Kris Kremers bones are discussed less often regarding the disappearance case of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. When Kris Kremers bone fragments were found, forensic investigators claimed that Kris’s bones were bleached in some fashion, that phosphorus was discovered on her bones and the experts also suggested the possible use of lime. Kris and Lisanne were two young Dutch women that mysteriously disappeared during a hike on April 1st, 2014 in northern Panama.
The concept of “bleached bones” has stuck in my mind. It’s one of the many key indicators that significantly increase the likelihood that foul play was involved in their deaths. I live in Central America, I’ve visited that region of Panama before and I’ve written about dozens of disappearance stories, including Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon.
If you haven’t read their disappearance story, I suggest that you start by reading the link below. You won’t understand the story of what happened regarding the bleached bones of Kris Kremers if you don’t know the full background of the story.
Full Story Link: Unsolved: Kris Kremers And Lisanne Froon In Panama
Graphic Warning: I’m going to cover some unsettling topics here, reference scientific studies and share some photos that may be disturbing. I did my best to share only photos that are scientifically necessary. Please don’t continue reading if you’re squeamish or unwilling to read graphic content.
Why Analyze Kris Kremers Bleached Bones?
I didn’t intend to research all of this. And I wasn’t particularly something that I wanted to research. I’ve already considered the camera photos and backpack contents. My next search for answers entailed looking into the remains that were found. As I was exploring this morbid subject, I considered that other people might be interested in this too. The more that I wrote, the more questions I had. This research is the result of that.
Truly, this is the job of forensic investigators and medical examiners. However, as everyone knows, the “official” analysis provided by authorities was very limited and mostly inconclusive. Neither the Dutch nor Panamanian governments released any official documentation or reports – which gave me very little to work with unfortunately.
I decided to research this from a different angle – the surrounding conditions as they correlate to Kris Kremers bones.
A lot of discussion about Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon’s case references the photos from the camera, the phones and the blue backpack. The problem is that all of those materials may have been tampered with to some degree, or just not investigated altogether (such as the fingerprints). Many people have already analyzed, more than once, how nearly everything may have been tampered with.
The only things we can be truly certain about is two facts: 1. The two girls disappeared, and 2. Some of their remains and belongings were found and inspected by investigators. At the core of everything, that is the only “substance” the public knows. Everything else is debatable.
“For her part, prosecutor Betzaida Pitti said that it is essential to maintain the confidentiality of the summary to clarify this case.”Panama America Newspaper
Granted, privacy and confidentiality are necessary. But that also comes with the expectation that they’ll do their jobs and “clarify” the case properly like Pitti herself suggested – but they absolutely did not clarify the case. Was anything about this case clarified? Too many questions were left unanswered. It’s dangerous and irresponsible. Panama’s government has a responsibility to investigate disappearances properly and thoroughly in order to protect visitors and locals from criminal activity in their country.
At this point, 6 years after Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon’s disappearance and death, obviously no government officials are going to investigate nor discuss the case any further. Both the Dutch government and the Panamanian government have made that clear.
Therefore, I decided to do my best to evaluate the information that is publicly available. Partially for curiosity and partially from the frustration of having so many unanswered questions.
There is a lot of information and analysis here: Climate conditions, rivers, bone review, chemical research, local animal species, etc. Peer review is helpful – I invite anyone with insight into this case to review my research and provide feedback.
Kris Kremers Bleached Bones
Kris Kremers on Left in red and white shirt. Lisanne Froon on Right in turquoise shirt.
This article will focus mostly on Kris Kremers. Kris’s bones were bleached. Lisanne Froon’s bones were not bleached. However, a lot of this analysis can also be utilized to analyze the conditions of decay of Lisanne’s bones too. I tried to leave my personal opinions out of this article as much as possible. My goal was to be as objective as possible.
The bleached bones lead me to ask a lot of questions: What exactly does it mean for bones to be bleached? What are some possible ways that their bones could have been bleached? Can bones be bleached naturally, such as in a river where their bones were found? How does phosphorus affect the bleaching process? And how did the forensics experts handle the discovery of the “bleached bones”?
These questions lead me down a long path of late-night research – for a week. So if you’re interested in the disappearance case of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, I just saved you many hours of research.
Keep in mind – I’m a software engineer with experience working in health care information systems. I now live in Central America. I am not a forensics professional, nor a biologist, nor a doctor, nor a journalist. I had to piece together this information painfully slowly.
Kris Kremers Bones And Lisanne’s Remains
Only two bones from Kris Kremers body were found: A piece of her pelvis (hip bone) and a rib bone (rib #10). The other 99% of Kris’s bones were never found. The only photo publicly available is a medial view of Kris’s left coxal bone.
Also, something more disturbing was found. In late August of 2014, a large lump of Lisanne’s skin was found and it was still in an early state of decomposition. In other words, the chunk of her flesh was relatively “fresh”.
“These remains were found on the banks of the Culebre River, and are sent for analysis“Betzaida Pitti, Office of the Attorney of David
Somehow Kris’s bones had disconnected from all flesh and “aged” rapidly, but Lisanne’s bodily tissue was discovered intact and in relatively fresh condition.
Kris’s bones had no flesh attached. Lisanne Froon’s bones still had flesh attached. So, given the inconsistency between the states of the bodily tissue of the two girls, we can assume that the conditions of decay were quite different, for reasons that we do not know.
Many people believe that Kris died before Lisanne, for a number of reasons. If Lisanne was alive, even only for a couple weeks longer than Kris, she should have had ample time to find help under normal circumstances.
Where Kris Kremers Bones Were Found
On August 2nd, 2014, the residents of Alto Romero found two bones: A coxal bone and a rib. They were later verified by IMELCF, a forensics office in Panama. The remains found highest in elevation were discovered at 800 Meters (~2,600 feet) above sea level near the headwaters of The Serpent River, with cool water flowing north.
“It is important to indicate that the N / W (north and west) is not marked, and therefore the precise location of the bone remains is unknown, making it impossible to locate them on a geographic map.”Autopsy Report – September 19, 2014
In the interest of clarity: The word “Culebre” in Spanish means “Snake” in english and can also be translated to “Serpent”. In this case, sometimes “Culebre” is incorrectly spelled as “Culubre” or “Celubre”, which I needed to lookup to ensure that my research was consistent with the facts of the case. Also, there exists more than one river named “Rio Culebra”, with an “a”, which are entirely different rivers altogether. Be careful not to confuse the spelling. It’s sometimes common to see misspellings to identify one river in various languages and, in other cases, the misspellings could in fact represent two or more different rivers. In this case, we’re referring to one river: The Rio Culebre, the Serpent River which is located in Valle Risco, Bocas del Toro, Panama.
The river has the name “Serpent” because it curves back and forth like a snake. The Serpent River mostly flows slowly and is relatively shallow. It also isn’t a wide river by most comparisons. As I’ll discuss later, the velocity of the river increases substantially during the rainy season.
Getting back to the case…
The bones were discovered a 14 hour hike north and past two rivers from where the two girls originally known to be, which means that Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon had somehow travelled considerably further than anyone in their right mind would travel without being better prepared.
If they had walked that far, why? Why would they embark on an unguided trek over Panama’s Continental Divide when they only had a few hours of daylight? And how? As you’ll see from my research, Kris’s pelvic bone was broken in at least two places.
If their bones were carried downstream, how? Is it possible that they experienced a tragic accident and then were swept downstream by the river? I’m going to analyze the river water and rainfall conditions in detail below.
I can say with certainty that they were educated enough not to go on a spontaneous nighttime hike with an ill equipped backpack and without proper clothing.
Additionally, their hiking route exists on paths commonly used by local villagers. Local inhabitants utilize these trails to visit neighbors and to access the town. If Kris or Lisanne had survived an accident, as their camera photos might suggests, then their cries for help surely would have been heard in the subsequent hours or days following the accident.
Elevation Of The Bones
The elevation of the bones deserve consideration because it affects the temperature and rainfall. Therefore it affects the rate of decomposition of human remains. Also, as you’ll see later, the elevation comes in handy when I compare climate variables with other nearby regions.
Quick note: Elevation and altitude are different. Altitude = elevation + height. Elevation specifically refers to land mass above sea level, while altitude refers to an object’s height (such as airplanes). Both are based on sea level.
This helpful graphic from MapScaping demonstrates the difference:
I put together this Google Earth Map (public access) to better understand the elevation where each item was found. Much of this is based on this map and this map (much thanks to Scarlet). The intention of this Google map was not to mark every important point – the intention was to identify the approximate elevations.
Here are the approximate elevations of various areas that are discussed regarding their disappearance:
- Boquete – 1,250 Meters (Southernmost point)
- Los Naranjos – 1,400 Meters
- Palo Alto – 1,250 Meters
- Il Pianista Trail – 1,800 Meters
- Continental Divide – 1,300 Meters (Last place the girls took photos)
- Alto Romero – 800 Meters
- Jean shorts found – 800 Meters
- Last remains found – 400 Meters (Northernmost point)
For reference, 1000 meters = 3,280 feet.
As you can see, the remains were not found at very high elevations. However, the remains were also found at higher elevations than typical tropical environments. Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon went missing between 1,800 to 1,300 meters in elevation and their remains were found between 800 to 400 meters. After you pass the Continental Divide the elevation begins to decrease.
When most people think of “tropical climate”, they think of hot and humid or they think of sun-bleached sandy beaches. This is not the case where Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon disappeared, nor where their bones were found.
The elevation of 800 meters has temperatures more mild than a typical tropical climate. It’s not the very hot tropical temperatures you would experience in a coastal town. But it wouldn’t be cold either. The river water are cold because it flows down from higher elevations – more on that later.
Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon’s Bones Were Scattered
The bones were scattered, sometimes kilometers apart and sometimes in the same precise area without being connected by soft tissue.
“Two bones from different parts of the body, from two people, never end up together on a sandbar. This shows that someone placed them there. There is no other reason.”Octavio Calderón, Criminologist
Certainly it’s possible, even likely, that the bodily remains could be spread a far distance from each other in a river. Rivers move objects and debris, including corpses. But what doesn’t make sense is that many of the bones washed-up on the same exact small bank of the river, many kilometers downstream.
It’s important to know: the Serpent River is very inconsistent. In most places the river bottom is rocky. In some places it’s sandy. In most places it’s relatively shallow and slow moving. In some places it’s a couple meters deep and also slow moving. The velocity of the river is largely dependent on the season. During early April, when the girls disappeared, the river is slow moving. April is on the verge of the start of the rainy season. Later in April the river multiplies in size. Increased rains drastically increase the depth and movement of the river.
Corpses float due to gasses that are internally released postmortem. If they died on the bank of the river, it’s likely that their remains were eventually swept away as the rainy season took hold, depending how high the remains were on the bank of the river. This may sound like I’m eluding to the idea that they died naturally – I’m not. As you will see, there is ample information in my research below that suggests otherwise. The goal here is to be objective.
“The buildup of putrefactive gases within the gastrointestinal tract and lungs will cause the body to float and eventually resurface.”1997 Rodriguez reference, Found in this USF Dissertation (local link here)
Note: If you’re interested in this subject, I found this book to be referenced in dozens of studies online: “Decomposition of buried and submerged bodies“. It’s very popular in the forensics field.
Lastly – bones don’t float. Bones are more dense than water and therefore will sink to the bottom of the river, thereby being more likely to get trapped between rocks, boulders and other river sediment. So if there was some level of unusual rapid-decomposition, and the bones were separated from the corpse, then the bones would have simply sunk and received visible scratches if they had moved along the rocky bottom.
What is the Continental Divide?
A lot of what we discuss in the next part will refer to the Continental Divide. Understanding the Continental Divide is important to understanding the climate conditions of their disappearance and the discovery of their remains. So we should cover what that actually means first.
The Continental Divide is a series of connected mountain ranges that runs from the southern tip of South America to the norther edge of North America. It’s enormous. The Continental Divide connects the Rocky Mountains in the United States to the Andes Mountains in Argentina.
The mountains of the Continental Divide essentially cuts western Panama in half, based on north and south. That’s why the vast majority of Panama’s citizens live in the southern half of the country.
River & Rainfall Data
In order to understand the potential environmental factors involving the conditions of Kris’s timeline I had to look into the river and rainfall.
First, I looked into the river temperature. I found that a river’s temperature doesn’t change much based on elevation, meaning that river water from low elevations carries the same temperature as the same river’s higher elevations.
“Mountain ranges, highland plateaus and volcanoes reach high elevations in some parts of the tropics and these areas are drained by streams as cold as their counterparts at higher latitudes.“Dean Jacobsen – Tropical High-Altitude Streams
This seems to defy common sense. However, the reason is clear. Mud, sediment and debris act as insulators, essentially maintaining the cooler temperature of the river water from higher elevations. This insulating effect is the same reason that cold-blooded reptiles burrow into muddy riverbanks during seasonal changes – to be insulated from colder temperatures.
Also, I looked at what determines rainwater temperatures. It should come as no surprise that rainwater temperature is determined by the temperature of the air. Sunlight has an impact to a lesser extent during the rainy season because cloudy conditions are more prevalent, as you’ll see below.
Next, I wanted to understand the rainfall in the region.
I found an excellent historical weather database called worldweatheronline.com – it also shares accumulated rainfall by month, including in some regions of Panama. I captured the following screenshot for Boquette, Panama:
Boquete is on the southern side of the Continental Divide. But I also needed to understand the rainfall conditions on the northern side. We don’t know exactly where the girls disappeared, we only know that their remains were found downstream north of the Continental Divide.
It’s a mistake to believe that the rainy conditions on both sides of the Continental Divide are the same. In fact, they’re quite different. In a phenomenon known as orographic lift, mountains can suppress rainstorms from passing over the mountain. To get more answers, I gathered rainfall data from Cauchero, Panama, the closest town north of the Continental Divide to where the girls remains were found.
Quick note: Cauchero is only 11 kilometers (7 miles) north of Alto Romero. Cauchero’s elevation is 200 Meters above sea level. The comparison of rainfall between Cauchero and Alto Romero is more reliable than comparing rainfall data with Boquete. Lastly, there is no historical rainfall data that I could find for Alto Romero.
Here are the rainfall records that I found for Cauchero:
We immediately see that there is are sizable differences between the rainfall in Boquete (south of the Continental Divide) and Cauchero (north of the Continental Divide). Cauchero’s biggest rainfall month was July, whereas Boquetes biggest rainfall month was October, a 3 to 4 month span between the heaviest rainfall months.
I was still missing information. I felt like I was incorrectly assuming that the rainy conditions on top of the Continental Divide would somehow be similar to these two cities that are north and south.
It was really difficult to find rainfall data about the Continental Divide itself. The challenge was that there are no cities or towns in the mountains in that region of the Continental Divide of Panama. But something stood out to me – The Fortuna Forest Reserve is an enormous protected nature reserve nearby. It has the same climate and sits slightly on the northern edge of the Continental Divide. I knew that sometimes nature preserves permit scientific research, so I searched for studies published in the region.
After two hours of research, I found this 2015 study by ecologists, which was later published in 2016. The study has rainfall data, elevation data and maps.
Here’s the table that I found in the study:
This study was helpful to see the differences in rainfall.
Note: Hornito, mentioned in the table above, is only 17 kilometers (11 miles) from where Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon disappeared. Rainfall conditions may not be exact but they would probably be similar to where the girls went missing.
I put all of the data into the following table to make it easier to understand:
|City||Elevation||Position||Average Annual Rainfall||Collection Period|
|Boquete||1250 M||South||2932 mm||1982 – 2012 (source)|
|Cauchero||200 M||North||2278 mm||2010 – 2020 (source)|
|Hornito (Fortuna)||1330 M||North||5100 mm||2007 – 2014 (study)|
Based on this data, we can see that rainfall increases with elevation on the northern facing slope. Hornito is on the northern slope, similar to where Kris and Lisanne disappeared north of the Il Pianista trail. Boquete is only slightly lower in elevation but it’s located on the south side of the Continental Divide, which is not helpful in determining rainfall on the north side.
The data above is an improvement, but it doesn’t permit us to evaluate rainfall for specific months, so I had to keep looking.
I discovered that the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute is located at the Fortuna Reserve too. They record rainfall daily. This gave me an incredible amount of information – the holy grail of relevant rainfall data. I downloaded their excel file and added Fortuna data to my data table. Here is all of the monthly rainfall data:
|Month 2014||Millimeters of Rainfall Fortuna||Inches of Rainfall Fortuna||Days of Rainfall Fortuna||Millimeters of Rainfall Boquete||Days of Rainfall Boquete||Millimeters of Rainfall Cauchero||Days of Rainfall Cauchero|
Now we can see a lot more detail. Rainfall during the 2014 rainy season was considerably higher each month when accounting for elevation and positioning on the mountain.
From April to May the rainfall doubled. From May To June rainfall increased 32.55%. May and June probably didn’t have turbulent flash floods because the rain was disbursed over so many days (for almost the entire month). However, the water levels undoubtedly rose, perhaps to flood-like conditions. Then again later in September and October river levels would have risen considerably. Considering that these rainfall rates were from Fortuna, it’s likely that these conditions were slightly more mild where Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon disappeared, but I believe that this comparison is fairly accurate.
It’s interesting that April had 24 to 25 days of rainfall north of the Continental Divide. This is a substantial difference than south of the Continental Divide where Boquete only had 13 days of rainfall. In fact, Cauchero and Fortuna received more days of rainfall than Boquete every month until September.
I also looked into rainfall rates for each location during the first 15 days of April:
|Rainfall Cauchero (mm)||0.2||0.1||0.3||0.2||0.4||0.3||0.1||0.4||2.6||0.9||1.5||0.3||0.1||0.5||1.8|
|Rainfall Fortuna (mm)||0.5||1||2.1||1.8||3.7||0||0||0||9.1||12.3||33.3||2.8||2.9||2||2.5|
|Rainfall Boquete (mm)||0||0||0.8||0.8||0.3||0.1||0.3||0.6||0||0||0.3||0||0.1||1.5||2.4|
On the 9th of April the rainfall in Fortuna starts to increase somewhat substantially. The 11th of April must have been a particularly stormy day. Interestingly, Boquete had little rain during this same day. I pulled up the weather forecast for Boquete for that day and it only showed “Patchy rain possible” at 3:00 PM.
If we take into account the suspicious cell phone activity, both Kris and Lisanne were alive as late as April 11th. During that day and the subsequent days, the river levels started rising. This tells us a lot of things about the climate conditions when Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon were missing:
- The weather was mostly cloudy.
- The rains may have somewhat preserved their bodies and reduced the effects of insects.
- The vast majority of rainfall in April happened during the second two weeks of April.
If Kris Kremers died on the edge of a river, then by May her remains would have been at least partially submerged in water. After May the water levels would continue to rise, suggesting that her remains may have been fully submerged for the remainder of the rainy season.
I also researched Tropical Storms during 2014 and wasn’t able to find any notable storms that could have unexpectedly contributed to flash floods in the region. Historically Panama is mostly immune to intense Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms. I looked into earthquakes too and found that a 5.8 earthquake did hit Panama on April 2nd, although a 5.8 on the richter scale isn’t big by Central America standards and would need to coincide with heavy rainfall to have a large impact.
Why does any of this matter?
These things are important for three reasons:
- Assuming that Kris Kremers died on the bank of a river, water levels would have to rise in order to relocate Kris’s remains further downstream. It’s unlikely that Kris died from drowning if there was no human involvement associated with their death because water levels in nearby rivers were too low during early April to be a serious threat. Therefore if she died from an accident and her remains were found in or near the river, we can assume that her remains must have been “swept” into the river at some point from increasing water levels.
- Corpses that travel downstream in a river don’t typically disarticulate (break into pieces) quickly compared to when they’re on dry land. They decompose significantly more slowly. Understanding the rainfall helps us understand the potential turbulence of the rivers, which would help us more accurately derive conclusions about Kris’s remains being found in the unusual way that they were found.
- Rainfall itself also contributes to decomposition rates. Insects prefer “moist” carcasses, but too much water is problematic for insects. That’s one reason why corpses last so long when submerged in water.
Given that the Serpent river is curvy and heavily covered with boulders and rocks, we can assume that friction would be high, thus naturally slowing the flow rate of the river and catching more debris, including bodily remains. Inversely, flat river bottoms tend to have less friction, therefore permitting a higher river velocity.
“The velocity of a river is determined by many factors, including the shape of its channel, the gradient of the slope that the river moves along, the volume of water that the river carries and the amount of friction caused by rough edges within the riverbed.”Sciencing.com – Factors Affecting a River’s Velocity
River friction is the same reason that rivers becomes chaotic and turbulent at times. The accumulated water pressure at higher elevations essentially forces the water through resistance areas.
The Serpent River bed is armored with rocks. It’s less common to find vegetation and aquatic plants in the Serpent River because the conditions are less favorable – the gradient of the slope and the constant rise and fall of the river’s depth make it difficult for plants to take root and flourish.
The study of hydrology refers to river water accumulation as “discharge” because the water is discharged into the river. When researching this aspect of the conditions I realized that there are too many variables involved and insufficient data that would be necessary to calculate the exact rise in the water levels and velocity of river discharge.
With that said, I found that the typical speed of a river’s velocity:
“The speed of a river varies from close to 0 m/s to 3.1 m/s (7 mph).”The Physics Factbook – Speed of a River
However, that’s a river’s velocity, not necessarily an object in the river or an object floating on the river. There’s a lot of factors involved that we can’t estimate based on assumptions. Until more information is gathered we can only assume that the level and velocity would increase.
“A creek only 6 inches deep in mountainous areas can swell to a 10-foot deep raging river in less than an hour if a thunderstorm lingers over an area for an extended period of time.”NOAA – Flood Basics
Unfortunately I’m unable to determine how much the river height would have increased. It would be significantly easier for someone to simply check water levels of the Serpent River during a heavy rain. Anyone up for the task? Contact me.
Fortunately, we’re only getting started. There’s a lot more to evaluate.
The Local Temperature
Temperature conditions are important because temperature contributes to the decomposition of human remains in more than one way. Not only do cool and rainy temperatures keep human remains cool and therefore assist in preserving the bodies, but it also reduces insects and scavenger interactions with the remains.
“The most significant factor (by far) affecting the decomposition of a body is ambient temperature, the temperature of the area in which the remains are found. The higher the temperature, the faster the decomposition occurs.“EcoBear.com – Overview Of Human Decomposition
So, temperature is very important.
