Updated March 4, 2021 – travel plans and fundraising campaign info.
Earlier in July of this year, I published an article about starting a research team to investigate the disappearance case of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon. I was already getting a lot of responses to my list of articles. And those responses sparked my curiosity – clearly there are a lot of people that want more answers. I want more answers about the case too. So I wondered if others would be interested in organizing a research team with me.
To my surprise, I received a lot of feedback about creating a team. Not only that, but great people from various parts of the world, that had already researched much of the case, were interested in collaborating with me.
From that point, a team was born.
A Research Trip Underway
Right now our team consists of three people: Romain, Matt and myself. Romain is an aspiring journalist from France that has visited Boquete Panama on more than one occasion to investigate the case. Romain writes about the case on this blog. Matt is a technology specialist and photographer in Canada that has performed an in-depth analysis of the nighttime photos. And me, Chris, you can read about me if you wish.
Altogether, the three of us have discussed the case for dozens of hours, looked closely at the official documents (many of which Romain personally received), and we’ve formulated a number of methods to retrieve more evidence. Now, we have plans underway for a trip to Panama and we’re asking the public to contribute to our campaign.
Our Trip’s Fundraising Campaign: Mapping The Jungle Trails Of Panama
Our biggest challenge: Raising enough money for the trip to ensure we can do it safely.
We’ll be traveling later this year, 2021, assuming we can raise at least $2,500. Ideally, we’ll raise $5,000 so we can accomplish more, such as searching for the location of the night photos.
Please remember – this research has already been expensive and time consuming for us. Collectively our team has already spent thousands of dollars to get more information. Romain has paid $2,000+ dollars to visit Panama and gather case documents from law enforcement. Matt purchased the same model camera as Lisanne Froon’s camera, and tested he it thoroughly. And so much more – we’ve put hundreds of hours into organizing the case information, evaluating it, publishing articles, and strategizing a plan to retrieve more information about the case.
Our Panama Plan
We’re doing as much research as we can before a trip to Panama. However, we know that we’ll be able to perform research and investigate much more thoroughly if we’re physically in Boquete, Panama.
We’ll gather the following information:
- Mapping the trails north of the El Pianista trail,
- Taking aerial footage of the rivers and terrain,
- Identifying cliffs and potentially dangerous areas,
- Researching the environmental conditions (rainfall, river levels, etc),
- Searching for the precise location of the night-time photos,
- Logging and tracking each detail of our expedition.
If coronavirus becomes an issue, we’ll postpone until the time is right. If we don’t raise enough money, we’ll postpone the trip until we can pay the expenses from our own pockets. We don’t want to wait – this is why we’re asking for your support.
Again, please consider supporting our campaign: Mapping The Jungle Trails Of Panama.
We can’t do it without you. Even just $10 or $20 helps. And we will be forever grateful.
Romain has already hired a foreign soldier named Yann to join us on our trip. Yann is an expert on jungle survival. He’s well versed on Panama’s jungles and has participated in search & rescue missions in numerous countries. Yann is the kind of guy that any adventurist would want on the team – he knows the jungle. He knows preparedness. He knows how to work on a team. Yann will give our team training and be with us for our safety.
Romain and I have both visited Panama before. But with all of the necessary requirements to safely plan a deep-jungle expedition, we’ll be facing a number of challenges.
There are two major hurdles we’re facing: Funding and lack of team members.
Challenge 1: Funding
We’re willing to cover some of the costs of the trip ourselves. The problem is, to do the research thoroughly and safely we’ll need more financial support. For example, we’ll need to purchase at least one reliable GPS device, such as this Garmin, in order to track our precise coordinates. That’s $600 alone…for one small device. Ouch. And we can’t cut corners on these items – we will heavily depend on our gear and electronics while we’re in the jungle.
We’ll also need to purchase test backpacks to submerge/float in the river (similar to Lisanne’s blue backpack), 90 Liter backpacks for long-distance hiking/camping, cooking supplies, non-perishable food, emergency supplies, a secure room in town to store our electronics while we’re in the woods, machetes to slash through jungle, among many other things.
Remember, we must arrange to buy some of these things in Panama after we arrive.
We can’t travel to Panama with everything. Shipping large amounts of non-perishable food is not an option. Similarly, airlines will only permit so many batteries on a plane. Therefore, if we want to utilize the aerial drones to capture footage of the rivers, then we need to ship them beforehand (which is not cheap).
