanian inspectors under Betzaida Pitti's lead were stimulated to come up with a series of Different Scenarios, to the point of being allowed to thoroughly investigate each and every one of them. The Dutch for their part allowed for this case to be trashed and ruined by investigators, and then swept under the proverbial carpet, in favour of good diplomatic relations and less hassle. They sat on important files for long times and frustrated the parents to no end with their slow and uninspired handling of the case. Even with a Cold Case team looking into the Kris and Lisanne case again right now (as we speak) will with near certainty NOT reopen the case [Update; no reopening of the case].. There is zero incentive. I estimate the chance of it ever being solved less than 1% tbh. The Panamanians may have their own motives to stick to the scenario where the girls just got lost and died through their own incompetence. Even if we had a perpetrator who blatantly posed on a photo with the girls (missing photo 509?), EVEN if we had that photo, the investigators could still in theory deem it 'inconclusive' evidence and not enough to reopen the case. I think this case will remain unsolved and a mystery forever most likely. One which the public can speculate about to the moon and back. Going round and round in the soup of incomplete photos and phone data and incomplete forensic results.. :(
Here the local Panamanian TV channel TVN-2 simply confirms that they had early insight into the memory card of Kris and Lisanne's digital camera
They aired it on June 17, 2014, the date that also mysteriously appeared in the EXIF data of some of the photos on the girls' digital camera. The backpack and the camera was found on June 11th 2014, and ended up at the police desk about a day later. Juan viewed the photo data of these photos coming from the memory card and noticed on many this same date of June 17th 2014 (around 17:00 PM) as well as the field 'Microsoft Photo Viewer 6.30' added - opening up the possibility that some of these photos may not only have been viewed and shared by Panama before the Dutch officials could do the actual investigation into these photos, but that they could theoretically also have been worked on and altered. Either by TVN (who showed them before the family even saw those photos, damnit) or perhaps by Betzaida and her team.. So, it looks like Panamanian journalists were allowed to view photos from the memory card from Kris and Lisanne's camera, despite Panama having made a promise to the Dutch forensics institute (NFI) that they in fact would be the one to get the card and were the ones to investigate these photos. I wonder if TVN paid some good money for this. TVN also explicitly say that they have exclusive insight in these photos at the 0:45 minute point of the video. So what TVN wrote about for their article is that their journalists viewed this memory card and noticed that the girls met two young men from Costa Rica during the two weeks they first spent in Bocas del Toro. The fact they shared these photos in the video (you can see them at 02:10 - 02:15 but I also add screenshots on the right here), dating also June 17th 2014, proves that they were in fact given access by Panamanian authorities to view the photos from the girls' camera. They may have paid for it, but still. It shows once more that these photos were seen and possibly even worked on before they made it to the Dutch forensics institute.
Juans opinion on this:"Yes, officials may have done a lot of things. Just like the data on these photo files indicate. Including the deletion of file 509 for example, potentially Those pictures of Bocas del Toro that are shown in the TV video come directly from the Canon Powershot camera. And this at a moment in time when the parents had not even seen them yet. You know how they after a long time managed to see these photos? They were given to them on some antique CD-ROM.. With a maximum size of 650 MB. What a puppet show. Just like they were so nice and friendly over there to throw images from all the remains found of these two girls live on the national TV." - Imagine you have a child involved in this disappearance and you have to hear from others that bones have been found in Panama and have been paraded in front of the camera, shown on national TV and with pictures sold to the newspapers. While you yourself know of nothing and hear nothing from the authorities. And then you see your daughters broken pelvis for all to see on Panamanian national TV. What a shitshow. Same thing happened with the finding of the backpack; instead of sealing it for investigators, those involved reportedly washed the bag (like, for real I don't even believe this!), jolly spread the entire content out on a table, hung the backpack on the wall, made a video of it and shared it immediately with the media. To earn some money over other people's misery? Trophy hunting at its finest? Same now with the memory card.
Transcript of what is said in the video: TVN: Chiriqui prosecutor Betsaida Pitti left to the capital to visit laboratories specializing in legal medicine, to analyze the procedure that follows now that items were found in the backpack of the Dutch. Computer forensics will try to obtain a clue or photograph that can determine the location of the Dutch. Man 1; They have been able to take pictures of the places where they were travelling before the battery will be used, no. And this will allow us to know effectively what was the route they may have taken or if they left a recorded message or something of their situation in the area in which they found themselves strayed. TVN; TVN News exclusively had access to the photographs of Lisanne Froon's belongings found inside a small blue backpack of turquoise blue colour. Inside the backpack were two sunglasses, two bras ... plus a camera, two cell phones and $89 in cash. Betsaida Pitti; The coincidence where L & K entered and the place where the backpack was found ... TVN; aks a question that is hard to hear. Answer Betsaida Pitti: Look, it's that now I say ... we have to see if it can be probable or not probable then in this we are ... The MP can not rule out anything. TVN: Private investigator Mr. Mosquera says it could be something else. Man 2 (Mosquera); We also have to see the possibility that some elective cell will fall in the area of Chiriquí that is committing this kind of situations with people. There are many disappearances in Chiriqui, where delinquents make mistakes and the authorities must take advantage of the opportunity to make operations based on information they have and that also other knowledge and repertories are handling this crime, we know that these girls are alive.
"They weren't there". On April 15th-16th 2014, only two weeks into the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne, an explorer decided to walk the Pianista Trail himself, looking for the girls
This explorer and writeractually walked the same Pianista Trail, after learning about the disappearance from Kris and Lisanne. And although there are some minor errors in the introduction of his text - he writes for instance "[..] two young women got into a taxi to go and walk the Sendero or track of the Pianista. Fate was about to deal them all a dark and complex trick, ultimately no one whom was in that car on that fateful day was to survive." - which is not true, as there were also two other men already in that taxi, who shared it with Kris and Lisanne (who got in later). So out of the 5 people in that taxi, only 2 wouldn survive it within the next year, or so we assume - and there are also some errors in the details about where they stayed and who first reported them missing, or went into their room. But despite these errors, the part where he goes into details about the hike up onto the Pianista is really interesting I think. Aside from describing the path going up, with all the natural beauty he encounters being detailed, he wrote about the situation at the Mirador summit for instance: "Finally the Mirador was reached, very obvious by all the food wrappers left about by the previous searchers, it had taken exactly two hours to reach this point without stopping all the way from the restaurant. [..] Could they have become turned around thinking that the direction toward Boquete was in fact toward Changuinola to the North? It seemed really unlikely as the Mirador had the section with the view to Boquete cut back on the right hand side, with few trees rising above the path level, yet to the North it remained thickly wooded, even in the thick cloud it seemed unlikely, but of course not impossible."
He also describes the north side of the Mirador summit as steep, matching what Dutch news have reported. He determined that: "the steepest slope to the North, falling away toward the Atlantic, should be searched first and I was about to implement the decision, when an Indigenous bloke appeared on the path coming up from the Atlantic side carrying a sack. I was able to talk with him for a bit and turned the subject to the lost women, he also appeared really puzzled not understanding how you could get into trouble here, and in good weather. Asking about cats we talked for a while, the puma he said does not bother anyone and are a common sight sometimes crossing the tracks whilst they are walking along. On the other hand the jaguar was a more of a problem and that they been known to have taken people, he pointed down to the North, and explained that you would not be likely to encounter one up here as they don’t like the cold, but lower down they were not uncommon." So aside from the jaguar story, he runs into someone up there... Which means it is not far-fetched to assume that it was possible for Kris and Lisanne also to run into someone up there, considering they hiked at an extraordinary nice day also with warm temperatures, sun and dry walking circumstances. This explorer then goes down the Mirador, on the north side (so not the side facing Boquete but the other side facing the jungle, where Kris and Lisanne are assumed to have gone missing). Unlike the parents from Kris in their reconstruction video, this man then goes 'off piste', not taking the main path going down but another more wild route. "So I descended the path a little bit on the northern slope and chose the easiest place to plunge into the thick jungle to make a long traverse along the front of the mountain and down to a small stream .. There was absolutely no sign of anyone having pushed through the bush, no broken branches or telltale skid marks where someone would have slipped, as is normal on steep difficult terrain." In other words: two weeks after Kris and Lisanne's disappearance, there were no traces to be seen of anyone skidding down this off-beaten north side of the mountain. But he then more or less proves that there are other ways to get to the first quebrada/small stream (the stream which Kris crossed in photos 507 and 508): "After a long traverse I descended into the small creek, which is literally part of the headwaters of the Culebra River, then descending downwards following the stream through really thick overgrowth. Nothing, no sign of anything." Perhaps his route coincides with the routes which Jeremy S. sent me and another map with some Russian websleuths have thought out:
This male explorer then decides to climb back to the main trail; the one followed by Kris' parents also. "Finally after descending quite some way it just seemed obvious that no one had come this way, so I started making my way now back up to the descending ridge of the Pianista path." He then walks back to the Mirador (summit of the Pianista Trail) and here he has a weak telephone signal: "I encountered the path and climbed back up to the lookout, sat down and rested a bit, I was able to use the cell phone I had with me Here to check in, but only at the very top of the ridge and the signal was weak." Then he runs into another person again: a local guide shows up on the Mirador and tells him that he finds it very strange that the two girls just vanished into thin air: "At around this time another person showed up, he turned out to be a guide from Boquete whom seemed quite surprised to see me, we talked at length. He had been searching for the two women for some time, we talked of the terrain, he felt as I did that it was unlikely that they could have remained lost for very long and on the whole it was also unlikely that they would have had an accident up here, which would have proved fatal. It was really a puzzle." So the guide was of the opinion that you cannot easily just perish by an accident in that area. The explorer then does another sweep of the mountainside, this time a little higher up, thinking that if an animal had dragged them off then maybe there was some belongings to be found, but again he came up with nothing. Although this time there are signs of others before him, which he takes to be also searching for the girls. By then it is the late afternoon and after already one night spent up that mountain, he has to abandon his search and go back to work. That is how he leaves things for quite a while; in the upcoming months the parents of the missing women come to Panama, official rescue parties and the local Boquete expat community try to find the girls in a coordinated manner. Nothing is found and this male explorer then believes that if they had been lost in the wilderness, it was already too late and it was a case of looking for bodies, so there was no reasons for carrying on.
But then he decides to go out there a second time. He brings a friend this time, Samuel. Again this explorer goes off-piste around the Mirador, exploring the wilderness there at several different altitudes. "It had been raining on and off steadily on the Atlantic slopes now, the weather was no longer stable, but on the day we went up it was actually quite dry." They drive up the first part of the Pianista Hike in a Chevy four wheel drive, until they can go no further at the end of the cattle pasture (the place where Kris and Lisanne took pictures of each other, carrying the backpack, against the backdrop of flat green surroundings and wooden poles). "We spent a fruitless day searching around the lookout in long swathes through incredibly dense foliage and thickets, many times we were crawling on all fours to get along, or clambering on top of dense vines and twisted trunks of trees fifteen feet or more off the ground. At one point I slipped and rolled very literally down a steep incline, the ground being so soft no harm comes of it." [..] "We had a good day and covered a lot of territory, a complete circumnavigation of the mirador had been made at varying altitudes. There were now a lot of signs of others who had searched before us, we tried as much as possible to pick new lines, and every so often we would see tell tales of cut saplings or the bush pushed aside. The results were dismal, at this point we were looking for shoes, clothes or anything which might give us an idea of what had occurred, And so around five in the afternoon we gave it up and slogged back to the truck covered in mud and mulch." They come to the conclusion that there seemed little point in continuing, and are sure that it was most likely that no further evidence would be uncovered of the two Dutch girls.
Mid June 2014, the first finding takes place: the girls' backpack and some remains are found many kilometers up north. "This was found in the Rio Culebra and a little further upriver a shoe was discovered with the remains of a human foot." Still this explorer believes there is no foul play involved and that Kris and Lisanne simply got lost and perished. "The remains were discovered many Kilometres down the Culebra River, no one had any idea how they got there, again the spectra of foul play was brought up. To me it was now confirmed that this was no criminal case, the cell phones, money and anything else of value would have been taken for sure had these young women been abducted or attacked, just the nature of the beast". He still believes at this point that the girls reached the Mirador late in the day. Then more remains and objects were discovered, a piece of pelvic bone belonging to Kris, the foot was DNA tested and belonged to Lisanne, A pair of shorts belonging to Kris were discovered much further up the river.
