Ep. 11 Peril in the Panama Jungle (Part One)

Two Dutch students go missing on April 1st, 2014, while hiking the El Pianista trail in Panama. We dive deep into the mystery, confusion and conflicting reports surrounding their tragic disappearance and subsequent investigation.

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our transcript

Transcript:

Speaker 1 00:00

Offered a $30 ,000 reward for anyone with information, which is a huge, I mean, it’s like offering like hundreds of thousands of dollars here in the US.

 

Speaker 2 00:09

Right. And Feliciano was very involved in.

 

Speaker 3 00:13

okay i hope he stays the good guy i don’t want to i mean wasn’t jose feliciano because then he wouldn’t see anything what what happened

 

Speaker 1 00:27

So…

 

Speaker 3 00:42

Back your bags, we’re going on a Slaycation. Hello, this is Adam Texas Davis. As always, I’m joined by my lovely wife, Kim. Hello, hello. And my buddy, Jerry. Hello. Hello. You know, guys, this marks our 10th episode.

 

Speaker 3 01:01

Happy 10th, guys. And I was thinking maybe as a fun thought experiment for our 10th episode, who among us would be most likely to get away with committing a Slaycation? Should we want to commit a Slaycation?

 

Speaker 1 01:16

Who would most likely get away with it? So this is assuming we each have committed a Slaycation. Yes. Kim.

 

Speaker 3 01:24

You think him?

 

Speaker 1 01:25

If Josh is vigorously nodding his head, I don’t think there’s any question. You know, why on earth would you? Cool as a cucumber knows everything there is to know about you’ve watched crime shows like it’s your job.

 

Speaker 1 01:40

So you know every trick and also you wouldn’t do it unless you believed in it. And if you believe in it, you’re going to, you’re just going to push your way through it.

 

Speaker 3 01:50

So here here’s the thing, you know, obviously I thought yeah, no, I think you’re I think you’re Kim is extraordinarily sneaky and good at like keeping a secret like We one time it was my birthday. I was working.

 

Speaker 3 02:04

It’s like six thirty seven o ‘clock at night and She hasn’t said a peep and I’m like, hey, are we gonna do anything for my birthday and she’s like why what do you want to do? And I was like, I don’t know.

 

Speaker 3 02:15

I thought we maybe we’d go out or something She’s like well, I got to run an errand and she drags me on an errand to another part of town And I’m like pissed. I’m like there’s nothing happening for my birthday and now we’re running errands And then I’m like, you know what while we’re here There is a restaurant nearby that I kind of want to go to and I said, you know what?

 

Speaker 3 02:32

Why don’t we just go there and she’s like, yeah if you want and I’m like, oh my god She really doesn’t give a shit. We go to the restaurant open the door long table. Ten of my friends are sitting there Amazing he was so smooth.

 

Speaker 3 02:44

I thought all my friends got together to hang out To say oh my god, it’s a surprise party like she’s good. Yeah the one thing which by the way

 

Speaker 1 02:57

of the research and the paying attention to detail that she knew what restaurant in the neighborhood you’d want to go to. That’s why she’d get away with this location.

 

Speaker 3 03:05

found an errand nearby that yeah so that that’s good the one thing with Kim though she’s really bad at hiding things like I’m on a diet and she’s got a sweet tooth and I’m just constantly finding sweets in the most obvious hiding spot so she could get caught by not disposing of the evidence properly

 

Speaker 1 03:23

Kim, do you agree or disagree that you would be the most likely to get away with this litigation?

 

Speaker 2 03:29

I plead the fifth.

 

Speaker 1 03:31

That feels like a, that feels like somebody who does this like a

 

Speaker 3 03:34

She was like…

 

Speaker 2 03:36

But you did have a nice time on that birthday

 

Speaker 3 03:39

It was great, it was great, but you were so sneaky. Jerry wouldn’t be good at it because he’d still want to enjoy the vacation.

 

Speaker 1 03:47

Hahahahaha! Heeeey! So true.