I read on this Panamanian news website that the local temperature was 12 to 14 degrees Celsius (53.6 to 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit). But that was very vague. Is that average daily temperature? Was that temperature taken on the Continental Divide? Which day was this temperature recorded?
I was skeptical of that temperature reading. That temperature is considerably lower than any recorded temperatures in nearby regions where the girls went missing. After some research, I learned that the only possible way they could have found that temperature was the volcano nearby called “Volcano Baru”. Temperatures near the peak of the volcano are consistent with their claim. However, that volcano’s peak elevation reaches 3,475 meters (11,401 feet) – which has temperatures that are drastically different than the approximate region where Kris Kremers went missing. I believe this is the lazy work of a journalist (which is unfortunately very common in Latin America) so I discarded that number.
First, I looked at temperature of Boquete.
Boquete, Panama had an average temperature of 24 degrees celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) in April 2014. Originally I thought that Boquete’s temperature might be a good temperature to rely on but I changed my mind after I gathered more temperature data.
The temperature data provided by the Fortuna Nature Reserve indicates that temperatures are consistently 4 to 5 (C) degrees cooler than Boquete. This is probably due to one main factor: the northern slope is exposed to northeasterly trade winds. The Continental Divide essentially acts as a wall of protection for areas south of the mountains, such as Boquete.
In my estimation, the average temperature where Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon went missing was probably somewhere between Fortuna’s temperature and Boquete’s temperature. My reasoning is that Fortuna is more directly exposed to the northeasterly trade winds, whereas Il Pianista trail is set back further south in the mountains of the Continental Divide. There are other lower-level mountains and foothills in front of the northern slope that would probably offer some degree of protection from cooler winds.
To verify this assumption, I compared average temperature data points:
I didn’t want to rely only on temperature data from Fortuna, so I included Cartago, Costa Rica in this analysis. Cartago is also on the northern slope of the Continental Divide, has a similar elevation and isn’t far north of Panama. The city of Cartago is slightly set back in the mountains, similar to the region in Panama where Kris and Lisanne went missing. As you can see, this verified my suspicions that temperatures are cooler on the northern slope. The temperature difference is approximately 3 to 4 degrees less than Boquete.
Based on this data, I’ve estimated that the temperature where the girls went missing was approximately 20 degrees Celsius (68 F) in April and approximately 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 F) each subsequent month.
The camera of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon recorded the temperature: 24 degrees Celsius (75.2 F). It was interesting to learn that the camera temperature matched the temperature of Boquete with precision. This is peculiar because the temperatures of the camera should have recorded cooler temperatures, approximately 3 degrees cooler (Celsius) by my estimation. That’s a 7.5 degree difference in Fahrenheit.
Mosquitos are surprisingly delicate to temperature and humidity. Of course, when the temperature and humidity are optimal, they are an absolute nuisance.
“Temperature and mosquito activity goes hand in hand with the insects flourishing in moist, relatively warm environments, functioning best at 80°F. Once the temperature lowers to about 60°F they become lethargic and anything below 50°F they find it hard to function at all.”Mosquito Squad
There are more than 245 species of mosquitos in Panama. Mosquitoes would have been a problem for them, particularly during mornings and early evenings. Only during rainy moments would they have been safe from mosquitos. Mosquitos don’t like rain. They only like stagnant water (puddles), specifically for laying eggs.
As anyone that’s visited Central America knows, mosquitos alone would be enough reason for an unprepared person to forgo an evening hike with short sleeves and shorts.
Blowflies are the most common species of decomposition insects. They prefer temperatures between 10°C and 30°C (50 to 86 F), a temperate range which covers all of Panama.
Blowfly eggs take approximately 23 hours to produce larvae. Assuming that the bodily remains were dry (not in the river), it would only take one 23 hour period without rain for these insects to start decomposition. Otherwise the Blowfly eggs would be washed away by rainfall, depending on how heavy the rain was.
I found an interesting 2015 study from Boston University: The effect of rainfall on blowfly (Calliphoridae) activity and decomposition on recently deposited animal remains – it’s relevant to this topic and shows how complicated the initial decomposition process can be.
Blowflies are generally the fastest insect to arrive on a corpse, but there are other species of flies that arrive soon after. Dermestid beetles typically arrive 11 days later. I discuss arthropod succession further below in the section: “The Unexplainable Joints Detachments”.
Chemical Traces On Kris Kremers Bones
On September 24, 2014 forensic experts found traces of phosphorus on the bones of Kris’s remains. The Chiriquí Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (IMELCF) confirmed in a private forensic report that lime was probably used in the deconstruction of Kris’s body.
“Much depends on the quantity and quality of the lime used, but the action can be a matter of days”Humberto Mas, Director of the IMELF
Betzaida Pittí, the prosecutor of the case, wasn’t satisfied with Humberto’s report. Regardless of what evidence was presented, Pitti always upheld her theory that Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon had gotten lost and were dragged to death in the river. At one point she mentioned the possibility of animal predators being involved.
“In turn, they all had a white coloration which tells us about two facts: that they were 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 the calcium carbonates of each of the bone components, causing the whitish coloration.”Autopsy Report – September 19, 2014
Additionally, no phosphates were found in soil samples from the region, therefore Phosphorus could not have been a natural cause of accelerated decomposition of Kris Kremers remains. This discovery implies that chemicals were used during the deterioration process. We’ll discuss this in detail later.
What Does It Mean For Bones To Be “Bleached”?
“Bleached” can mean a lot of things depending on context. In some cases, such as skeleton preservation for art and scientific purposes, “bleaching” implies cleaning the bones and making the bones white. In other cases, the sun itself can result in bleaching, although, it takes longer than chemicals.
Before we get further into bleaching, let me share this quote:
“There shouldn’t be bleaching on these bones.”Dr. Georgina Pacheco, Daily Beast Article
That’s important mention, one of many from the fine journalism of Jeremy Kryt, whom has heavily investigated the case. Dr Pacheco reviewed the autopsy report herself and has been involved in investigating other notable disappearances, such as the disappearance of Cody Dial.
So if the bones were bleached, then how were they bleached? That’s unknown.
Bleaching can sometimes refer to the process of maceration. When I researched “bleached bones” I came across the process of maceration often.
Maceration is the natural process of permitting bacteria to remove flesh from bones. It’s a primitive method, but apparently it works rather well. A demonstration is provided in this YouTube video from a Florida man that put the bones in water during 85 degree weather to remove flesh from sheep skulls. In the video he explains that the process takes 2-4 weeks with a heat source. Without a heat source, he claims that the process will take a lot longer.
In the context of Kris Kremers, “bleaching” implies that someone intentionally tried to dissolve the body and/or bones in some form of chemical, likely fertilizer that contained lime. This process is called alkaline hydrolysis.
It’s important to recognize that the forensic investigators intentionally used the word “bleached” in parallel with the traces of phosphorus that were found. It wasn’t a matter of speculation from the forensics team: they knew that chemicals were involved somehow. Never did the forensics team suggest another form of bleaching.
An Overview Of (Natural) Human Body Decay
Photo: Steven Bridges / University of Tennessee
There are 5 stages of decomposition. In order: Fresh, Bloat, Active Decomposition, Advanced Decomposition and Skeletal Decay.
Kris’s remains reached the fourth stage: advanced decomposition. This is because no flesh was present on the bones. Bizarrely, Lisanne’s remains were only between the first and the second stage. In fact, there was still insect larvae on her remains. Larvae is often used to identify the postmortem interval (PMI). In this case, the PMI made no sense to forensic investigators, leading them to question if a cooling method (perhaps refrigeration?) was involved.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the adult human body has 213 bones. We can’t be certain how many bones were discovered. As many as 33 bones were counted, but some of those were found to be from other people (not Kris or Lisanne), which we’ll discuss later.
Skeletanization happens during putrefaction – when the soft tissue of a body attracts insects and bacteria, breaks down and only the bones remain. This process takes anywhere between three weeks to three years. The variables involved are: airflow, moisture (water), minerals, insects and animals, and temperature. Like most decomposition processes, water and heat when combined especially speed up the process. Water enables microbes (that once helped with digestion) to more easily escape the body. Similarly, water grants microorganisms greater mobility. However, water slows the putrefaction process, because oxygen isn’t available. Normal insects can’t access the remains. Additionally, moving water, such as rivers, further slows the process.
In one publication I found from 1989, they stated:
“The variability in the rate of postmortem change can be impressive. Obviously, in arid engironments such as coastal Peru or even the American southwest, mummification can occur naturally, leading to soft tissue preservation for hundreds of even thousands of years. In a tropical environment where remains are exposed to scavenging animals, a human body can be skeletonized within 14 days“.Forensic Taphonomy: The Postmortem Fate of Human Remains – 1989
I looked further into this and discovered a few important things.
- The tropical conditions that this publication refers to are low-elevation, hot and humid conditions. Kris and Lisanne disappeared in higher elevations with cooler air, lower temperatures and more rainfall.
- Fourteen days is extremely fast for a human body to decompose. More recent studies that I found stated that “three weeks” or “a few” (three or more weeks) was the minimum amount of time necessary for a body to decompose.
- Lastly, this study assumes that the human remains were decomposing on land, not in a river.
Based on this, I believe it’s more accurate to estimate that the absolute minimum amount of time necessary for decomposition is be three weeks. We need to compare apples to apples to ensure that we’re evaluating the conditions properly.
Next I looked into the breakdown process.
Disarticulation of Human Remains is when the “pieces” break off of the main cadaver. This 1993 study describes the process of disarticulation in aqueous environments, which basically states that the “smaller” pieces come off first: fingers, feet, hands and so forth.
Given that the two girls were missing for two to three months in the cool temperatures of the high elevation of the rainforest, that didn’t provide a sufficient amount of time for their bodies to have decayed into skeletons.
“After 2 months the bone should not be bare, but still covered with significant amounts of flesh unless of course there was human intervention.“Carl Weil, Colorado Wilderness Medicine School
Carl Weil was interviewed by the Daily Beast and stated that most bodies are found in rivers whole, in one piece, sometimes up to an entire year after the initial disappearance.
Bones themselves don’t decay for decades. It takes approximately 80 years for the soft collagen in bones to break down inside a coffin. Outside of a coffin and in a natural setting, that process still takes multiple years. Once the collagen has deteriorated, the brittle bones will eventually crack and break down.
In a 2016 forensics study, it was observed by two scientists that parts of a pig carcass remained fairly intact after 6 months of being submerged in a freshwater lake. Although that study had differing variables, there are some similarities for this study to provide some insight into the decay process that Kris’s body would have experienced if she died naturally.
Panama doesn’t have piranhas. Piranhas are sharp toothed, highly predatory fish that attack prey in large numbers. They’re found in South America, usually in the Amazon Basin, which is south of Colombia. This is an important note, because piranhas are known to attack everything from livestock to humans. However, they’re not in Panama and could not have contributed to the decomposition of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon’s bodies.
More About Decay In Aqueous Conditions
Here, I mostly discuss the decomposition process more.
Decomposition in this case would have been largely dependent on the following variables:
- The composition of the water
- The composition of the soil
- The temperature of the water
- The temperature of the air
- The river’s velocity
- If the bodily remains were dry, submerged, or partially submerged
- Microorganisms and bacteria present
- Carnivorous insect species in the area
- Scavenger animals in the area
- The changes of these variables based on day vs night
- The changes of these variables based on seasonal changes
We can determine fairly precisely the conditions of each variable. With that said, I haven’t gathered all of this data, as these variables alone would require my presence in Panama’s jungles and likely take hundreds of hours for me to collect, submit for analysis and interpret. And in truth, it’s unclear if a deep analysis of that level would prove to be helpful, for the reasons that I mention next.
The biggest factor we cannot know is: At which point Kris Kremer’s bodily remains were placed into the river. Regardless of whether she died from an accident or by human action, we do not know when her body was “taken” into the river. Our previous research into rainfall rates illustrated that it could have been as early as late April. But without further testing of river conditions we can hardly speculate on an exact date.
If her bones had not been bleached then the time at which her bones arrived in the river could possibly have been determined by forensic investigators without a deep analysis of river activity, velocity and movement.
Not only did the bleaching bones confuse how she died, but it also confused when she may have died. And further, it also prevented utilizing modern methods to determine the time of death. Necrobiome is the utilization of the age of insect larvae to determine time of death, but unfortunately that process isn’t possible in this case. Lisanne’s bones tell a different story, but that’s for another article altogether.
During my research, I found a very helpful 2016 study from the National Association of Medical Examiners:
Warning – Extremely Graphic: Decomposition Changes in Bodies Recovered from Water
Note: I also downloaded the PDF in the event that the link is not available. The local file is here.
Keep in mind, that by utilizing this study, we’re ignoring the very likely possibility that Kris did not die near the river. There is litte evidence to suggest that Kris and Lisanne died near the river, except for the single fact that their remains were discovered by locals on the river bank.
The study contains a lot of information. Here are the key takeaways:
- “The typical decomposition changes proceed more slowly in the water, primarily due to cooler temperatures and the anaerobic environment. However, once a body is removed from the water, putrefaction will likely be accelerated.”
- “In shallow water, the hands, knees, dorsal aspect of the feet, and the forehead may drag along the bottom, creating postmortem cutaneous abrasions that may be difficult to differentiate from antemortem injuries. These abrasions will be exaggerated in a strong current.”
- “Cooler temperatures generally slow the decomposition process. Exceptions include hot tubs and tropical bodies of water.”
- “Not only will a strong current transport the remains for a moderate or even long distance, but other objects in the water can get caught up in the current and come into contact with the remains in a similar manner.”
Note, if Kris and Lisanne died near a river, the water would have been shallow and moving. There are no deep bodies of water in the immediate region and the rivers would not have been deep prior to the rainy season. Even during the rainy season, the water would likely not be much deeper than a couple of meters. Let us remember, these are valley rivers that are created from rainwater flowing downhill, not craters, cenotes or lakes.
Again, it’s difficult to determine how relevant these statements are to the case of Kris Kremers because we don’t know how long her body was in the river.
The Effect Of Sunshine On Bones
Although we already know that sunshine wasn’t a possibility to cause the bleaching effect on Kris Kremers bones, I wanted to research it more thoroughly.
When considering natural bleaching from sunshine, we must consider that the bones must be exposed to the sunlight first. The bleaching effect from sunshine exposure can only happen in four conditions:
- The flesh must no longer be present, therefore exposing the bones.
- Any cloudy weather must disburse for the sun to be available.
- The bones must be directly in the sunlight’s path.
- The bones must be exposed for long durations of time.
This presents two key problems in Kris Kremers case.
First, the decomposition process would take too long to expose the bones. If we assume that the two girls died on April 11th, the day that their camera last had photos, we can assume that the decomposition process would start soon after the 11th, perhaps on the 12th. Decomposition would take an absolute minimum of 3 weeks if the body was not submerged in water, and if insects were not hindered by rainfall. Three weeks of decomposition would brings us to May 2nd. Only then would the bones become exposed. Chances are, given the cooler elevation and rainfall, the decomposition process would take a lot longer.
Second, not enough sunlight was available. After the bodily remains were decomposed, the bones would need ample direct sunlight to experience even a mild form of bleaching. As the rainfall data suggests, there were very few sunny days in May and even less in June and August when the bones were found.
Third, suns exposure would demonstrate extreme bleaching gradients. Sunshine doesn’t bleach bones evenly. Sunshine radiation typically torches the upward facing part of the bone, which highlights “shadows”. In the example below this becomes more obvious.
For the sake of comparison, the pelvis bone photo below (link here) demonstrates signs of sun bleaching:
This specimen shows the very clear effect of bleaching. Additionally, notice how sun bleaching makes bone more brittle. A clean and jagged fracture can be observed at the bottom of the photo.
The effect of sunlight on bones has been heavily documented by forensic anthropologists.
I found a fantastic explanation of what happens to bones when exposed to direct and indirect sunlight:
“As bones decompose, they go through several stages. In the first state, articular cartilage on the bone ends dries and cracks, then disintegrates. In the second state, the bones themselves are “greasy.” If bones are found that have a splotchy brown discoloration and greasy texture, it generally means that fat is still present in the bones and that the bones are from a recent death that occurred months, not years ago. In the next stage of decomposition bones blanch and whiten. Finally, the bones cracks and exfoliates, and the surface flakes off.”
“The color and appearance of old bones are indicators of the amount of time that has passed since death, but they are far from definitive. These changes can give only a general indication of whether the bones have been exposed to the environment for a long time or relatively short time. Bones exposed to air and sunlight blanch more quickly. Buried bones take on the color of the material in which they are burried. In fact, a single bone may show different stains if it is partially exposed and partly burried.”The Use of Forensic Anthropology
Blanch: to make white or pale by extracting color.
Observing the photo of Kris Kremers pelvis bone, there is no visible surface cracking or flaking present. Any “grease” or oil from fat has been removed by chemicals. If Kris’s bones were exposed to sunlight, the evidence shows that they certainly were not exposed for enough time to cause bleaching. In fact, it looks more like it has an earthy olive green tint.
And of course, all of this ignores the fact that chemical traces were also found on the bones.
A Quick Look At The Composition of Bones
Bones are living, growing tissue that are primarily composed of Type 1 Collagen (~94%). Collagen is a protein that gives hard tissue it’s solid, yet semi-flexible structure under stress. Joints, ligaments, bones, tendons and skin contain collagen. It is considered to be “connective” tissue, meaning that collagen essentially gives everything it’s definitive shape.
“Two types of bone are found in the body—cortical and trabecular. Cortical bone is dense and compact. It forms the outer layer of the bone. Trabecular bone makes up the inner layer of the bone and has a spongy, honeycomb-like structure.”NIH.gov
Bones make up approximately 15 to 20 percent of total body composition. Most red and white blood cells are created in the bones. I found a cross-section graphic of a typical bone on Arizona State University‘s website:
The above graphic illustrates the Osteon area inside of a bone, which is porous. However, the red bone marrow at the center of the bone is where new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are made. The marrow inside of Kris’s bones was destroyed by the chemical traces present on the bone. Importantly, bone marrow is often the longest surviving soft tissue during natural decomposition, because it is directly protected by the hardened bone itself. However, saponification (chemicals) would destroy the bone marrow.
Saponification is the process of the breakdown of triglycerides from lye. Triglycerides are lipid fats stored in human fat cells, which is why lye reacts so heavily with fatty tissue, or “flesh” (rather than bones). This also explains why lye has a significantly slower reaction on bones (relative to soft tissue) – bones are primarily made of hardened protein and calcium – not fatty tissue.
A List of Bone Bleaching Methods
Bones can be “bleached” both naturally and unnaturally. Naturally available chemicals, such as lime and lye speed up the decomposition process rapidly. Unnatural chemicals are those that are mechanically engineered (manmade) and wouldn’t form naturally in Panama’s environment, or in some cases may form at virtually indistinguishable levels.
Keep in mind, this was essentially a crash-course in organic chemistry for me. I learned a lot about these concepts from various websites that explained the information in layman terms. I was meticulous in my research and have confidence that the bulk of these writings are accurate. However, it’s possible there are some inaccuracies.
I’ve organized bleaching methods into this table:
|Method Of Bleaching||Availability||Where It’s Comes From||Local To Panama’s Rivers|
|Lime||Natural||Extracted from heating limestone.||Yes|
|Calcium Oxide (Quicklime)||Not Natural||Extracted from lime through significant heat.||No|
|Sulfuric Acid||Not Natural||Manufactured in labs.||No|
|Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)||Natural||Originally produced naturally from ashe (from fires), but now it’s produced from salt. When mixed with lime, it becomes especially caustic.||Yes|
|Potassium Hydroxide (Lye)||Not Natural||Used in making other chemicals. Derived from lime and potash.||No|
|Phosphorus||Natural and Manmade||Used in fertilizers to boost plant development. More about Phosphorus later.||In Some Areas|
|Nitric Acid||Not Natural||Synthetically produced in labs for propellants and explosives.||No|
|Hydrofluoric Acid||Not Natural||Used primarily in making medications.||No|
|Citric acid (Citrus)||Natural||Typically used in flavorings of food and cleaning products.||Potentially|
|Acetic Acid (Vinegar)||Natural||Vinegar comes from fermented liquids. Large quantities are not produced in nature. Vinegar neutralizes lime.||No|
|Sunlight||Natural||Transfers heat energy via radiation.||Yes|
|Hydrogen Peroxide||Unnatural||Generates heat when exposed to oxygen and water.||No|
|Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach)||Unnatural||Releases oxygen molecules in a process called oxidation. Breaks the bonds of other chemicals. Alkaline.||No|
|Gastric Acid (Stomach Acid)||Natural||Also known as stomach acid, is how humans digest food. Gastric acid is primarily composed of hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride.||Yes|
Note: I mention a lot of acids in the list above for comparison sake. There was no indication in the investigation that acids were present. In fact, investigators only claimed that phosphorus remnants were present in Kris’s investigation, not acids. I included acids because they kept showing up in my research and I figure that it may be helpful for comparison.
Also, acids and alkali are “opposites” on the PH spectrum. In fact, Acetic Acid (Vinegar) is used to neutralize the harmful effects of Lye and prevent injuries when Lye is mishandled.
None of the various chemicals mentioned above could have resulted in the accelerated natural decomposition of Kris’s bones under the given circumstances of their disappearance. Either the chemicals are not naturally present in that region of Panama, or the chemicals need human manipulation (such as unnatural high levels of heat) to produce an effective chemical reaction.
Limestone must be heated to significant levels to become Lime in order to aid in the breakdown of organic matter. Lye, the secondary possibility and derived from lime, could only impact the natural decay process if it was readily available in large quantities in the river. Soil samples denied this as a possibility.
Volcanic ashe can be present in soil, especially in Central America where volcanoes are numerous. Ashe, as mentioned in the table above, can be used to make lye, especially when mixed with lime. However, this theory was also disproven – soil samples also denied this as a possibility.
The Use Of Phosphorus In Farming
Why would forensic investigators associate lime with phosphorus? At first I had a difficult time understanding this connection between lime and phosphorus. But when I learned more about farming principles, I understood the connection rather quickly: Farmers utilize lime to balance soil acidity levels for phosphorus to be more efficiently absorbed by plant roots.
Phosphorus is a key component in photosynthesis and root development within plants. When phosphorus deficiency occurs, plant growth is stunted and plants sometimes display brown leaf edges. Adding some lime to the soil helps the plants.
