Deaths of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon

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Kris Kremers
Kris Kremers.jpg
Born(1992-08-09)9 August 1992[1]
Amersfoort, Utrecht, Netherlands
Disappeared1 April 2014 (aged 21)
Boquete, Chiriquí, Panama
StatusDeceased (human remains found)
NationalityDutch
Height167 cm (5 ft 6 in)
Parent(s)
  • Roelie Grit
  • Hans Kremers
Lisanne Froon
Lisanne Froon.jpeg
Born(1991-09-24)24 September 1991[2]
Amersfoort, Utrecht, Netherlands
Disappeared1 April 2014 (aged 22)
Boquete, Chiriquí, Panama
StatusDeceased (human remains found)
NationalityDutch
Height184 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Parent(s)
  • Diny Froon
  • Peter Froon

Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon were Dutch students who disappeared on 1 April 2014, while hiking the El Pianista trail in Panama. After an extensive search, portions of their bodies were found a few months later. Their cause of death could not be determined definitively, but Dutch authorities working with forensic and search-rescue investigators initially thought it likely the students had accidentally fallen from a cliff after becoming lost. However, foul play could not be entirely ruled out, and is considered by some much more likely due to other remains being found.[3] The circumstances and aftermath of their disappearance have resulted in much speculation about their final days.[3][4]

Panamanian authorities came under fire for allegedly mishandling the disappearance and aftermath.[5][6] Further investigation into the case in 2017 raised questions about the initial investigation,[7] as well as a possible link to murders in the area.[8] Although many theories have been presented as to what happened to Kremers and Froon, no official cause of death has been ruled.

Background[edit]

Kris Kremers (21) and Lisanne Froon (22) both grew up in Amersfoort, Utrecht, in the Netherlands. Kremers was described as an open, creative, and responsible individual, while Froon was described as aspiring, optimistic, intelligent, and a passionate volleyball player. Kremers had just completed her studies in cultural social education, specializing in art education at the University of Utrecht; Froon had graduated with a degree in applied psychology[9] from Deventer.

Only a few weeks prior to leaving for Panama, Froon had moved in with Kremers in a dorm room in Amersfoort, and they worked together at the café/restaurant called ‘In den Kleinen Hap’. They both saved up money for six months and planned to go to Panama together on a special six-week vacation, hoping to learn Spanish and to do something of significance for the locals, particularly volunteering with children. The trip was also supposed to be a reward to Froon for graduating.[10][11]

Disappearance[edit]

Kremers and Froon arrived in Panama on 15 March 2014. They toured the country for two weeks before arriving in Boquete, Chiriquí, on 29 March to live with a local family for a month while volunteering with children. On 1 April around 11:00, they went hiking near the clouded forests that surrounded the Baru volcano, on the El Pianista trail, not far from Boquete. Some sources say they took with them a dog that belonged to the owners of the ‘Il Pianista’ restaurant,[12] but this has not been confirmed. The women wrote on Facebook that they intended to walk around Boquete, and it was reported that they had been seen having brunch with two young Dutch men before embarking on the trail.[13]

Some sources claim the owners of the restaurant became alarmed when their dog returned home that night without Kremers and Froon. Froon's parents stopped receiving text messages, which both women had been sending to their families daily. On the morning of 2 April, the women missed an appointment with a local guide.[14] On 6 April, their parents arrived in Panama along with police, dog units, and detectives from the Netherlands to conduct a full-scale search of the forests for ten days. The parents offered a US$30,000 reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Kremers and Froon.[15]

Discovery of backpack[edit]

Ten weeks later, on 14 June, a local woman turned in Froon's blue backpack, which she reported finding by a riverbank[16] near her village of Alto Romero, in the Bocas del Toro Province. The backpack contained two pairs of sunglasses, US$83 in cash, Froon's passport, a water bottle, Froon's camera, two bras, and the women's phones – in good condition.

The women's phones showed that just hours after the beginning of their hike, someone dialed 112 (international emergency number in use in Panama) and 9-1-1 (the emergency number in Panama).[17][15] The first distress call attempt was made by Kremers' iPhone at 16:39 and, shortly after that, another attempt was made from Froon's Samsung Galaxy at 16:51, but none of the calls got through due to lack of reception in the area. None of the subsequent call attempts ever managed to go through, either.

On 4 April, Froon's phone battery became exhausted after 05:00 and the phone was never used again. Kremers' iPhone would not make any more calls either but was intermittently turned on to search for reception. Between 5 and 11 April, the iPhone was turned on multiple times but without ever entering the correct PIN code again (either no PIN or a wrong PIN code was entered). On 11 April, the phone was turned on at 10:51 and was turned off for the last time at 11:56.[citation needed]

Date of Call iPhone 4 (Kremers) Samsung Galaxy S III (Froon)
1 April 2014 16:39 – call attempt 1 (112) 16:51 – call attempt 1 (112)
2 April 08:14 – call attempt 2 (112) 06:58 – call attempt 2 (112)

10:52 – call attempt 3 (112 and 911)

13:50 – check signal 1

(unconfirmed information: call attempt 4 (112 and 911) with short-time connection to GSM)

16:19 – check signal 2; the phone is turned on the whole night.