 

Speaker 3 03:51

You know, and I I could probably get all the details right, but I don’t trust myself to just shut the fuck up

 

Speaker 1 04:05

You’d have a really you’d have a really good joke, but to make the joke you’d have to reveal something Yeah, and you’d still make the joke. Yeah, you can’t resist. I would do the joke calculus

 

Speaker 3 04:13

It’s still OK.

 

Speaker 1 04:14

You might as well get out of here.

 

Speaker 3 04:14

Go to jail, but I gotta make this joke. It’s so worth it. It’s so worth it. Anyway speaking of Slaycations, honey Where are we slaking today?

 

Speaker 2 04:22

Today, we will begin our slake -hating journey at Bocas del Toro and then on to Boquete in Panama.

 

Speaker 3 04:38

Wow! Exotic! And also, have you been taking Spanish? She’s sneaky!

 

Speaker 2 04:46

No, I have not. I was well done. I think I don’t know either. I don’t need I thought it really well I’m trying to remember my high school Spanish at least in Accents even if I don’t know what I’m saying.

 

Speaker 2 04:59

All right, so what do we got? We’re ready to get into the who where and why and what the fuck happened. This is a real what the fuck happened. Yeah Pretty pretty intense

 

Speaker 1 05:10

Alright. Missed study. You know what I mean?

 

Speaker 3 05:12

You know, I like these ones. Yes. Yes.

 

Speaker 2 05:16

So this is very convoluted, very intense case. As opposed to the lighthearted fair, we usually. Exactly. Yeah, no, this was pretty intense, just for a whole host of reasons. This case involves two young women, recent college grads, Chris Kramer, born August 9th, 1992.

 

Speaker 2 05:41

That would make her a Leo. And her friend, Lisanne Froon, born September 24th, 1991. And that would make her a Lieber. They were respectively 21, 22 years old. Both women were, like I said, recent university grads from the Netherlands.

 

Speaker 2 06:01

Chris had obtained her degree in cultural social education, specializing in art education. And Lisanne, who was an athlete, played volleyball, and received her undergraduate degree in applied sciences.

 

Speaker 3 06:15

Just show me a picture of them. They they seem like very sweet very nice kids. Yeah friendly. Yes. Yes

 

Speaker 2 06:25

You know, the young women were close friends, and they met actually while working together at a local bistro in the Netherlands. And having recently graduated from school, college, the women wished to commemorate this awesome feat with a trip of a lifetime.

 

Speaker 2 06:42

So they began to save up their money. And together, Chris and Lee Sand would save up for a six -week sabbatical to Panama.

 

Speaker 1 06:53

Yeah, that’s a okay. Well, they wanted to do they wanted to see a few things They wanted to they actually wanted to try and learn Spanish and they also wanted to they were like really sweet girls And they wanted to do something for the locals.

 

Speaker 1 07:03

So they plan to volunteer to help with children while they were in Panama

 

Speaker 2 07:07

at the local school.

 

Speaker 1 07:09

wanted to be there long enough to to actually get into all that and make a difference gotcha oh boy well they’d arranged with the local school to write to be able to help

 

Speaker 3 07:18

Yeah, right you guys just keep piling this on fucking house of cards sadness

 

Speaker 2 07:24

No, it is actually. Sorry, it doesn’t get better.

 

Speaker 1 07:28

If you folks if you came to this show for a happy fun joyride Sorry, yeah, it’s called slication remember that great kids and family show we can recommend that’s full of laughs

 

Speaker 3 07:40

We’re on the cation part, so let’s get to the, I guess we’ll get to the slay part.

 

Speaker 2 07:44

Their journey would begin on the morning of March 15, 2014, starting with a 10 -hour flight from Amsterdam to Houston, a four -hour layover, and then a four -hour flight that would take them to San Jose, Costa Rica.

 

Speaker 2 08:00

Getting to Panama would provide a bit of an adventure in and of itself. Wasn’t like a smooth sailing journey in the getting there. They made their way by taxi, bus, and boat to the Panamanian border, where they were reportedly scammed, being asked to pay for a passport sticker, which Chris had noted in her diary as being kind of shady.

