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What Really Happened To Two Dutch Hikers Who Disappeared In Panama?

Updated March 27, 2020 1.3m views14 items

On April 1, 2014, two students from the Netherlands named Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers went on a hike in Panama with a dog. The dog came back, but the young women didn't. A search eventually turned up a severed foot and scattered remains, but authorities had trouble determining how the hikers had died. Years later, some people still believe someone killed the pair.

Froon and Kremers were both in their early 20s; they traveled to Panama to work with children. Many hikers from all over the world disappear, fall, or suffer other fatal accidents while traveling - this could've happened to these women as well. But there are a few holes in this particular theory. For one, the girls' camera had photos on it from hours after they stopped dialing emergency services. Also, a serial killer might have stalked their area at the time.

The world may never know what happened to the pair, but speculation still runs wild. Did they become lost and fall down a cliff? Was someone who's still out there responsible for their deaths? Or is it all part of a cover-up?

  • Their Phone Logs Revealed Attempted 911 Calls Made Days After They Disappeared

    After finding the women's phones, authorities now had a lead. Once they examined the phones, investigators unraveled a confusing and grim timeline. The phones remained active for nearly 10 days after the pair went missing.

    During this time, Kremers and Froon repeatedly called for help. They called 112, the emergency number for the Netherlands, as well as Panama's emergency number, 911. They made numerous emergency calls a few hours into their hike; logs show they managed to connect only once due to poor reception in the forest. This connected call was stable for roughly two seconds.

    After the attempted calls, the phones stayed on for some time. Kremers's locked phone showed someone entered a wrong PIN several times. Accordingly, Kremers's phone was powered-on one last time on April 11, 2014; both phones went dead afterward. Given the timeline, authorities assumed at least one of the women was alive at the time, five days into the search.

  • The Camera Held Strange Photos

    The girls' camera showed evidence of what may have happened. More than 100 pictures were on the camera; the first few looked like normal tourist photos with the women smiling together. However, the tone of the pictures began to change.

    One showed Kremers with what looked like concern on her face, dated around the time of the emergency calls. After this, the photos were from April 8, 2014 and likely snapped between 1 am and 4 am. These were of seemingly random objects, like a stick with plastic sticking to it, as well as scenes of foliage, canyons, and a bridge.

    Experts proposed several theories about how and why the women took these photos. The arbitrary pictures looked focused as if steady hands took the shots, suggesting they were intentional. Perhaps the photos served as trail markers to help the young women find their way around or back to the rescuers.

    Because of the dark, the pair might have used the camera flash as a light source or to scare away animals. Others suggested neither Froon nor Kremers took those photos; they believe someone abducted the women.  

  • One Photo Suggests Kremers Sustained An Injury

    Froon's parents requested authorities refrain from releasing all the photos from the camera to the public. Allegedly, some pictures depicted Kremers and Froon in a rough state. During a Panama-based TV program's broadcast, the newscasters accidentally leaked some photos; this happened again on a Dutch TV program. The second show featured a photo focusing on the back of a person's head, suspected to be Kremers's. The image appears to show an injury on Kremers's head, with blood on her hair.

    This led to speculation about how Kremers suffered an injury during the hike, and Froon perhaps used the camera for light, or to document Kremers's last-known whereabouts before seeking help. If harm came to Kremers, the photos could have intended to help rescuers determine her location based on visual markers.

  • Their Belongings Turned Up Perfectly Arranged

    After the discovery of the backpack, the search for the young women began again, this time in a different area. Authorities investigated along the Rio Culebra, AKA the Serpent River, near the village of Alto Romero. This was far from the trail Kremers and Froon originally set out for, meaning they either got lost or changed their itinerary.

    This time, the search turned up something: Kremers's clothing, neatly folded and arranged on the river's edge. The shorts appeared zipped and folded, placed above the waterline about a half-mile upstream from where the local tribal woman allegedly found the backpack. Curiously, the garments showed up on the opposite side of the river from where the women took all their photos.