But then:There he left it and thought no more of the subject. But again much later still, something really strange occurred. "There is a place in Chiriqui called the Cangilones de Gualaca, where a lot of local people and tourists go to swim in the river, it is unusual in that the rock formation is a long canyon of vertical rock rising some twenty feet from the water, it is very narrow and the depth of the river is some thirty feet at the deepest. It’s a great place to practice climbing, the bouldering moves are really difficult and when you fall, it’s directly into deep water, no equipment needed and a soft landing. The shallower spots are used by locals to swim and to wade, and it's very popular during the dry season, people bring food and make a day of it. So it was a great surprise when it was reported in the paper that on the third of march of 2015 the body of Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez was found floating in the water. It was he whom had given the two girls the taxi ride to the start of the trail on that fateful First of April the year before. The report simply stated that he had given a lift to three tourists to the Cangilones and whilst they were enjoying the location, he had been found floating dead. I had the opportunity to ask some locals about what occurred and they said he had dived in and hit a ledge, there being no one looking he had simply drowned. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but the whole thing felt like a visit from a very dark place not of our world; as I said no one whom got into that taxi survived [Correction; the two other passengers in that taxi did survive to the best of knowledge; but Kris, Lisanne and this taxi driver did all die within a short time span). "Then in early 2016 whilst surfing the internet the dutch girls came up in an unrelated google search, the photos from the cell phones and their camera had at some point been published, they had originally been suppressed out of respect for the family, which was understandable. It was a really strange and unsettling feeling to see them so alive and happy in the first group of photos from their cell phones where they are seen walking the path, at a brook, marveling at the deep overhead banks of the Sendero, smiling, alive, when you know their very soon to unravel fate. The last group of photos taken were just plain spooky, not much else to say to be honest. On their camera there were ninety photos taken on the 8th of April exactly one week after their disappearance, of which the report states eighty-seven were blank, and the last three were really strange, taken at night, two were of rocks and trees and one is of a small branch with some red plastic from what looks like supermarket bags tied to it, this seems fairly obviously a signal device. The ninety photos were reportedly taken between 1am and 4am only three of which were good, one every two minutes or so.
Something stood out clearly though, and for me changed everything, it was the photos taken on their cell phone on April the first at El Mirador, the sun was shining high in the sky there was little cloud, it was remarkably clear, and there it was! The photos were analysed by experts, it was not five thirty or six in the evening, it was 1pm in the afternoon or thereabouts, these young women had left in the morning NOT at three thirty in the afternoon, it changed everything. I know the reported time of their start up the path fixed in stone our search area at the top of the ridge El Mirador, I am sure it influenced others. At one in the afternoon there was time to carry on with the adventure, squeeze a little more from the day, they were young and therefore not tired, so instead of turning around they might well have kept going on the path towards Changuinola heading to the North.Thirty minutes or so would have got them to the first quebrada or creek, There is a second quebrada another ten minutes along the path, both of these creeks join a little further down and they make up the headwaters of the Rio Culebra. So if the Girls arrive say 2pm it’s the height of the hottest part of the day on a sunny mountain, if you have ever experienced this you will know with the sun beating down it can get pretty warm. So there is a cool stream, well, human nature is to go for a swim. Maybe you would want a little privacy for this, so follow the river up, or down to look for a pool. From the second creek onward to the north, there are no real features until you reach a major branch of the Rio Culebra, but this is two or hours or more further on and through dense jungle. So it makes sense that this would be the point where they decided they had gone far enough, after all they did not have anything more than the items aforementioned, certainly nothing to spend the night out in the cold. There has to be a point where they would decide they had gone far enough and it would be closely related to the time. From either the first or second creek it would take more than two hours solid going to be able to get to the sealed Boquete Road again." Their cell phones register a call placed to the dutch emergency number of 112 at 16:39 that day and another at twelve minutes later using alternately both their cell phones. A total of eight emergency calls were made the last being on the 3rd of April. This information was also released some time after the initial searches. "So clearly they were in trouble at 16:40 in the afternoon, given delays and messing around it seems unlikely that they would have gone much further than the first or second creek which are slightly to the north of El mirador. So if indeed this is where they got to, what occurred there that ultimately proved fatal?"
He believes that the girls got lost and died from the elements. He then goes on to list all the natural dangers in this part of the wilderness: "For the most part the rivers of the Panamanian are open and often quite wide, very rocky and the water tumbles down them amongst boulders, but sections of rivers where the gradient is steep enter Formidable canyons. These features require specialized equipment to safely negotiate and a lot of experience, they have many natural traps for the unwary. They are three dimensional zones which are hard to comprehend unless you have had previous experience, and they are not necessarily easy places to safely get through. They also tend to come up quite suddenly, one minute its easy boulder hopping and the next you are confronted with perpendicular walls and high waterfalls. It is easy to descend into a section and not be able to exit it. You can enter a deep pool to swim and not be able to get out due to the very polished nature of the rocks and rock walls. The upper sections of waterfalls bear a slimy coating at times, which is the equivalent of black ice. Flash flooding can raise water levels in seconds. Boulders can shift trapping a person. The extremely uneven nature of the terrain can unbalance you, and falls can easily occur. I treat such places with extreme caution always. Could they have got themselves into such a zone and become trapped? Had they perished and their bodies not been found, then it is perfectly possible that they would have remained there until the rains started. Any place in a river narrow enough to hide two people from a low flying helicopter would very quickly fill with water in the intense rains of the wet season. The width of the river has little to do with this phenomenon, a narrow creek can be way more powerful than a wider river, especially if it has been squeezed down, It has far more to do with water volume and gradient mixed with the width of the hydraulic. Nothing is spared, whole trees are washed miles downstream, on many occasions I have had a steep rapid completely transform on me due to heavy rains which have moved boulders of many tons, making kayak lines I knew obsolete (the path which you aim to use to negotiate a rapid). So it was no leap of imagination to think their bodies and belongings would be swept many kilometers downstream in similar floods. Such is the power of the water, it is enough to power cities."
He goes on to describe the animal life up there and names some remaining questions:"The animal life of the jungle is very efficient in its food usage and that little remained of the women was no surprise to me, ants can reduce large animals in short time, carnivores will eat animals that are already dead, also dragging remains for some distance. It is generally rare to find the bones of any animal in the forest everything has been consumed. Was this ultimately their final fate? Of course this is all conjecture, there are many unanswered questions, for example, why was the backpack and belongings found largely intact after having been swept down a river for some distance (the official version of their demise comes also to the conclusion they were carried downriver by the water)? Why were the remains and items found only after a large monetary award had been offered? Why were the photos taken only of what appears to be a rock wall and a stick with plastic attached, and no further photos were taken of themselves beyond the first of April? These questions and more are troubling. I am not sure we will ever really know what occurred on that April day, the first of the month, and the exact events that followed it. From my own perspective I found this a very haunting case that still gives me chills to this day. Many people have become lost in the mountains of Panama, most are rescued by the authorities, some, as this story relates are not so fortunate."
Some last words of advice for hikers:"It is important to carry some essentials with you whenever venturing out into the wilds. A compass, map or air photos, a machete, rain jacket, a small first aid kit, some food and of course a water bottle are amongst them. Wear good boots and try and dress for the terrain. Tell someone where you plan to go. Perhaps the most important, if you are not sure of yourself or have limited experience, then there are guides you can hire to help you out."
In another blog post, the same explorer walked the Pianista Trail again in May of 2016; this time he walked on toward Bocas del Toro
In this blog post he confirms that on the trail where Kris and Lisanne were last pictured, you do regularly run into other human beings. And there are farms and empty sheds and finca's in its vicinity."Starting in the Mountain town of Boquete early in the morning at 1100 meters altitude it was not a difficult walk up to the restaurant La Pianista, and the start of the trail following the mountain stream upward. It took a further hour and a half to reach the dividing ridge through the low cloud base, which was obligingly lifted by the time I made the top. Three local campesinos or farmers arrived at the same time at the ridge top and we talked for a while, they explained that their farm was just over the second quebrada or stream a little lower down, some 30 minutes or so and that they farmed cattle, staying some two weeks at a time to work the land." [So there is habitation around the point on the trail where Kris and Lisanne started to make their first two emergency calls]. "They carried on and I stayed a while to cool down before starting down through the thick temperate forest to the first stream. From this point the cloud came back in and it was like walking through cotton wool land. The pathway ran through deep ditches which at times towered overhead, it was really muddy, sometimes one sank halfway up your calves, notably it stayed that way until the road was finally reached at the small Indigenous town of Nortena, this made me nickname the place ”The land of mud”. I vowed never to wear hiking boots again here, but rubber welly boots that the locals all used (smart people).
The second quebrada was just ten minutes beyond the first and is around the same size being really small and generally uninviting. From here the path left the thick forest and passed through cattle pasture in thick mud before plunging once again into densely forested country. There was evidence of animal life everywhere, troops of howler monkeys could be heard and this became common. It was now raining pretty solidly, making the terrain really slippery underfoot. I had run into an Indigenous bloke walking out to Boquete whom told me there was a hut I could sleep in further on, he had only a machete in hand and nothing else, it was by this time late around 6 PM but he felt he would have no problem getting through by seven, I could not see it myself, He did not seemed worried though and pushed on, tough people these guys. I was tired by now and really looking forward to getting to that hut. This finally appeared after crossing the first river encountered and was located about five hundred yards further on in the middle of a cow pasture. It turned out to be an old National park service installation, now collapsed and in disrepair. I had to fight some cattle for possession and got the prize of two wooden platforms to sleep on, it was really welcome.
A map made by the explorer of his route:
He then describes how easy it is to lose the trail further up north, but also describes human habitation and huts along the trail at times:"The dark night brought the incredible sound of frogs, they were loud, really loud it was pretty amazing to listen to them, they made you know you were in the jungle. It was raining by the morning, I got going early and followed the path down the river valley through the towering trees, it descended steeply from 1000 meters at the hut to some 750 meters where it again crossed the same river. A second triple wire rope bridge crossed this feature, they looked way worse than they really were. The creek was crystal clear and dropping over large boulders and forming deep pools, it looked inviting except for the horse flies that is. They were ever present wherever you were on the trail but were especially bad close to the rivers, making stopping at at times painful. The Sendero was now smaller than it had previously been, I was to find out this was due to it being much less used than further up, where the locals use it to reach cattle farms. Further on the people of the comarca tend to go out to the Atlantic side making the central section much less travelled. After walking some distance more and crossing a marshy pasture with a wooden rough cut board hut, the Rio Culebra was reached and a third wire rope suspension bridge. Here I stripped off and had a swim and wash, fantastic as long as one remained submerged that is. The path continued on mostly NNW, every time it passed from the jungle and crossed a cattle pasture it became really difficult to follow, as the grass tended not to show the line to follow and of course the cattle had made tracks in all directions. Things went well for about three more pastures but then I lost it completely. Tracing the boundary of the jungle did not show up anything. Finally slogging upward to around 800 meters I ran into a small group of Indigenous houses surrounded by gardens of banana, papaya, yuca and other vegetables. I was able to talk to a really surprised young bloke whom was completely nonplussed at giving directions, the gist of it was “it is too difficult to explain, you just go down and in two minutes you will find the path, its easy”. [..] After having slashed through a couple of Quebrada’s, down again through the bush until I came out at the River Culebra [along this river the remains of Kris and Lisanne were found], without intersecting the path and I now found myself at some 600 meters or so. Ok I was not happy about the outcome and felt maybe I had been led astray, but wisely decided to have lunch, this made me feel much better about it all. So after a while It was slogging back up to the overgrown cleared zone above, through the very inclined jungle, I kept slogging back until almost the small community again, where, and I am proud of this, I resisted the temptation to ask for the directions again. I am sure this reduced the perception that gringos are a little soft in the head amongst the local population. To be honest the only reason I finally found the bloody path again is because I had noticed that a local and his dog had been following the trail earlier on, these were the only legible tracks apart from some really nice big cat footprints which were evident in the mud whilst in the jungle (Cow hooves apart). So tracking back to the last place I knew I was not lost, (a golden rule) and picking up his tracks again which were followed religiously right back and across the huge clearing, then downward to 715 meters where it left the cow pasture and plunged again into the forest."