 

Speaker 2 08:24

I suspect that they were among the locals, and they probably stood out as not being from there.

 

Speaker 1 08:30

They extremely stood out. I mean, they’re red hair, dark hair, you know, they’re very white. They do not look like they’re from anywhere near Panama.

 

Speaker 3 08:43

Plus, you need the sticker.

 

Speaker 2 08:44

Right. Specials did go. I mean, they definitely stood out. That made them vulnerable in a way. And then, of course, they were approached by a gentleman who would ask them if they were heading to Bocas del Toro.

 

Speaker 2 08:57

They needed to get a boat or a ferry. And she had noted in her diary some anxiety, like, oh, we didn’t know if this was just another scam, but we took our chances. And I’m like, oh my God, I’m reading this and I’m thinking that should never be something you take a chance on.

 

Speaker 2 09:15

But, you know, thankfully they were fine. Oh, they thought they were about to get killed on the boat.

 

Speaker 3 09:20

I don’t know what was gonna happen.

 

Speaker 1 09:21

You’re like, this is it? They’re gonna get killed on the boat. Oh, no. Right, right.

 

Speaker 3 09:26

I know the worst thing that happens isn’t the sticker.

 

Speaker 2 09:29

right right I mean they took the gamble and they fortunately arrived just in time to get on the boat heading to

 

Speaker 3 09:36

Yeah, they don’t get killed in Act I.

 

Speaker 4 09:39

the Hargan women seemed to have it all. From the outside looking in, we were blessed. My mom was amazing. But as detectives would soon learn, there was a lot going on inside the Hargan household.

 

Speaker 5 09:51

Ashley and I have been calling my mom and the house and Helen, no one’s answering.

 

Speaker 6 09:56

you

 

Speaker 4 09:57

63 -year -old Pamela Hargan gunned down in her own home. Her youngest daughter Helen lay dead upstairs.

 

Speaker 5 10:03

Patrol, when they arrived, assumed or thought that there might have been a murder suicide.

 

Speaker 4 10:09

but for the detectives on the scene. There were things about.

 

Speaker 1 10:13

the scene itself that were concerning to us on day one.

 

Speaker 4 10:17

Who would want to kill their mother and their little sister? There is no boogeyman here. It is exactly who we think it is. I’m Peter Van Sant from 48 Hours. This is Blood is Thicker, The Hargen Family Killings.

 

Speaker 4 10:32

Listen to Blood is Thicker, The Hargen Family Killings, wherever you get your podcasts.

 

Speaker 7 10:41

Hi, I’m Laleh Arakoglou, host of Women Who Travel. Women Who Travel is a transported podcast for anyone curious about the world. We talk to adventurers and athletes.

 

Speaker 5 10:53

race, the Godzone Adventure Race, which is on the South Island and goes through the mountains down in the southern Alps on New Zealand. That was eight days spent out in the wilderness. And chefs. Iranian food is home.

 

Speaker 5 11:06

It’s family. It’s love.

 

Speaker 7 11:11

And we share dispatches from our listeners.

 

Speaker 5 11:16

full of these… I will call

 

Speaker 7 11:21

ghosts of the past. From stampeding elephants to training sled dogs. We hear it all. The dogs will curl right up with you and it can be kind of cozy waiting things out. New episodes of Women Who Travel publish every Thursday.

 

Speaker 7 11:37

Join us wherever you listen.

 

Speaker 2 11:40

So Chris and Lisanne spent the first two weeks of this journey sightseeing. They swam with the dolphins. Remember when you and Gia swam with the dolphins? So they did a little bit of that. Miami dolphins.

 

Speaker 2 11:51

No, not the Miami dolphins. Really weird? No. They sampled some of the local cuisine and got to practice some of their Spanish. And the women also took some cooking lessons and met some new people. And incidentally, they would meet a couple of Dutch guys who they would become friendly with.

 

Speaker 2 12:10

So, you know, it was turning out to be a lot of fun.

 

Speaker 3 12:14

some enjoyment out of it.

