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Lost in Panama

Kris Kremer and Lisanne Froon were 2 Dutch girls travelling in Panama. They were both incredibly well-liked and either graduated or attending university. They both grew up in Amersfoort and dreamt of travelling the world as so many of us do, and for six months, they worked hard at the coffee shop 'In Den Kleinen Hap' to save up for the journey of a lifetime. They were going to spend six weeks in South American paradise, helping out the locals and learning Spanish while doing so. They were incredibly excited, and when March 15, 2014, rolled around, they could hardly contain their excitement. They began touring the country for two weeks, spending time in all the most popular tourist locations before arriving at Boquete in the West of the country. This area is renowned for the astounding nature, most notably the rainforest and the rich culture.

Most tourists return awestruck and fundamentally changed- I can assume it was hardly any different for Kris and Lisanne. Upon their arrival on March 29, they would be staying with a local family, hosting them. They were to spend their time in the region, helping local children and exploring the vibrant nature. On April 1, a few days after their arrival, they set out at 11 am (after a late brunch, which is mostly discussed in the case) with their host's dog Azul. Before leaving, at this infamous brunch, they were reported to have been with two other Dutchmen, however, this was not consistently reported throughout articles, and we can't say for sure the truth of this. However, they set off, and as per their Facebook, they were planning to walk around the area, specifically the gorgeous trails. One specific one which they were believed to have taken was known as Pianista Trail.

The course is not considered difficult or specifically unsafe. However, it is recommended to return after reaching the summit. Specific areas can become muddy or difficult to traverse, especially in the rainy seasons. The trail is a good 4km away from civilizations and often takes around 3–4 hours to complete, so the host family was not concerned when the girls did not return. However, when Azul made his way back, unaccompanied by either girl, alarm bells began to ring. The girls had not packed for a night out in the jungle, nor had they alerted anyone of plans to stay out overnight. Fears crossed continents when the girls' families became fearful after their daily updates via messages ceased to be sent.

After a missed appointment with a local guide on April 2 to tour the area, the family alerted police, and by the next day, a full aerial and ground search of the site was being conducted. Residents, police and national services were being sent out to help find the missing hikers- but to no avail. April 6 marked the parents and international forces' arrival, as the Dutch police and detectives entered the investigation. They brought with them cadaver dogs, which could detect traces of scent for up to 9 days, rain or shine. The stakes were high, and a $300,000 (USD) reward was put in place to encourage the search for the truth. The dogs were initially a success, detecting various locations where the two missing girls' scent was concentrated; however, no other traces were found in these areas. The search party had previously reviewed the majority of them. This is when a Dutch criminal investigator, specialized in foreign disappearances, released a weighty statement setting a precedent for the results of the search: "the women could not have simply disappeared from the trail," implying some external force, perhaps involving foul play, had led to their mysterious vanishing. Their poster was spread far and wide across the nation, and even the fire-brigade became involved, desperately trying to find success amongst the crevices of the jungle.


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