(Picture: Wire rope river crossing, simple yet effective).So I was really glad when after following a steep ridge downwards the path came up to a river which was a tributary of the Culebra at 620 meters or so, then after following the bank upriver for about a kilometer another wire rope bridge was encountered (the fourth). This one had an upper wire broken so of course immediately I had to try it out by crossing it, not bad as long as you maintained your weight over the good wire and did not lean back.There was a really worn sign which marked the edge of the national park so from here onward it was in the Comarca. As there was a great soft grass section not too muddy and on a small hill, I decided this was the place to camp, here the tent was set up and the tea brew got going. Just about six PM a local, the only bloke I saw on the path that day arrived having carrying a 50lb sack and having just walked from Boquete. He said he had left from his village the previous day made Boquete and was now returning with supplies, and it was a further two hours to get home."
(First photo: The Sendero crosses the Rio Culebra here). "I slept like a dead man and woke feeling rejuvenated if not a little stiff though, breaking camp early and crossing the broken bridge so as not to get my already wet boots wetter, the path led off steeply upward always from now on in a north westerly direction. The path had been climbing steadily upward and I reached an altitude of some 1000 meters before finally coming on the biggest and practically the only village so far, made mostly of rough wooden boards and dominated by a building with the Panamanian flag flying from a pole.This turned out to be a School, I am sure it is one of the more remote ones in the country. I got to meet the schoolmaster whom told me that he comes for thirty days at a time to teach and that it was six solid hours to get to the road head at Nortena. There were a lot of kids whom were really fascinated to see a Mister (term used all over Latin America by Indigenous people to denote a Gringo or I presume anyone they feel they have to say Mister to). I asked the schoolmaster about Jaguars, if they were seen hereabouts and he told me that they were uncommon and mostly to be found higher up toward Boquete. So there it was, you were safe, when you were higher up they were lower down and when lower down they were higher up – perfect, no chance of being eaten. So pushing on from the village - the name of which I never got - the path continued through pastures and forest before dropping down steeply to the Rio Romero, where the thickening cloud finally let go and rained in an impressive form. [Could this village have been Alto Romero?] It was not cold so I just carried on and was soon completely drenched, the path turned into a small creek, lightning was coming down within half a mile or so, generally it was just letting me know this was a tropical rainforest zone."
(Photo: A very remote School on the Comarca, it is six hours walk for a fit person to reach a road-head from here. The schoolmaster spends a month on location then a week off). "The trail passed through several small Gnobe villages of two to three housesall of sawn boards with thatched rooves, the women were all in traditional dress, everything was immaculately clean and there was no garbage to be seen anywhere, in fact that had been the case for the whole walk. At one point four young girls came up the narrow path all dressed in matching black traditional dress with banded border decoration, we talked for a while, wanting to know why I was there and where I was going. They carried on in single file upwards and I continued trudged down headed towards Cano Sucio the river which led out to the road."
(Photo: Bridge over the Rio Romero). "It seemed almost a perfect picture with the steep surrounding terrain, Apart from the sounds of the mountains, the wind, rain and the distant creek below nothing more was to be heard, it reminded me much, of places I had seen in the remote mountains of Peru. [..] The path dropped steeply from here and divided, I guessed the right hand one which turned out to be the better of the two although they both would have worked, ahead a toucan flitted from one tree to the next. The wide trail followed another smaller ridge before dropping down to a large village of completely traditional houses where most of the men were working thatching the roof of the central roundhouse. I spoke with them and after explaining what I was doing there, asked the way to Nortena, they pointed to the river where the path continued following the watercourse. [..] Finally a large Village was encountered and there was a large suspension bridge and even a couple small tiendas or stores, people seemed pretty friendly and just assumed I had come in from the main road which was by now not too far away. The final walk out was uneventful, civilization was confirmed when I saw the first Coca Cola sign and was glad enough to drink one to be honest."
Maps of the area behind the Pianista Summit and where exactly some of the many small wooden cabins and finca houses lay
As you can see, this area is far from desolate, nor cut off from civilization. Locals walk the paths with their cattle, natives live in this region and have villages here (Alto Romero for instance, to name just one of them); they use the cable bridges over the rivers, as well as the other paths. Tourists and tour guides also pass this stretch of land.
• Casa Calixto = hiker's cabin - not permanently inhabited
• Casa Sinaproc = hiker's cabin with skull - not permanently inhabited
• Casa Matteo = possibly from the S. family - permanent? inhabited?
• Casa Mata ~ resembles 2 ruins here
• Casa Carlos = permanently inhabited?
• Finca Chani = not permanently inhabited
1. indicated the place where the jeans shorts from Kris were found.
20. shows the summit of the Pianista Trail; the Mirador.
The next map shows the stretch of terrain the girls could have covered on day 1 (April 1st) of their disappearance, and where in this area wood cabins lie:
Interesting research, called Missing 411, where former police detective David Paulides has tracked over 1200 missing people who disappeared seemingly into thin air in national parks or nature
I am actually downloading the entire documentary, but this is a good short video on the same material. Some striking info that Paulides gathered and which made me think of the Kris and Lisanne case (and thank you for those who pointed me towards the Missing 411 project):
Quote: "David discovered that when a person disappeared while in close proximity to friends or family members, it's usually when they have either gone off on their own for a moment, or strayed behind when tracking in a line, or gone ahead when fronting a track. The point of separation may only be a few yards, but it seems long enough for them to disappear into thin air. The time the majority of the victims David has investigated vanished is not in the middle of the night as you might expect, but rather mid to late afternoon when it's still daylight. (Check in the case of Kris and Lisanne). Many of the found victims of disappearances are discovered near granite or rock fields, often next to or surrounded by boulders. Victims are also either found or disappeared near water, without any evidence that they've fallen in or drowned. (Check in the case of Kris and Lisanne). At the time a person goes missing, or during the search, it's been noticed thata sudden onset of extreme weather ensues, either in the form of snow, dust or rainstorm, or the sudden emergence of thick mist or fog. (On day 2 of Kris and Lisanne's disappearance it was raining and there was thunder, and there was also a mild earthquake in the area on that same day). Many of the victims have an obvious or not so obvious disability or illness prior to their disappearance (Lisanne had been ill the days prior and the day itself with asthma-like symptoms and a sore throat; they even went to the pharmacy the morning of their disappearance). Canines are unable to trace: one of the first thing search and rescue do when a person is reported missing, is send out a specially trained to dog to track their scent.In 95% of the cases David has studied, dogs have been unable to find a single scent, or if they do they quickly lose and just lie down (Check for Kris and Lisanne!).In many cases, for whatever reason, the victim has removed their shoes and items of clothing. This is also the case when missing people are found alive. They either have missing clothing, or clothing they do not recognize or have travelled several miles without shoes. (Check: Kris' jeans shorts were found on a branch in the water very early on, going by the long trail where items or remains were found. One of her shoes was also found at some point). Now we know that removing clothing can be a trait of someone suffering from exposure. However, it is unlikely that is the cause, as they would not travel the great distances that they do, so it doesn't really add up. Unknown cause of death:In the cases David has studied, when a missing person is found dead, the cause of death can either not be determined or does not correspond with how the victim is found. (Check for Kris and Lisanne!). David has discovered that people go missing in clusters in certain areas, and there is no reason for these places to be any more dangerous than anywhere else. The clusters range from three in the same vicinity, to up to 80. He also realized this was not just in the USA either; it was the same for areas in Canada, the UK, Australia and seven other countries, all with missing persons following the same profiles as those mentioned. Also, none of the disappearances could be attributed to animal attacks. As when this happens there is almost always clear evidence left behind. (Check for Kris and Lisanne!) David also discovered that there are an inordinate amount of genius level people disappearing, such as doctors, scientists, scholars etc, as well as people with extensive knowledge of the back trail who simply normally wouldn't get lost. (Kris and Lisanne were university schooled and intelligent by all standards). After an initial week or so of intense searches, officials tend to stop trying, leaving relatives to conduct their own searches and left in limbo with no definitive answers and no closure (check)."
Note:Although I do wonder how many of these missing persons cases do have a rational explanation in the end.. Many people love a good mystery, but there are probably all sorts of underlying causes for these disappearances which may not get highlighted, such as people suffering from sudden health problems, or getting disorientated and dying from the elements. People can also (naturally) behave erratically when lost and in a state of panic. Some missing people may have been intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or medication. A fall, injury (even a sprained ankle can start trouble, and broken branches that stick out can cause all sorts of injuries; think of the eyes or lungs), hypothermia, dehydration, lack of food can eventually all kill you when you are out there in the great middle of nowhere. When bodies are never found back, we also cannot exclude animal predation, to name one thing. Or murderers/serial killers, who also tend to not leave the bodies of their victims out in plain sight... And some people will also go willingly missing, due to suicidal intentions. And nature can also quickly take care of bodies. The wilderness is also exactly the type of environment where you expect people to most go missing. Nevertheless, some missing persons cases he has covered are very spooky and mind-boggling. Another thing; how peculiar are those shared similarities exactly? Sniffer dogs may regularly not find a trace when searching for missing persons. Parents or relatives may regularly claim that they only lost sight or turned around from the other person 'for a second', which in cases of video footage available often turns out to be a bit more than a second. Same for kids wandering off and drowning in a pool; the 'I took my eyes off him only for a second' often proves to be minutes or longer when there is the option of camera analysis. But which parent will openly admit this? And do we have all the facts and details in these missing persons cases? Probably not.. (same for the Kris and Lisanne case, which I do NOT think is a paranormal mystery. They either met foul play - which they did in my opinion - or they got lost, never backtracked and ended up deceased in the wilderness). But, there are plenty of very strange cases, where people were acting out of character, because people do that, were not seen by FLIR (despite sometimes eventually ending up found in a previously carefully searched area), scent not picked up by dogs, no footprints, found in clean clothes, etc. Overall, I also believe that it can be that easy to both get lost, and then stay lost, even while within walking distance of salvation.
Stephan Mesrits, Kris' boyfriend,
released on May 28th, 2014 a
song for Kris Kremers:
In this video, the well known investigation journalist John van den Heuvel is invited to a Dutch late night TV show (RTL Late Night) when the girls have disappeared for two months, and talk about the investigation and details about the case.
John van den Heuvel is a renowned crime investigation journalist (I am a fan of his to be honest), and he went personally to Panama to investigate the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. He tells his views on May 29th, 2014 in a Dutch talk show. This was before the backpack from the girls was found, or later their few remains. He therefore gives his predictions at a time when nothing was yet known about the girls' fate. Due to rights and you will have to watch the footage here in 3 parts.
Some interesting quotes from him from this short 10 minute interview:"And initially it was thought that the girls had gotten lost, or had injured themselves in an accident. But as time went by, a Crime scenario became more obvious. And there are definitely places there where you can fall or get an accident. And it's even possible that such a thing doesn't end well eventually. But we are now 2 months further... And those guides have searched there for days on end. The route is still walked and searched daily, not just by tourists but also by local guides. If they had had an accident, they would have been found by now. And when you get lost there.. That's also a possibility, because I could see there that you can miss a route indication or an arrow on that trail. But when you are climbing up a mountain, and you then get lost, then you really only have to do one thing.. And that is to descend; to go back down the mountain again. For too long they considered the case a possible accident... Or a possible case of them getting lost. And all that time they didn't invest in a proper criminal investigation. And therefore very crucial time has been lost. Within hours, at the least days but ideally sooner, you need to interview all witnesses... In a very intensive and thorough manner. You need to do technical research very early on and investigate telephone data.
Those phones were set to flight mode... Because they wanted to avoid high costs due to roaming. So these girls set their phones to flight mode. But with the use of wifi they still used whatsapp. So those phones have of course been used those past 2 weeks.
It's been some sort of bureaucratic obstacle over here too, because ... the Netherlands also didn't definitely consider it a crime case yet. And still it is not officially classed a crime? The right steps that are needed to do a proper investigation into whether or not a crime took place... have still not been made. And those telephone data are still not available. It's unimaginable and unbelievable really. The error lies in the communication. Like you often see when boundaries need to be crossed. Panama hasn't made it clear to the Netherlands which data are needed there... And the Netherlands have been way too slow and lax themselves with giving the Panamanian authorities information. And what I find unbelievable really, is that there are currently 12 search and rescue dogs there and 18 handlers.. There are also Dutch volunteers there and two of the Dutch parents... There is nobody from the Dutch investigation authorities there, nobody is sent there... If only to monitor what's happening there." *Update: Hans Kremers said in October 1st of 2014 however that the Dutch NFI report stated that the girls had their phones not set to flight mode during that first week of April in Panama. But overall they did use flight mode to avoid unwanted roaming costs.