 

Speaker 1 12:15

They’re having a great time. Yeah, they were having a fantastic time like every photo from it. They’re just beaming and smiling

 

Speaker 2 12:23

take place again? A 2014 march. And Lisan had even noted this because the both girls kept a diary and Lisan had noted this time in her diary as being the ultimate enjoyment and I guess how it’s translated from Dutch to English.

 

Speaker 2 12:42

Chris would recall in her diary that the coast was clear and beautiful and that the palm trees were lush and gorgeous.

 

Speaker 1 12:53

It is an important point here to note that they write in their diary all the time. Right. And are very specific about things that they see. Okay.

 

Speaker 2 13:01

Right. And the other thing, too, is they kept in regular touch with their families, just sort of keeping them updated on their trip and how it was going. Josh, do you have tissues?

 

Speaker 3 13:15

I’m going to need a box of tissues. All right, you’re killing me.

 

Speaker 2 13:17

The next step on the trip itinerary was Boquete. The women would travel by bus and arrive on March 29, 2014, at the home of a woman by the name of Miriam Guerrera, who would serve as the host. They would be staying with a host family, so she was, I guess, the host mistress.

 

Speaker 2 13:41

They planned to spend the next chapter of this trip exploring this area, meeting new people, doing a little partying, and they was going to actually now make the time to volunteer at this local school doing craft projects and visit some parks and hike some scenic trails.

 

Speaker 2 13:59

So far. So good. So good. Unfortunately, a very annoying monkey wrench would be thrown into their plans as they were told that they would not be able to begin their volunteer work with the children until the following week.

 

Speaker 2 14:15

Both women note this in their diary, Lisanne describing it as a disaster, and Chris citing that the assistant instructor had been kind of rude and not at all friendly. And this is on March 30th. Right.

 

Speaker 2 14:31

But ultimately, let’s just go with the Panamanian flow. And they carried on and just reoriented themselves, just went with the flow and recalibrated.

 

Speaker 1 14:41

They thought they were going to be working with the kids. Now it’s like, OK, we have a few more days to hike and tour.

 

Speaker 3 14:48

It’s very sweet of them to be upset that they can’t work.

 

Speaker 1 14:52

They were. They actually wrote in their diaries. They were both very, very disappointed.

 

Speaker 2 14:55

I wouldn’t just use the time now, they would, they party, they made some new friends. I think it was through the language school that had booked a tour with a place, with a person actually, called Feliciano Tours, through the language school, where they were studying Spanish.

 

Speaker 2 15:11

The plan was that they would be touring a farm, and this was to happen on April 2nd. They would meet up with the Dutch guys, go out for, I think it was like a brunch, and the plan was they would do a hike at a popular trail known as the Pianista.

 

Speaker 2 15:33

On April 1st, 2014, they would begin their hiking odyssey on the Pianista Trail. The Pianista is named for the resemblance of the keys of a piano. It is recognized as moderate in difficulty and hiking level, and the trail is described as a lush green, misty forest, starting out with open fields and evolves into dense trees and into what is known as a clouded forest.

 

Speaker 2 16:01

Trail is approximately four and a half miles, and it takes about two hours to reach the summit. Not me. And not, well definitely not me, I’m not doing all that, but you know, there are people that really enjoy hiking.

 

Speaker 3 16:17

No, I enjoy hiking. It’s just I’m not doing it that fast.

 

Speaker 2 16:20

Well, I’m definitely not doing it that fast, but you’re not doing it at all But from start to finish, it’s about four to five hours. Okay, and it’s just the four of them It’s the two girls that it’s that it’s that no the dudes they met the dudes.

 

Speaker 2 16:33

Yeah. Yeah before the before the right Then the two of them just olden waffles, right? Okay. So the two of them just went on this hike Look at you laughing at your own jokes

 

Speaker 3 16:43

Oh, it’s laughing at him laughing at my joke.

 

Speaker 1 16:46

I thought you were going to say there were Belgian waffles made in a Dutch oven.