Phosphorus is available in Panama’s tropical soils to some degree, however, continuous farming in one area over time results in phosphorus deficiency. This happens both in small gardens and large farms. Therefore, phosphorus must be relocated, either from organic or inorganic sources and tilled into the soil.
“Soil phosphorus is classified into two broad groups, organic and inorganic. Organic phosphorus is found in plant residues, manures and microbial tissues. Soils low in organic matter may contain only 3% of their total phosphorus in the organic form, but high-organic-matter soils may contain 50% or more of their total phosphorus content in the organic form.”CropNutrition.com
There is a lot of helpful information available on the Crop Nutrition website. I also found this information rich study regarding soil samples taken in Panama (2010), but this study requires chemistry knowledge beyond my area of understanding.
Phosphorus mostly stays in soil, which is referred to as its “fixing capacity”. This means that very little phosphorus is removed from soil during rainfall, and would affect nearby rivers very little.
Key point: The utilization of phosphorus and lime together is common. When soils grow too acidic, lime is added to the soil to balance the PH, which therefore enables phosphorus to be more easily absorbed by plants.
“Under acid conditions, phosphorus is precipitated as Fe or Al phosphates of low solubility. Maximum availability of phosphorus generally occurs in a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. This is one of the beneficial effects of liming acid soils.“CropNutrition.com
That explains the direct connection between phosphorus and lime.
The Process Of Dissolving Bones
My internet search history is going to be littered with terrible search queries. Here I am late at night trying to understand how bodies decompose and which methods could have potentially been used to “bleach” Kris’s bones.
I’m not going to go much deeper into this subject. There’s plenty of information online if you dare to look it up.
From my understanding, it typically takes less than 24 hours to complete the process of dissolving human remains with lime. Lime is commonly used in breaking down fats and oils, which is why it’s a commonly used ingredient in the process of making typical soap (think of the movie Fight Club). You can read more about it in this Slate article. Also, you can watch this YouTube video which dives into the details (warning, it might make you vomit).
After considering the timeframe required to dissolve a body, it’s most probable that the process was botched in this case. Utilizing chemicals properly would have dissolved the bones to only small fragments, essentially making them beyond recognition.
It’s also important to mention that dismembering a body and dissolving bones is a dirty process. Blood, hair, skin cells and bodily fluid would be present everywhere surrounding the crime scene. Most farms and residential spaces wouldn’t be adequately equipped to handle the dirty process. The fact that 99% of the remains were never found suggests that there was much more to be found somewhere.
Accidental Bone Preservation
I came across this accidentally but it was interesting to learn. Utilizing lime improperly can actually preserve bones and tissue. The reason for this is that lime dehydrates soft tissue and reduces putrefaction, essentially mummifying the remains. Lime’s “disappearing” powers only works when used in conjunction with hot water, which activates its caustic abilities.
“Quicklime does have uses for burials. In the Red Cross Emergency Relief Items Catalogue, quicklime and lime are listed as a tool for aiding in proper disposal of human remains that cannot be afforded a deep burial. However, the goal of the product is not to destroy the body but rather to prevent putrefaction that create odor, and attracts flies and animals.“Kathryn Meyers, Mortuary Archaeologist
Putrefaction is exactly what attracts animals and insects. When bones are laced with chemicals, it destroys the smell which also slows decomposition because animals and insects aren’t attracted to the remains.
A novice criminal, possibly someone young, sprinkled lime on the remains and buried the remains in a hole, which also had phosphate fertilizer remnants in the soil. The assailant had hoped that it would quickly dissolve the remains. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the fleshy tissue was dehydrated and fell off, while the bones were preserved.
This also tells us something unexpected: If the perpetrator was educated enough to use farming fertilizer to dispose of the bones, they didn’t do it “properly”. So, why didn’t they do it properly? This opens a lot of doors for speculation.
Perhaps they were trying to do it conspicuously while search teams were in the area? Maybe they had curious neighbors or family members that they were trying to hide it from? Perhaps they did utilize a caustic soda solution on Kris’s remains but then realized they wouldn’t have enough time to perform the same process on Lisanne’s remains. Many questions come from this.
Chemical traces explain the absense of blood.
It’s fair to assume that the river would wash away blood. That’s a reasonable assumption. But Kris’s bones had no blood on them or inside of them. This is curious and is consistent with the fact that the phosphorus traces demonstrate that chemicals were involved.
This Is Not New To Central America
Unfortunately, dissolving bodies in farming chemicals isn’t a new concept in Central America. I previously wrote a story about “The Stewmaker“, a man in Mexico that was contracted to do the horrifying work of Mexican cartels by dissolving their victim’s bodies in caustic soda (lye). He was later caught and arrested after using the process on approximately 300 victims.
Gangs and cartels exist in Panama too, although their atrocities are less frequent and often covered less by local news media (or just not covered at all). In fact, gangs exist in the same area where Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon went missing. Ana Belfor, the Attorney General of Panama, requested additional funds in 2013 to combat the growing issue of gangs in Panama.
Sometimes crime groups use this heinous procedure to “disappear” people. It’s nothing less than disturbing.
Gastric Acid & Bone Bleaching
One of my readers suggested the possibility of stomach acids being involved in the bleaching of Kris’s bones. The idea is that a rupture from a fall may have caused Kris’s gastric acid to seep out and bleach her bones during decomposition. It’s a reasonable proposition and sparked my curiosity.
I wanted to understand how all of this could work. Here’s was my initial guess:
- A traumatic fall takes place.
- The stomach or small intestine is ruptured.
- The stomach fluids fill the abdomen’s peritoneal cavity.
- The stomach fluids dissolve through the small and large intestine, or travel around them.
- The stomach fluids dissolve through the superficial parietal layer and the deep visceral layer of the peritoneum.
- The stomach fluids dissolve through the pelvic floor.
- Finally, the stomach fluids start dissolving (bleach) the bone of the pelvis.
But is this all possible? The stomach fluids would need to travel approximately 20 centimeters while maintaining it’s dissolving strength. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any specific research studies or cases with that exact scenario. It seems that this scenario is very uncommon.
“While it’s not common to die of a ruptured intestine, it is often a sign of a larger underlying health condition”Dr. Anton Bilchik, John Wayne Cancer Institute
Of course, just because it’s not common to die of ruptured intestine, that in no way indicates how often ruptured intestines to lead to a dissolved or “bleached” pelvis.
So, I had to keep digging for information.
Stomach acid is a strong digestive fluid, primarily composed of hydrochloric acid. Empty, the stomach contains about 75 milliliters of fluid. The concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach is about 0.5 percent (0.005%) or 5,000 parts per million, therefore an empty stomach contains approximately 0.375 Milliliters of hydrochloric acid. Enzymes work in conjunction with the hydrochloric acid to break down food.
An important mention: Anyone that’s vomited before knows that their tongue doesn’t dissolve when their stomach contents are expelled. Surely there is an acidic taste. Although unpleasant, that demonstrates the limited strength of the hydrochloric acid in one’s stomach. On a similar note, bulimia patients (whom vomit repeatedly for years) often suffer from loss of tooth enamel. So it’s effect is small, but long durations of exposure can cause damage to hardened organic material.
The stomach’s “job” is to break down food. After the stomach’s contents are passed on to the small intestine, the acidic fluids are neutralized by a bicarbonate solution that’s produced by the pancreas. This is important because, of the 3 liters of the fluids in the digestive track, only the stomach contains powerful enough acid to break down food – the small intestine contain enzymes and bile (which is alkaline, not acid) and the primarily function is to absorb food nutrients.
The entire human digestive tracts naturally produce approximately 1.5 liters of digestive fluids daily. Depending on size, humans typically average between 1.5 to 5 liters of fluid present in the gastrointestinal tract.
Does stomach acid have the ability dissolve bone?
In one word: Yes. The stomach’s “strength” comes from three primary activities:
- The stomachs ability to churn contents in the stomach
- The rate at which the stomach reproduces acids (which dissipate)
- The length of time that the stomach holds the items
If bones were to sit in a living persons stomach for numerous days, the bones would break down. However, that doesn’t happen, except perhaps for very small bones, because bones and other solid items pass too quickly through the stomach.
Postmortem, the process changes substantially.
“Digestion is an active ante mortem process, which does not continue after death. Although acids and enzymes are present, the peristaltic movements necessary to churn food with them are absent.”Digestive Status of Stomach contents – An indicator of Time Since Death
Digestion is an active process that requires both churning and acid availability. After death, acids are present but the stomach stops churning its contents which means that the stomach content can’t be broken down. Forensic investigators often look at stomach contents of postmortem victims in order to retrieve potential clues about their death – and the stomach contents are typically intact.
Hydrochloric acid dissipates as a gas and therefore loses it’s strength postmortem. This is one reason why morticians use a “trocar” during embalming – essentially a large metal spike designed to release postmortem gasses.
Additionally, other bicarbonate solutions in the intestines neutralize any acids in the stomach. Bile from the gallbladder, which is alkaline, also aids in neutralizing stomach acids. This is the same reason that the stomach essentially fails to dissolve itself postmortem – the acids lose strength.
Stomach Rupture (Gastrointestinal Perforation)
In order for stomach acids to be released from the tract into the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity, the tract must be ruptured from a hole being created. This can happen from blunt trauma, such as a hard fall.
“Bowel perforations may occur spontaneously (unexpectedly) as a result of a medical condition or instead be a complication of various diagnostic and surgical procedures that accidentally create a hole in the colon. Trauma, especially blunt trauma to the abdomen, is also an important cause of bowel perforations.“verywellhealth.com – Understanding a Bowel Perforation
When the tract wall ruptures, what happens next depends on the location of the rupture. For example, if the large intestine ruptures then the bodies autoimmune response will be to stop any infection. This often results in sepsis due to colon bacteria being released, which eventually leads to organ failure and later death.
“More than 400 bacterial species have been identified in the feces of a single person. Anaerobic bacteria predominate.”Microbiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract
This rupture results in a complex mixture of fluids and bacteria that are never intended to merge. Gastric acid, bacteria, and other solid materials mix together.
When this happens, the fluids reach the mesentery.
“The mesentery attaches the intestines to the abdominal wall, and also helps storing the fat and allows the blood and lymph vessels, as well as the nerves, to supply the intestines.”KenHub.com – Mesentery
In simple terms, the mesentery keeps our intestines in place. When exposed to gastric fluids, the mesentery will essentially start to break down as if it is being digested. Following the mesentery would be the parietal layer of the peritoneum, then the deep visceral layer of the peritoneum, then the pelvic floor, then the pelvic bones themselves.
So, could Kris’s gastric acid have been the culprit of her bleached bones?
It’s a long shot but it’s possible. And it’s somewhat a Catch-22 situation. Kris would have to be alive long enough for her stomach to produce enough acid for it to dissolve organs and bleach bones in her body. But if her stomach is dissolving parts of her body, she would quickly face organ failure, her heart would stop and the digestive fluids would rapidly lose strength.
I wasn’t able to find any studies that demonstrated stomach acids and bile breaching the pelvic floor. It seems this is extremely rare, although potentially feasible (according to my understanding) given the proximity of the organs. If anyone can identify a specific study that investigates this more thoroughly, please share it with me.
Another major challenge with this theory is that the bones were not scratched. If the gastrointestinal fluids had breached the peritoneal cavity and the pelvic floor, and the bones had disarticulated to the high degree that they were found in the river, then micro-abrasions would be present on the bones.
Kris Kremers Bones Were Not Scratched
Another important consideration is that the bones that were found were not scratched in any way.
“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. There’s no evidence that animals scavenged the Holandesas.“Panamanian IMELCF Forensic Anthropologist
They evaluated the bones under a microscope. This provides us with a lot of information. It tells us that:
- If Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon had been victim to a predator, some teeth scratches or other indicating marks would have been found on the bones.
- If the bones had been scratched from being dragged by the natural current of the river, surely scratches from rocks and boulders would be present.
- If their bones had knife or “slash” marks, it would imply that a knife or machete was used in some fashion.
Granted, we must consider that many of their large bones were never found. Kris Kremer’s arm bones, leg bones and skull were never found, which tells us something important – the largest bones, that would normally be easiest to find, weren’t in that area. So what happened to them? That’s a mystery.
Normal Bone Scratches From River Sediment
I had to learn the correct scientific terminology when researching natural bone scratching in rivers. Instead of searching “bone scratches” I had to use “microwear” and “abrasions” in my search terms. Instead of “bones” I had to use “taphonomy” or “osteology”. After I changed my wording, I was able to get a lot further.
In the image above, we can see microabrasions, scratches and cracking present on a bone after being bombarded in underwater conditions with various common forms of river sediment.
It turns out that bone scratches is a very common field of study in forensics. The effect that rivers and waterways have on bones is a subject of particular interest to forensic scientists, probably because bodies and bones are dumped in waterways by criminals so often.
“Within the taphonomical studies, many of the efforts have been concentrated in the understanding of the processes that affect the disintegration, dragging, transport, dispersion, and other post mortem alterations on human remains and in which way this alterations can be interpreted within the forensic context.”A Taphonomic Approach to Marine Abrasion on Human Bones
Here are some more key parts I found in this study:
“In the bones that were affected by the fluvial transportation, the entire surface appears affected.”
“Also the damages by abrasion depend on the elasticity of the bone; this will bring final differences in the taphonomical history.”
“All fracture edges are round and polished surface, giving a fragile look to edge of the fracture line, but without affecting the structural integrity of the diaphysis of the bone.”
This study brings to mind two important points:
- Flesh would have protected Kris’s bones from scratches or abrasion. Because the bones didn’t have flesh, the bone would undoubtedly have some clear abrasions, impact marks and dents from rocks and sediment on the bottom of the river. Given the significant distance the bones were found from each other, it suggests that the bones would have scraped along the bottom of the river for many kilometers. During that time, without flesh, the bones would have been subject to visible inflictions.
- The fracture edges should demonstrate signs of rounding and smoothing, without affecting the structural integrity of the bone. Did they? We’d need a clearer picture to make a determination.
Also, this study brought me to the concept of “bone weathering”, which proved to be relevant.
Bone weathering means the aging of bones and the process that it goes through postmortem. Anna K. Behrensmeyer is a key paleobiologist in this field, and she identified 5 stages to bone weathering:
Kris’s bones were still between stage 0 and 1. There was no cracking, flaking or splintering present. Keep in mind, this is different from “broken” bones. A bone fracture is different from “cracking” and “flaking”.
Finally, I was interested in this study: “Experimental abrasion of water submerged bone: The influence of bombardment by different sediment classes on microabrasion rate” (another link here)
From this study I realized the high degree in which forensic scientists study these concepts. In this study, the biologists “bombard” bones underwater with a large variety of sedimentary material in order to see the effects on bones. Microabrasions from all sedimentary material were present under 100X and 1,000X magnifications.
This study demonstrates that some level of microabrasions and scratches should have been present on Kris Kremers bones.
The fact that there was no scratches is perplexing. If Kris’s bones had endured enough time in the water to be free of all tissue, then the bones equally should have shown visible signs of abrasions and scratching.
Only A Piece Of Her Pelvic Bone Was Found
Pelvic bones are strong. They don’t break easily, particularly in young people.
Most people that suffer from pelvis fractures experience these injuries from serious car accidents or from falling during old age (due to brittle bones, especially victims of osteoporosis).
According to AAOS, a “high-energy event” would be required to cause either a lateral compression fracture or a vertical shear fracture. Both fractures would be possible if Kris Kremers fell from a height. The angle that Kris fell and landed would also play a role in the injuries.
The Ilium, Ischium and Pubis are initially three different bones when we’re born. During our early teens these three bones fuse together to become one bone. Each bone is only able to be distinguished in adulthood by a very faint line that marks the location of the fusion points. Here is the structure of the coxal bone (medial view is most relevant):
Two parts of the bone were broken: the ischium and the pubis. Kris Kremers ilium pelvic bone was disconnected from all ligaments, which I’ll discuss next.
The Unexplainable Joints Detachments
Perhaps the most bewildering aspect of the bone found was the complete lack of joint tissue present.
All of these major joints were cleanly detached:
- Sacroiliac joint
- Articular capsule of the hip joint
- Sacrospinous ligament
- Arcuate pubic ligament
- Lilolumbar ligament
The sacroiliac joint is a hardened ligament that is designed to handle impact and balance while walking. This sacroiliac joint connects the Ilium to the sacrum and offers a limited range of motion, as seen in this video. However, it’s very strong because its intended purpose is to support the entire weight and movement of the upper-body.
Note: that’s five considerably strong joints and ligaments that somehow managed to completely disconnect from Kris Kremers pelvis. Could insects have caused this through decomposition, in such a short span of time? Let’s evaluate.
Natural Human Joint Decomposition And Decay
Joints are made up of bone, muscles, synovium, cartilage, and ligaments. Ligaments are considered to be “tough soft tissue”.
A human skeletal system can remain held together for decades due to ligament tissue being so strong.
“The soft tissues eventually liquefy and disintegrate, leaving skeletalized remains articulated by ligaments.”Decomposition of Human Remains
Articulation means “still attached”. Decomposing tissue, especially ligaments, are likely to remain intact for longer periods of time in cool water. However, the decomposition of both soft tissue and ligament tissue would be hastened when exposed to the air.
The study of forensic entomological decomposition looks at the rate of decay, specifically regarding the insects present during each decomposition stages. In forensic terminology, when insects arrive on a carcass, this is referred to as “arthropod succession”. Given that ligaments are hardened tissue, they would likely survive the decomposition process through much of the “advanced stage” of decomposition.
Dermestid beetles, also known as “skin beetles” are the most common carnivorous beetles and are known to clean ligaments from carcasses, including human remains. Dermestid beetles are widely studied because they can assist heavily in determining timelines of death and decomposition.
“Adults [beetles] generally arrive five to 11 days following death. This beetle can become one of the dominant insects present in mid to late decay.”University of Florida – Featured Creatures
Based on this information, the carnivorous beetles that is capable of decomposing hardened tissue would arrive approximately 5 to 11 days after death. Then, after arrival, it takes approximately 4 days for larvae to hatch from eggs. Altogether that brings us to between 9 and 15 days, which is certainly longer than the Blowflys that we discussed earlier.
I found a potentially interesting study (see link) of arthropod succession in Hawaii, perhaps a similar climate to Panama. But I wasn’t able to find a public copy of the PDF. That study might be helpful if someone has the PDF version.
Local Animals That Could Break A Pelvis
The pelvic fractures mentioned above are something that doesn’t happen during immediate natural decomposition, nor would a predator have the ability to achieve this, certainly not without significant and repeated force from a large beast. Let’s look at the potential threats:
|Animal||Fatal Human Attacks||Present In Jungles Of Panama||Jaw Strength:||Average Size:||Notes:|
|Jaguar||Extremely Rare||Yes||1,500 PSI||56–96 kg (123–212 lb)||Largest native cat species in the americas.|
|Puma||Extremely Rare||Yes||650 PSI||80–90 kg (180–200 lb)||Also known as the mountain lion and cougar.|
|Wild Boar||Extremely Rare||Unknown||5,000 PSI||60–100 kg (130–220 lb)||Also referred to as wild pigs and feral hogs. Called “Jabalíes” in Spanish.|
|Peccaries||Extremely Rare||Yes||Unknown||20 to 40 kg (44 to 88 lb)||Also referred to as “Javelina” or “musk-hog”. Jaw strength is probably slightly lower than a common wild boar.|
|American Crocodile||Yes||No||3700 PSI, 16,460 Newtons||57.2 to 238 kg (126 to 525 lb)||Only found in coastal regions. Live in salt water. Grow up to 6 meters (~20 feet).|
|Spectacled Caiman||Extremely Rare||Yes||1,000 PSI||7–40 kilograms (15–88 lb)||Species of alligator. Also known as White Caiman. Relatively small compared to crocodiles. Hunt at night. Live on the edges of rivers. Link|
|Boa Constrictor||Extremely Rare||Yes||6 to 12 PSI||3–13 ft (0.91–3.96 m)||Usually ambush small game animals. Utilizes suffocation as its method to kill. Swallows victims whole.|
Note: PSI means “pounds of pressure per square inch”. For comparison, the average human jaw delivers only 162 PSI.
I considered adding three other “cats” to this list: the ocelot, jaguarundi and the margay. But these three cats have no history of attacking humans, are considerably smaller in size and have very low jaw strength.
Jaguars and Pumas have two primary ways of crushing bones: biting and pouncing. Pouncing is a method used to surprise and capture prey, not so much for delivering crushing force. Their powerful jaws can deliver crushing force but deep scratches would be present on the bones collected.
Jaguars and Pumas certainly have the jaw strength to crush bone. However, they do not consume bones whole. They pulverize bone with their strong jaws in order to swallow it. Additionally, Kris’s bones would undoubtedly have scratch marks from a cat’s claws or teeth.
Jaguar attacks and Puma attacks are extremely uncommon but they do happen. Jaguars and Pumas are afraid of humans, especially multiple humans. It leaves a simple question – if one girl was attacked, why couldn’t the other have gone to get help?
One of my readers (see comments at bottom) mentioned the possibility of Wild Boars. This was a plausible suggestion, certainly worthy of further investigation. It sparked my interest.
Wild boars are omnivores and have a diet consistent with that of humans. They eat fruit, vegetables and meat. They have incredibly powerful jaws. Any farmer knows that pigs will eat anything – wild pigs are no exception. Generally, wild boars don’t attack humans unless they feel threatened. They’re known to be aggressive as a form of self-defense. In 2019 a wild boar attacked and killed a woman in Texas, the fifth documented attack on a human since 1825.
It was difficult to find information about their distribution in Panama. I kept finding information about wild boars in Panama City, Florida – a city in the United States. The only way wild boars could be present in Panama is if they’ve migrated down from the USA. Wild boars are an invasive species in the USA, which started in the 1800’s. They’re known to be prone to disease and parasites and are a major problem in the United States – some of my friends in Florida are hunters and intentionally hunt them to prevent these wild pigs from destroying farmlands.
But are wild boars in Panama? Honestly, I don’t know. In 2011, Mexico started a campaign against wild boars that migrated south from Texas. They certainly could have travelled further south, but there’s no evidence to suggest they’ve made it further than Mexico.