In this video, the parents of both Kris and Lisanne are invited to a Dutch late night TV show (RTL Late Night) when the girls have disappeared for one month, and talk about the investigation and details about the case.
May 1st, 2014 I tried uploading the video with added English subtitles on my (renewed) youtube channel, to add it to some other videos on this case which I already translated in English with subtitles, but unfortunately this is yet again a case of copyright blocking. Bleh. Although in some countries it may be visible. I know that counties like the United States and Brazil are blocked from viewing it however, so I'm forced yet again to upload the show in parts directly on here. (Like with the Break Free TV item on Lisanne, which you can watch within the blog post here, if you scroll down). It's the only way unfortunately for English speakers to follow what has been said in this case. The videos all work, you just need to press the white 'play' triangle in the middle 2 or 3 times.
There are some interesting things said in the video I thought.Firstly, Lisanne's mother says that before Lisanne went to Panama, she went through a very difficult time. I wonder if this was due to her volleyball injuries, preventing her from doing the sport she loved? Or because her father had endured a stroke? Even though that was quite a few years ago by then.. Or due to other private reasons perhaps? Mum doesn't elaborate however. On public forums, there has been some information shared about some form of intimate abuse by someone, which is really shocking to be honest and unverified. So it may be fake news and someone trying to act importantly perhaps by sending such a message out there. But it made me feel even more for Lisanne and Kris (if that is even possible because I already think about the girls' plight a lot); if one of them went to Panama to recover in some way from a tough period at home and from such an ordeal, and then ended up in the worst hell imaginable...
At some point the presenter asks the parents:"What I am wondering is this: was this case [of missing backpacker Alex Humphrey - see part 1 of this blog post about his case] discussed in Panama? Because 5 years ago his son disappeared under the same circumstances in Boquete... Well... is that a coincidence? Has this scenario been taken into account? That someone else has also gone missing there?" Kris' parents reply: "We didn't hear about it when we were there... No, we haven't heard about it, and that scenario also hasn't been taken into account. What we have heard in fact, and what we also saw with our own eyes, is that Boquete is really a very calm little place really. And we constantly saw young girls and women, alone or in pairs, walking in the streets. Also in the evenings. And there was no one there who said: that's not wise to do. Or; would you really do that?"
Summary on Alex: In August of 2009 a British backpacker, care worker and poet named Alex Humphrey went missing while hiking the same area around Boquete, one week into a three week holiday. Alex vanished, aged 29, after checking into a local hostel. An experienced hiker, his family believes he was a victim of a crime. But he may have also just fallen victim to the jungle elements. Despite several police searches, a Panamanian media campaign and the offer of a $5,000 reward, no clues to his whereabouts emerged. Just like Kris and Lisanne, he just vanished into thin air apparently. Not a single bone of Alex was ever found. Which makes some people think that instead of getting lost, Alex may have run into a criminal gang of sorts, used for his organs perhaps, but most certainly made to disappear for good. No body, no murder case, after all. Dutch Ambassador Wiebe de Boer (a useless diplomat and door mat in our Kris and Lisanne case) made the shocking comment that Alex was autistic most likely, so well... there you go. As if it was therefore his own fault that he disappeared. Alex will always remain that 'missing person' now..
The parents from Kris retraced their steps and are very clear about it;
after the last known photo on day one (picture 508) they say that there is no way to get lost on that path, whether you walk on or turn around back to the summit. For hours on end there are no ravines or cliffs you can fall in. There are no other roads you can be mistaken with and get lost on for hours and hours after that last photo point. They are very clear about this: down the mountain there is only one trail to follow initially. One clearly visible trail without exits or crossing roads. No way to get lost. So there are only really 3 sensible possibilities for why Kris and Lisanne called 911 several hours before it got dark that day: first, one of them had a mild injury, an ankle perhaps, or asthma flaring for Lisanne perhaps. Second; they realized they wouldn't make it back to Boquete before dark. Third; they ran into the wrong person or crowd and were afraid. I'd say the 3rd option is most likely. Because if one got injured mildly, then the other could have gone back to get help, if not on day 1 then certainly on day 2. And the same goes for the 2nd scenario: they could have made it back on day 2, as it was only about 3 hours tops to walk back at that point. I don't believe two healthy athletic strong young women both got injured on a one way trail, surrounded by rock walls, where you cannot fall into a ravine. And both perished in the jungle while they were still so close to Boquete. And since we know they started making emergency phone calls on day 1, when it was still light, that is an indication that something had gone wrong early on.
And had they been at that rock alongside the river, next to the monkey bridge, then they would have been found.
It lies right on a road leading back to the Pianista path and Boquete. And this trail and the monkey bridges are used by people; locals, Indigenous people, searchers.... I don't buy that they were there for 11 days and nobody found them. The same for their belongings: there's no way the backpack and remnants wouldn't have been found in the initial searches if they were there. They were planted there, in my opinion. Nevertheless many people following this case do think that Kris and Lisanne got injured or lost their orientation and ended up on that rock, taking the nighttime photos themselves in an attempt to signal help troops which they assume searched in the dark of night. Now there is no evidence whatsoever that teams kept searching after midnight. The helicopters most definitely didn't fly in the middle of the night. I don't exclude that they were on that rock during the night of April 8th, but I don't think they got lost and ended up there by their own account. (Am leaning more towards them running into foul play and escaping that night). Some other problems with the scenario in which they simple got lost after April 1st and stumbled towards that spot near the river, possible injured, are that many of the other questions aren't answered with it:
1. How did they end up there? These rocks near the monkey bridge lie next to a road that brings you straight to and from the Pianista summit and Boquete. They could have just walked back, so its unlikely they were truly lost. And as the parents showed in the video; for hours after the place of photo 508 you can only follow one clear trail; no ways to get lost, no diverting roads and no cliffs or ravines to fall into. So if they weren't forced by a 3rd party, why would they call emergency services while it was still light, and continue walking further away from Boquete?
2. How is it possible that nobody found them there, for days, weeks? These rocks near the monkey bridges are on a main path that has been searched by the army, Sinaproc, local guides, volunteers, dogs and helicopters. Even locals use these routes regularly, and yet nobody found them there? Near impossible if they were just taking refuge along the river. Even some tourists who knew about the case and actively looked for them and who passed those exact places in the end of May 2014 ensure their readers that the girls were not there and that they saw nothing, no girls, no markers, no clothes, no backpack there.
3. If they were there, injured, how did their (few) bone remains end up many kilometers up north, scattered, upstream? There were no bite marks on the bones found; no animal markings, so they couldn't have been the ones dragging the bodies kilometers apart. And the whole notion that they fell into a river and that the water carried their remnants along seems fairly ludicrous too. A river cannot be at the same time strong enough to tear young healthy bodies apart, yet carry a simple non-waterproof backpack as if it contained Moses in a basket. (Leaving everything inside unharmed) There's also no way that shallow river with so many rocks in it would have dismembered and cut up these young women's bodies within not even two months time. It's much more logical that they could then have gotten themselves safely out of the water, if they even fell into it at all. But even so, it would have left marks on the bones found; marks from rock indentations, from dragging damage. Yet they were squeaky clean. No markings whatsoever were found on the bone remnants, not even microscopic ones. The bone marrow was dry also, pointing away from these bones having been in water for a significant period of time. And how did the remains end up kilometers away on the land, in the jungle then? Upstream? It makes no sense at all.
4. If they were free out there, why didn't they take more photos or call home?Eleven days at least out there with a functioning, charged digital camera and two functioning mobile phones, yet not a single call attempt to reach their own parents. No more photos, no pictures of important markers along the way to help them retrace their route. No selfies, no video message on their digital camera. I find it impossible to explain, unless a 3rd party prevented them from doing so. If they were free to call, why has there never been a call attempt made in the evening or at night? The only reason I can think why their own beloved parents were never even tried to call, is that a 3rd party was in charge and didn't even know who in the address list were the parents.
5. If they had 'just' gotten lost, how to explain the missing photo 509? The girls had no technical know-how or interest it seems, as during all their weeks of holidaying, they always used the default camera settings and never even zoomed in their lens. They didn't delete a single photo of the 200 or so made. Yet this photo 509 was not just deleted once, but deleted so thoroughly that investigator specialists with the best software in the Netherlands couldn't even find back as little as 1% of the original image. Nothing. Which they link to a computer removing the photo from the memory card. How can this be explained if the girls were just out there, waiting for help on a rock?
-If Kris was still alive after April 5th, why didn't she just give her PIN code to Lisanne? Why were there at least four wrong code/no code entry attempts after the 5th?
-Why was there a peculiar preference to call in specific time blocks: between 10:16 and 10:53 AM and then between 13:37 and 13:56 PM?
-Why was not a single video recorded with the digital camera and why were no more photos made between April 2nd and 7th?
Three interesting and important Panamanian news articles from the fall of 2014, published one minute after each other. I translated them in English with google translate so apologies for small errors or robotic English. Highlighted what stood out extra for me..
The Laboratory of DNA Biomolecular Analysis, located in the City of Saber, came in the first week of September and after an assignment, with new evidence related to the case of Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers, the missing Dutch girls. The forensic officer in charge of the laboratory prepares to review the contents of the package, taking precautions to avoid contaminating the sample: the gloves, cloth cap, gown, shoe cover, mask and glasses are all correctly placed. Now that he is ready the manila envelope is carefully opened. The curiosity of the researcher mounts as he removes the edges of the envelope to get to the content. It is a particularly interesting case, with conflicting versions of events. The girls were last seen while trying to walk the El Pianista trail, in the district of Boquete, on April 1, 2014. In August, they were declared dead by the Public Prosecutor's Office, without the cause of death being known yet. On the one hand, the superior prosecutor of David, Chiriquí, Betzaida Pitti, who is in charge of the case, has not considered the case to be a crime. She raises the thesis that the girls died due to an accident. On the other hand, Enrique Arrocha, defense lawyer of the Kremers family, and Octavio Calderón, one of the criminologists consulted by La Estrella de Panamá, maintain that they were murdered. Previously, the coroner has analyzed other pieces of bone evidence which were found by inhabitants of Alto Romero, on the banks of the Culubre River, in the province of Bocas del Toro, a site located twelve hours by foot from El Pianista. The scientist takes an earthy mass in the form of a ball from the envelope. Then, removes a long bone - later determined to be a femur - and another shorter, similar to a tibia. The package, which is sent by the Office of the Attorney of David, has arrived accompanied by a brief note, whose instructions are summarized in one line: 'These remains were found on the banks of the Culubre River, and are sent for analysis'. The note has the signature of Betzaida Pitti. The document lacks a detailed description of the chain of custody, information required in cases of controlled processes that seek to preserve the evidence. The data that should be included is where the evidence was located, fixation, collection, packing and transfer at the scene. But this was not the case.
UNCOVERING THE SKIN
The laboratory where the tests are analyzed belongs to the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Panama (IMELCF), the only site in the country that performs this type of analysis. The coroner is surprised by the earthy mass in front of him and begins to rummage through the material to decipher what it is. Little by little, unfolds the elongated body, about thirty centimeters, which looks like a piece of skin. The precaution is taken to make several samples before starting the procedure. The coroner looks for a plastic bucket with water to submerge the material in. When the skin is extended on the work (table) surface, he notices that the tissue is not uniform. Some parts, the widest, measure between eight to fifteen centimeters wide. On the other hand, others only reach three centimeters. It is the first time that the coroner examines a tissue of this nature in the case of the Dutch. Later, it will define which part of the body this skin covered and to whom it belonged. Due to its extension and elongated shape, it could be assumed that it is the portion that covers the femur, but that will be confirmed by the exams, later. Covered by the first agents of decomposition and dust-witness of the dark corner where the rest of the body probably still lies-, the skin wrap that a few months ago was useful to protect the body from cold or heat, from harmful substances, to transmit sensations, is today part of the set of evidence of a possible homicide. The bony remains of the girls and the ball-shaped tissue were found on August 29. This is relevant data for the research process, because it will allow the coroner to establish with certainty the moment of death, or the conditions in which the body remained afterwards. If we start from the assumption that the girls died during the first week of April, today, five months after the event, the larvae should not be present. They have a whitish appearance and measure approximately one and a half centimeters. They do not reach a dozen. They are the first devourers of the corpse. This indicates to the coroner that the body remains, or remained, in a moist space, under shade, at low temperatures. With great care, he observes that at one end of the fabric there appear black circular spots, that occupy approximately one fifth of the surface. They are of different diameters; the largest, seven millimeters. A chemical or histopathological study will conclude, later, what this group of black moles responds to. The same study will determine if there were other tissue injuries. The coroner continues the journey. Now he checks other red spots, product of muscle hemoglobin. In some parts of the fabric there are holes, between eight and ten on the whole surface, surely sign of the presence of other types of insects.