 

Speaker 3 16:50

God I was gonna make a Dutch oven joke. I couldn’t I can’t believe you didn’t I was waiting didn’t want to double joke it

 

Speaker 1 16:56

have been your own the opportunity anyway what’s coming so

 

Speaker 2 16:59

So there were like lots of streams that, you know, intersected with the moth and the vegetation and the wildlife, like snakes, sloths, jaguars.

 

Speaker 3 17:08

coming from their diary, or is this something else?

 

Speaker 2 17:10

No, just what I read, since I’ve never been on the trail, I can’t make a first person.

 

Speaker 1 17:18

You’re in that area, this is the trail you do. Gotcha. It’s a very easyly followed trail to the top of the mountain. Mm -hmm. You go to this spot called El Meridor, where you have a lookout. You can look at all the surrounding area and then go back down.

 

Speaker 1 17:33

So it’s a, you know, there’s just lots of descriptions of it. Right.

 

Speaker 2 17:37

They have tons of pictures of them on this hike. So there’s other people taking pictures of them? No, they.

 

Speaker 3 17:42

their selfie right okay right is it just them yeah

 

Speaker 2 17:45

It’s just the two of them.

 

Speaker 1 17:46

Yeah, this is a trail that you could go do by yourself. There’s other ones, like the one they’re gonna go do on the second to the farm the next day. The locals are like, don’t do this one on your own.

 

Speaker 1 17:56

And that’s why they have hired.

 

Speaker 2 17:58

they hired a hiking guy.

 

Speaker 3 18:01

Okay, so they do this famous trail by themselves, they have a great time. Right. And now it’s the next day, and they’re gonna do a second. Right, so.

 

Speaker 2 18:07

It’s the next day, it’s April 2nd, 2014. It’s 8 a .m. And the guy, Feliciano Gonzalez, shows up for the tour he had on the docket for Chris and Lisanne, and the women never show.

 

Speaker 3 18:22

Oh, yeah, this is the house the hostess’s house. Well,

 

Speaker 2 18:26

He ended up going, because he actually knew, it’s a small community, so he. Or he was supposed to meet them somewhere. Yeah, he was meeting them, I believe it was the language school. I think so, yeah, and they’re not there.

 

Speaker 2 18:37

Right, right. And there was somebody else that was gonna join them on the tour. Okay, and they were there. And they were there. And they were waiting, Chris and Lesanne never showed up. So he went to the host family’s home.

 

Speaker 2 18:54

And found out that they never came home.

 

Speaker 1 18:59

Gotcha.

 

Speaker 2 19:00

And it was suggested that, well, you know, they’re young, maybe they’re out partying, maybe they slept out. It wasn’t setting off major alarm bells. Right. Not at that time. For me, it is.

 

Speaker 3 19:14

Right. But I get it, in the moment, it’s like a lot of things could happen. Right. Okay.

 

Speaker 1 19:20

Different place, different helicopter parenting may not be a thing. Gotcha. Right. But from our perspective, alarm bells. From bears, tourists on vacation. Sure. Maybe they’re shacked up somewhere.

 

Speaker 2 19:32

The tour guide was concerned that they hadn’t been home, that they hadn’t, but okay. But then night fell, and they still hadn’t showed up.

 

Speaker 1 19:47

are not answering their phones.

 

Speaker 2 19:48

It is at that time that they notify the authorities.

 

Speaker 3 19:55

What is funny? I was gonna say, it was, she goes, it was at that time, I was gonna say, the tour guide realized he wasn’t good at it. That’s… Ugh.

 

Speaker 6 20:05

Man sorry

 

Speaker 2 20:07

You really, you can’t, you can’t help yourself.

 

Speaker 3 20:10

I am.

 

Speaker 1 20:11

One thing to mention in particular about this trail they went on, the Pianista Trail, is that El Mirador, the spot they’re going up to, the crest of this little mountain, this whole area sits right on the Continental Divide, which I actually had to do a little research to understand exactly what the Continental Divide is.

 

Speaker 1 20:29

Do you know what it is?

 

Speaker 3 20:30

I thought I did until you gave me that look and now I’m like, I’m not going to say anything.