We already have some of the items that we need. Romain has two drones for aerial footage. My flight will not be expensive because I already live in El Salvador, so I’ll cover my flight. Romain can cover the cost of his flight. We can handle some of these costs ourselves. But we’ll still need to cover numerous other costs.
Originally we estimated that the cost of this trip would be between $12,000 and $15,000. But we’ve decided to cut a lot of the bulky research down to focus on the highest priorities. Now we’re aiming for $5,000. That amount of money will provide for everyone’s security needs, cover some travel costs, and give us the equipment necessary to handle all aspects of our investigations. The more money we raise, the more tasks we can accomplish.
The most expensive aspects of this trip will be:
- Food & Accommodations – We’ll cover some of these costs out of pocket. But we cannot cover it for everyone on the team. We’ll likely rent a hostel room for the team to use as a work area, when we’re not camping.
- Gear – Tents, waterproof covers, ground pads, machetes, insect repellent, first-aid supplies, cooking devices and utensils, electronic cables, GPS, radios, backup batteries, etc.
- Transportation – A rental car/van to transport our gear. Keep in mind, Boquete isn’t near the international airport. We’ll need a secure way to move our gear. Occasionally we may need a taxi, too.
- Security – This is perhaps the most important. We can’t cut corners on our safety. Security includes trained personnel, safety gear (such as first-aid supplies), security cameras, etc.
- Miscellaneous – Test backpacks for submerging in the river. (This is lower priority relative to other tasks).
Our tasks will require reliable gear. Our team will need to bring food and supplies with us on long journeys. It’s very challenging to balance doing everything safely, having the proper gear, working together under strenuous conditions, while maintaining records and reporting on our findings.
Challenge 2: We want more people
We’ve organized our trip in a way that will permit us to accomplish a lot. However, with more people, we may be able to accomplish even more lower-priority tasks:
- Tracking rainfall and temperature
- Logging river levels
- Taking more aerial footage of distant locations
- Hiking the rivers
- Submerging the backpacks
- Tracking the river’s velocity and movement
- Taking soil samples in the region
- Speaking to locals
- Searching for evidence/remains
These tasks could provide important information. However, we’ve prioritized our trip to ensure we focus on the most important tasks first: mapping the region with GPS coordinates, taking aerial footage and searching for the location of the night photos. If we accomplish those things, we can focus more on the smaller tasks mentioned above.
Goal: 6 People On Our Team
Currently we have 3 people. We hope to recruit 3 more if possible. With 6 people, we’ll have the adequate support we need. Not only will we be able to accomplish the work more effectively, but we’ll also be safer together and have more helping hands. Having 6 people on the trip will allow us to break into 2 teams to accomplish more, when necessary.
Some simple qualifying questions:
Can you carry a backpack? Can you work with a team? Do you enjoy wild outdoor adventures? Do you have some experience in the outdoors (especially camping/hiking)? Are you trustworthy? Are you a good communicator? Do you have a passport? Are you highly interested in this disappearance case?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, please contact me! We already have 3 people. We need 3 more.
Keep in mind, the intention of the trip is to gather information. We’re NOT going to be tracking down criminals or searching for suspects. That would be very dumb – it’s obviously too dangerous. This isn’t a 007 James Bond movie. We’re only gathering information. Most of our trip will involve hiking and using our GPS, although it will also involve holding a camera and taking notes.
Fundly – Would you support this research?
That’s an honest question. Would you support our research on this trip? Do you want more answers about the disappearance case of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon? Are you willing to chip in a few bucks to help our team?
Again, here’s our campaign: Mapping The Jungle Trails Of Panama
This trip will be entirely new for us. We want to do it. We’re excited. But it’s a lot of work, time and money. We want to go in there, gather the information, do deep investigations, and then report back about everything we learn. We want to be methodical, effective and safe.
I know, it sounds fun. What isn’t thrilling about being drenched with water, in the jungle for weeks, while trying to write notes on soggy paper after eating a freeze-dried breakfast?
It won’t exactly be a walk in the park. But we want answers. Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon deserve better than how their case was handled. So any help and support will be greatly appreciated.
We’re willing to do the work. Whether the public is willing to back us…that’s a big question.
If you’re interested in joining our team, please contact me or write a comment below. If you’re interested in financially supporting us, please visit our campaign page.