In 2014, Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, both 21 and 22 years old, respectively, embarked on a hike near a mountain resort in Panama. However, they never returned, and their disappearance remains a mystery to this day. The events that followed their disappearance are shocking and remain unexplained.
Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, both students from the Netherlands, had planned to spend their break from school volunteering as social workers in Panama in order to improve their Spanish language skills. However, upon arriving in Panama, they discovered that someone had made a mistake in their arrangements. Despite this, they decided to go on a hike near a mountain resort in the area. Tragically, they never returned and the circumstances of their disappearance remain a mystery.
According to reports, Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon had arrived in Boquete, Panama a week earlier than expected, and the program administrators were unprepared for their arrival. Kris mentioned in her diary that the assistant instructor had been "very rude and not at all friendly" about the situation. Despite this, they decided to go on a hike near a mountain resort in the area. However, they never returned and the circumstances of their disappearance remain a mystery.
On the morning of April 1, 2014, Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon set out on a hike near a mountain resort in Panama despite not yet having a place or work lined up, according to Kris' diary. She wrote that the school they were supposed to be volunteering at found it strange that they had not yet been able to start, as everything had been planned for months. Tragically, they never returned and the circumstances of their disappearance remain a mystery.
The Hiking Trip Of Kris Kremers And Lisanne Froon
According to witnesses, Kris and Lisanne left the trailhead north of Boquete, Panama at around 10:00 AM on a sunny Tuesday morning. They were dressed in light clothing and only had Lisanne's small backpack to share between them.
Photos recovered from a camera found in Lisanne's backpack show that the women made good progress up to the Mirador.
Kris Kremers And Lisanne Froon's Photos
According to photos recovered from a camera found in Lisanne's backpack, Kris and Lisanne seemed to be enjoying themselves and were smiling in the images. There is no evidence of a third party being present with them, although some reports suggest that a local dog named Blue followed them at least part of the way up the trail.
Geographical features visible in the final photos recovered from the camera suggest that Kris and Lisanne had left the Pianista and accidentally crossed over to the other side of the Divide by mid-afternoon.
The final images recovered from the camera suggest that Kris and Lisanne wandered off onto a network of trails that were not maintained by rangers or guides affiliated with Baru National Park. These unmarked trails are not intended for tourists and are primarily used by indigenous people living deep within the forests of Talamanca.
Disappearance Of Kris Kremers And Lisanne Froon
What began as a tourist hike quickly turned into a tragedy. After posing for photos and appearing to enjoy their expedition, Kris and Lisanne were reportedly calling for help just a few hours later. It is difficult to imagine that they were in danger based on the photos, which show them smiling and enjoying themselves.
Despite appearing to be in good spirits in the earlier photos, at around 4:39 PM, Kris made a call to the Dutch emergency line (112). This was the first in a series of calls that the girls made, indicating that something was wrong.
Twelve minutes later, at 4:51 PM, another call was made from Lisanne's cellphone to the Dutch emergency line.
Tracking Their Cellphones
Kris made a distress call from her iPhone at 4:39 PM, and shortly after that, Lisanne made a call from her Samsung Galaxy at 4:51 PM. None of the calls were able to connect due to a lack of reception in the area, with the exception of a 911 call attempt on April 3 that lasted for slightly over a second before disconnecting. These calls were made just hours after the start of their hike.
After April 5, Lisanne's phone battery became depleted and was no longer used. Kris' iPhone also stopped making calls, but it was occasionally turned on in an attempt to search for reception.\
After April 6, multiple incorrect PIN codes were entered into Kris' iPhone, and it never received the correct code again. According to one report, between April 7 and 10, there were 77 emergency call attempts made with the iPhone. On April 11, the phone was turned on at 10:51 AM and turned off for the final time at 11:56 AM.
In mid-June, nine weeks after their disappearance, Lisanne's backpack was brought to authorities by a Ngobe woman who claimed to have found it on the riverbank near her village of Alto Romero, located in the Boco del Toros region. This location is approximately 12 hours by foot from the Continental Divide.
The contents of the backpack sparked widespread speculation on both sides of the Atlantic: it contained two bras, two smartphones, and two pairs of cheap sunglasses, as well as a water bottle, Lisanne's camera and passport, and $83 in cash.