In Spanish, Wild boars are called “Jabalíes”. In my searches in the Spanish language, I found nothing that suggests that invasive wild boars made it further than Mexico. In Mexico, locals would have no problem benefitting from killing wild hogs to protect their farms, plus boars are considered to be safe to eat, similar to pork from the supermarket, a welcomed source of meat. All forms of meat is costly to locals in Central America and Mexico. Still, we can’t know if they made it down to Panama – there’s no information about them migrating that far.
Peccary vs Wild Boar
Peccaries are small boar-like animals that are a native species in Central America. They’re not pigs and they’re not boars, although they have similarities. They’re smaller. They travel in packs, with between 20 to 300 in a herd. They’re a threatened species because they require a delicate and vast ecosystem to survive (unlike wild boars). They eat roots, grubs, a variety of palm-tree fruits and less than 1% of their diet is from small invertebrates. I wasn’t able to find data about their jaw strength. Their jaws are undoubtedly powerful – they eat palm fruits (think of coconuts and similar hard-shell fruits).
They’ve earned the name of “stink pigs” because they give off a raunchy stench, similar to skunks, which is noticeable from a distance. They’re also very loud. Between barking and clicking their teeth – it’s not easy to sneak up on a herd accidentally.
The white-lipped peccary (tayassu pecari) is considered to be the most aggressive of the Peccary species, especially while protecting their young. Attacks on humans are extremely rare, although I found this one story where a woman was attacked in Arizona. Piccaries fear humans and therefore are generally invisible to humans, except when food is offered or when hunters locate them in the wild. They generally eat fruit and nuts (99.1% of their diet), but also sometimes small animals and carrion.
Could a herd of Wild Boar or Peccary have been the culprit? I suppose anything is possible. It would be very out of character for them to attack, disable and kill two humans. These animals aren’t hunters. They’re grazers. It would seem to me more like a low-budget horror movie – like the Sharknado film series. It’s cringeworthy to even consider it. I can’t imagine Kris and Lisanne entertaining the possibility of going anywhere near a herd of smelly and loud wild pig-like animals. Peccary are known to practice strong anti-predator behavior, which essentially means that they’ll run away quickly.
As ridiculous as the theory may sound, I suppose it’s not impossible.
Reptiles: Alligators, Crocodiles and Snakes
Crocodiles prefer salinity (salt water) and therefore wouldn’t be found this far inland where small freshwater streams flow downstream from the mountaintops, with numerous waterfalls preventing crocodiles from swimming or climbing upstream. Also, American Crocodiles are coastal by nature. We can rule them out quickly.
There are no snakes in the region that have the ability to swallow an adult human whole. The Boa Constrictor feeds by ambushing its prey, suffocating it and then swallowing it whole. While it’s possible that either of the girls could have been attacked by a Boa Constrictor, they certainly could have escaped with each others help. Additionally, Boa Constrictors are nocturnal. They are capable swimmers but prefer to be in trees. Therefore they are sometimes found near rivers where small birds and animals (prey) are present. Given this collection of facts, I believe we can rule them out.
Out of all of the animal predators, in addition to a bizarre Piccary attack, the Spectacled Caiman appears to also be a possibility. Although extremely rare to attack a human, Caiman are present in the region and have the ability to crush bone. They have powerful teeth which are designed for grip, not for mastication (chewing). In fact, alligators don’t “chew”. They bite to crush, then attempt to swallow their catch whole.
There are a lot of problems with this theory:
- Spectacled Caimans have two stomachs that digest everything, including bone. Their stomachs are highly acidic. Their feces has very little material present after defecation. Caimans often eat turtles whole and their shells are digested completely. There are no noticeable remains.
- Spectacled Caiman are very small, about the size of an average human child.
- Spectacled Caimans don’t have the ability to swallow adult human remains. They would not be able to swallow anything much larger than a standard softball, due to the restriction of the palatal valve, a flap that permits caiman to swim without drowning. They have been known to eat carrion (animals that are already dead).
- Spectacled Caiman don’t demonstrate signs of aggression until the rainy season, which is when mating season begins. Mating season typically happens between May and August.
- Lastly, not only is it extremely unlikely for Kris Kremers to be attacked by a Caiman, but it’s even more unlikely for both Kris and Lisanne to be attacked at the same time. Certainly one would have the ability to seek help.
Alligators are apex predators, which means that nothing hunts them except for larger alligators (and sometimes humans). They’re also cold-blooded, meaning they do not have the ability to heat themselves. They must surface for oxygen because they have lungs.
At first, I thought that Spectacled Caimans could be a worthy culprit to Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon’s disappearance. However, as I learned more about alligator’s physiology and behavior, I realized that it’s so unlikely that it’s virtually impossible for an alligator to have been involved in their disappearance and death.
The two most likely scenarios remain: Either Kris Kremers suffered a catastrophic fall that decimated her pelvis, or someone intentionally attempted to destroy her bones. All other theories are too far fetched.
Only One Rib Bone Was Found
There’s a lot of great information about rib structure on this website.
The rib bone found was rib #10. Unfortunately, no photos were made public. This bone also had traces of phosphorus on it, implying that it was also bleached in the same way as the pelvis bone. Men and women have 12 rib bones, and in rare cases some people have 11 or 13. Contrary to popular belief, men do not have less rib bones than woman. I’m going to assume that Kris had 12 rib bones.
The structure of ribs
Ribs create the Thoreac Cage, which protects the organs. Costal cartilage is the cartilage that holds the ribs in place and it’s flexibility permits expansion for respiration. The ribs are represented in pairs, which technically means that we have 24 ribs altogether, but scientists refer to “12 pairs”.
The first seven pairs are fixed ribs. The following three pairs below are called “false” ribs. Then two pairs below that are called “floating” ribs. Therefore Kris’s #10 rib that was found would technically be the last “false” rib.
This means that the rib would not be directly connected to the sternum. Instead, it would only be connected to flexible cartilage and therefore would have been weaker relative to the fixed ribs above it. Of the false ribs, it’s also attached by the least amount of cartilage.
“The most common ribs fractured are the 7th through 10th ribs.American Association For The Surgery of Trauma
According to Live Science, it takes a significant amount of force (3,300 newtons) to have a 25% chance of cracking a rib. In a simple comparison, dropping an apple on the ground equates to approximately one newton. Now imagine 3,300 apples hitting you in the rib simultaneously. That force would result in a 25% chance of a rib fracture. A typical punch with a fist, usually only achieves approximately 2,000 newtons of force. This may be irrelevant though, because we’re unsure of how the rib became separated from the rib cage.
It’s impossible to do a complete rib analysis.
There are many conclusions we can’t determine. Only one rib was found which is inadequate to draw conclusions. If other rib bones were available the evaluation process would be possible because we could compare the differences between them. Also, unfortunately we cannot determine the potential rate of decay for this specific bone, because it was bleached. We can only discuss the normal functioning of this rib bone and speculate.
We don’t know which side of the sternum the rib was from. We also do not know if it was the whole rib or a fractured piece of the rib. Lastly, no photos of the rib were publicized.
Therefore, this is the extent of the analysis that I can do regarding Kris Kremers rib. This concludes the forensic analysis portion of this research article. I provide a full list of my conclusions below.
How Investigators Handled The Bones
I’m going to be blunt, this was handled very poorly. Panama’s authorities clearly didn’t follow typical standards in the handling of crime scenes and forensic evidence. This was the fault of multiple Panamanian officials.
“The package [of bones] was sent by the Prosecution of Chiriquí Province and came with brief instructions: ‘These remains were found on the banks of the Culubre river. We sent them for analysis’. The note carried the signature of Betzaida Pittí.”
“The document lacked a detailed description of the custody chain, necessary information in this type of cases. The information must include the place of the finding, the exact location, the picking of the remains, the packing and transfer from the scene. This wasn’t the case.“La Estrella De Panama
According to Octavio Calderón, the criminologist on the case, he believed that Betzaida Pittí should have been disqualified from being involved in the case: “This is enough reason to disqualify her from the investigation“, he affirmed.
And she was disqualified.
Hernán Mora replaced Betzaida Pittí in January of 2015, only 3 months after that happened, probably a decision made by Ana Belfon, the Attorney General of Panama at the time. And it was a good move, especially considering the Kremers family sued Panama’s prosecutors office in international courts.
Panama conducted multiple searches in the area. But there was more than one issue:
- The evidence collection procedures were poor.
- The locals often disrupted the investigation sites, such as the “folded” jean shorts that were supposedly found in the river.
- Many pieces of evidence weren’t followed up on, such as the fingerprints.
- The case was closed before questions could receive appropriate answers.
- Communication with the public was sub-par. No information was made directly available to the public.
I’m not going to go into great detail about each of these things and I’m not going to discuss each politicians role in the outcome of the case. Surely one can surmise that the mishandling of this case was intentional to some degree.
Had this disappearance case involved the missing daughters of any elite Panamanian authorities, you can be certain that more answers would have been found. Politicians in Latin America don’t play games. They utilize force and exercise their power because that’s usually their only option.
In this case, the fact that so many people died in relation to the case, presents numerous possibilities. Panama is an undeveloped country in Latin America. Numerous people involved in this disappearance case somehow accidentally drowned or got hit by cars – some died within days and some died only months later (while the case was still widely publicized internationally).
Lastly, I’ll mention this important article, in which the coroner claims that the remains of Lisanne appeared to be manipulated in some fashion, which the Panamanian government ignored.
Before many questions were answered, the case was closed in March of 2015. This was approximately a year after the two girls had gone missing. There were plenty of additional leads to follow but Panama’s leaders clearly wanted to put this behind them.
The Bones Of Other People Were Found There Too
After searchers had finished gathering the bones, forensic investigators discovered that bones of three other people were found mixed together with Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon’s bones. So this wasn’t a first time occurrence.
“…a long bone that corresponds to a child’s left radius (forearm), another occipital bone of the skull, whose DNA is from a male adult.”Panama America
Apparently bones of multiple people are scattered in the Serpent River. And these other bones were discovered unexpectedly. According to an IMELCF spokesperson, these other bones were likely from a “washed-out indigenous cemetery”.
The indigenous tribe in the area is the Ngäbe tribe. They’re highly respectful to the dead, utilize caskets, and only bury the dead on dry land (they don’t place corpses in rivers, for example). Nor would they likely build a cemetery near a river, knowing well that flooding season is an annual event.
I found this great website by the Ngabe tribe that discusses the pressures and frustrations that the tribe feels from the national governments interest to increase land development, mining and energy production in the region – a growing issue in Panama.
Perhaps an ancient burial ground was near a river. But if rains and flooding washed the bones into the river, then I’m curious how an ancient decomposed “child’s long forearm bone” managed to survive turbulent river conditions while Kris’s bones happened to be broken down into fragments. Surely a recently deceased adult woman’s pelvis is significantly stronger than child’s brittle forearm bone that had been decomposed.
Let’s look into this concept a little further.
Mummification of human remains happens when bodies are essentially dried by the removal of moisture. However, once exposed to water, the decomposition process continues as normal.
With that said, mummification is very uncommon in the moist regions of Central America. There’s simply too much constant moisture. Therefore, if the bones of an ancient burial ground were present in the river, they would have been especially vulnerable in a river to damage, both from cracking, splintering and fracturing. Ancient bone remains would be unlikely to survive the moment it was placed into a rocky river.
I think that the timeliness that these unanticipated bones were found contributed to the case being closed so abruptly thereafter. Although authorities in developed nations would likely view the unearthing of these bones to be worthy of further investigation, the leaders of Panama probably saw this as an embarrassment, especially in light of the international publicity. The many disappearances without answers, the subsequent “drownings” of people related to the case, then the unexpected discovery of the bones of unidentified persons, altogether, essentially exposed major systemic shortcomings in Panama’s leadership.
Surely the political issues go deeper than that, but we’ll probably never hear those details.
There Is More That We Don’t Know
There’s a lot of whispers around Panama about what really happened to Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. I’m tempted to provide more details about those unofficial conversations. The problem is, nobody can verify, nor accurately rely on whispers nor blog comments. So, I’ll forgo that discussion for now and provide a morsel that was written by a different blogger.
According to a hitchhiker that visited Panama, expats local to Panama have heard stories of bones being found with saw marks:
“And according to one expat who gave me a ride, investigators discovered some bone fragments that had clearly been sawed into pieces and doused with bleach.”Hitchhikeadelic.com
I think it’s highly plausible that the public was only presented the bones that aligned with the “official” story of Panamanian authorities. If the authorities had discovered bones that had been sawed or hacked with a machete, there’s a good chance they could have discarded them or simply didn’t permit them to be involved in the case from the start.
Also, as mentioned before, there are many other inconsistencies with this case, such as the state of the blue backpack, the fingerprints that were never investigated, the cropped camera photos, and many more inconclusive parts of the case.
Summary & Conclusions
I’ve learned a tremendous amount from this research. I’ve learned valuable information and I’ve learned things that I didn’t particularly want to know. In both cases, this research has granted me more confidence in my conclusions.
Conclusion #1: There are no animal predators in the area that have the ability to incapacitate two women simultaneously. While it’s possible that an animal attack could have created substantial problems for one woman, an animal certainly didn’t cause both of their deaths. It’s so incredibly unlikely that an animal, or herd of animals, could have been the cause of the deaths of both Kris and Lisanne, that it’s seemingly impossible. However, a very small possibility exists.
Conclusion #2: Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon’s remains decomposed at different times, likely at different intervals, with Kris Kremers remains having decomposed earlier and with the use of fertilizer chemicals. Both Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon’s remains experienced different forms of decomposition in different surrounding environments.
Conclusion #3: The rainfall in the region would have started raising river levels at some point between mid April to early May. More data about the serpent river is necessary to determine the rate of increase in river levels based on rainfall and to determine the river’s velocity based on rainfall.
Conclusion #4: The cool temperature and high elevation suggests that the decomposition process would take more time than typical tropical conditions. Low-elevation tropical conditions can decompose a body in as little as two weeks. Bodies found in rivers and lakes can last up to a year and sometimes longer depending on various factors.
Conclusion #5: Kris Kremers bones were not bleached by sunlight, nor did her bones demonstrate signs of sun bleaching. Under the grey clouds at this elevation during the rainy season, it’s unlikely that sunlight is capable of bleaching bones rapidly.
Conclusion #6: Phosphorus is often used in unison with lime in order to balance soil acidity levels and promote plant growth. Natural lime levels present in Panama’s rivers are incapable of bleaching Kris’s bones.
Conclusion #7: There are no other known natural sources of phosphorus or lime that could contribute to the rapid decomposition of Kris’s remains. Therefore, unless another unknown source of chemicals is available naturally, we can confidently assume that chemicals, likely from fertilizer, were utilized by humans.
Conclusion #8: Both the lack of Kris Kremers bones and the bleaching effect on the bones have prevented us from being able to determine the following: the approximate time of death, the decomposition timeline and the possibilities of injuries that took place. A separate analysis regarding Lisanne’s bones is necessary to make the same conclusion.
Conclusion #7: The person that attempted to utilize chemicals to chemically destroy Kris’s bones was likely a novice or amateur to the process. The soft tissue experienced rapid decomposition, the bones experienced mild chemical alteration, then later the bone decomposition process was abruptly halted.
Conclusion #8: Decomposition studies suggests that if they had died naturally their remains would have a clear presence of abrasions and scratches in the river. It’s impossible for bones to travel many kilometers downstream without displaying visible micro-abrasions.
Conclusion #9: Given that Lisanne’s skin was in an early stage of decomposition, yet her remains were clearly dis-articulated, we can confidently conclude that her remains went through an unnatural process. Inversely, to be in an early state of decomposition would imply that her remains should have been articulated.
Conclusion #10: The Panamanian government was insincere in their assessment of the child’s bones that they unexpectedly discovered. Additionally, the government did not make public any analysis of the child’s bones in order to further verify their claim.
Conclusion #11: The Panamanian government overlooked numerous vital pieces of evidence and mishandled evidence during the process of the investigation.
Numerous Unanswered Questions
I’m interested in finding more answers involving this case. I’m willing to do more research if anyone can answer any of the following questions.
Please note: I only want verified information. This case already has too many rumors which do nothing to help us find answers. If you provide information to me, please be willing to verify the legitimacy of the information.
The most important questions we need answered are the following:
- Does anyone have higher resolution photos of the bones?
- Does anyone have additional photos of the other bones?
- How much does the Serpent River’s level rise based on rainfall?
- Does anyone local to Panama’s Continental Divide have precise river water temperatures from April to October?
- Did anyone purchase Quicklime, Lye or Phosphate fertilizer during the approximate timeframe proceeding or immediately following the disappearance of the two girls?
- What evidence was destroyed or went missing during this case?
- If any vultures or other scavenger animals were seen during the weeks following their disappearance, where exactly were they seen?
- What unusual behavior was observed in locals during the days following the disappearance?
- What was the method that search teams used to comb the riverbed?
- If other bones were discarded, where are they now and what is their condition?
- Can any locals confirm that any bones were discovered with marks from a machete or handsaw?
- Has anyone local found any other unknown personal belongings?
- Why wasn’t Lisanne Froon capable of going to find help for Kris?
- If they experienced an injury during this hike, why weren’t their cries for help heard?
- Does anyone have any information that is relevant to this research that I may have missed?
If anyone can provide information about these questions, please send me a message. If you wish to remain anonymous, I will respect your privacy. I will not publish your name unless I have your approval.
This Case Should Not Be A Mystery
There was ample evidence in this case, certainly enough to uncover the truth.
Evidence was mishandled. Leads were not followed. Numerous critical parts of the investigation were not carried out. The case was closed far too early. Persons of interest mysteriously died following the days and weeks of the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon.
There was enough evidence to solve this case.
The rainforests are not guilty.
First, the girls disappeared in a place that’s rather difficult to get lost. They were on a trail with open spaces surrounding them. It wasn’t heavy jungle as many people might imagine. Numerous people walk these paths everyday. If one girl was injured, the other girl would have ample opportunity to find help.
Second, rainforests are not some dark and obscure place where “strange” things happen. There is no magic. There are no “dark forces” nor mujer empolleradas, ceguas, nor chupacabras (all are Central American folklore). Like everywhere, rainforests are ecosystems. Variables can be calculated. Information can be gathered. Science works.
Unexplainable things only happen when poor decisions are made (such as poor planning or overestimation of one’s capabilities), or criminals are involved (or both). In the case of two girls going missing at the same time under these conditions – it’s almost 100% certain that criminal activity was involved. There is no reason for two experienced travelers to disappear simultaneously near frequently used walking paths. Yes, hikers disappear fairly often around the world. It would be foolish to ignore that. But attention to detail is important: Very seldomly throughout history have multiple hikers disappeared simultaneously while on frequently used public trails. Those nuances are key.
Based on what I’ve written here, it’s my opinion that humans are the culprit. Granted, nothing can be said for certain until more facts are available. Keep in mind, I’m no forensic expert. I’m willing to change my mind based on reasonable and thorough research. However, compiling all of these pieces tells me that something led to Kris and Lisanne making very irrational decisions and that was most likely other humans being involved.
Panama’s authorities should feel deeply ashamed for not thoroughly investigating this crime, and for potentially protecting the criminals that were involved in this crime. Two women lost their lives while Panama’s authorities hid in embarrassment instead of responsibly investigating this case to the fullest extent possible – Que vergonzoso!
A Final Word
I offer my sincere sympathies and deep condolences to the families of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. I cannot imagine the torment and frustration they felt from the disappearance and poor handling of their daughter’s case. The international community is still deeply troubled from their disappearance and people continue to look for answers, including myself. In an ideal world, the public could have received adequate answers from Panama’s authorities. Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world. My heart breaks for any family that experiences the disappearance of a loved one abroad.
If anyone has information regarding the disappearance of these two girls, please contact me. I will respect your anonymity. I recognize that providing information can be dangerous and my first priority is always everyone’s safety.
Collecting and organizing this information took a substantial amount of time. Please consider supporting me if you wish for me to continue researching this case. An easy way to support me is by purchasing $5 worth of Pupusas for me.
Below I’ve provided “Sources & Information” that includes a lot of information about the case of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. While gathering information about Kris Kremers bones, I came across a lot more information than I had expected.
Thank you for reading.
Sources & Information
Leading Articles About This Case
Koude Cass – Cold Case (English Blog) – A big thank you to Scarlet for so thoroughly documenting the story, writing so many details in her excellent blog and providing links. It made this work easier.
La Estrella De Panama (Spanish News Website) – I appreciate the work of the news organization that thoroughly covered the case of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. They did an excellent job.
History Of Things To Come (English Blog) – Interesting comments from “Anonymous” in the footer.
Camille G (French Blog) – Account of retracing the steps of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon (Part 2 here)
Los huesos presentan rastros de fósforo (Spanish Article)
Refutan hipótesis de la fiscalía sobre muerte de holandesas (Spanish Article)
Encuentran pertenencia de jóvenes holandesas en río Culebre en Bocas del Toro (Spanish Article)
Hay huellas digitales y ADN en objetos de holandesas (Spanish Article)
La cámara de las holandesas registró 90 fotos en tres horas (Spanish Article)
Indígenas encuentran mochila de holandesas en Bocas del Toro (Spanish Article)
Tras las huellas de Lisanne y Kris a su paso por Boquete (Spanish Article)
Deep Inside the Panama ‘Paradise’ Murder Mysteries (English Article)
Kris en Lisanne zijn vijf jaar later nog bij elke wandeltocht in Panama (Dutch Article)
Wat gebeurde er met Kris Kremers en Lisanne Froon? (Dutch Article)
Das rätselhafte Verschwinden von Kris Kremers & Lisanne Froon (German Forum)
Lateinamerika: Zwei Touristinnen aus Holland in Panama verschollen (German Article)
Investigators And Other Parties Involved
Betzaida Pitti – Initial lead investigator on the case.
Hernán Mora – New lead investigator on the case (replaced Betzaida Pitti).
Humberto Mas, Director of the IMELCF.
Octavio Calderón – Criminologist on the case. His death was a mystery in 2019.
Ana Belfon, Attorney General of Panama (2013-2014) – Later admitted to having paid bribes in to officials and individuals involved with Odebrecht. Interestingly, Odebrecht has done construction in Chiriquí province. They also worked on the Remigio Rojas Irrigation Project by building a dam on the Chico River, and facilitate the sale of local farmers produce to the Netherlands. Probably no relationship – but noteworthy.
Enrique Arrocha – The privately hired lawyer of the Kremers family.
Nikki van Passel – Spokesperson for the Kremers family.
answersforkris.com – Website by Kremers family, attributed to Kris.
findlisannekris.com – Website by both families.