When examining the tibia, the coroner realizes that this one does not have bony alterations. When he cuts the bone to the marrow, he detects a dry state, well preserved and without traces of putrefaction. Something very similar occurs with the femur, the marrow is almost intact. How could those who collected the bones conclude that the ball covered with dirt was part of the evidence?
IGNORANCE OR DESIGN?
The tests must be handled with extreme care, says criminologist Calderón, who criticizes that on several occasions the prosecutor has requested the handling of the evidence to individuals. This has been the habit of Pitti, from the moment the remains appear on the banks of the Culubre river. She (Betzaida Pitti) has not even called Criminalistics or followed the basic principles of the chain of custody, he says. This is a valid reason to disqualify the prosecutor, concludes the criminologist. Calderón wonders how this person is in charge of investigations in the Public Ministry. All the evidence that could give information about the cause of death was ignored, in clear violation of the investigative protocol. "We do not know if if was out of ignorance or design, but every opportunity to get to the truth was spoiled," says Calderón. And he adds, "if it is out of ignorance, the question is the same: how can a person with zero knowledge in investigations be the authority that MP represents?". The criminologist continues: "And if it is by design, what are the reasons for not doing a professional investigation?". Recently, the prosecutor said that the forensic reports have not been able to determine the causes of death and that the bone remains found do not show evidence of sharp weapons or mutilations. He also indicated that in the places where the girls went astray there are wild animals and vipers. The girls' cell phones were used correctly until April 6. With the camera, 99 photos were taken in just three hours, on April 8, the last day of registration." Update: Oh I was too quick and didn't realize that La Estrella Panama also published an English version of the article later on! :) Here it is. Luckily I made screenshots, because a lot of the original articles on La Estrella have been removed since posting this. The forensic anthropologist involved wanted, unfortunately but understandably to stay anonymous.
Update:Pittí now believesthat the skin belonged to a cow. This is baffling, considering that the professional coroner inspected it in detail with other people present and determined that it was human skin, belonging to Lisanne's shin bone. I am extremely weary about this cow story; surely no coroner mistakes a barely decomposed piece of cow's skin for that of a human, I'd hope. Mysteriously, the original La Estrella article was removed from the internet and its text edited at an undisclosed date (but at least some years after the original article was published), and replublished, changing the vital information that the skin belonged to Lisanne, DNA wise, and came from her shin. Now the new article suddenly states it was animal skin.No further information to explain this, no sharing of evidence to support it. I am wondering if this is related to Pittí's public attacks on critical journalist Adelita Coriat? The thought comes to mind that Pittí is trying to make Adelita Coriat look like a bad/lying journalist, through her public comments about her and now this edited article. Pittí has been snappy about this journalist and her critical coverage in the media from the start. When asked about her experiences as a prosecutor in this disappearance case, Pittí came across as whiny, overly sentimental in terms of what the press and journalists like Adelita Coriat 'did to her' when they wrote critical pieces. Everything she said was aimed at showing just how much energy she dedicated to climbing up that Pianista trail. How she crawled on hands and feet and almost fainted. How unfair she has been treated, also by the 'jealous' superior who fired her from the job in early 2015. Never an example of something that makes you think: wow she was a professional prosecutor in this case after all. Most transparent to me were her attempts of painting Adelita Coriat (a journalist who has done a fine job) as an unfit journalist. I think that the prosecutor has tried to character assassinate Coriat, and I don't exclude the possibility that these claims about the cow's skin were made to make Coriat look a fool. And also the coroner, who told her and Kryt that he believes the girls were murdered. Meanwhile Pittí provided no evidence of this supposed cow's skin and no further explanation as to how the coroner himself could have gotten it so wrong. I think there may have been some cow's skin found, but it perhaps wasn't the skin that was linked to Lisanne and that was thoroughly tested by the coroner and Coriat. In the official documents multiple pieces of skin are mentioned. Some skin was described to have been initially still attached to Lisanne's shinbone for instance. How can that have been cow's skin? And there was also skin found during all those searches that was lying next to bones, or a fair distance from them. Is Pittí highlighting this other piece of skin, in an attempt to make people forget about the skin taken from Lisanne's shinbone? I don't know, but this is more vague and messy reporting, in any case. I can also understand that no prosecutor would want such damning evidence about intact shinbone skin, found 5 months after the girls went missing, out there. Not decomposed in the way it should have been. Both Coriat and the coroner received personal threats by the way... Makes you wonder from whom. It is unclear at this point if all of that skin belonged to 'cows', or if only one piece has been singled out (or even replaced?) to make Coriat and the coroner look bad.** BTW: With the mass of skin, Betzaida Pittí also didn't provide the necessary information to the coroner of where it had been found exactly. But she did use her power to ridicule Adelita Coriat and the coroner for their analysis of and reporting on this mass of skin. You can read more critical observations about Betzaida Pitti's investigation in this post of mine.
"When the decomposition process begins, the skin tends to fray, but not embolize with dirt, says a forensic anthropologist. Since August, there has been no new evidence found. When the decomposition process begins, the skin tends to fray, but not embolize itself with dirt, says a forensic anthropologist consulted by La Estrella de Panama, who preferred to not have his name published. At the discretion of the scientist, the state of conservation of the evidence can be a sign that they
"[these bodily remains] were kept in a cold, shady and humid place. According to the anthropologist, the shape taken by the skin tissue does not seem to be part of the natural process of decomposition. The rounded shape, he says, could have been acquired by staying in a bag, hidden deposit or in a kind of container. The piece of skin seems to have been manipulated, he says. 'It seems that it had been stored in a clogged environment. Buried in the earth, the decomposition of soft tissues must have been faster".
"The bone endures, but our tropical climate accelerates decomposition, he adds. With regard to the black spots that are seen in a fifth part of the piece of skin, the scientist explains that it can be the product of colonies of fungi or bacteria that settle on the skin. The holes, he explains, could be made by non-stationary predators or, perhaps, microorganisms, he specifies. The presence of larvae is important because it helps determine the post-mortem interval, from the moment that death occurred until the corpse was found. Since this discovery, on August 29, no new evidence has been collected or collected." -So..... Lisanne's bones were found in quite a different state of decomposition than the few bones from Kris, despite being found in the same areas- insinuating they died more or less in the same place and therefore probably around the same time roughly, that it does raise the question whether or not Lisanne simply lived longer, held in captivity, and a 3rd party just threw a few of her remains out in the same place much later.. A rolled up mass of skin from Lisanne's shin bone was found, on top of it all, five months after the girls went missing. And it was mostly still intact, and determined to be in a rather early stage of decomposition. This does not match with the official story that Lisanne died from the elements or a fall or drowning back in April already, and that her remains lay in the open jungle, through months and months of rain and sun and the elements. These are actual scientific facts. May be of interest perhaps to everyone thinking the girls just got lost and died accidental deaths as a result. Unfortunately, the people who defend this scenario never really seem interested in the forensic evidence.
who has denied him various legal proceedings, which according to him, might clarify what happened during the hike on the trail of el Pianista, the last site that Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon visited before every trace of them was lost on April 1. La Estrella reports: "Enrique Arrocha, attorney of the family of Kris Kremers, one of the Dutch women who disappeared, will file today several appeals of controversy against Fiscal Bethsaida Pittí, who has denied him various legal proceedings, which according to him, might clarify what happened during the hike on the trail of el Pianista, the last site that Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon visited before every trace of them was lost on April 1. Among the requests that were denied by the Prosecutor's Office was a 'request for new expert testing the phones and clothes of the girls, which were negative in DNA, blood and biological fluids' Arrocha said. [Later turned out to be positive for DNA and fingerprints]. He also put a request to Pittí that a tour should be made on the path to check the length of time that the girls would need to reach the location where their belongings appeared: backpack, camera, cell, etc. Arrocha hiked from the Mirador of El Pianista, a location that appears on the camera of the girls, to the mountains, towards the river Culebre, and assures that in the time between the call for help and the time that girls took pictures on top of the trail 'they could never have reached the river, because the distance on the dry season is almost 12 hours on foot," the lawyer says. Apparently, the defense attorney added, Prosecutor Bethsaida Pitti does not consider these expertises necessary."
So, strange information, right?
More proof of obstruction of a proper investigation by Panama? Froon's bones still had some skin attached to them, but Kremers's bones were squeaky clean of any body tissue remnants and they also appeared to have been bleached... I mean, for a piece of skin to be found intact 5 months after passing, while out in the animal-infested open air jungle is peculiar. And makes such a contrast with finding bare, completely clean bones. First to decompose should normally be the soft tissues, including the skin. This was after around two months of estimated death, while laying in a cool cloud forest... Strange for sure to see the very different rates of decomposition on the bones of Lisanne on the one hand (flesh and skin still on the bones) and Kris (bleached clean bones), as if Kris' bones had been decomposing for 2 years instead of just over 2 months. Her bones looked like they had been baking in the hot sun for a long long time. Not as one would expect from bones having been shielded from the sun in the cloud forest jungle, around 10 weeks after their suspected death. Or is it the other way around perhaps, and are Kris' bones looking like they should, and are Lisanne's the odd one out? Dutch forensic pathologist Frank van de Goot said about this case back in June 2014: "Forensic determination of a cause of death will be very difficult. It will also be very difficult to estimate how long the bones have been laying in the jungle. In jungles like this one in Panama, not much will be left of a body within a week; nothing more than bones." Not the remains of Lisanne though... And the forensic pathologist who investigated her remains also had it published that he has the impression that the skin had been hidden in a cool, dark and moist place where the bones were laying or kept. He did not think that the pieces of bone and skin were buried in the ground, because if they were, they would have been fully decomposed. He himself hints at human intervention; the skin must have been stored somewhere. And he wonders out loud how the searchers could have recognized the rolled up piece of skin as being human tissue (contaminated with sand). It was not decomposed and therefore wasn't emitting odour. Did someone know where to look, perhaps? So for good order; the piece of skin was found rolled up in a sandy ball, and once in the lab it was carefully folded out and became a more or less regular piece of skin, with some small holes and traces of fungus and/or bacteria. Also, the forensic pathologist revealed that the bones don't show signs of decomposition. The bone marrow in the femur and tibia proved to be dry(!), not decomposed, intact and unaltered. Therefore, these bones had not been lying in water.
This raises some questions. For instance: if the shoe with foot was found mid June (2014), so 10 weeks after the girls disappeared and are thought to have died, could the river water have been so cold as to preserve the skin and marrow to that extent for 10 extra weeks? Can it reach the temperature of at least 6°C? But the mass of skin was found on land, in the jungle. Not in the water. And it was so small, while rolled up, that the pathologist was baffled that anyone could have found it, even if you'd know where to specifically look for. It also showed no signs of having been in the water, when seen under the microscope. The bones also, they were examined and the bone marrow was dry. The dry bone marrow also points towards "a dry and cool storage place", according to the pathologist who did the investigation. Those bones were not laying in the water after the girls died, therefore. The whole water theory can be binned I think, the forensic evidence disproves it.(Besides: the river water would have washed away Lisanne's skin tissue and bone remnants long ago then, as well as helped speed up the decomposition; not slow it down). Same for their bag which was found dry, even the dollar bill inside was dry, even the phones and camera were dry. That bag was from cheap material, it wasn't waterproof. The river is just something which people drag into the story to find a credible possible explanation (and a convenient means of transportation) for the strange locations of the bag and the bones. And according to the pathologist the skin was stored somewhere very specific, he hinted without so many words at a refrigerator or something similar to that, it seemed. In my blog I have translated all the articles written about this, Adelita Coriat (journalist) was present when the skin was rolled out and meticulously inspected. It was in a very early stage of decomposition, virtually intact still. No signs of animal predation.