 

Speaker 1 20:36

So, it’s actually where the continental plates meet, and it runs from all the way up by the Arctic Circle, all the way down through Alaska and Canada, and America runs basically along the crest of the Rockies, and all the way down through South America, down to Peru and Ensign Patagonia.

 

Speaker 1 20:55

And what it is specifically is it sort of tells you that everything on the west side of that is watersheds that will drain into the Pacific Ocean, and everything on the other side drains into the Atlantic and Arctic, which is like Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Hudson Bay and Canada.

 

Speaker 1 21:13

So the reason that’s interesting here is that the mountain they’re on is on that divide. So on the east side, which is where the city they’re staying in, Boquete, is the more tranquil part that’s like waters are slowly making their way to the Caribbean.

 

Speaker 1 21:29

It’s you know, trees and grass and stuff. It’s the calmer side with like less precipitation. Okay. The west side, which goes into the Pacific, is like rainy, complicated rivers connecting with each other.

 

Speaker 1 21:43

It’s jungle. It’s jungle, right? It’s like dense vegetation. It’s like you can actually see it even if you look on like a satellite image, like one side is crazy. This is like a peak, like a mountain peak type thing.

 

Speaker 1 21:55

Yeah. That just is important to know in terms of the geography of what we’re about to get into. Okay. Right.

 

Speaker 3 22:00

All right, that’s not what I was thinking for the continental divide.

 

Speaker 1 22:05

I don’t know what you were thinking, it wasn’t what I was thinking either. I never realized it actually told you it was about which way the water flows into what body of water.

 

Speaker 2 22:13

learning shit you can really get lost in that jungle you mean on

 

Speaker 1 22:17

crazy side. Yeah. No, and the information about the continental development.

 

Speaker 2 22:24

Nice!

 

Speaker 8 22:25

Hi, I’m Matt Harris, Seton Tucker and I post the podcast Impact of Influence, which for two years covered in depth, Elick Murdock, who was eventually convicted in 2023 of murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul.

 

Speaker 8 22:38

That story continues to evolve and we will cover that, plus we will tell you stories of other true crime events that have happened in the South. Please join us on Impact of Influence and give us a follow on the Impact of Influence Facebook page.

 

Speaker 6 22:55

Hello, this is Dr. Grande, the host of True Crime Psychology and Personality. On my podcast, I explore and explain the pathology behind some of the most horrendous crimes and those who commit them. We discuss topics like narcissism, psychopathy, sociopathy, and antisocial personality disorder from a scientifically informed perspective.

 

Speaker 6 23:17

What is a narcissist? How do you spot a sociopath? What science can you look for to protect yourself from these dangerous personalities? It’s not just about the stories, but also the science and psychology behind them.

 

Speaker 6 23:30

So if you’re interested in true crime or mental health, I’d encourage you to give my show a listen wherever you get podcasts.

 

Speaker 2 23:40

But yes.

 

Speaker 1 23:40

Yes to both. For sure. You would call it like wild. It’s not been marked. There’s no trails. You know, it’s just wild.

 

Speaker 3 23:47

OK, is this the kind of situation where you could make a wrong turn and why? Oh, yeah. Oh, easily. Yeah.

 

Speaker 1 23:53

nothing to orient you, and everything is overgrown, and so it’s complicated. So then maybe they should?

 

Speaker 3 23:59

have been doing this by themselves but I don’t know

 

Speaker 1 24:01

This is headed. Well the trail. They’re on that’s another thing to note is that the trail They’re on this a penis to trail is an out -and -back trail So you hike your two or three hours up to the top you look around right go back the way you came That’s it.

 

Speaker 1 24:14

You go back to town. You have a beer and you’re done right right. What is it?

 

Speaker 3 24:18

like it is not

 

Speaker 1 24:23

But you’re supposed to just know that from someone telling you or asking a common sense thing before you go on any trail is, where do I turn around? Where’s this trail end? Is it out and back? How long?

 

Speaker 1 24:36

What’s the elevation? You know, just I think we can safely assume that they were told that it was an out and back trail. And even if you think about common sense, if you’re at the top of this trail, you’re on a lookout point and you look around and you see the city that you came from is over here, back the exact same way you came, and then the trail does go on.