Giovanni and Doris – Owners of Il Pianista Restaurant and owners of Blue, the dog. Both stated that Blue followed the girls to the trail. Giovanni is sicilian and Doris is from Panama. (Link)
Arturo Alvarado – Director General of the National Civil Protection Service. (Spanish Article)
Feliciano Gonzalez – Local tour guide that discovered the remains.
Henry Eliezer Gonzalez – The son of Feliciano Gonzalez.
Osman Valenzuela – Disappeared only 3 days after the girls went missing. Osman was later found dead from drowning. Was potentially part of a youth gang. Later was discovered that he had met Kris and Lisanne.
Jose Manuel Murgas – Worked with Osman (mentioned above). Killed a year later (2015) in a hit and run collision. After he died, Henry Eliezer Gonzalez wrote on Facebook that Jose was his “Little soul brother”.
Caldera Hot Spring – Where Kris and Lisanne possibly went swimming before their death. Photo found in Osman’s camera after he was found dead.
Jorge Rivera Miranda – Friend of tour guide’s son. On April 4th, 2015 he was found drowned in very shallow water.
El Sabroson – Restaurant in the area. Son of restaurant owner is Edwin Aguirre.
Edwin Aguirre – Son of Sabroson. Had a quarrel with Heriberto Gonzalez publicly online and later went missing.
Heriberto Gonzalez – Man that may be involved in the disappearance of the two girls.
La banda ‘Los ND5′ – Gang of 5 people in the area at that time.
Ángel Palacio – Local in the area that worked with Feliciano Gonzalez in finding the remains.
Leonardo Arturo González – Taxi driver that originally brought the girls to the head of the trail. Later found drowned in the Estí river on March 3, 2015.
Ingrid Lommers – Owner of Spanish Location, a language school located in the same region of Panama.
Dutch Forensic Institute – Confirmed the validity of the bone samples.
Spanish by the River – The hostel where the girls were staying in the town of Alto Boquete, which is slightly south Boquete.
Lee Zelter – Expat of Panama that helped interview locals. Was the owner of boqueteguide.com and started boquete.ning.com. He later past away after being released from the hospital from health conditions.
Adelita Coriat – Journalist of La Estrella that covered much of the case from Panama. Has since stopped working as a journalist.
Jeremy Kryt – Journalist from The Daily Beast that covered many details of the case from the USA.
Note: If anyone listed here prefers to have their name removed, please contact me.
WikiPedia – Phosphorus – “Fertilizer is often in the form of superphosphate of lime”
Gardening Know How – When to Use Superphosphate
American Association For The Surgery of Trauma – Rib Fractures
Rodriguez, William C.
1997 Decomposition of buried and Submerged Bodies. In Forensic Taphonomy:
The Postmortem Fate of Human Remains. Haglund, W.D., Sorg, M.H., eds.
Pp. 459-467. New York: CRC Press.
Note: most of the sources are referenced in the article above.
Please note: Our team is committed to accuracy of information and respecting the privacy of those involved with this disappearance case. If you have any supplementary information regarding the case, or if you were involved in this case and feel that the information available in this article impacts your privacy, please contact our team.
Not based on any solid evidence but my theory is that they were captured and held captured. Kris either died early or escaped and died. Lisanne remained captive until she was murdered and her body dumped. The phone business was someone trying to gain access to information on the phone but was locked out.
Need to point out that the Jaguar’s bite PSI in the predator list is totally wrong. The Jaguar’s bite is 1500 PSI, the puma could never have a stronger biting force than a jaguar. The jaguar is even known to have double the biting force of a Bengal tiger.
Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve fixed the error. It’s been a while since I wrote this article, so it’s difficult to remember which source I had used for that piece of information. I appreciate your feedback.
After reading all of the dossiers on the Kremers, Froon mystery i too believe human criminal activity is to blame for their deaths. The fertilizer and no traces of bone marrow, the collapse of the skeleton (pelvic bone, and rib found apart from the entire skeleton), the dozens of unidentified fingerprints, the missing pic and possible manipulation of the photos, the possibility of some bones being left out of the autopsy which could have shown knife or saw marks and $83 just sitting in a back-pack makes it all too suspicious. I just don’t understand how these girls families accepted the “accident theory”. I read one family held out longer than the other but eventually both accepted the same conclusion. There’s something not right here. Also the deaths of the locals connected to the case all within days or months is quite strange. It all seems like some kind of conspiracy but for these deaths to occur so quickly i believe somebody higher up or somebody from the government is protecting somebody or some interests.
I read the story about Cody Dial and his disappearance and how his body was located two years after the fact. What state of decomposition were his remains? Both his and these girls bodies are both in tropical temperatures. If he still had meat on his bones after two years and these girls flesh was nowhere to be found after a few months, well that definitely adds to the “human intervention” theory of their demise. I’m still not finished this article, so maybe you mention this, but how tough (strong) is a human skeleton after all flesh has been removed from it? Is it brittle where it would fall apart or could it be carried by two people by holding the skeletal arms and legs? If it’s tough, then it also adds mystery to how these girls bones were scattered. I also read how you stated that the forensic scientist said this and i quote…
“It’s important to recognize that the forensic investigators intentionally used the word “bleached” in parallel with the traces of phosphorus that were found. It wasn’t a matter of speculation from the forensics team: they knew that chemicals were involved somehow. Never did the forensics team suggest another form of bleaching.”
This definitely adds to the “human intervention” theory of their demise.I’m surprised these girls parents so quickly sided with the “accident” theory and left it at that, while so many people like You guys are going out there and trying to find the truth. If you go out there hire an armed guard that can be trusted to tag along. Since You reside their maybe you can get a permit, i read it takes 3-6 months, butter you can carry legally. I found a lin which explains how to go about it. https://livinginpanama.com/panama/guns/
I have traveled in this area. I first visited it in 1997 when Bocas del Toro was just a sleepy beach town with a few hotels, and the hostel and backpacker culture of today was not yet present in either Bocas or Boquette.
In 1997, I hired a local guide in Cerro Punta and traveled on foot with him for about 10 days on the north side of the Continental Divide. He was a Latino farmer who had lived in the back country for many years, but was now settled in Cerro Punta, and as we traveled, we stayed various nights with both the Ngobe people and with another indigenous family that was not Ngobe. This was long before there was talk of damming the Changuinola River.
My guide Pedro had never seen a map of the region, but he had one in his head. I had no map either. I had arrived in Panama from Costa Rica at the border, expecting to find a map for sale, but there was none. I saw several large scale maps in government offices, and I crudely copied a rough map on paper so that I would at least know the general layout of the country. I ended up traveling for several weeks by asking directions and asking people what things I should see.
My guide and I traveled over the continental divide at Cerro Punta. It took us two full days to reach the lowlands of the Changuinola and warmer temperatures. Even though it was February, supposedly the dry season, we had two full days of rain in the course of our journey. The highlight of my trip was the day and two nights we spent in a Ngobe village that was called Boca de Cieva by the people there. I have never found it on any maps, but it appears to be just on the north or west side of the Rio Culebre above where it joins the Changuinola River.
From the Changuinola basin, we crossed over a ridge that was much lower than the continental divide and reached a village on the Bahia de Almirante. Both the highway and the reservoir that are present today had not been built in 1997. At this village on the Bahia, we paid for a ride on a large motorboat to Chiriquí Grande, and then we took another boat to Bocas del Toro and spent two nights in a hotel. Finally, we returned from Bocas again via Chiriquí Grande and by bus to David. At David, we caught one of the smaller local buses back to Cerro Punta.
That entire 1997 adventure cost me only about $500, including paying my guide Pedro, and at times, a Ngobe guide as well, and following Pedro’s instructions for how much to give to each indigenous family we stayed with.
We bought food along the way, which Pedro expertly cooked over a campfire or at in the kitchen area with our indigenous hosts. When I explained to Pedro that I was Jewish, he graciously helped me find foods that I could eat. In one case, we bought a chicken and Pedro slaughtered it kosher style, with a sharp knife, cutting the blood vessels in the neck and draining all the blood. Another day, we bought a huge fish from a local who had just caught it (for $1!), and Pedro cooked it. We bought large quantities of rice from locals, as well as local fruits and vegetables, and on one occasion, hulled the rice ourselves. I lost a lot of weight!
I can verify for you that the temperature in the highlands was very cool, and that the rivers were always cold. I remember crossing one of the “monkey bridges,” but elsewhere we forded rivers, including on one occasion, the Changuinola itself, which was very difficult.
Although many of the ridgetops and mountains were densely forested, I could see for myself that large areas had been cleared or were being cleared for pasture. I watched people cut down trees to clear more pasture.
I did not hike the trail to Boquette where these girls’ remains were found, and I did not visit Boquette on my 1997 trip, but I heard about it from Pedro. I learned that the men of the Ngobe often work as agricultural laborers in the farms on the Pacific side of Panama, while the women and children stay in the villages. My Ngobe guide had three wives, a fact that Pedro found very amusing. He joked about it constantly.
The children of Boca de Cieva had never seen a western backpacker at that time. (I’m sure they’ve seen many by now.) When I arrived in the village, young children surrounded me curiously. To break the ice, I sang Beattles songs for them.
I returned to the region in the summer of 2010, staying in Boquette at a bed & breakfast that belonged to a German. By this time, Boquette and David had both changed enormously. I studied Spanish at a language school in Boquette called Habla Ya. (Most of students were Americans on vacation, many of them medical people wanting to improve their medical Spanish.) I was one of the few Americans who could really communicate in Spanish, so I paid for more advanced private lessons.
Other things that had changed in western Panama by 2010 … western money, drugs, prostitution.
I rented a motorbike one day, and rode through the smaller roads to Cerro Punta to visit Carlos, the owner of Los Quetzales, who I had met in 1997. I found that Pedro was no longer living in Cerro Punta, but I spoke with his ex-wife and called him on the phone. We had a hard time communicating on the phone, even though my Spanish had improved a lot. He spoke the local dialect, whereas my Spanish is pretty much Royal Academy with a Mexican accent.
By 2010, I was in my 50s, and too old to repeat my adventures of 1997, but I enjoyed learning more about the Panama. I long for the days when it was possible to travel the way I did in 1997, without the Internet and cell phones.
When I first heard of this case, I thought they had gotten lost. But the more I’ve studied it for hours and hours, day after day. I strongly believe the girls were murdered. Taken somewhere after the trip to the hot spring, by the group that accompanied them. ( all now deceased also, apart from the tour guide and his sons.) The remains were found in the area near his farm, which could explain the lye, and why he miraculously found them. I’m not positive either girl was dead by the 5th and by the condition of the remains ms Froon May have been held longer. So much is unexplained. But my theory is they were being held for trafficking of some sort, but the intensity of the search meant the two were a very hot topic for longer than the perps anticipated and had no way to move them secretly so we’re eventually disposed of. But how they had access to their phones is a mystery, maybe they escaped and were caught up with after the night photos. Also If they were held, breaking an ankle of either might have been a way to ensure they won’t escape or get far. The story has really stayed with me, and Id love nothing more for them to find justice in such a haunting and frustrating case. By heart really goes out to them, their families and their friends.
that is a lot of information that you have gathered!
Do you know this travel blog yet? https://chasing-magic-places.com/en/2018/09/18/boquete/
It’s from a German woman. When she was hiking in the forsts of Boquete she met a local. He led her away from the path. He told her, that they are now at the edge of the”cannibale area”. Then he said, he would have a vision from the past, where a woman and her son where killed exactly at this place. Then he spoke of Kris Kremmers and Lisanne Froon and told her about the rumours that they are captured in this jungle by cannibales. I know nothing happened to this woman and he most certainly is just a innocent ordinary guy that read about these women in the newspaper but I had a strange feeling reading about this man leading this tourist away from the path and speaking with her about these murders while being in the “middle of nowhere”.
Can you imagine being told that by a stranger out in nowhere? Wow. No evidence of cannibalism. I think cannibals are a common fear and ghost story about wilderness. On a video clip of the program “lost in the wild,” the scientist who examined the actual bones seems to have said he had reason to believe the disappearance involved organ harvesting. I wonder what was his reasoning process to believe that.
Hello, I’ve been educating myself on this case over the last few days. It seems that no other remains were ever found beyond those located in mid-2014. Foul play aside, is this consistent with the possibility of the bodies being swept downriver, resulting in ‘obliteration’ of the remains? Again, foul play aside, It would seem to me that a thorough search ‘around’ the areas that the located remains were found should uncover more remains even today, had they been present on ‘dry’ land. It seems everyone has given up. Disappearances in these parts of the world seem to present a real challenge, be it geographical, logistical, ‘moral’ or political.
Hi Chris, this case has fascinated me for quite a while now. I highly appreciate your planned expedition to Boquete, this is overdue in my opinion! I am one of those who support the lost theory. I cannot prove it to be true and I cannot rule out the foul play scenario either. It’s just something in my guts that tells me they probably got lost or injured and then got lost, and it all spiraled downwards from there. I would like to counter the frequent argument that it’s near impossible to get lost on the Pianista trail. Well, just take a look at all the accounts of hikers getting lost after stepping off the trail for a couple of meters never finding their way back. Let’s assume Lisanne and Kris did leave the trail for whatever reason, let’s look at it the other way around: How easy or difficult would it be to find their way BACK TO the trail? Firs off, I see several likely scenarios that would explain why the girls left the trail: Toilet break, short cut, a cattle herd blocking the trail, trying to find that rumored secret waterfall. If they followed a stream and were unable to find their way back to the trail after they turned around, that would mean they were left with the river as their best option, with dense bush on both sides blocking their way and forcing them to stay close to the river. Having hiked through tropical rainforests myself (lowland, montane, and cloud forest) I know how intimidating the forest can be. It’s easy to have your way blocked by obstacles that you know are impossible to cross, forcing you to take detours that eat up a lot of time and energy. Especially in the montane forest that the two girls had to cope with it must have been extremely humbling and frightening. I can very well understand why the girls stuck to the river. They were apparently carrying only one small water bottle. Although it contradicts common knowledge to drink river water, of course, that’s what you’re gonna do when you are lost in the wild. What choice do you have?
And I find it likely that L and K had limited knowledge of what’s beyond the continental divide. Surely they wouldn’t have continued North downstream along the river had they known that the whole area was basically wilderness and only sparsely populated. Backtracking uphill towards the continental divide and back to the safety of the Boquete region seems to have been the less favorable route. Trying to imagine me in the same situation: I am lost in the tropical rainforest, I am hungry and possibly already starving, possibly injured. There’s no cell phone connection. Unable to find or reach the trail back to where I came from, I have to find an alternative route, a plan B. After spending days on plan B to no avail, there’s no way I turn back and give plan A another try. I just don’t have the strength anymore, it’s physically impossible for me to turn around and follow the original path back. When you are dragging yourself along with the last of your strength, the point of no return is reached quite quickly. You put all your eggs in one basket and then have to go through with it.
To counter another argument, namely that you don’t go bushwhacking wearing shorts and tank tops, and that the girls were too smart to get lost: Well, they decided to go on a jungle hike on their own, dressed like they were going to the local duck pond, didn’t they? Shorts, tank tops, no warm clothing, nothing to protect them from the elements. Almost zero provisions, probably nothing in the way of a compass, pocket knife, band-aid or other essential survival tools. Even their phones were only half-charged when they started their hike. That’s outright naive and, dare I say, extremely negligent. They gravely underestimated the brutal force of tropical wilderness and had to pay the ultimate price. But I digress.
Here are my 2 cents about your expedition: Under the premise that the girls got lost, they probably never reached the pastures and huts, otherwise they’d surely have taken pictures there. If I were you when examining the trails beyond the Mirador summit, I’d take a look at the small creeks crossing the trail, and whether they’re walkable and maybe offer a clue why one would get lost on the stretch between the summit and the pastures.
I agree with you the lost theory fits with the most facts. Phosphorous bone — I’ve read somewhere that there are abundant phosphorus in caves and water there extremely cold, so foul play unnecessary. My theory is they went off trail and fell in a deep hole or a crevasse shortly after crossing over the divide. This would explain no more scenic photos shortly after the summit. Some bloggers have stitched together the “night” photos and you can finally see they were all taken from same spot looking up with smooth boulders as walls. The “sos” was written on the floor of this hole, as opposed to a cave, in attempt to signal to someone who can view them directly from above. They spent days trapped in this place waiting for rescue and things must have been calm enough for them to put all their stuff neatly in the backpack. The night photos were an attempt to signal for help perhaps they heard noises above — that would explain why there were no intended subject in any pictures. As they were using flash not intended to take photos but to signal. And one of the girl just accidentally got the back of her head caught in a picture. After they perished the rain season began and frigid water covered their bodies until decomposition allowed theirs bones to be washed through underground passages and out downstream. The foot in shoe is typical find from deaths occurring in body of water. It’s so sad that they didn’t turn over every rock and boulder on that trail to find these girls.
That would make some sene if the whole bodies were found after a few months. Unfortunately, only a few dismantled strange looking remains which make people ask lots of questions were found. How come if we take into account the fact in all happened within 5 months?
Re: remains, my instinct if someone i was lost with died first would be to protect the body somehow and clearly mark the grave, maybe take a couple pictures so someone later knows what to look for. I might first bait and trap scavengers. Curious to know what the other bone fragments were. Frustrating if those bones are the only remains, and no evidence of decomposition on backpack or shorts, because it leaves that little doubt in back of mind.
First of all: thank you Chris and congrats for the huge and excellent body of reasearch you have done on this case!
I have been occasionally following this case, but it had vanished from my view, when I stumbled across this blog.
I’m a criminologist (though I havn’t done any field work, only ivory tower academics) and want to throw in a few general thoughts here:
On many structural levels this is a very simple case and yes, it is terribly confusing, mysterious and irritating in it’s details. In the moment the bones were found, there should have been a pattern of prioritized reasoning among the investigators– what apparently didn’t happen for whatever reason (political ones maybe, maybe normal cognitive sloppiness, confirmation bias in regards to the accident theory etc.).
The most important and first question is: is there a reasonably possible + scientifically valid explanation for the condition those bones and remains were found in ?
Because if the answer to this question is no, one can no longer run with the accident theory as your working hypothesis.
Here starts the complicated part though: I think you cannot answer this question without a very competent forensic anthropologist and possibly an ecologist involved. Because we need the information what kind of ecological micro-conditions were present at the exact places where those remains where found and what kind of scavenger activity is present. This cannot be done with general guesswork, no matter how educated that guesswork might be. Also a soil sample from the ‚area‘ (what exact area are we talking about ?) won’t do it I am afraid, see my link below. In regards to scavengers, those typically follow observable patterns and trails can be found. If one wanted to truly investigate this case, installing wildlife-observing cameras at the critical spots might be a good idea.
Also I think we need to know the exact spot – at least the knowledge of what kind of tree these bones (mainly Kris famous „bleached‘ bone) were found beneath. Let me throw this in here at this point:
From what I can find online, only phosphorus was confirmed to be found on Kris‘ bone (if it was even her‘s, if the picture is really from her bone etc. but let’s run with that assumption for now). I am no ecologist, but from what I can find, there are trees in panamanian forests that have a quite special ability in unlocking phosphorus in the soil. These kind of trees are also used as natural ‚fertilizers‘. I have no clue if this could have happened in that particular forest and with that particular tree but this (for example) might be a possibility why they found phosphorus. From what I see, we don’t even know what amount they found. Then there is this statement, that the bone was ‚bleached‘ but what did they mean with bleached ?
Was it really ‚bleached‘ (what effects would that have on the surface of the bone ?) or simply ‚clean‘ ? The latter can be reached by various insects/beetles, too (your wrote about that, too).
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the accident theory. What I am trying to do is apply the method of falsification/refutation to the foul play theory, to test it’s strength, something I would always recommend in a complicated case as this one: try to disprove whatever theory you favor.
I must say what irritates me most about the accident idea is the pattern of the first emergency calls on day one (only two made and none once darkness had sat in – wouldn’t that be the point of highest fear and danger for the girls ?!)
On the contrary why would anyone bother to scatter the bones so widely and quite hidden. If you want them to be hidden, they better had left them wherever they were in the first place. But if you wanted them to be found, why hide them fairly well ? I saw the interview with the guide Feliciano who said they never would have found the bones behind that tree (where Kris‘ bone was found) if not for sheer luck. So if this was a crime, it seems plausible that this Feliciano character was somewhat involved with the perpetrator – though he himself does not fit any reasonable perpetrator profile (especially in his age, people don’t just start committing a sophisticated double murder/homicide at age 60 or whatever he is/was at the time, but sure, maybe he just never got on record before. But also the geographical profile does not fit, it was way to close to his farm). If this was a crime it seems reasonable to assume that he helped the perpetrator (why ? personal/family relationship or did he owe him some ‚favor‘ ?).
But I don’t want to entertain the foul play theory too much either, not before those primary questions I raised earlier have been answered.
So the most reasonable labeling of this case at this point in time would be unknown in regards to manner of death. Indeed by no means is it justified to label it as accidental.
Anyways, sorry for the long text, those are only some spontaneous thoughts I had. Keep up the good work and best of luck for the planned trip!
The tragic circumstances of this case and limited reliable and authenticated information is very similar to the Cody Roman Dial case. Cody began a jungle hike without giving anyone his exact plans and location.
Shown on National Geographic, a similar and frustrating investigation ensued, fueled by rumour, speculation and deliberate lying by locals. Facts not adding up led that team to prematurely conclude foul play. Let it be instructional that despite this, Cody who disappeared in very similar circumstances in Costa Rica, July 2014, was killed by natural causes. His body found 2 years after his disappearance.
Of course there are many differences, Cody was experienced, prepared, well equipped and he was alone. Also his body was found intact despite dying next to a stream. I guess the point being that conclusions can’t be drawn until conclusive evidence is discovered. The truth could be stranger than we can guess.
An excellent and very thorough account. I work as a criminal investigator and I can assure you that the property control on the evidence in general and the bones in particular was catastrophic, so catastrophic as to exclude the bones at least, from evidence. Indeed if I was investigating this case I would be wondering if Lisanne was actually dead? I still am very open minded as to what happened, what I’m sure about is that these two young women did not die on their own.
Reading this was an absolute pleasure. You ought to be compensated for work like this. You are brilliant as a writer, researcher, and have qualities of a great negotiator and analyst.