The left leg's major bones were found from Lisanne... and her left foot, shattered. Why no other bones from any other body part? And her shoe looked good. Not muddy, not worn down. Guide P. stated that he didn't think that boot had seen a lot of jungle, because weeks in the jungle tend to degrade your shoes very rapidly he said. These shoes looked brand new almost. The smashed foot bones may be from a fall but other people suggested that in a fall the heel bone is usually broken and not all these small bones in the foot itself necessarily. Something may have fallen onto the foot (but then why no damage on the shoe?) or her foot may have been broken on purpose, stamping on it with something, like the barrel of a gun for instance. It would certainly prevent someone from fleeing. In a way I hope she wasn't alive anymore by then because so many broken bones in your foot must have been absolute horror in terms of pain.... But I don't think anyone with such a broken foot can walk very far. Not to mention what could have shattered Kris' pelvis to the point of it breaking in two like that.
More on this cow's skin**.
One prominent Dutch websleuth who has vast and detailed knowledge of this case, has also shed doubts about this supposed cow's skin claim. For which prosecutor Pittí (who is no scientist and managed to ruin the camera's SD card as well on June 17th) showed no evidence and which was conveniantly used to make her critics look like fools. This sleuth RapaN. recalls that Coriat wás in fact present during the autopsy during the first week of September. The bones and skin were found on September 29th of 2014. She states that the coroner identified the piece of skin to have belonged to the femur leg of Lisanne. Two months later, at the end of November, Adelita Coriat in fact interviewed Betzaida Pittí and asked her about this patch of skin. This is when Pittí dropped the word 'cow'. In that October interview, Coriat - who was present during the autopsy of Lisanne's bones and skin - asked Pittí questions about this patch of skin, to which Pittí answered that she "did not dare to say" that the skin was from Lisanne, but rather that of a cow. That she was "not sure" that the skin belonged to Lisanne. She also did not know if the bones found belonged to a cow or not [no they didn't, according to DNA results they belonged to Lisanne]. What she díd know however, was to tell Coriat that Kris and Lisanne's mobile phones were pinged and located in Bocas del Torro on March 30-31st... (Nonsense). Pittí could also not specify in late November of 2014 who exactly found and transported these bones; that had not been properly registered. Adelita Coriat then asked Pittí if she saw the piece of skin with her own eyes? Pittí did not directly answer that question, but repeated that it was animal skin. But what she also said then, was that it was found on August 15th. Was she talking about another piece of skin altogether? Because the mass of skin linked to and found together with Lisanne's femur and tibia bone were found on August 29th. That is almost two weeks later. I am sorry readers, for banging on about this skin detail, but this is exactly the sort of misinformation and fog the Panamian prosecution has been trying to create. Pittí did not have her facts correct, she did not witness the autopsy (unlike Coriat), she had no idea really if the skin and bones were or weren't from a cow (again she was wrong in thinking the shin and upper leg bone from Lisanne belonged to a cow as well). This all sounds and looks very unprofessional and unscientific. There is no evidence that this was cow's skin. There wás evidence that it belonged to Lisanne; both the coroner (the only professional in this respect) and Coriat say so. Pittí claims otherwise but is mistaken about many details that cán be verified. So her accounts are, as always, looking dubious.
And on November 9th 2014, the following article appeared in newspaper Panamá América
IMELCF REQUESTS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE UPCOMING INVESTIGATIVE EXPEDITION Panama America reports: "A formal request to join the new expedition that will go to the community of Alto Romero, Bocas del Toro, to gather more evidence in the case of Dutch Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers, was presented by the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science to the Public Ministry. The reason for this request is because the specialists of IMELCF need to carefully observe the soil where the previous evidence was found. "We need to perform an inspection of the area to find other factors that have not been reported to us before," Diomedes Trejos, head of the Unit Biomolecular Analysis of IMELCF, said. The urgent demand released by the official will permit to determine, for example, whether the larvae that were found in one of the bone tissue of the hips of Lisanne Froon breed on the site where this bone was collected. While in one of the garments, also of Froon according to Trejos, a type of vegetation was found of which it is not known within IMELCF whether it is indigenous to the location where the first investigation was conducted or if it belongs to a secondary location, the source said. Trejos also clarified that at first certain details that are vital to the investigation were unavailable, like soil type, temperature, moisture, insects or plant species that exist in the region." This information about the area is needed to interpret some results of the findings," he said. Furthermore, Trejos confirmed that DNA analysis that will be practiced to the left boot and sock of Lisanne may contain bodily fluids (saliva, mucus or blood) that might provide favorable data for generating hypotheses, provided such garments have been preserved properly. "The preservation of that evidence is key to the investigation," he said. Finally it was known that Bethsaida Pittí , prosecutor in charge of the case, said she has already talked with the representatives of the Dutch Embassy in Panama to carry out the handing over of the skeletal remains of Kris Kremers to her parents." - Interesting to read is just how scathing and strong this coroner speaks out against prosecutor Betzaida Pitti.The coroner said: it is unbelievable that someone as incapable as her was placed there.And what 'garment of Froon' was found? Was this her dark shorts?
I add some comments now (also translated) that were left below the online version of these two newspaper articles.
"It is important to try to define the approximate date of death.According to the bones of the femur and tibia, they were very well preserved. Because it is important that it can be defined if they were kept somewhere and died at a much later date. With these tests the coroner has obtained a lot of information."
"With the information given by the criminologist Calderón about the mishandling of the evidence by the public prosecutor's office, the lawyer Arrocha has all the reasons for bringing the family members' demands before the international court. I hope Adelita will continue to update us with the latest revelations about the case."
"The prosecution has been disgusting in that process, or has been ignorant, or did it on purpose. That she chooses, but saying that she did her job well is a falsehood."
"The group of criminals must also be informed that they are fighting against the public ministry, so that they realize what happened. The interested party has two great fronts, part of the M.P and the criminals .... And then there is the confidence matter in that Prosecutor, for the good of the investigation they should take her off the case, please. She is on the side of who exactly? Of those interested in seeking the truth, or on the side of the criminals?"
"If the investigation of the disappearance and / or death of two foreign young girls, taking into account the long time elapsed, is full of so much confusing information, without really knowing what happened to them; Panamanians, especially those of us who are not rich, or famous, what can we expect from the so-called "Panamanian authorities" if something similar happens to our relative? My response and opinion: absolutely nothing. As my old man said, q.e.p.d ..: mulio!"
And below this article: "We all know what happened but the Public Ministry is just a group of bureaucrats more." [..] - "Poor girls ... they found a sad end, in a land so far away ... And as always in panama NOBODY KNOWS NOTHING! Because we have inept people without titles and university studies, and if they have them, witch titles of the internet ... in comment posts ... NPROSTIMACY-CORRUPTION ... it's almost panama from bad to worse ..." And here: "Very inefficient and intolerant, she [Betzaida Pitti] is not the one who wanted to investigate, she has done things forced by her position, and because the parents have been there pending, weight to this, she has incurred in fiscal and procedural errors.. I hope that the punishment will be applied to those foreigners, and arrest the criminals who did it." "This lawyer needs a superior support to that Prosecutor, is fighting with her and with the criminals, or is that they have her there to obstruct the investigation, even when this fight. Greetings to the mayor."
More revelations about Betzaida Pitti's remarkable investigation and handling of this case
Radio episode of Een Vandaag of August 4th, 2014. Thanks to Juan for unearthing this footage. This short radio interview with Dutch reporter Jildou van Opzeeland preceded the TV airing of the Answers for Kris video, made by her parents. In this short radio interview, the reconstruction video of Hans Kremers and Roelie Grit is analyzed. Some interesting things that are said by journalist Jildou:
-"Yes it is remarkable really that the parents are making this reconstruction themselves. It should really be the task of the police to do this. What we do know is that the authorities in Panama have walked the Pianista as well last week. They then found new bone remains of the girls. The parents had to hear about this news through the media by the way. Officially they still have not been informed about this."
-"They had a meeting last week with the prosecutor [Pitti?] and not even there they were told about new bone remnants that were found. And now it is leaked again in the media."
-"But ever since the DNA material was found a month ago, the authorities there have started to say that it is too dangerous to search in that area, we are going to downscale. And now the family is there once more, and the searches are continuing again. But it all remains unclear."
-"It looks a bit like.... what the parents also told me, that whenever they go there, the searches are suddenly started again. And the moment they are physically there in Panama, there is suddenly pressure again to do something. And then the authorities are ushered to take action once more. But I don't believe that the relations are very good, if you [have to] make your own reconstruction. No. And the strange thing is also, and you can see this in the footage, that the official search team passes the Kremers family at some point. But they don't speak a word with one another. They don't even wave at each other or acknowledge the other."
Video with Peter & Diny Froon and Ingrid Lommers; "Please know that we will stay here in Panama until you have been found. We will wait as long as it takes. We will stay here to find you."
As I have said all along: the parents of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon were not going anywhere, as long as the fate of their daughters wasn't found out. In this Dutch TV program from Een Vandaag (May 13th 2014), Peter Froon literally says "Dear Lisanne and Kris. Please know that we will stay here in Panama until you have been found. We will wait as long as it takes, until you are found. And we will not give up! We will keep looking for you, for as long as it takes, we will stay here."
Presenter: 'Diny and Peter Froon still have hope that this case will have a good ending. Since their daughter and her friend Kris went missing, they have now traveled to Panama for the first time. Een Vandaag followed them.' Diny Froon: "Please, leave us no longer in uncertainty. And please give us a sign of life." Presenter: 'Diny and Peter fight against their tears on the press conference with the Panamanian media. They are distraught since their daughter Lisanne vanished without a trace with her friend, about six weeks ago.' Peter Froon: "Dear Lisanne and Kris. Please know that we will stay here in Panama until you have been found. We will wait as long as it takes, until you are found. And we will not give up! Really, we won't. Have faith in us, we will keep looking for you, for as long as it takes, we will stay here." [Scarlet: The parents would never give up or leave, until something was found that gave them closure. Hence why I believe that the backpack and bones were planted mid June; to ensure that the parents would finally leave] Presenter: 'The Panamanian media has come in large numbers. The mysterious disappearance case is still in the news here. In the street everybody knows who we are talking about, when we start about the Dutch girls.' Local: "It is a worrying situation, because people have disappeared. Even though they are not from Panama, it still touches us that they are missing. We pray to God that they are doing well and that they will be found soon." Presenter: 'On Wednesday April 2nd the alarm is raised when Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers don't return to their host family in Boquete. A mountain village in the west of Panama. A large forest area is meticulously searched. But to Kris' parents great disappointment, nothing is found.' Hans Kremers: "But we are convinced that if there would have been a trace of them in these mountains... that these men and women would have found it."
"Please know that we will stay here in Panama until you have been found. We will wait as long as it takes."
Presenter: 'Last weekend, Lisanne's parents Peter and Diny also travelled to Panama. They are supported by two family members. It is the start of a difficult journey, to the place where their daughter was last seen alive. Diny Froon: "You now start to look at everything as through the eyes of Lisanne. And you think: this is really where she has been, and what has she seen here? And of course we have seen the images on TV, but to see it all for yourself here is overwhelming. Peter Froon: "Of course it is difficult to keep faith. Especially as time goes by. But as long as the opposite hasn't been proven, we keep believing that they will be found. And that is where everybody is working towards, and that keep us going. Even though it is sometimes hard." Presenter: 'The rain season has started in Panama. There are several theories about what may have happened with the two Dutch women. Did they get lost on the Pianista? A popular hiking trail in the mountains. Did they step in the car of the wrong people? And what happened during the last day? We get in the car with Ingrid Lommers. The two girls followed a language course at her school. Ingrid Lommer: "This is the most direct route to the Pianista. They wanted to learn Spanish and they really wanted to work with children. They had really good intentions, for themselves and for the local population. And it is so unbelievable that something like this happened to two girls, who came here with such good intentions. Why did this happen to them? Why on this moment and in this place?" Presenter: 'Ingrid takes us to Casa Pedro. Probably the last place where Kris and Lisanne were seen.' Ingrid Lommer: "One of the two girls has sat here, the other stood here. And they had the intention to return to Boquete. And they sat here for a little while. The mister from Casa de Pedro has seen them here. And at some point they were gone."
"One of the two girls has sat here, the other stood here. And they had the intention to return to Boquete. And they sat here for a little while. The mister from Casa de Pedro has seen them here. And at some point they were gone."
Manolu Ruiz (mayor of Boquete): "I think they went somewhere else. We searched in the mountains but have found nothing." Presenter: 'Do you think that a crime took place?' Manolu Ruiz: "I hope not. I only hope that they are still alive." Presenter: 'By now there are said to be new signals about a possible breakthrough in the case. It is not clear what signals. Diny Froon: "It is more like a rumour that we heard. And we want to check everything. To find out if we can find a trace in these rumours. If they are true or not."** Presenter: 'Jan Rigter, Diny's brother, has travelled with them to Panama, together with his wife. For years he worked for the Dutch police but he also knows that in countries such as Panama, you need a private detective to really get to the bottom of things.'