3 April 09:32 – call attempt 3 (911)

11:47 – check signal 1

15:59 – check signal 2

07:36 – the phone is turned off.
4 April 10:16 – check signal 3

13:42 – check signal 4

04:50 – check signal 3

05:00 – check signal 4; the battery is empty; no further activity.

5 April 10:50 – check signal 5

13:37 – check signal 6 (no PIN)

6 April 10:26 – check signal 7 (no PIN)

13:37 – check signal 8 (no PIN)

11 April 10:51 – check signal 9 (no PIN)

11:56 – switched off after 1:05 h; no further activity; 22% battery left.

Froon's Canon camera contained photos from 1 April suggesting that the women had taken a trail at the overlook of the Continental Divide and wandered into some wilderness hours before their first attempt at making emergency calls, but with no signs of anything unusual. On 8 April, ninety flash photos were taken between 01:00 and 04:00, apparently deep in the jungle and in near-complete darkness. A few photos show that they were possibly near a river or a ravine. Some show a twig with plastic bags on top of a rock; another shows what looks like a backpack strap and a mirror on another rock, and another shows the back of Kremers' head.[18][17]

Discovery of remains[edit]

The discovery of the backpack led to new searches along the Culebra Cut.[19] Kremers' denim shorts were found atop a rock on the opposite bank of the tributary, a few kilometres away from where Froon's backpack had been discovered. A rumour claimed that the shorts were found zipped and neatly folded, but pictures of the shorts, published in 2021, disproved this information.[20] Two months later, closer to where the backpack was discovered, a pelvis and a boot with a foot inside were found. Soon, at least 33 widely scattered bones were discovered along the same river bank. DNA testing confirmed they belonged to Kremers and Froon. Froon's bones still had some skin attached to them, but Kremers' bones appeared to have been bleached.[18][17] A Panamanian forensic anthropologist later claimed that under magnification "there are no discernible scratches of any kind on the bones, neither of natural nor cultural origin – there are no marks on the bones at all".[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Vermist – Lisanne Froon – 112Regio.nl". www.112regio.nl. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Kris & Lisanne likely fell off cliff in Panama: investigators". 4 March 2015.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Kris and Lisanne most likely to have been involved in a fatal accident near the Pianista trail concludes a team of Forensic Specialists". 4 March 2015. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017.
  5. ^ Kryt, Jeremy (24 July 2016). "Death on the Serpent River: How the Lost Girls of Panama Disappeared". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Cronología de la búsqueda de Kris y Lisanne" [Timeline of the search for Kris and Lisanne]. TVN. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  7. ^ Kryt, Jeremy (21 September 2018). "The Lost Girls of Panama: The Full Story". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  8. ^ Kryt, Jeremy (16 May 2017). "Lisanne, Kris, Catherine—Will the Panama Cases Ever Be Solved?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  9. ^ "About Lisanne | Foundation to Find Kris & Lisanne". 4 August 2017. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  10. ^ "About Lisanne". Foundation to Find Kris & Lisanne. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  11. ^ "About Kris". Foundation to Find Kris & Lisanne. 8 May 2014. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  12. ^ Lee Zeltzer (14 April 2014). "14 days of frustration and now …". Boquete Panama Guide. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Hunt for girls missing in Panama scaled down, Dutch men being questioned". DutchNews.nl. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Panamese autoriteiten organiseren morgen persconferentie" [Panamanian authorities are organizing press conference tomorrow]. NRC. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  15. ^ a b Jeremy Kryt; Nadette De Visser (30 July 2016). "The Last Man to See the Lost Girls of Panama Alive". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Other Images – Lost in the jungle – The book" (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  17. ^ a b c Jeremy Kryt; Nadette De Visser (7 August 2016). "The Lost Girls of Panama: The Camera, the Jungle, and the Bones". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Dutch girls' camera took 90 photos in 3 hours". La Estrella de Panamá. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  19. ^ Anonymous (19 June 2014). "Indígenas han sido pieza clave en investigaciones" [Indigenous people have been a key piece in investigations]. Panamá oAmérica (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  20. ^ Kryt, Jeremy (15 May 2017). "Deep Inside the Panama 'Paradise' Murder Mysteries". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  21. ^ Kryt, Jeremy (16 May 2017). "The Lost Girls, The Bones, and the Man in the Panama Morgue". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 24 May 2018.

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