Here’s my not-as-grounded shot at it:
They may or may not have been attracted to go on this trip for work and pleasure but someone who got them could have had ulterior motives (similar to the Cecil Hotel? Could it?). Could a coordinator have made money off the murder of the two women? Possibly.
This where I say keep an open mind!
Could it have been a case of ‘murder tourism’ (3rd party pays-to-kill and go), ritualistic murder (some practice from the area which we could uncover would we know the folkore?) “The serpent river” . Or could they have simply been “bunny chased” by some freak(s)?
One thing for sure they should have looked through the entire area with a fine comb and that was NOT duely done.
So many questions.
Questions are good.
This time just one note: There was no any dog. It’s just a fable of the accommodation providers to prove that they how cared about the girls.
It is impossible to take a dog with you on the hike, take several photos, and the dog is not visible in any of the pictures. We saw several pictures from the start of the trail to the creek. There was no dog.
Tomorrow I will tell you more. In advance, just one thought: Lisanne wasn’t there somewhere either – namely at the stream!
Hi Chris, excellent research.
Just another possibility for body decomp. I assume that where there are cows there is manure. Here we put it into heaps to spread on crops at a later date.
A fresh dung heap contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphates. Also when fresh they contain a high Ammonia content that decreases over time. They will also have a high insect count and bacteria that breaks it all down.
As i say, just an idea to throw out there.
I hear in the U.S.A that in some states you can have a body composted now using plant material and oxygen, and this can take 4 to 7 weeks.
and no theories on what happened to the girls, there is not enough reliable evidence yet.
keep up the good work.
Wow, great write-up! I don’t think I will be able to get through all of this in one sitting (I got here after reading the deep analysis of the night photos).
My first thoughts were that this was simply murder, but after a while I wondered… maybe Kris had fallen off the cable bridge while trying to cross it in the night? And maybe, before going for help, Lisanne took pictures of the area to relocate Kris upon her return. This opens up the possibility of the sticks and balloons being an ’emergency marker’, rather than a deterrent for bugs.
After it’s hard to say, but maybe upon Lisanne’s return is when it became criminal? Say, Lisanne leaves and has no luck in finding help. She returns hours later to tend to Kris, except when she returns Kris’ body is gone. Maybe she looks around, maybe not, maybe she stumbles on her body being taken and is taken too. Or worse, hunted down as a witness.
Actually, to add to that. What if they were led off the path by someone else (missing photo 509?), and once they were lost they were left alone in the jungle – with their ‘guide’ knowing that once abandoned they wouldn’t live for very long. Then when trying to get out, Kris fell while cross the bridge at night, which led to Lisanne going for help, etc..
Maybe, too, Lisanne was trying to document something that had been done to Kris before leaving for help. Maybe something that knocked her off the cable bridge? Hence the picture of her hair.
They would not cross the bridge, and not together. They were nowhere near the bridge at the time of emergency call. I also believe based on the limited clues, if phone and camera data are verified, that shortly after the last daylight pic, they were lured by a 3rd party promising to show them whatever they looked for on phone maps when they had a signal. Data hints the phones did not return past the mirador. But they stopped taking camera photos of anything interesting past the stream, where the parents‘ hike showed there were photo opportunities. Maybe there was some other goal location that interested them here. Their diaries, as translated by scarlet and juan, show they risked trusting people- for instance jumping into a car for a ride with a stranger. Perhaps the 3rd party led them to the natural wonder, where he used their phones to take a glory shot as they did at the mirador. Instead of clicking pictures, he, familiar with dutch tourists and lack of signal past the mirador, instead holds up the phones and dials the emergency numbers. He lets them spend the night at a home past the mirador where they take off their bras to sleep. They are unaware anything is wrong, accounting for only 1 emergency call each all night long. At some point they are attacked, and a volleyball athlete swings the camera at their attacker with such force that it causes the shuttercount to advance without recording a photo. No one would have ever known, but for the 3rd party dragging a body, causing damage to denim shorts, out to stage night signaling photos, unaware that lisanne‘s heroics left a gap between day and night pics to indicate something is fishy there! Who spends almost 2 weeks trying to survive in a wet jungle river and dies wearing socks??
Where can all of the photos from the cameras be accessed? I have only been able to view just a few of them. Thanks.
Hi, I’d also like to again point out what would seem to be the biggest red flag as far as the physical evidence: Lisanne’s boot found with her foot inside. This doesn’t seem to be something that could have happened naturally, especially since it was a very clean cut.
We have to investigate about crimes in that kind of area, i think Central America, cause homicides maybe don’t occur the same from south America for example. It’s a good theory that narcos or drug dealers exterminate people using those methods. Now, i’m asking myself if they were killed for discovering something the town have hidden.
hi hope im not too late! you’ll find all of the photos here – https://koudekaas.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-disappearance-of-kris-kremers-and_11.html?m=1
Whoa. Great job putting all of this together. I got curious about this becausw of a Youtube shorts and now its 3 am and I am still reading about it. Rest in Peace to the 2 girls.
What I can conclude is that Panama and most of Central Anerica are major hubs of organized crime , primarily Organ Harvesting. Locals extensively planned their deaths for organs. Evil at its darkest.
The German lady Eileen must have known about this elaborate organ harvest-network after working there for several years, which is why she immediately left. She didn’t want to end up like the taxi driver.
Yes, it has a lot of sense.
Outstanding the best analysis of the case that had been conducted. It’s a case closed for me. The government covered up a lot of evidence for the tourist dollar end of story.
I’m unsure of which “phantasy” you’re referring to, because I’ve provided only factual information here, all of which is based on scientific evidence, and based my conclusions on those facts. You’ve come here without providing any evidence, nor citations, nor sources, and state that you got your information from a “german youtuber”.
I’m not impressed.
If you’re going to bring criticism, which I invite, please state your professional credentials, provide strong factual information and share your research and citations.
Let’s discuss your points a little bit further. I’ll go in the same order that you did:
1. Regarding phosphorus – utilizing phosphorus alone as a “dissolving” solution isn’t something people do. The quantity does not matter because alone it does not dissolve organic matter. It’s insoluble in water and not available to the public in large amounts, except when mixed with other farming minerals. However, farmers do use lime in conjunction with phosphorus in their soil. Lime dissolves organic matter. Phosphorus was only mentioned by investigators because it’s a common soil additive and was likely present at the time that lime was used on the bones. Humberto Mas, Director of the IMELF, suggested that lime may have been used:
“Much depends on the quantity and quality of the lime used, but the action can be a matter of days”.
2. Regarding the broken foot and boot – I invite anyone to believe in any theory that they prefer to believe, but misleading others based on a hunch is inappropriate. There are no “clear conclusions”, especially regarding the timing of any injuries. “Clear conclusion” means there’s a significantly low probability of any alternative scenario taking place. That’s simply not the case here. There are numerous possibilities regarding many aspects of this case. We all want more answers, but we should not make conclusions as facts unless we can provide undeniable evidence.
If you have undeniable evidence, please share it so that the case can be solved.
3. Regarding the periostitis of Lisanne Froon’s bones – this specific article and research is about Kris Kremers. I mentioned that more than once in this article.
This research took a significant amount of time, so if you’re going to claim that it contains “severe mistakes”, please be more constructive and provide evidence or scientific research that demonstrates your arguments.
This is Heriberto Gonzalez Facebook. What grabbed my attention is his line of work, also look at what he is peddling. Just started looking into this case and saw you had him as a POI, not sure why he is a poi, but him selling homemade fertilizer sure raised the hairs on the back of my neck.
Your information is extremely thorough and I’m so glad there are people like you out there in the world fighting for truth. If there were more people like you, the case would be solved. Please please please keep searching and finding people who can help you with your search. I don’t know if your religious but I hope God leads you in the right direction and handles everything well.
Ona D H R. Will soon lose her home. Armageddon will take her friends away. They will not be there. She was going to put her mother in to One of those old folks home never put your relatives there or you want them to get hit. Abused like Mickey Rooney was . Even sadly abused. Don’t have aborshions baby’s are more of God then dead. Mothers out there who kill there baby’s children well God had said no.
Who ever killed these tow young Ladys in Panama will die at armageddon God has siad becouse he promas he would.
Thankyou for a great analysis: This was planned entrapment torture and destruction of 2 beautiful people who would have done any to try and survive.
The group of men was determined to face no consequences themselves. A number of people were involved in the actions and decisions. This was a complex set of events for kidnappers to manage.
I believe many local people the trail guides and the police know what happened to Kris and Lisanne. I think you tubers and bloggers are receiving information.
Finding Edwin Aguirre would be a major step forward for a brave investigator.
The guides were heavily involved in the manipulation of evidence.
I am one that after research believe that the girls were never on that trail. They may have mentioned it to the Il Pianista Restaurant owners but there is no proof they ever left on the trail. Mr. Feliciano led the investigation in that direction I believe to throw everyone off the real trail of the girls. The photos on the trail have been proven by many experts to be photoshopped by someone while the backpack and camera were in the police hands. There were found to be over 32 different fingerprints on that backpack. The trail scene and getting lost was all a ruse to lead everyone away from the fact that the girls were targeted to be abducted.
Witnesses told the police they saw the girls get in a red truck at the trail head and that is the last time they were seen in public.
We can’t just assume they were lost in the trail because Feliciano said they were there. This is why they weren’t found – because they were not there.
Then whoever did have the girls had time to devise a plan for the backpack and contents to be found as well as the bones. The girls were wearing those bras when they disappeared. Someone removed those bras and sunglasses and placed them in the backpack.
Anybody ever heard of sex trafficking?
The girls never had a chance when those in the lead like Feliciano and the police intended to lead everyone in a different direction.
And who determined the shoes and bones were the girls? The police there? They can’t be trusted. The perpetrators clearly don’t mind killing people so other people’s bones could have been substituted, or when someone was getting too close maybe the girls were extinguished one at a time. I bet coffee plantations use phosphorus or lime. No one ever checked his farm.
I’m sad that we are blinded so easily by one person’s lead.
This case has consumed my conscience ever since I heard about it and I don’t even know why. I wish I could say the girls were alive. Maybe they are somewhere but their lives might be a living nightmare.
I hate there are people in the world that are so evil as to ruin two families lives and many more around the world and have no conscience.
Very impressed with research, well done and thanks for trying to bring justice to these poor girls. I definitely suspect foul play. It is just too suspicious that people associated with the girls and case end up dead or missing.
Hey Chris! I’m overwhelmed and incredibly impressed with your research. Having daughters I’m very hopeful that these families find as much peace as possible, and I know sometimes finding answers and certainly finding justice can help with that.
I might have missed this theory being explored already, but I’m wondering if Lisanne could have been injured, maybe the broken foot, so Kris left her to go get help but met up with someone(s) with malicious intent who had her for a time before she was killed and later discovered that Lisanne was on the trail waiting for her. Maybe Kris told them or maybe they saw the pictures and figured it out and went back for her, possibly to help hide the crime that had happened against Kris?
I’ll remain hopeful that you and the others working on this find a new lead or something that breaks this case wide open.
Chris, first of all – Impressive!
My english is not perfect, so I might write not accurate or nice, but I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean.
Somehow I ended up on a video that told their story, usually I won’t be so interested in trying to figure out what happened etc, but this one…even when I tried to sleep last night, my thoughts couldn’t stop.
So again, thank you for the all the things you have done so far.
I wish and pray those girls are in peace now…even after all they went through.
I’m someone who can’t leave a puzzle unsolved, it freaks me out and I try harder.
We all don’t know exactly what happened, but I don’t want to be quiet. So there is couple things I can’t wrap my head around.
The one point that bothers me most is, that picture of Kris is not the back of her head, its her right side. You can see her eye on the lower right, and see that blood is/was dripping down. If she is sitting or not, I don’t know, but for me it looks like someone is holding her head by her hair up to take a picture of her hair?
The reason to kill them? Organs, nothing else. Also maybe someone wanted to have her hair and was waiting for her “order”. There are many ways to think how and why the girls ended up like that.
If there is a Black Market for organs, that would make perfectly sense. And the government is definitely behind it.
The Tour guide and the woman who found the backpack – I see nothing but it all being connected together.
How come this guy found it? Exactly him? between all those people and dogs and whatnot, you wanna tell me dogs wouldn’t have smelled the decaying body parts? (Like the foot in the shoe?)
What they need to do is, check every freaking hospital during the time and following years for any surgery that involved organs and investigate every single piece. Kris’s head was not found. I would even look around for people that have the same hair-color and see if it’s a wig.
Those last pictures:
She wasn’t able to do anything else with the phone except to call the emergency numbers because it’s the only thing you can do when it’s locked (as long as it was the other girls phone and she wasn’t alive anymore).
I thought maybe she was trying to use the flash on the camera as much as possible to try to make signals in the jungle. Has anyone checked to see if it’s like a morse code? (I know, I know, maybe a bit too much of a thought, but I would try anything to solve this and find out more, whatever it is.
All the papers, reflective objects and trash were probably to signal the helicopters and be more visible. Maybe she even heard one at the time and did the flash thing.
Maybe investigate if the chopper was patrolling nearby when the pictures were taken.
It could also be that she wasn’t able to use the camera – because of missing hands? broken bones? And the only thing she could do was hard and maybe with mouth, biting, pushing with nose. Idk.
Chris, I wish you all the best. And I’m glad there are people like you.
I wrote all of this because I have no idea where to go and who to talk to about these points – might be crazy or might be a lead.
Just wanted to let you know cause you know so much, and any thought could maybe help.
Well….I always watch these missing people in national parks videos…but…I went ahead and watched this one. I have no clue if it is related or not…but the red headed girl looks like the one in these pics one time that has disturbed me since ive seen them. We were looking up tied up pics and not the perverted ones. Its been a long time so im not sure what we looking up. But as you looked through the images…it showed women tied up. We saw pics of a girl who resembled her tied up on …it was either a flatish rock or wood. There were several men around her. Perverted pics of them laughing and her obviously terrified, crying. They were pics sooo…but thats what i can remember of them. I remember feeling sick when i saw these because they looked real. She looked like the red head. The guys were dark skinned and looked tribal. Its been along time since i seen these pics but when i saw her face…it took me straight back to those pics. I dont want to see those pics ever again. They may still come up if its googled in pics. Woman tied up….not sure. But these pics werent staged….they looked real. It was just of one girl….many native men…several pics….positive she was being raped and did not look fake and they looked tribal. Whomever this was..depressing and came rushing back when i stumbled on these 2 missing people
What photos you are talking about? Can you please send link to the pics you are talking about
Yes please find the pictures
Oh cmon, you can’t leave a comment like that and then leave us hanging with nothing…There must be something you know about how to find these photos…
Hi Chris, first off I deeply regret the loss of these two ladies and my sincere condolences to their respective families.
Secondly I want to thank you for putting together one of the most comprehensive, forensic write-up by a non-professional in the field of forensic science and to some extent investigative journalism.
Finally, I’m not an expert myself but did come across this story some time back when it first showed up in the news. I only returned to it because it showed up in my YT feed and have lost sleep these past few nights revisiting this nightmare, reading and watching everything in sight about the tragic fate of these two poor ladies.
I’ve not much to offer except my guess on what might have happened based on what I’ve read on your site and from that lady Scarlet’s website, and understood.
From what I see, two intelligent but not very experienced ladies decided to go hiking along a trail that seemed like it was well traveled to them. They go there by way of taxi but by themselves with no guide, not properly dressed or packed and no dog I think (I don’t buy into that detail of the dog). My guess is that they were not intending on going too far on the trail in the first place which makes this all the more perplexing as to how they would up so far deep into the jungle.
Prior to this excursion, Lisanne wrote in her diary that she felt not welcome by the locals and to some extent maybe the host family, and felt a strange longing for her parents. In hindsight this seems a little ominous as if a human being’s instinct for comfort of home and parents is kicked up in the face of some kind of unseen or preplanned threat maybe. I hope I’m making sense.
Lisanne and Kris go on a hike, take many photos which often seems too posed for me, but I’m not an expert at photo manipulation, etc. So looks okay until the photos stop and/or get weird, like the night ones, and especially one of Kris’s hair that I cross referenced here.
I had googled this and found the above link, as I wanted to double-check what I was seeing on the websites, but it looks eerily similar to the night photo of Kris’s hair. Very strange to me.
The other aspect that struck me odd, like maybe for many people who saw this as well, is the rain in the photos. Is it my eyes or is there no rain on the rock that has that strange plastic bag marker (if that is what it was). Was that photo taken before or after the photo of the rain drop (orbs) falling from the black sky photos?
My thought is that they decided to turn back from the hike, maybe because it was a little exhausting. I do recall from Lisanne’s diary they had many nights out dancing and drinking in the previous town with early morning Spanish classes before coming to Boquete. So compound those nights with little sleep they may already have been exhausted a little on this trail despite the favorable weather and terrain conditions for that month of the year.
And on their way back possibly ran into someone they knew but did not expect to see there.
I don’t know how Lisanne hurt her foot, but my thoughts are that she was maybe pushed/tripped somehow and got hurt by that person they met. And maybe that person went after Kris to harm her.
This may have separated the two ladies which might have prompted Lisanne to call for help. Not sure if I’ve totally screwed up narrative or trail of evidence here. I feel like Detective Colombo would be most displeased with me at this point.
I think Lisanne could not move much at all, and not knowing where she was may have tried to call for help, but as you have pointed out in other articles that maybe people in the area were complicit with whoever it was that they met with, scared of, or that they simply were not within earshot of where the ladies were.
Maybe Lisanne tried to make a video or maybe they had videos and other photos but were deleted by whoever had access to their phones and camera later. I find it very hard to think there was no final video or photo of the two of them previously as well to leave a marker or say goodbye, but this could be because whoever they met in my scenario surprised them and won them over in some fashion.
As a distant reference, even the terrible video of the murder of the two European girls in Morocco not too long ago, has one of the girls cry out for her mother (in Danish I think) so pathetically just before she is beheaded, while her friend was already disposed off earlier. That girl’s cry to me is just plain instinct to do so. So Lisanne in my scenario would have done something or tried to before she was also overpowered and dealt with.
I cannot explain everything else, but the evidence and all the forensic details you have elaborated on so meticulously, especially the weather at that altitude, bone markings from possible water movement/abrasion, decomposition, bleaching times etc, points to a cover up by the authorities and by both the Dutch and Panama governments. Shame on them.
Your dedication, interest, intelligence and deep consideration for your late fellow travelers (Lisanne & Kris) is evident all over. If Lisanne’s and Kris’s parents read your work, I hope they find some comfort in knowing that they have individuals like you to support them if they ever needed your help.
Thanks for all you’ve done so far Chris. I hope that Lisanne and Kris are both at peace despite not being found or their killers brought to justice.
Hi JL, thank you for your comments.
A lot of my beliefs about the case align with the theory you’ve provided. After considerable research, I believe that the girls went on the hike and then found trouble as they were returning to Boquete. I believe that there are too many unusual aspects to this story for this to simply be an accident.
I visited the link you provided and I’ve seen that graphic before, although I believe it’s somewhat misleading. I remember Scarlet wrote about it. The person that made this graphic overlaid the “hair picture” on the other picture. Perhaps the only thing of value is to compare the hair (shape, color, etc).
Regarding the rock/rain – you are absolutely correct. The rock should display more signs of wet conditions and/or rain. The only exceptions would be is if there was no rain (perhaps the rain started later) or if there was some form of unseen cover, such as from a cave. Obviously we can see trees above which suggests the person was not in a cave, but it’s difficult to draw conclusions about the precise angles/position of the objects in the photos.
In my analysis/investigation I try to focus mostly on the facts/evidence available, rather than speculation. Of course, that’s difficult with such limited facts/evidence. So, I’m working with a handful of people to try to gather more information. It’s a dreadfully complicated and slow process, but we have a plan in place and we’re diligently working in a methodical way.
Thank you for your feedback, cheers!
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment and once again I commend you and others who have continually put your precious time and efforts into Lisanne and Kris’s tragic case.
I agree with you that there is too many unusual aspects. As I read through your response I had some questions pop up:
1. I reviewed the hair photo on Scarlet’s website again and I agree with you that it is a superimposed type of photo.
So if this is Kris’s hair, then was she dead at this point? What’s your best educated guess here based on what you know?
Was this Lisanne taking a photo of Kris’s hair, maybe in her own disorientated state, lying down from injury to her foot?
Why would Lisanne even take this photo? What was she trying to show? And why only this photo?
Was this the perpetrator and not Lisanne taking this photo to throw people off?
2. Regarding the rock/rain. In reading your thoughts, I was wondering about the orientation of the camera in some of the night photos, and position of the person taking it.
So instead of rain could this be drops of water from a waterfall of some kind? I don’t know the area and have never visited so just wondering.
How did they get to this place? Did they escape or got lost and wandered here?
If this was not a cave, not a waterfall and looked like some large rock/wall type at higher elevated position, how did the backpack end up dry and no mold if we see rain falling?
If this was one of the girls taking the photo with the camera, did she put the camera back into the bag, but not before removing the battery and memory card (as shown in one of the discovery photos of the backpack)?
If this was Lisanne taking the photo, where is she situated to take this photo? Is she lying or sitting on a rock that is somewhat recessed and the water drops are falling hence maybe no drops on the rock I mentioned I had doubts about?
If no waterfall etc, then was Lisanne trying to point to the sky as some kind of camera flash SOS because she thought she might have heard some plane above? Or maybe people?
If this was indeed Lisanne, and Kris (dead or close to death at this point), and they had maybe escaped from their captors why would she risk alerting anyone to the camera flashes and their location?
If we entertain the Lost in the Jungle narrative/conclusion of the Panama authorities, then are the plastic bags an SOS (though very strange still to me)? And are all these photos towards the sky as an SOS for some plane they heard or maybe people they heard somewhere to attract them to help?
Why no photos of Lisanne like a selfie to show her condition? Why no photo of her injury and try to send it via text or something even with no signal I would be desperate at this stage for anything final try? Why no more photos of her friend Kris other than her hair?
Seems to me very unusual that no photos or even the slightest hint of a last message to parents, boyfriend, anybody. I’ve read stories of many people leaving their final goodbyes in some way like writing on a tree stump, rock, buried artifact, photos/videos on phones/cameras, etc, and here there was a camera and phones with audio and video recording capabilities.
Lastly if this was not Lisanne then what was the intention of the night photo(s)? And who took them? (though this is an answer that would solve the case which I don’t think will happen now even though I hope otherwise).