'For years he worked for the Dutch police but he also knows that in countries such as Panama, you need a private detective to really get to the bottom of things.'
Jan Rigter: "First there are the tips that could come in through the offering of a reward. The police doesn't do anything with these tips, so you need someone who will verify them. The private detective can do this. Sometimes you also receive tips from psychics. Which could be correct perhaps. And then you try to link those to the facts that are known. And the police often does not have the time to properly investigate this." Presenter: 'The reward for the golden tip has by now been increased. And this has to open up the naturally closed-natured Panamanians. Diny Froon: "But then we need certainty within the next three weeks, about where the girls are and that they return to us alive and healthy." Diny Froon: "It has to happen here. So we really want this to make it to the national papers here. And the people already talk about it, but the coverage has to get even bigger. Because here is where it has to happen. There must be people here who know something. And this is how we want to encourage people and to convince them to make contact when they know something. To give us tips we can work with."
"And there are plans from us to constantly have one of our families present here from now on. We will stay present here, until this is solved. We don't want to leave them alone."
Peter Froon: "And there are plans from us to constantly have one of our families present here from now on. We will stay present here, until this is solved. We don't want to leave them alone."
Presenter: 'And Tros Vermist has raised the reward for the golden tip with 1000 euro. That program will give attention to this case tonight.'
**As for the rumour: I think it was this event which the Froon's referred to in this TV interview. A peculiar tip was checked; around this time, and reported on on May 16th 2014: "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 calledCulebre, 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 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 has not been searched by Dutch sniffer dogs (who were trained to find living people), as they will not be allowed to go there in the upcoming week. On a Boquete forum, a person named Allan wrote 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."
A new theory in the Kris and Lisanne disappearance
Juan had contact with a source very close to the Kremers family, called V. who followed the disappearance from close-by. V. says he also had access to all the materials the direct family had access to. After working on it for months at the time, he presented Juan with HIS scenario of what may have happened to the girls, which is very different from what we have heard until now. Summarized: going by his suggested theory, Kris and Lisanne ended up walking the Il Pianista trail on Monday March 31st 2014, and not on the 1st of April. That Monday morning they first went to the Spanish language school, to do some research on things to do that day. And V. proposes that they decided to walk the trail right away, due to the nice weather. On March 31st they left in the morning and reached the summit without any problems. They also continued to walk beyond the summit for a bit, but then returned and came back to the start of the trail, down the same path, around 13:30. From there they took a taxi back to Boquete**. Lisanne had been left with some pain in her ankle and suffered from a mild cold. As they were tired, they went to a massage parlour in the afternoon (the one Lisanne's mother talked about in one of the Dutch talk shows, with masseuse Sigrid). Fast forward to April 1st and Kris and Lisanne visited the Spanish language school again. They were seen by a teacher and a coworker on the premise, Eileen and Marjolein, and left again around 13:00; the same time when the teacher had to start her work, which is why she remembers the time so well. She saw Kris and Lisanne from the rancho where she taught. The plan was for them to go swimming somewhere that day. And prior to that, they wanted to visit the market in town. Some minutes past 13:00, Kris and Lisanne walked out of the school and took a taxi, in the direction of the village of Boquete. Their 34-year old taxi driver was Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu (found dead under suspicious circumstances a year later). He also had two other passengers, two local men. The girls told the cab driver about their plans for the day. Mastinu knew a place where they could swim. He dropped them off in town shortly, where they bought some groceries and mosquito spray and then took them to a recreational swimming place in the area. V. wrote that it was a small lake near the international airport Enrique Malek, near the city of David.
It is at this lake that they were held captive suddenly, according to V. Quote: "They had to give off their phones' PIN codes under pressure, and were asked about the Dutch emergency phone number. This emergency number was then called around 16:39, most likely by the perpetrators themselves, after removing the mobile phone's card. That way they were sure that no phone connection would be made. From this place, "a red four wheel drive car" transported Kris and Lisanne to Panama-City. They also carried their backpack, containing all the personal possessions they brought along that day. Swimming clothes, phones, a camera, a water bottle, an ID card, toilet paper and some small pieces of paper. The intention of the perpetrators was to use the girls in Panama City's sex industry. When it became clear on April 3rd 2014 that Kris and Lisanne went missing, a helicopter brought them from Panama-City to a place just over the border with Colombia, V. thinks. They brought their backpack. It is in Colombia that both the girls were eventually killed. Their phones were charged there too, and searched through by the perpetrators. They went through the photos on the digital camera by inserting the photo-card from this camera in a computer. They saw that the girls went on a Pianista trail hike on March 31st, and the perpetrators then changed the date and times of these photos; they forwarded them to April 1st (very easy to do this). Making it seem as if Kris and Lisanne took those photos on the Tuesday when they went missing, and as if they never came back from this hike. They accidentally changed the year of the digital photos to 2013 instead of 2014, or perhaps they found the year to be 2013 already and left it that way. The date on the mobile phones was also changed and moved forward one day, making it seem as if the photo taken on Kris' smartphone was also taken on April 1st instead of March 31st. Some photos showing Lisanne on the summit are from when they returned to the summit, (while the images that were shown of Kris and Lisanne having lunch in Boquete, could be from April 1st instead of March 31st). The perpetrators also made fake emergency phone calls on set times during the day, making it appear that the girls were alive and lost. However, again, they called after removing the phone cards, with one exception (day 2) to make it look convincing. They recharged the phone's batteries several times."
Going further with this specific and suggested theory. Quote:"On April 11th 2014, the perpetrators took a helicopter to the town of David in Panama, and made a series of photos during the night in the jungle above Boquete. Making it seem as if Kris and Lisanne were still stuck there, trying to make emergency signs. They took several small pieces of paper from the backpack as evidence and photographed them, together with some toilet paper which they put in an SOS-type of shape. They also photographed some of Kris' hair, which they brought along to make it look like Kris was actually there in the jungle herself. In June they flew back again, carrying the girls' backpack, containing their personal belongings. Most of the girls' body parts were left behind in the water where Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu drove Kris and Lisanne on April 1st 2014. But several smaller bones had been brought along by the kidnappers, to make a trail within the jungle between Bocas del Torro and Boquette; the area where they supposedly had been dropped off by Mastinu on April 1st. The perpetrators placed some pieces of clothing in places where they were easy to spot. They left a shoe from Lisanne with her cut off foot in it, but also several bones from Kris and they did it in such a manner that local guides or Indigenous people certainly would find them. They placed the phone cards back into the smartphones and in the backpack. This backpack was also left behind on a spot where the group was certain it would be found the next day, and in the rough vicinity of the bones. Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu, the taxi driver was held for a short while for investigation, and he spoke with the media in June 2014 and he told them that he dropped Kris and Lisanne off on the start of the Pianista Trail on April 1st 2014. He was later heard again by the authorities. But that was that. Until 34 year old Leonardo Arturo Gonzalez Mastinu was found dead, in March 2015. He was found head down in very shallow water, in the exact same recreational waters in the province of Chiriqui as where he dropped of the girls. He was left there for dead." By the way: a very similar story was published in a national Dutch newspaper back in June 2014. Later they made a rectification under pressure, stating that there is in hindsight not enough evidence to back that story up. And here the same story comes by too.
So yeh, this is one person's suggested scenario
I try to gather public info here about this case, so this theory also is added. I can't say I believe the complete theory, but personally I do believe some aspects of this theory could perhaps be correct (and some sound too far-fetched to me). The fact that the girls went swimming seems confirmed by the leaked swimming photo. Perhaps this source is also correct that something bad happened to them afterwards. The concept of making fake emergency phone calls by removing the telephone card is smart I think. Juan reckons that a card-less phone call obviously makes no connection with emergency services, but would still be registered as a phone call in the mobile phone. Because it is registered by the phone itself. The cell phone towers and masts in Boquete have by all accounts not been successfully checked. The prosecution more or less said flat out; well we can't really check which phone made contact with which cell tower.. No way. Just wasn't possible. But helicopter take-offs and landings? I'm not sure that could have been done unnoticed. Even helicopters have passenger lists. Although in corrupt (enough) countries, something like that may perhaps be able to be arranged/turned a blind eye to. But still.. Secretly flying two missing tourists to a neighbouring country like Colombia, then flying back again to plant their belongings and some bones in the jungle of Panama.. That sounds like way too much effort and work, when you can also just ensure that they and all their belongings permanently disappear. Also, following this theory further; that lake near the airport is bloody far away. It's near David, so a fair ride. Why drive so far for a simple swim in a taxi? When nearby Boquete you also have swimming opportunities. Both are called River Chiriqui however, maybe the source got confused with those similar names? There are hot springs nearby in a place called Caldera, and local media reported early on that Kris and Lisanne had been seen there by witnesses at some point during their stay. This was also written on a local Boquete online forum. Kris and Lisanne were in general cautious not to spend too much money; they were also eager to use public wifi so that their phone bills wouldn't get too high. I can't believe they'd want to ride an hour or so in a taxi for a swimming spot, when they could have found very nice places to swim nearby. Maybe some local people told them about the bathing place or took them there. I bet that if they did in fact go swimming, that they would have more likely agreed to go to something more close by. Maybe after they completed their intense hike of the Pianista in the warm weather that day. Or maybe on a previous day. Although that then begs the question why nothing was mentioned about it in their diaries.. A swim may also explain in a more logical manner why their bras were found neatly folded up in their bag as well as their sunglasses. These girls had a whale of a time earlier in Bocas del Toro, where they hung out with a group of young men, including two Dutch guys (pictured all in some of their Bocas photos which I also shared on this blog). They had very much enjoyed the sun, beach, drinking, dancing and socializing in Bocas del Toro, and they may have grown more confident in themselves therefore, and looking forward to meeting new (young) people in Boquete now. Especially after the distressing news about their volunteer work at the local children's school having been cancelled.
Although there is also the problem of their phones never making cell tower contact again after 13:38 PM on April 1st. Perhaps.... the authorities were shit at reading those data out? Perhaps the girls had their phones switched off entirely at that point? Both of them... John van den Heuvel revealed that Kris and Lisanne had their phones set to flight mode regularly, to avoid surprise extra roaming costs. Or perhaps people meddled with the data, to make it look like these girls never got off the mountain and 'just' perished there. It happens everywhere after all; people dying in the wilderness, sometimes not even far from civilization, while half the world is out there looking for them. Yet, they are never found.
I have some doubts about the part of this suggested theory where Kris and Lisanne supposedly already completed the Pianista Hike on March 31st, instead of April 1st. And then didn't tell their host family nor their own families about the completed hike in the evening of the 31st... Nor was it even mentioned in their diaries. (Lisanne did write about the children's school debacle that day and that they spent most of the Monday waiting for a Spanish school employee to find them replacement work). Would they really not have written it down in their diary if they had also walked the Pianista Trail? Sure, they were preoccupied with the children's school disappointment, but their host mother Miriam even went as far as to state to the local media (after they went missing), that she didn't think they would go for a hike at all, considering the rough state Lisanne seemed in, health wise.. A cough, possible asthma, a sore throat. Combined with her home sickness. Perhaps the bad news they had received that day from the children's school did indeed overshadow the completed hike. Volunteer work was he main purpose of their trip to Panama, after all. Perhaps the disappointment about this unfriendly treatment at the children's school was all that was on their minds that day, hence them not mentioning the hike at all to family, friends, facebook nor their diaries. - On the other hand; perhaps Kris and Lisanne díd start the Pianista hike in the afternoon of March 31st, but took a wrong turn, and decided to try again on Tuesday? There wouldn't have been a real need then to tell others about it. But I would also consider (within this proposed theory from V.) the possibility that the girls only started and completed the Pianista hike on April 1st, but that they returned after taking photo #508 and descended in a good time, leaving them with time on their hands to cool off and go for a swim. They may even have been accompanied by someone or multiple people on their hike, and then been invited for a refreshing swim right afterwards. You already read about the strange death of Osman Valenzuela from Alto Boquete on April 4th 2014, someone who according to some reports had photos on his mobile phone depicting two young women, one with red hair and the other blonde. Police are said to have seized the phone, but the young man's family stated to the press that they never got it back. Nothing was ever publicly declared about these supposed photos. Could there be more photos of Kris and Lisanne, out and about in the Boquete region? Another problem is that police has revealed that the girls did online searches for the Il Pianista trail on the morning of April 1st 2014, supposedly, on computers from the language school. Why would they do that if they had already walked the trail the day prior? Perhaps to verify where they went wrong earlier? Although Juan told me that it may/could have been Eileen or someone else from the Language School who checked the history on the computers there, and noticed that there had been google searches for the Pianista Trail on the Tuesday morning, assuming it were Kris and Lisanne who were responsible for this.