The discovery of the backpack led to a renewed search for Kris and Lisanne, and by August, the Ngobe had assisted authorities in finding a small number of bone fragments along the shores of the Rio Culebra. DNA testing confirmed that the bones belonged to Kris and Lisanne, adding further complexity to the mystery of their disappearance.
A total of five fragmented remains were identified as belonging to Kris and Lisanne— but the Ngobe had also submitted bone chips from as many as three other individuals.
While there was enough evidence for a positive DNA match to Kris and Lisanne, the remains were not sufficient for examiners to determine a conclusive cause of death.
Two months after the discovery of the backpack, a pelvis and a boot containing a foot were found in a location closer to where the backpack had been discovered. Subsequently, at least 33 widely scattered bones were found along the same riverbank.
Aside from the bras in the backpack and one of Lisanne's boots, which contained her foot and ankle bones, very little other clothing was ever found. One of Kris' boots (which was empty) was also recovered, as were her denim shorts, which were reportedly found zipped and folded on a rock high above the waterline near the headwaters of the Culebra, about a mile and a half upstream from where the backpack and other remains were found.
XDNA testing confirmed that the bones belonged to Froon and Kremers. Froon's bones still had some skin attached, but Kremers' bones appeared to have been breached.
A Panamanian forensic anthropologist later stated that upon examination under magnification, "there are no discernible scratches of any kind on the bones, neither of natural nor cultural origin - there are no marks on the bones at all."
The condition of the bone fragments and bits of flesh, as well as the location where they were said to have been found, raised new questions for investigators and the press.
Investigators and the press asked several questions about the few remains that were found: why were there so few, why were there no marks on the bones, and what did the presence of other human remains mean?
The Strange Photos
A series of over a hundred images found on the digital memory card of Lisanne's camera provides a glimpse into the depth and darkness of the area where Kris and Lisanne were lost.
The first dozen or so images found on the camera seem normal enough.
On Tuesday, April 1, the weather was bright and sunny. The women were smiling and seemed cheerful in the photos, and there was no evidence of a third party being present. With the exception of a few selfies taken at the overlook of the Divide, most of the pictures were taken by Lisanne and show Kris walking ahead of her on the trail, enjoying the sunshine and the natural beauty of the rainforest.
When Things Get Stranger
In the final photos from that day, Kris and Lisanne can be seen following an indigenous trail down the opposite side of the high ridge that marks the division between the Pacific and Caribbean watersheds. Based on geographical features near a streambed visible in these photos, they were approximately an hour from the top of the Divide and still heading downhill, away from Boquete.
According to Keith Rosenthal, a court-certified forensic photography analyst, the women may have already been lost at the time the final photos were taken.
The final image of Kris Kremers, in which she is turning to look back at the camera as she crosses a streambed, could potentially be significant.
At least 90 photos from the camera were taken in complete darkness 10 days after they disappeared.
Someone took 90 photos between 1:00 and 4:00 AM, or about one photo every two minutes.
Of the 90 pictures taken on April 8 and retrieved from the memory card by the Dutch Forensic Medicine Institute, only 3 show clear images. The remaining photos are too blurry to identify anything clearly.
A number of clear pictures of the girls are followed by some strange images.
The photos above were taken at 1:38 AM. The first photo shows a rock surrounded by low vegetation. One minute later, the second photo was taken and shows a branch of a bush over what appears to be a rock, surrounded by similar plants as in the first photo. The branch has red plastic bags at each end, and there are chewing gum wrappers and other papers visible near the branch.
It is unclear what the purpose of these photos was or why they were taken. It is possible that someone was attempting to send a message, but it is also possible that the large number of pictures was a sign of desperation or an imminent threat.
Some people believe that Kris and Lisanne were murdered and point to the fact that they did not leave behind any goodbye messages to loved ones, which is something that people stranded in the wilderness often do.
The following information is known: all of the photos were taken in a steep, jungle environment, and the timing between them varies from just a few seconds (as fast as the camera could fire) to 15 minutes or more. According to the timestamp on Lisanne's SX270 camera, the photos were taken on April 8. This means that one of the women had managed to survive for over a week without food or shelter in the wilderness.
A small number of these "night pictures" were released to the press shortly after the discovery of the backpack. Without context or being in order, the publicly released photos sparked more conspiracy theories and even supernatural explanations for the tragedy.