Sorry for asking so many questions, but I see why many people are doubtful and have a fascination to find out what happened, but also where it is only theory without further concrete evidence.
Please no one bring up the dog again. It’s a no factor.
Here’s is what most likely happened.
They took a wrong turn and got lost hence the Cell phone calls.
Couldn’t get a signal headed for higher ground. Proceeded to get more lost. Night falls.
In case you’ve never gotten lost let me say this it sucks. You don’t make the best decisions and you stress hike aimlessly for hours. Light is very comforting when you’re lost. The reason for all the pics is they would get to a particular area not know where to go next because it’s a ravine or otherwise “dark scary spot” and they would snap a picture using the flash to be able to see in the darkness/examine the photo taken and perhaps find a way down or out. It seems like they did this until they…. didn’t/couldn’t because of injury or they ran out of battery life.
Who knows if they died from the fall or were seriously injured and died of exposure/dehydration waiting for help. To me All the bone talk and computer pic deletion
Is easily explained by shoddy law enforcement/forensics.
Considering the forensic errors and anomalies in well developed countries that happen on the daily… it no surprise that some Panamanian “police computer expert” accidentally erased a picture while trying to download the scan disk that probably has English prompts and then doesn’t cop to it.
Also no one has tested the bones that were supposedly bleached everyone’s just believing some guy in a lab coat that thinks the bones are bleached…. not buying it.
If foul play is at hand…
It’s drug related.
Panama is a stage site for Columbian cartels. They use clandestine cocaine processing plants in dense jungle. I guess it’s plausible the girls stumbled into a processing plant after being lost and the events were staged after their murder.
…..But seriously no more questions about the dog.
I agree please stop mentioning the –ing dog..The dog often followed people up the trail then turned back when it felt like it.This is normal.However as is often the case this gets re-spun in the imagination.It,s never been stated ever that the dog followed everybody always to the top of the pianista and back down.It has never been stated ever that the dog liked to cross onto the continental divide.so what the dog did is pretty much irrelevant.sorry to be abrupt and once again you are right about the dog – and good to clear this up
Up until the point about drug cartels I think you hit the nail on the head about what happened to these women.
NOW I know what’s been nagging at me for weeks….
The bras in the napsack.
1.) The girls were wearing their bras on the hike- there are a couple of photos where you can see a peek of bra on both girls ( and I was correct, Kris had the black bra, Lisanne had the multi-color).
2.) The time of the hike has been much debated, but I think the time stamps on the phones were correct, which would put the girls on the summit around 1 p.m., which corroborates early reporting witness statements that stated they headed out around 11 a.m.
3.) I strongly believe that they headed back down and arrived around 3.
The bras that they’d been hiking in were found in the knapsack, which lends very strong credence to a post-hike swim. They had changed into the bathing suit tops they had in their bag.
The hot spring is 8 miles from the start of the trail. Witnesses said they were sitting on the side of the road “mid afternoon” ostensibly waiting for a taxi or bus. (Witness stated they asked her how to get back to town).
But what if they were supposed to meet someone or someones and go swimming, and their ride was late?
Why bring bathing suits if a swim wasn’t part of the afternoon plan?
Did they end up at the Caldera hot springs, have their swim, and then instead of being dropped off in town as expected, they were taken somewhere much closer to Alto Romero.
A lot easier to subdue two girls in a moving car….
Hi there. Is it true that the last photo of Kris Kremers standing on a rock of a small stream looking back at the camera was taken on the Pianista trail (heading back down) rather than on the Serpent Trail the other side of the divide? Does this mean they were on their way back down towards Boquete when things went wrong?
I believe that photo was taken after they continued past the Mirador, but hadn’t reached the Serpent River. I found this info based on the Daily Beast article, that had this picture:
This means that they made it to some point beyond the Pianista Trail. It’s uncertain what happened after those photos were taken because one photo (509) is missing. Personally, I believe they turned back shortly after these photos were taken, but it’s impossible to know with certainty.
Hi no its not.Its well documented and even in the the families search video.therefore only 2 possibilities exist -A/that the sequence of photos were from a different day and the exif data manipulated.B/that she was there at the stated time (approx as the camera time may have been out) The case is very complex and takes hours of study in all its aspects.Thats why little progress has been made…This website is very promising.
The trouble is the public do not have all the evidence, so we proceed with limited or even false assumptions…
For me the big issue is that Froon’s remains are different, IF someone with nefarious intent for the women disposed of Kris’ bones so well, why such a poor job with Froon’s?
Why would someone have disposed of Kris so well, but leave Lisanne’s foot in her boot? Why go to this complex process of disposing of any remains when the alleged murderers could have just gone off-trail into the forest and buried the remains? I live in the UK, a crowded island, yet people people’s remains can be lost for years, or even forever. In Clocaenog Forest, Wales, a certain Richard Sumner’s skeletal remains were found handcuffed to a tree three yeas after he disappeared. They were only found because a dog-walker’s dog went wandering of its regular trail.
Then there’s the backpack, much easier to either bury it deep in the rainforest, or even take it out of the area completely and dispose of it: why would any criminal let such evidence be found at all? All the electronics were intact, no attempt to destroy or even hide them. It makes no sense.
I keep swinging from accident to some kind of criminal act, but although I can see why people think it was murder, I can also see as much evidence for an accident.
For me (for now at least lol) I think the clue is Lisanne’s foot. It had multiple fractures making it difficult or even impossible to walk on.
I think -contrary to other speculations as to what happened- that Lisanne broke her foot, thus making a climb back up the trail impossible, and the women tried to find an easier way back by going in another direction, perhaps even into less dense forest. I’ve injured (not broken) my foot many times, I walk, run and jog miles all the time, and going back up a hill/mountain is always more painful than going downwards or keeping to the same height. Perhaps they thought if they could round the hilltop by keeping level in height, that they’d eventually get back to a trail leading to Boquete. That said, I’d have thought that trekking through jungle would have been painful too…
Why the two women’s remains were found in different states of decomposition is a mystery, but could be due to two different fates of the women. In my version of events, it could perhaps be possible that Kris survived Froon, and met a different fate!
I also think that after the original emergency calls of the first few days, that all other activity, from night photos to phone activity, was not initiated by the women, I think whomever found the electronics were curious about them and played with them until they realised they were of no use to them…this assumes that the indigenes found them…it also could explain why the indigenes claim the backpack ‘…wasn’t there the day before…’. Someone found the items, took them to someone more in the know, they played about with them (hence all those fingerprints) then realising they were no use to the village, thought there’d be a reward for handing them all in.
Great research though, it is work like this that makes me swing towards it being a criminal act, then I think about the different state of Liassane’s remains, and the electronics, so swing back to
It’s quite the mystery, isn’t it?
I like your healthy skepticism. For me, there is more evidence for criminal activity than an accident. If one woman received an accidental injury, the other would have gotten help. The geography was somewhat challenging, but nothing like Mt. Everest’s. Had they received the same source of injuries, such as bites from a venomous creature, their remains would have been consistent with each other’s.
I agree that Lisanne’s foot is the biggest clue so far. But her remains were in less a state of decomp than Kris’. I believe Lisanne died after Kris. It’s a matter of sequence: Lisanne’s broken foot happened on the back-end of a crime as opposed to the front-end of an ill-fated hike. Perhaps Chris, of Imperfect Plan, knows whether Lisanne’s foot was broken before or after Kris died, if such can be determined.
It’s a mystery with many blind pockets. The criminals showed sloppiness by leaving behind a preserved backpack with working electronics, etc. But the crime is brilliant from the standpoint of no arrests. As of yet and it’s been several years.
I believe the women suffered different fates because the criminals had different intentions with them. Kris was the target of a sexual predator. Lisanne was perceived as an obstacle and not a very imposing one. Independent females with no male protectors. The women were separated at the onset of the crime/abduction so they couldn’t help one other. Kris was murdered first. Photos were taken of her red hair as keepsakes, post-mortem in my opinion. Chemicals were used on Kris’ remains in an effort to eliminate traces of foreign DNA from the attackers.
The second phase of the crime was how to dispose of Lisanne. She lived longer than Kris due to some uncertainty or disagreement. She was a traumatized witness and not their primary target in my opinion. She was forcibly walked to the remote location of her death (not on the Pianista trail). Her disfigurement occurred post-mortem to bolster the accident scenario. Their fates were different but the outcomes were the same. So was the broken foot in the boot at the beginning which sparked off a tragic accident? Or was the broken foot in the boot at the end of a more tragic crime spree? For me, the broken foot is at the end of a more tragic crime spree.
there is litterary no evidence of a crime. no wounds, no signs on the bones. so no evidence.
Firstly, I wish this disappearance was due to an accident. It’s my understanding that the families of Kris and Lisanne have finally decided on this and seek closure. So I hope my beliefs don’t appear insensitive to those who are affected.
For me, the trail leads to the sons of Aguirre and Gonzalez, either their participation or knowledge. If Agguire is alive, it’s still on. Agguire lawyered up after the online fight. The first advice must have been to get off social media and quit communicating with Gonzalez. So yes, finding him would help.
The police botched the investigation, but for a gang member like Gonzalez? Yes, his father was nosy and basked in the limelight of the investigation. It was probably the biggest international media event since the Panama Canal. But why would he help in any way if his son was the killer? And why would the police help his son?
Aguirre accuses Gonzalez of being a swindler, thief and buddy to outdoor foreigners. As well as hailing from the slums. Such things are reflective of gangs, as well as the extortion of businesses in exchange for “protection”. Apparently, an incident began (2019) when Gonzalez visited El Sabroson, ate to his heart’s content and refused to pay the bill. It must have created a big dust up, as the online fight reflects. Aguirre’s mother was probably furious.
Gonzalez accuses Aguirre of dealing in cocaine. He claims that he wasn’t making fun of Aguirre’s parent’s restaurant, just defending himself from the online attack. Gonzalez writes peace and love and refers to the “do-nothing mayor”.
Aguirre says Gonzalez’ people aren’t safe and Aguirre calls Gonzalez a rat.
It’s true that Aguirre looks like a baby-faced Pied Piper. We also know the story of the preacher’s kid who takes the wrong road in spite of all the sermons he soaked up. I don’t doubt that Aguirre’s mother works honestly at the restaurant. Yet the swimming photo was mostly likely from a cell phone and the service was billed to El Sabroson restaurant. Probably a company phone. This is unfortunate for Aguirre, tying him to the case. We know Valenzuela didn’t take the photo, so the photo was sent to his phone by whoever snapped it. Was this to tie Kris and Lisanne to two gang members? Surely the crime had not yet began according to the photo, but I think Aguirre was nearby. Most likely. As you said, the backpack is not in their possession in the photo. It probably got whisked away, making them extremely vulnerable as the events unfolded.
So why are all of Gonzalez’ friends and fellow gang members dying? I doubt Gonzalez is killing them. They share a code of silence, as well as loyalty. I dislike the fact that Aguirre worked at Sandi Car Co and the implications thereof. Perhaps Aguirre feels threatened by Gonzalez, as he should be.
I’m working off limited information and may have misinterpreted the photo origins and the online fight. I agree that they are very helpful together and deserve more scrutiny. As you can tell, I’m leaning toward Aguirre’s culpability in the disappearance of Kris and Lisanne. I’m not trying to defend Henry Gonzalez, I just can’t tie him enough to the crime itself. Nonetheless, I think he has important information and needs some motivation to share it. Cheers
First, I have to say, I am very impressed with the amount of time & research you have done. This case has always intrigued me as well. I believe that these poor girls did not just get lost. Your article gave me a lot of insight into things I had questions about too & just a few things to point out from my viewpoint.
1. The girl’s family hiked the trail while taking video. It shows that there is not really a place that they could fall from. Also while there, they had to make way for cow herds that were coming down the trail. These cows had several herders with them. Plus they had bells on their necks. Their guide, the very same Feliciano, told them this was a regular occurrence. So two things, cows are big and they leave a very wide trampled down trail and they had bells that in that environment that could be heard for miles. The trail in the video was unmistakable. There were no branches or forks to take off to. They matched the last day photo to a stream crossing. After that no more photos. Even though there was another waterfall & a scenic overlook a short distance down the trail. If these were two happy hikers, taking fun photos, why are there no photos of these places? & of course, if they were concerned or felt lost, why not simply turn around? There are only 2 ways to go. If caught in the dark, why not sit down & wait for sunrise? Also in this video, Feliciano tells the parents he was at the pasture/overlook on the 3rd & that he did not find any sign of them. Would be interesting to know what time he was there & what time the searches started.
2. Feliciano Gonzalez, the local guide, has several creepy stories attached to him. If you search the Internet, you’ll find stories from other tourists who say not to trust him if you are a woman traveling alone. One female tourist claimed that he took her on a hike in that same area then demanded she remove her clothing. At first, she thought it was a bad joke & refused. At that point, he became angry & told her that if she didn’t he would break her legs & leave her in the jungle to die. She managed to remain calm & eventually convinced him to take her back to the village without harm but the incident left her traumatized. There are several stories like this out there if you dig deep enough. Plus if I remember right, the girls had a scheduled hike with him the day after he went missing & had several interactions with him during their time in the village.
3. What you said about the bones intrigued me. I have had a lot of experience with hunting in my lifetime. & I apologize but this is a bit graphic. But disarticulation is exactly what you do. See, when you take down a deer, you have to field dress it quickly or the blood settling or leakage from organs, particularly the intestine will get into the meat & bones & essentially ruin the meat, So, you tie a rope around the back legs & haul it up over a branch. Then you gut it carefully. Finally, to cut it into more manageable specific pieces for later consumption. The best way to do that is to remove the limbs first. This is not hard if you know what you’re doing. I could do it with a pocket knife. You put the point in between the joints. Wiggle it in & then pop hard. It dislocates the joints so now you just have to cut through skin & muscle. Much easier than trying to saw through bone. Plus your pieces come out nice & clean because you have essentially popped the bone out. No mess. Once again sorry for the graphic images there.
4. There was an article on the net not too long ago. I’m afraid I don’t have the link. It was from March of 2020 & was a bit vague but it stated that local authorities had busted a cannibalism ring in that area. According to the report, the perpetrators were from a small local village & had been ‘influenced by foreigners who had traveled overseas & returned with extreme religious beliefs’. That was pretty much it. Whether it has any connection to anything, is anyone’s guess but it’s just one more rabbit hole.
Just some things that have been rattling around in my brain. Once again, sorry for the graphic details but that is where meat comes from.
Hi BlueSporkofJustice – great username 😀
You make many great points. For convenience I’ll discuss your points in order:
1. Yes, exactly. A lot of people think that the girls “got lost in the woods”. That’s incredibly unlikely. Not only were the trails clear and relatively easy to hike (without heavy rains, no less), but going off trail would be tremendously difficult, painful and tiresome. The rainforest is no picnic – it’s essentially a 3-4 foot (1+ meter) wall of vegetation, with uneven terrain and vines. Even people with long-sleeves, boots and machetes struggle to get through it. Kris and Lisanne were not actively searching for a death sentence – they would have stayed on the trails. Lisanne had mountaineering experience and Kris had visited Peru in the past. The only possibility for them leaving the trail is if something scared them and caused them to flee into the woods – but again, it’s not possible to “run” in the rainforest. And like you said – if they did get lost on a trail (somehow) they would have been found by a local villager in 24-48 hours max. Many people live in this area.
I can’t speak about the cows because I don’t know how the farmers handle their livestock in that specific region. Oftentimes I see cows in Central America that don’t have bells but perhaps farmers that live near mountains are more likely to use bells in case the cows get lost or “stuck”. That certainly makes sense.
2. I’ve heard a lot about Feliciano. It’s difficult to know what’s true about him. Some people paint him as a respectable old man. Alternatively, I’ve read more than one story that he’s two-faced and has a darker side. I don’t know what to believe. However, I do know that Feliciano had no right to go into the girls bedroom after they disappeared. He was in the girl’s room on April 2nd, without law enforcement, and nobody knows exactly what he was doing. What’s to say that their tour with Feliciano wasn’t planned for the same day of their disappearance? The timeline of events seems very “manufactured” to me, especially considering that many of the locals changed their story after the backpack was found 3 months later.
Also, I lean more towards his son’s involvement. I believe that Feliciano helped protect his son and/or perhaps other people involved. Parents in Latin America will virtually always protect their children from the law. It’s very easy for kids to get tangled in gang activity, even unwillingly. It’s part of the culture that’s virtually hidden from most people in developed countries.
3. Thank you for your insights into the disarticulation process. Your comments on the joints are very interesting. I come from a family of respected hunters, mostly deer, duck and geese. I personally have never killed nor field-dressed a deer, but my grandfather has done it countless times (delicious venison!). And you make a great point – I never remember my grandfather sawing through bone. He was an expert with a simple buck-knife. So, any farmers in that region of Panama that are knowledgable of disarticulating cattle would have a good idea of the process. No heavy chopping or sawing is necessary. None of Kris or Lisanne’s “big” bones were ever found, so it’s difficult to speculate on how things happened. Kris’s hip bone had no tissue attached, which leads me to believe that chemicals were involved to some degree. Human remains in a river do not disarticulate to this degree, will contain flesh remnants, and will display scratches – none of which happened to Kris’s remains.
4. Yes, I’ve heard the story of the cannibals. Here’s the article.. I also wrote about them here. I think the chances of cannibals being involved are very low. Cannibals are not common at all. I suppose it’s not impossible, but I try to avoid going to extreme theories unless there’s evidence to back it up.
In the end, I believe that Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon returned from their hike and then were coerced in some way. I do believe that the two girls in the “swimming photo” were Kris and Lisanne. This photo was found on Osman Valenzuela’s phone after he mysteriously drowned only 3 days after the girls disappeared. Nobody knows who took that picture, but the name of the photo was “Foto Sabroson” in the phone, which has lead to a lot of speculation.
Thanks for your feedback on the article! This took a lot of time to research. I always enjoy brainstorming and having new perspectives.
We agree on key points which is refreshing for me. There are countless theories!
1. The disappearance of Kris and Lisanne stems from crime activity. I don’t intend to devalue Panama; my country has plenty of crime as well be it gang or white collar.
2. We have the women completing their hike on the Pianista trail and they (and we) have moved on to the Caldera hot springs. Why their photos abruptly stopped somewhere on the trail is anyone’s guess.
3. We agree on the photo that depicts the women in the hot springs with two gang members.
4. We sense a post cover-up from those who perpetrated the crimes. Families knowingly (or unknowingly) assisted be they Aguirre or Gonzalez or possibly both.
5. Discarding human bodies is not easy; I’m comfortable with at least 2 -4 people involved with the crime.
5. The locals adopted a herd mentality out of fear. They probably knew the backpack’s sudden appearance was the handiwork of the killer(s). No one wanted to rock the boat.
The online fight in 2019 is significant. There is a crack in the united facade of the locals. The herd can be on Team Gonzalez or Team Aguirre. There cannot be two tigers on the same hill. Fingers are being pointed at each other. It’s deeply personal. I’m liking it. This is the type of fissure that a good interrogator can drive an 18-wheeler through.
I appreciate your financial support AGAIN! I did not expect that. Thank you! If there are any potential topics that you’re interested in me writing about, please let me know. I try to focus on new angles/approaches to the case, especially with a touch of perspective into Latin Culture. Most of my readers don’t have direct access/understanding about subtle local cultural differences in the same way that I do (living in El Salvador), so I try to include those relevant details in my writing.
Right now I have more articles underway.
Your 5 point summary above is excellent. Your summary is the “core” of this disappearance case. The only other thing I can mention about that swimming photo is this: The backpack is not in that photo. Chances are that the girls left the backpack somewhere along the shore nearby. That tells us that there was a time when the girls weren’t in possession of their belongings. Perhaps that’s also why their items were so orderly when their backpack was found – it was left like that when they went swimming. Just speculating. At this point, I think that this is all of the information that we can extract from that photo. I’ve tried enhancing the photo but the photo quality is too poor.
That swimming photo plus the 2019 online fight are very helpful together. I think another online/public fight like that is unlikely to happen again, but it’s certainly worthwhile to keep checking, considering this fight happened 5+ years after the disappearance.
Your point “This is the type of fissure that a good interrogator can drive an 18-wheeler through” is very interesting. That could be an opportunity if one knows how to approach the situation. I might do some hunting around online to see if someone local that visits the restaurant can confirm if Edwin Aguirre is still alive. I’m also looking for other angles to investigate and come up with answers.
Thank you again
With all the mud, they must have left obvious tracks so why couldn’t someone follow those? Also did anyone take the dog that had started the hike with them up to try and follow their trail?
Hello again Chris!
I’m happy to help Imperfect Plan.
I’ve drawn on some information by Koude Kaas.
My rationale for the women 2-3pm wading in the hot springs is that they were dropped off at the Pianista trail at 11am according to the first picture recorded at 11:16am. They made the summit in 2 hours (fast walkers). I read that to walk downhill into Boquete would have taken them 1 to 1.5 hours most likely. They would have gone straight to the Caldera with the change into bikini tops assuming they were already wearing the bikini bottoms under their shorts. I know this is a lot to swallow. Obviously, the swimsuits were never found but they had to have them on in the hot springs.
I have a problem with the cab driver saying he dropped them off at the trail at 1:30ish in the afternoon because I think he was coerced to say that time. (PS: I’m not good with military time.) Cover-up is that the women were not in the hot springs in the afternoon but hiking on the trail. So don’t place them in the springs in the afternoon with those men on April 1. I could be wrong: they swam first in the early am then hiked afterwards. But my personal preference would be to hike first and then relax in the water afterwards. And never miss a good breakfast first, esp. before a long hike! Who swims after eating?
You’re right: all the daytime photos the women took were from the Pianista trail. I thought Kris looked perplexed in the distance photos and that the abduction was already in play. But that doesn’t even fit my premise! So, thank you. Perhaps Lisanne was struggling with her asthmatic cough and wanted to get off the mountain ASAP. Kris looks concerned for some reason. Was it starting to rain?
I believe the person who took a picture of all 4 dead people wading in the Caldera hot springs was involved with what happened starting April 1. Somehow, someway. The other two men might have shared in the crimes equally but who’s going to flip in the end? My impression is that the camera belonged to the owner of the Sabroson restaurant near the women’s hostel. The son was using the camera to take the picture of the 4 together. I know this is a lot to swallow but where is he anyway? Kris and Lisanne were tricked into trusting the wrong people but why else are they in that photo with them?