On the other hand, within this proposed new theory from V., some conflicting seeming witness statements are actually incorporated. Those people living at the Pianista Trail who claimed to have seen the girls on the 31st now no longer have to have been confused or lying; the witnesses at the language school neither. Although, unless we assume that the girls returned for the same trek on Tuesday April 1st, we would automatically have a few other people 'confused', who believed that they saw them on the Pianista Trail on April 1st... Jose Morales for instance has stated to police and Dutch journalists that he spoke with the girls on April 1st in the late afternoon, when they supposedly made their way back down from the mountain, and asked this hostel owner for advice about the way back to Boquete. He said he advised them to take a taxi. Most importantly; the people from the restaurant at the start of Il Pianista, who told Lee Zeltzer that they borrowed their dog Blue to the girls, would then have also been confused and given the wrong information to investigators? Although we have no photo evidence whatsoever of Blue being with the girls. Not sure you would forget the specifics of when you borrowed your dog to tourists though? Even though Blue was a free romaing dog in some ways and was seen with many tourists. But this new theory does allow us to better explain the Pianista Summit photos, where Lisanne was pictured all over the summit with different hair styles and alternating cloudy and cloud free backgrounds, in pictures taken supposedly mere seconds apart. Within this theory the girls did return to the summit and these photos of different times on the summit may have been mingled. Photo/video file 509, which is missing and got deleted, may actually have been of the girls going for a swim at this supposed lake then. And the theory would confirm that those pictures were altered in photoshop, something Juan also suspects after research of the photos' EXIF data. As youtuber Dorian G. wrote: "Regarding many of the witness reports, the April 1st timeline just does NOT fit in with what we know. And I think that's why many of us are still here, scratching our heads - because, deep down, we KNOW we've been hoodwinked, but couldn't understand where and why we've been fooled. I think the point is this, whether or not March 31st truly is the REAL date or not, it doesn't hurt to think outside the box and to reevaluate this case under a new lens. It gives a fresh perspective to it all." - Unfortunately we have no idea on just what exactly this source based his theory. Making it for now just another wild theory to chuck on an existing pile of possible theories..
In this Dutch news article from June 9th, 2014, it is claimed that Kris and Lisanne were killed for their organs:
"The AD reports that Kris Kremers (22) and Lisanne Froon (21) may have been killed to sell their organs. They are claimed to have unknowingly stepped in a fake taxi, which did not take them to their destination - a market in a nearby village - but to a place where they were drugged. The AD: "The driver, reportedly in his thirties, is said to have sedated his Dutch "customers" with a "knockout spray" and tied them up with tape. The organs from the two girlfriends' bodies were then removed from their bodies with the help of two henchmen, in a small building at a small lake near Enrique Malek International Airport. These organs were then flown by helicopter to a place just across the border in Colombia. The bodies of the victims are said to have been dumped by the lake, according to sources. They rely on information from witnesses, tips from third parties and their own investigation." The newspaper soon after wrote a rectification.
And now for something entirely different. This Panamanian psychic woman claimed on April 15th or so in 2014 to a Dutch newspaper that she saw the girls sometimes in her dreams
The Panamanian Marcia Smith Del Rio (45) is a psychic and has given useful tips in the past to police that led them find her lost sister and a murdered local Indigenous person. Now the woman claims that she saw the missing girls from Amersfoort twice in her dreams. "The family doesn't want to hear anything about this, but I will keep looking as long as I feel the pain of the girls," the Panamanian tells a reporter from [Dutch newspaper] AD by telephone. Today she travels on her own from her hometown of David, the capital of the province of Chiriquí, to coffee plantations near Boquete, the village where Kremers and Froon disappeared on the 1st of April.
The coffee plantations are on a mountainside near the Pianista trail, the walking route which the Dutch girls wanted to walk. "I went there early this week with a private investigator who is investigating the disappearance case. We then searched a few houses and huts but found no traces of the girls. I didn't get a special feeling there either. I hope to get that at the plantations." Smith Del Rio, who has no children of her own and holds a high position with the Panamanian timber exporter Teak Land, visits the place in question because, according to her, the vegetation and color of the earth correspond to those in her dreams about missing Dutch girls.
"Dragged by the hair"
The first dream dates from last Monday, Smith Del Rio says, looking back [This was April 7th, 2014]. "I saw a girl with light-colored hair that was grabbed by a man in a forest setting. He was wearing jeans and work shoes. His hand had the color of a latino. The girl screamed and was dragged roughly by her hair behind a house or cabin. So rough that she was bleeding. I saw dark, chocolate-colored earth moving and I felt a stabbing pain in my stomach. This pain was so intense that I woke up crying." The Panamanian woman claimed the second dream last Monday [April 14th, 2014]. In it she saw a mountainside and plants that she thought looked like coffee bushes. "I saw one of the girls through her own eyes. They looked up at the sky. She lay on her back among the bushes and was very calm. I think she's dead", says the clairvoyant who gets overwhelmed by emotions at this point. Smith Del Rio says she has no idea which of the two girls she saw in her dreams. "I don't see faces but only light-colored hair." She said she spoke to friends about her dreams but did not go to the police. "I don't trust him. People regularly disappear in Panama but things are seldom resolved. That's why I do my own thing."
The Panamanian claimed to have met Lisanne Froon's brother after the families' emotional press conference in Panama, but he was not interested in her story. "We are going back to the Netherlands", he said. I told him this seemed unwise to me, and that they had to put more pressure on the authorities to find the girls. After all, a human life is less important here, let alone that of tourists." One of the people with whom Smith Del Rio spoke about her dreams about the Dutch girls is Erik Westra (62). The retired former detective has been living near Boquete for eight years. He calls the woman "anything but a charlatan." According to him, her dreams repeatedly provided useful tips in the past in investigation cases. "She doesn't solve things, but she helps," the former policeman says. The spokesperson for the Froon family says that both in Panama and in the Netherlands they have received information from 'these kind of people', referring to psychics. According to him, messages that seemed interesting were shared with Lisanne's brother, uncle and friend during their stay in Panama. "All signals have been looked at seriously," says Wil Ellenbroek. He spoke extensively to Lisanne's brother last night after his return from Panama. "I have heard nothing about this Panamanian clairvoyant and her information."
Plane crash of her sister
One of the cases in which Smith Del Rio has given useful tips based on her psychic dreams, was about her own sister's disappearance. She was one of the 156 passengers of American Airlines flight AAL965 that crashed in Colombia at the end of 1995. The plane, en route from Miami to Cali, hit a mountain and crashed into an inaccessible area. "That night I had a dream in which I saw my sister. She was laying among crushed trees and constantly said the same thing: 'they search on the wrong side of the mountain'. I then contacted the Colombian authorities with whom I shared my information. They moved the search area and then found the victims." Another case in which Smith Del Rio allegedly helped, was the death of a member of the Ngäbe Indian tribe in the Chiriquí province. He and another tribal member were attacked in March 2013 by masked men. Presumably civilian agents. This happened during a demonstration against the construction of a dam for the controversial hydroelectric power station in the Tabasara River. Smith Del Rio: "I saw one of the victims floating in my dream in a nearby stream. He was severely beaten and strangled." Tribe members found the man's body the next day in the specific mentioned river. That happened based on the instructions of the clairvoyant.
Someone from this Dutch forum contacted Miss Marcia Smith Del Rio later through email and heard this from her: "Sorry but I didn't hear anything recently. It's not unusual to find taxi drivers dead in Panama; normally it is related to drugs. I just don't believe that the two young ladies were eaten by animals. There are no animals in Panama that can do all that. The ladies are dead.. nothing will change that. Panama police didn't do their job correct. The people who did this to the girls are free. I have no names from those who did this, because I don't know their names. I had my dreams and I can guess based on them and based on what was found back what happened to them, but I will keep that for me." By the way: regarding those coffee bushes the clairvoyant keeps mentioning: in this travel blogfrom 2018, two Dutch travelers blogged about tour guide F (who's jungle farm they visited): "He said that he himself had a small farm with a small coffee plantation."
Three readings by psychics on the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne
And info from another psychic
November 15th 2020
Laura L. wrote Juan directly with the following information: "This information cannot be included in a serious research because it is based on a paranormal experience, and this is not considered a science, and many think it is stuff, but I only use it as a reference. I asked a visionary friend I have about this case. He´s a doctor and never talks about his gift. He didn´t know anything about this. Anyway, he could see several things that disturbed him, and me too. Part of his gift consists in that he´s able to feel what the victim felt. The 1st thing he saw, 2 white girls dressed in light clothes and carrying a few things in a backpack. They were in a warm forest. He sees that these girls made contact on social media with a man, approximately 30, 35 years old. He´s very manipulative and cunning. He suggested to the girls places they could visit in Panama. His main target was Lisanne and he used Kris to psychologically torture Lisanne. He abducted the girls and kept them locked up for about a week. He took their backpack and camera from them and did what he wanted with their things and with the girls. He is a psychopath who likes to see people suffer. He killed Kris first and Lisanne later. Kris´ body was cut up and some parts were burned in a handmade bonfire, in a forest, near a river. He could even hear some of what her executioners were saying. They were 2 or 3 guys, very tough and rude. They were insulting her, as if she had done something bad, and they called her "gringa", as if they didn´t know her. This man, or his people, set up all the false evidence to confuse the police and had fun with it. Everything was planned so that no one ever knows what happened. I don´t know if this story could be true, but if somebody wants to write a book, you Juan, would be the perfect person in doing this work. I can hardly believe that 6 years later from Kris´ and Lisanne´s tragedy, Betzaida Pitty and others are still trying to manipulate us. I wish for a miracle in which they are telling the truth. Take care. [..] I had already seen information about Sebastiaan Z.. in the google album. He´s my main suspect and the most important person I was looking for."
Very detailed information, although psychic info is rarely considered a reliable source to work with. But I find them interesting nonetheless. Juan and I wonder who a 30-35 year old male person of interest could be. Perhaps one of the younger tour guides.. Perhaps this Dutchman Seb Z., who was seen selling his red truck on April 5th of 2014 in the area.
And here is another local newspaper article about a paranormal psychic who had visions about Kris and Lisanne around the time they disappeared
Monday, May 19, 2014 - This is a literal translation in English from the original newspaper article. "Verísimo Fuentes (left on the photo), connoisseur of the Boquete area, with more than 38 years of experience, studies the sketches drawn by Horacio, and is surprised by the accuracy with which this man drew these places.
You see them trapped in a cave that is not distinguishable from the main path
Few believe that clairvoyance is possible. Furthermore, it is very delicate to use these extreme resources in public when you have a case like the disappearance of the Dutch tourists Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers. But when the helicopters, the mountaineers and even the hound dogs did not work, some believed that perhaps the talents of a seer would not hurt. That happened last week, when a group of concerned people went into the mountain, equipped with only their faith. In front were two men: a guide who knows the place like the palm of his hand, and a seer, who, although he had never been in these places, managed to draw them with a likeliness that left many with their mouths open. The day after the disappearance of the young Dutch girls, on one of the trails in Boquete, a man, almost 42 kilometers away, in a town in the western part of the province of Chiriqui, had a vision of what was happening with those girls. This man, whom we will call Horacio to hide his identity according to his request, did not know the news of the Dutch when he had the vision. He only saw two girls, he felt their fear, and in his mind appeared the images of them both fleeing. He was participating in a prayer group when, suddenly, he entered into what is known as 'channeling', which is nothing more than receiving extrasensory information. He saw two girls, a blonde and another with darker hair. One tall and one shorter. You see them 'breaking through', that is, not going over the official path. They ran, scared. Something or someone had filled them with terror. During the flight, the youngest, with dark hair, falls down a cliff, and when the blonde tries to help her, she also rushes down the hill. According to the information received by the seer, the one with dark hair is wounded, stained with blood, and due to the injury she can not move. He sees both of them horizontally.