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The Mysterious Case of the Dutch Girls

On the first of April 2014, Kris Kremmers, 21, and Lisanne Froon, 22, both went missing after going on a hike in the Panama jungle. Both girls had just recently arrived in the country, as Dutch tourists backpacking in Panama; they had stopped in the city of Boquete and had the intention of visiting the Baru Volcano located within the forest within the city. On that day, a quick hike that was meant to be exciting and memorable to the girls instead became memorable to the whole world, a case plagued by unexplained pictures and horrifying pieces of evidence that left a mark forever.

Kris Kremmers and Lisanne Froon graduated from college and met through work when both decided to travel together, their ultimate goal was to be able to participate in voluntary work, helping to teach kids English and donating books they had collected. The pair had spent six months preparing, gathering donations, and gathering money in order to travel, reportedly having been extremely dedicated to the trip and subsequent volunteer work. In Boquete, staying in their host family's house, they were very well received, the family claiming both girls had been very sweet and open to everything. In their diaries, Kris recounted being very happy and well-adapted while Lisanne seemed to be showing some homesickness and regret, despite understanding that the trip would be essential in her formation and be a memorable experience forever.

The case already began with multiple inconsistencies that plagued investigators all throughout the case. On the first of April, Mirian, the hostess, had left breakfast and had already gone to work when Kris sent a message to her boyfriend claiming they would do the hike, however, according to a Facebook post from them, the girls had planned to walk around the city the whole day. The taxi they had taken, due to the 9 km distance from the city, also confirmed having left both girls near the trail by 1:45 pm, meanwhile, pictures from their phones appeared to have been taken at 11 am on the trail. The Pianista trail was in one of the most popular locations in Boquete, near a restaurant, a relatively back and forth hike that had one main pathway and passed by a few houses, both inhabited and abandoned. During their hike, multiple witnesses accounted to having seen them come back from the trail at around 3 pm; a restaurant worker from the restaurant nearby, the owner of "Pedro Hostel" located near the trail, and other people had mentioned having spoken to them about going back to the city and other trails around the Pianista.

By the afternoon, Mirian had noticed that the girls hadn't come back, however, due to them being tourists and being new in the city, she assumed that they had decided to spend some more time exploring the city and would come back later at night. The fear and suspicion really set in, on the afternoon of April 2nd when Mirian noticed Kris and Lisanne still missing, meanwhile, the dog that had been on the hike with them had already come back. That day, a tour was scheduled for their trip in which a guide was supposed to take them around the city, however, once they didn't show up, suspicions began arising and by 5 pm the police were called. The search for the girls only began on April 3rd, lasting 10 days and offering a 30,000 dollar reward to those who found them. During those 10 days, both girls' parents had gone to Panama, desperate to find them safe and alive. The questions kept arising; had they gotten lost? Had they encountered a dangerous animal? Or perhaps a dangerous person?

10 weeks after their disappearance, there was a report of a mysterious blue backpack having been found 8 kilometres away from the trail they had originally taken. The backpack was instantly found to be from Lisanne's backpack; the backpack which hadn't been in that location the night prior, was found completely dry despite the fact that it had been raining heavily for days, and it was most likely carried to the location through the river, the contents also appeared to be untouched. The contents of the bag also left multiple questions among the public, containing; two bras, a digital camera, two sunglasses, two phones, one camera, a water bottle, money, Lisanne's passport and Kris' medical insurance car. Police noted that they also didn't have their house key or the original items they had such as a compass, a digital power bank, and a knife.

As police went through the phone of the girls, they began to realise that there was much more to the case than they originally thought. The police had found that the pair had called both the Dutch police and the local emergency services. On the second of April, 14 hours later, the calls began once more, at least one of the phones calling the police every two hours. By day 5, the girls continued their try to call for help, with no successful attempts Lisanne's battery had died, and they now relied on Kris' phone to get themselves out of whatever danger they were facing, from then on the calls never continued, and the phone was never used anymore. They then realised one thing; whoever had been using Kris' phone after April 5, was not Kris or Lisanne anymore. Up until day 5 whoever had been putting the pin to enter Kris' phone was constantly correct and was always able to login to the phone, but suddenly there were multiple attempts to enter an incorrect code which was never correct. If it had been Lisanne trying to call for help, she would have been able to call the police without having to login into the phone, like all iPhones allow you to do, however, no call was made.

Perhaps one of the most chilling pieces of evidence found through the technology they had left in the bag were the pictures they had found in their digital camera. The first pictures, taken before 1:30 pm, all contained pictures of the view and the girls smiling, between 1:30 and 2 pm investigators noted that some pictures had been manually deleted. As the pictures passed the 2 pm mark, they began to take a different tone, as more pictures began to appear at random shots and angles and showed Kris with a serious and worried face. Further on, it appears the camera was only used again 7 days later, 90 photos were taken that day between 1 and 4 am, of seemingly nothing except for the dark. Questions then arise from this; were they trying to use the camera's light? Were they trying to take photos of someone stalking them? Why was there only a picture of the back of Kris' head with a hint of blood?

The last and most memorable piece of evidence that was found from the case, would be found on June 19th, 2014 along the same river where the backpack was found. A pair of jean shorts, one shoe, 33 bones, and finally one severed foot still inside Lisanne's boot. The severed foot appeared to be cut clean and had no blood left, proving that the cut was not made by an animal, and it had been done after Lisanne's death. Another notable thing was that investigators had found a piece of Lisanne's skin rolled into a ball near the shoe and half of Kris' pelvic bone slightly decomposing near it. Despite all the evidence investigators were never able to come to any official conclusions and by the end, police had let out an official statement claiming that Kris and Lisanne most likely suffered a hikers' accident and as Kris died, Lisanne, desperate to help the search for them in case both died, tried to take pictures of their locations and of Kris' head injury.

This does not match up with a lot of the evidence and claims made by witnesses and people who knew the girls. Locals claimed that the trails were easy enough for tourists to do without guides and that they had multiple pathways that were clear and led back to safety even if one got lost in the way. Those who knew the girls also claimed they were not stupid enough to derail from the trail and go into the Panama jungle all by themselves, and the idea that it was all simply an accident does not match up with the clean-cut ankle and the phone calls or pictures. The case will always remain unsolved with clashing theories and questions left unanswered.


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