This is to address question #8 regarding the unusual behavior of the locals during the days following the disappearance. My conjectures only (and currently) but trying to base on facts. Thanks for reading and for your great insights.
I’m impressed. You’ve put a lot of thought into this. We are very much on the same page regarding this theory.
The timeline of events on April 1st was certainly skewed intentionally to some degree. Most locals originally said that things happened earlier in the day, and then after the backpack appeared, they changed their story to say it was later in the day (3-4 hours difference). The backpack spooked the locals when it was found. That also aligns well with the high probability that the killers didn’t want the public to know that the girls did something else that day – the killers wanted it to look like the girls were still up in the mountains the entire time. They probably never planned on that “Swimming photo” getting into the hands of the police. (And the killers are very lucky that the photo was fairly blurry).
So either the locals were collectively threatened to change their timeline, or the locals already knew that it’s in their best interest (self preservation) to “go with the herd”. That’s probably why the Taxi driver died – he knew the real time that everything happened. I wonder if the Taxi driver kept logs of each trip.
Your timeline makes sense – to eat breakfast, hike, then go for a swim afterwards. The afternoons are hotter too…it’s the perfect way to cool down. Also, the “thumbs up” photos seem to match this timeline – there’s photos of them arriving, then potentially leaving, the Mirador (the peak at the end of Il Pianista Trail). The sky is cloudier when they are supposedly leaving.
About the “swimming photo” – I really wonder who took that photo. You are very precise in your evaluation. The person that captured that photo must have been involved somehow. There’s really only a small handful of potential people that could have taken that photo. Just FYI – I previously published notes about the people involved here:
Note: The link above is part of a team effort to collaborate and make progress on the case. A lot of people are working together to gather the case data/details and make it public. I’m doing my part to organize the case information.
You mention the Sabroson restaurant. Is that because of the quarrel that happened on Facebook (link) late last year (2019)? The name of the swimming photo was apparently titled “Foto Sabroson” – so there’s the connection. Also, you’re right, to my knowledge nobody knows what happened to Edwin Aguirre (the son).
Most likely the camera was just a cell phone. Perhaps in 2014 people in Boquete were still using camera’s, but most people tend to forgo the added expense and will just use their phone. So, it could have been taken by a small handful of people. It’s very curious that it was labelled “Foto Sabroson”.
Similar to you, I feel that this theory still needs a connective piece of evidence to make it more concrete. At this point, it only takes a very small piece of evidence and there’s a good chance that piece of evidence still exists out there. That’s why there’s a number of people still searching.
Feel free to send any future observations. I’m always analyzing various angles of the case and I like that you’re so comprehensive in your analysis. I’m currently writing a couple more pieces that offer deeper insights into the case. Take care and thanks again.
I find this version very plausible. As a woman I was very puzzled by two bras in the backpack. While it’s true that a bra can get very uncomfortable (and those were not sports bra, if I remember correctly) you wouldn’t really want to take it off in the situation when you have to be alert and maybe run or do some sort of physical activity (like hike in the forest or even stay overnight there), if you go swimming on the other hand… It suddenly makes sense if they indeed had bikini bottoms under their shorts. Clothing would make more sense too, after all, if they were planning for a short daytime hike and then go to have a swim and relax.
I originally heard about this case while watching some sort of video on YouTube, and some things don’t really match up with the story, which you pointed out there and in the other articles. Electronics and photos definitely make me think that some tempering definitely happened, although it’s hard to say if it was the police, the criminal(s) or both. I also saw uncropped picture of one of the girls nearby a stone in a very uncomfortable position and you could see the remnants of some man made roofing- or sheltering structure? Terrible things happened to poor girls either way. I can’t imagine what their families have felt like.
I’ve developed some premises. They are not to be taken as facts, but rather to see if they’re plausible. I’m not a expert in the case (obviously).
1. It was more than a botched investigation. It was an elaborate cover-up to protect several local people who were involved with the disappearances in one way or another.
2. The Ngabe tribe, and most of the indigenous tribes for that matter, are too insulated and industrious to spend their time mixing with foreign tourists. They may have interesting tiki masks and such to put on the foliage, but they don’t manufacture trouble. They can, however, be used to create a layer of doubt.
3. The cab driver was killed because he reported dropping off the women off at the Pianista trail around 11am. The cover-up is to say in the afternoon.
4. Indeed, Kris and Lisanne were at the hot Caldera Springs around 2-3pm after finishing the hike on the Pianista trail. They had packed swimsuits and were ready to relax after the hike.
5. A photo shows them with Valenzuelas and Murgas, young local men, all in the hot springs. It was prearranged for them all to meet up there (probably plans made in a restaurant). The women were faced with too much time on their hands in Panama.
6. There’s a third camera belonging to Aguirre, a local also. He took a picture of the 4 young people altogether in the Caldera hot springs at an artful distance.
7. The night photos also came from Aguirre’s camera and were mixed into the “investigation”. Also, he was among the last to see the women so it’s convenient for him to be missing at this point.
8. The women were transported still alive from the hot springs and murdered elsewhere. Their remains were tampered with both chemically and mechanically to throw off the “investigation”. The attempt is to “disappear” a body, as well as traces of DNA.
9. The pictures of Kris from a distance without Lisanne show her hair looking damp and twisted tightly into a tight bun as if after swimming. They were already abducted against their wills and they were separated so they couldn’t easily help one another.
10. Several people were involved with abduction and murder of Kris and Lisanne. It took a village, so to speak. Those involved are not all alive today, but there are remaining people who know what happened and they’re not talking.
11. Transporting, withholding, altering and scattering some remains has been successful in deterring the true nature of what happened.
I know these premises can all be off, so I welcome your comments as to where I went down the wrong rabbit trail. I look forward to your comments.
Hi Marilyn, Thank you very much for your financial donation. This research took a lot of time and your support helps me to continue this work. Thank you!
Let’s discuss your premises. I’ll go in order to make it easier to follow:
1. It’s likely that it was an elaborate cover-up. Although there are motives for the crime, we don’t know the motives for the cover-up. I think of it this way: If one of the family members of a Panamanian official had gone missing, then the case would have been solved. Without doubt there was enough evidence to solve this case. Also, there was a lot at stake in this current time-period in Panama. Aside from the fact that Panama had a precious tourism industry to protect, the elections were also held in 2014. We know now that prominent politicians were taking bribes from major government contractors during that time. Even if those politicians didn’t have a direct interest in “protecting” the gang members involved, they had many indirect interests in keeping the case quiet/unsolved.
2. I agree completely. The Ngabe tribe was not involved in the crime, but were dragged into it to manufacture doubt and suspicion.
3. Yes, I agree. The cab driver was one of the few people involved that could dispute the official timeline of events. He was also killed during the same month of the case being closed. Someone wanted his silence.
4. I’m curious about this. Did you read evidence that suggests they had brought swimsuits and had arrived at the Caldera around 2 to 3pm? I’ve always believed that Kris and Lisanne were at the Caldera, but I wasn’t aware of timing (2-3PM), nor them bringing swimsuit.
5. I haven’t speculated on details, but I definitely believe that Kris and Lisanne are the two women in the swimming photo.
6 & 7. I need more details about this. Is this a different photo, or is this the same photo from question #5 (above)? I’m also not sure how we would know that Aguirre had taken any photos. Can you provide more details on this?
8. This is what I believe too. But I cannot explain why the two girls would venture off alone with local boys. Perhaps they earned their trust somehow?
9. Which photo are you referring to? I lean more towards no photos existing after they were taken.
10 & 11. Yes, I absolutely agree with you on this. This is what I believe happened.
In summary, I believe that your premise is correct, although I have questions (mentioned above) about your points #4, #6, #7 and #9. If you have a chance, please provide a little more info and I’ll look further into those things.
Thank you again!
I’ve been following this story for a couple years now. I want to point out that those are not “bras” in their pack. They’re swimsuit tops. Nobody seems to get this & keeps calling them bras. It’s only obvious they are not bras, but tops to swimsuits. I’ve always thought they were wearing the bottoms to their suits under their shorts.
Which makes further sense now if they were indeed planning on going swimming later.
Those aren’t bathing suit tops, they’re brassieres. I worked in retail lingerie at one time.
Given the girl’s pics, and looking at the size of the two bras, I would venture the black one belongs to Kris and the multi-color to Lisanne.
Also goes a long way toward supporting a post-hike swim; the girls had their bathing suit tops in the bag, wore the bottoms and swapped them out.
I agree with your theories. It was made to look like an accident and is successful to date as it has caused much confusion, which was exactly intended from the start. It was criminal activity with coverups involved. The girls were probably never even in the jungle on those days. They were murdered somewhere else and than had their belongings and remains tempered with to confuse the whole world to make us think they were lost in the jungle. So many stories and examples of people lost and remains found in jungles that have completely different results. The way their bones were found was not the result of natural breakdown and decomposition. Another red flag is, anybody who is lost and close to death will try to talk to their family one last time or at least leave a goodbye message. So that they can go in peace knowing that their family knows what happened to them. It’s a form of closure for people close to death or think they will never see their love ones again. These girls loved selfies, and not 1 single selfie shot in the last few days. The emergency calls and random photos were not even taken by them. Probably fabricated to throw everyone off course. And because there is so much tempering and coverups involved, the truth will never be uncovered.
I don’t believe they would have hiked overnight or spent the night at someone’s house. The girls would not decide to hike overnight with a dog. I doubt they brought dog food to feed the dog then it’s unlikely they decided to hike overnight.
They planned methodically their trip to Panama what it shows they were responsible and organized. The dog returned home at 4.30 pm, that being said the dog separated from the girls before that time. Considering the girls were responsible the girls would return home right after they noticed the dog left, especially to look for the dog. I think the dog’s owner is hiding something.
I’ve always found it suspicious that the couple they stayed with didn’t call police that first night they didn’t come back but the dog did. I read where they simply thought the “girls had just gone out partying”. I’ve wondered about that. You’d have thought when the dog returned without the girls late that afternoon, they would have phoned police in an emergency as soon as it started getting dark & the girls still weren’t home.
They had to have seen what the girls were wearing when they left so how they thought they might have gone partying is absurd really.
Really far out possibility I do understand; but I wonder if there was any way a drug was ingested by one or both girls? Either natural (Such as shrooms) or man made? It could account for injury, strange pictures, disorientation, pictures with changed energy in expression, bravado in foraging off the beaten track, possible death of one (via many scenarios from accidental to drug related to manslaughter) and, ergo, alternate decomp times of the remains of both girls….
Many thoughts could arise out of this thought flow.
It’s just that the circumstances are so strange and nothing of a more logical nature seems to fit all of the evidence.
I know neither girl seemed to be of a drug taking nature. It hey, nobody knows EVERYTHING about us, right? Also, it could span out to accidental ingestion….fricking somehow? Seems highly unlikely. But, if the thought could be entertained – could explain some of the key points that remain puzzling when looked at purely logically.
It could also account for why they didn’t think to send text messages (especially on a hallucinogenic or psychotropic high, it wouldn’t necessarily come to mind as readily as, say, dialing emergency. Particularly if one thought one was ‘dying’, or was in fact dying). Also for why they didn’t think or feel to leave goodbye videos, pictures or documentation expressing feelings for their loved ones.
Apologies if this has been raised prior to now. There is much on the net relating to this mystery double death and I’m relatively new to the case.
Am currently in the bath reading your blog and this thought just popped into my head!
Thanks for all of your incredibly hard work on this case. And for presenting your material in such and articulate and straightforward style. Props.
Simone from Australia
NO WAY this happened, sorry.
Kris’s bleached hip bone has a valid explanation and it validates the theory that she fell from a height. Falling hard enough causes your stomach to rupture, gastric perforation, where the stomach contents are released into the peritoneal cavity which contains the liver, stomach, uterus and the pelvic bone. Her own gastric acids bleached her pelvic bone which was likely broken as well. What’s perplexing is that on day 2 there was an earthquake and on mountains they are known to create delayed slope failures in certain areas, which may have caused this fall.
Hi Tim, excellent evaluation and it’s very possible when considering the state of her bones. There’s a lot of very specific conditions that would have to be met in order for this theory to be true. She would need to be near a cliff or perhaps the cable bridge which was pretty far north, which means they would have hiked overnight or spent the night at someone’s house (if you believe that they weren’t at their home on the night of April 1st). Overall, this is the best “natural” explanation that I’ve heard so far because it explains multiple variables – the broken bones, the bleaching of the bones, among other things.
The earthquake could have caused a fall, although it was fairly minor. The earthquake happened on day two (as you mentioned), which would mean that the girls were hiking on both April 1st and April 2nd. That leads to a lot of other questions.
I like this theory, good observations and insights!
Hello Want to know about the last picture of them alive, think it was Kris. Was that picture taken when they left the top of Pianista trail and went back to town?
If I was lost I would write textmessages to my family to explain what has happened. Even people who are on a crashing plane pick up the phone to write a final goodbye. The girls had a lot of time to send textmessages if they were “just lost” If there was no connection the textmessages would still be saved on the phone. You could also write notes on your phone. You don’t have to have internet to write notes on your mobile. They had a lot of time to do that before the battery died. But they didn’t. That tells me they were not able to use their phones. I think they were captured.
( sorry for my english, Im from Sweden )
I think there is a certain likelihood that they disturbed an African killer bee hive. 2 girls wouldn’t just carelessly jump off a cliff. But if you google search cliff fall bee attacks, there are quite a high number of cliff falls caused by them, they are known to exist metres above the ground inside bushes. Panama has recorded a larger than ever presence of Africanized bees.
Hi Tim, interesting theory. I thought about this for a little bit after reading your comment. One big complicating factor with this theory is that there are no cliffs in the immediate area, nor are there cliffs/bridges that connect to the Serpent river without hiking for about 10 hours north. This would have meant that they would have intentionally planned to hike into the dark unprepared – something no traveler would willingly do. It would be a very unpleasant experience and very dangerous.
While anything is possible, I just think that there’s too many other existing variables that point to human involvement. Also, the backpack showed up downstream unharmed (further downstream than their bones, on a rice paddy). Plus, Kris’s bones were bleached. And their photo in Osman’s phone?
So you are right that Africanized bees could have been involved. I don’t know. Keep looking for answers because we’re all trying to figure this out. It’s up to the public at this point because the authorities have closed the case.
Thanks for your comment and cheers to you!
The issue of the bones being bleached by phosphorus or lime gets recirculated across the net. And if a body was buried too shallow, there is the likelihood that a creature such as fox could dig up the remains, and take body parts out. It’s quite common for foxes to do this, usually to buried livestock though. Even a wild bore would strip flesh off bones when possible, teeth marks may not always appear because its actually ants that perform the final stage of reducing the corpse into a bare skeleton.
I tend to have issues with the bleach bones allegation. It’s just too vague to be meaningful. What kind of test sampled the human remains, X-ray spectometry,
or scanning Electronic Microscopy, there is no report available.
Conducting tests on a decayed corpse has reliability issues. If its been in water or soil, these substances have an effect on being corrosive and can leach molecules from flesh, bore water is so corrosive it dissolves the pipes it travels within. But it’s also that calcium phosphate, (bone), has a close molecular similarity to calcium oxide (lime).
Though no doubt a local farmer could get access to fertilizers, I would have thought a murderer would be taking excessive risks using that jungle as the burial location. The number of African bees attacks on
the Internet is alarming, though I have been reading up alot on snake venom like bothrops asper and its necrotic effects, it has a stark similarity to the effects on bone marrow like you have described in your article. Thank you for writing up and replying as well.
I have comments on a few fragments of the text:
“Additionally, no phosphates were found in soil samples from the region, therefore Phosphorus could not have been a natural cause of accelerated decomposition of Kris Kremers remains.”
“Bones are living, growing tissue that are primarily composed of Type 1 Collagen (~94%) ”
It’s strange You find that bones contains collagen but you not find that their main component (85%) is inorganic calcium Phosphate. The phosphates didn’t have to be present in the surroundings of the bones because they were contained in them. This leads to the question: what was the chemical form of phosphorus on bonds? Phosphates? Ellemental phosphorous? If this is not stated in the report, the document is worthless. The announcement that it is an anomaly to find an element in the bones that is present in them only causes disinformation.
I understand that “private” report by Humberto isn’t official document.
Hi zaciekawiony, interesting points. What is your background? You appear to be knowledgable of these things and that’s very helpful to this research.
I wish I could provide you with more information. The reports were never made public, therefore it’s difficult to know which type of phosphorus was present.
However, Humberto did mention the use of lime, which could mean that maybe he doesn’t understand the chemical traces on the bones, or he was speculating, or he had good reason to mention lime.
After reading your comment, I realize now that “phosphorus” is such a general term that it’s almost meaningless without further detail. So, I’m not sure exactly why they would include that in the analysis.
I think it’s unlikely that they would mention that phosphorus was found “on” the bones unless there was a good reason to mention that. It would be a moot point to mention it without a reason.
Please feel free to provide more detail.
I think this is my opinon, after hours of thinking.
I figured there were a lot of night photos at the same spot ( or around it) on April 8th. I think Lisane took them, because that was where she found Kris’ body.
They probably got lost each other previously ( since the backpack of Lisane that we found contained 2 phones, meaning that Kris placed her phone in Lisane’s backpack). I think they got lost on April 6th, since that was the date when Kris’s phone was first logged in with the wrong PIN number and would never be able to logged in again. From April 6th to April 8th, Lisane tried to find Kris and finally found her dead on April 8th, when she took a lot of photos of the spot she found her.
She then left her behind and went on walking. At this time, a man probably stalked and killed her since the foot that we found was perfectly cut with no marks left. Only human can do this with no remarks.
I think this is definitely a murder. Please tell me your opinion about this possibility.
Hi Hang, This is an interesting theory you mention – that both of the girls somehow got separated from each other and were searching for each other.
They wouldn’t have been separated from each other intentionally, so something would have to happen to separate them. The only “natural” option that seems reasonable (without other people involved) is the possibility that one woman (Kris) fell into the river and the river and took her downstream. If this happened, this would entice the second girl (Lisanne) to try to follow her and find her in the river. However, this presents complications:
First, the rivers were not very strong. In the areas were they were traveling, river would not be fast enough to rapidly carry a person. And if the girls were foolish to travel so far to the place where the river current was strong – why would they travel that far? That area was many kilometers north, in the dark.
Second, they were in a region with other people. If Lisanne was trying to find Kris, eventually she would have found help, either before or after she found Kris. There were numerous days to receive help from another person.
Third, why was the backpack found downstream from the remains? Did Lisanne put the backpack on the edge of the river and then walk Kilometers back up the river?
I think your theory is possible. Naturally it presents a lot of new questions.
I have a point. Is there any possibility that Kris died before Lisanne?
According to the history of phone calls, on April 6th, someone unsuccessfully logged into Kis’ phone, proving that at the time Kris was unconscious. “After April 6, multiple attempts of a false PIN code were entered into the iPhone; it never received the correct code again”, according to Wikipedia, which means that Kris never got up again.
And I think Lisanne stayed with Kris while seeking help since there were no more call attempts on Kris’ phone. Until April 8th, when the photo of Kris’ hair was taken, maybe Lisanne took it before leaving her behind since there was no hope that she would ever get up.
I think that was why Kris’ body decomposed faster than Lisanne’s.
Yes, there is a high probability that Kris died before Lisanne. Your observations are very good. First, as you mention, Kris’s phone login records show that Lisanne was possibly alive longer than Kris. Also, Kris’s bone’s and remains were decomposed to a further degree than Lisanne’s remains. Also, a part of Lisanne’s skin was found and was in a very early state of decomposition.
Probably Kris was injured before Lisanne. So there are two questions remaining – if Lisanne was able to get help, what prevented her from seeking help? Second, if both girls were injured, why did nobody in the area hear their cries for help for many days? There are many people that live in the region, both areas north and south that would have passed the location that they were injured.
This also leads to more questions:
If Lisanne stayed with Kris and Lisanne decided not to go search for help, why? Were they very far from town? Was there danger present – maybe she was protecting Kris?
In all possible situations, there is no explanation why the girls bodies decomposed at significantly different rates, especially one with chemicals, unless other humans were involved.
Good job to you and cheers!
Thanks for being humble n encouraging throughout. From all these incidents, what seems to be plausible is that both the girls were abducted on the 1st April itself. Looks like they came back from the hike by afternoon, went in for a dip in the river, as shown in the swimming photo, and after that something tragic happened. They were taken to different places and were murdered under different circumstances. The 90 photos taken from 1 to 4 am were surely not by them. The hair of Ms. Kris is indeed quite surprising but there is a chance that she was kept captive n that photo was taken jst after she passed away. Ms Lisanne would have been held captive at a different place.
Their bag was taken away frm them on April 1st itslf and was kept somewhere at a place safe from being wet or affected by the climate. After the camera n phones died out, they were nearly kept in that bag and was placed at the river side cpl of months later.
The pelvic bone of Ms.Kris being so neatly detached is a mystery and is said is likely to happen when a person falls badly. Well only thing we can assume there (if it was a murder) is that Ms.Kris deadbody was pushed down a hill to make it look like an accident n confuse ppl. It would cause an impact as powerful as to break the strong joints of her pelvic bone. The same might have been done to Ms.Lisanne as well. Will a great fall break the ankle bone of a deadbody neatly? I wonder but looks like it. I’m calling it deadbody bcoz no blood was found on the severed shoe foot. Or It can be possible that the river washed away the blood of that foot neatly.
Secondly, as some say, it can be possible that they met with an accident. However, these smart girls knew better than to wander themselves into life threatening situations. And as others mention the trail is usually used by locals n farmers n help it’s not like a very dense kindf tropical maze to get lost.
What creates more suspicion is that the murders of some people connected to this incident few days, months or years later. Every murder cannot be a coincidence and if there are no arrests been made yet, it proves the existence of a huge biased n powerful setup which is in no ones control, and the matters are taken too lightly.
Alas, we can only draw conclusions with whatever resources we have and what’s available online. There can be tampering or hiding of evidences, or the authorities might have portrayed a completely different story to the media/ public. I at times even doubt if those bones were of both these girls or is it portrayed that way to make us think of it as an accident. Anything is possible. Until we get precise details we cannot draw correct theories on it, which I believe is long past buried under the dark shadows of that forest and in some people’s memories.
*Personal opinion & assumptions based on available content.