 

Speaker 1 24:56

But if you look at the direction the trail is going on, it’s going on into terrain you haven’t been in that gets pretty wild. So it’s not even visually you could … Do you know where to stop and turn around?

 

Speaker 1 25:08

I’m not going to say you know, but when you look at images of people hiking this trail, there’s clearly a top of it. Gotcha. Right. So you’re at the top. So you’re either going down back the way you came or you’re going down a different way than you came into something you haven’t seen before.

 

Speaker 1 25:23

Gotcha. Do you guys remember all these dead bodies here? So it wouldn’t make sense for them to go continue down. Okay. And also just to throw in one more thing is that Lizanne in her diary had noted she wasn’t feeling great, right?

 

Speaker 1 25:38

So she was a little under the weather. By the time you get to the top of this thing, you have been, you know, it’s a moderate hike, but you’ve been hiking for a few hours. Right. And if you’re not feeling great.

 

Speaker 1 25:47

You’re not going to be like, ah, screw it. Let’s keep going down to that thing we haven’t been like that’s just not, it doesn’t make sense.

 

Speaker 3 25:54

I want to ask a question, but I don’t know if it gives away too much like Did they have their diaries with them? No diaries

 

Speaker 1 26:01

The diaries are back at the house. Okay, good, okay.

 

Speaker 2 26:04

Right, because this was just going to be a day hike. No, I’m just saying it’s a day hike and they really expect it to be right back.

 

Speaker 3 26:13

I wasn’t sure how contemporaneous the diaries were like the diaries

 

Speaker 1 26:17

You’ve written in the day before, the 30th, about the disappointment.

 

Speaker 3 26:20

She wasn’t feeling well and okay.

 

Speaker 1 26:23

Yeah, we know she wasn’t feeling well, okay

 

Speaker 2 26:25

made a post on social media and Facebook that they was going to be hiking. OK.

 

Speaker 1 26:31

Yeah, so it’s.

 

Speaker 2 26:31

Although they didn’t say specifically where they did not and no posts while they were hiking. I mean, I know no There is no Wi -Fi

 

Speaker 1 26:41

in the jungle. No jungle. There will be no Wi -Fi from this point forward.

 

Speaker 2 26:47

hope. That’s right.

 

Speaker 1 26:50

So the authorities are alerted.

 

Speaker 2 26:52

right finally and it took a while to get them right like I think at this point before they were being looked for 24 hours had passed before

 

Speaker 1 27:03

The other wrinkle in this is that quite a few people in the town of Boquete, which is where they were supposed to return to from this hike, very confidently say that they saw the girls in town the afternoon of the hike, meaning that the girls had returned from the hike and were seen in a drug store.

 

Speaker 1 27:23

They were seen walking around town. They’re very clear. They do stand out. So seven different locals swore that they saw them in Boquete the afternoon after the hike. So because this is an area that does not have a lot of resources, it’s a small town in Panama, they make a decision, well, let’s focus on the Boquete side of the mountain, not the jungle side.

 

Speaker 1 27:45

Because if people have seen them in town, then the best bet is to search, spread out from around town, search the trail on that side, search the mountain on that side, search the feet. So that’s where the search focuses initially.

 

Speaker 2 28:01

they would focus in that area. Now how long did they, it was about 10 days, and it was starting to get into raining season.

 

Speaker 1 28:12

So, it’s April 2nd, that night is when the authorities are notified, the search starts on April 3rd. Right. Feliciano, remember him? The tour guide. The tour guide who was supposed to take them out. He’s also called father of the mountain or something like this.

 

Speaker 1 28:27

Right, yeah. This guy just knows this terrain. He’s a local who just knows his way around. So, he decides he should go look on the trail and even down into the jungle area. So, he kind of takes it upon himself.

 

Speaker 1 28:43

He’s like, I’m going to go be a hero and find these girls.

 

Speaker 2 28:45

I mean, he rallied the troops too, like he got other guides and friends to participate in the search for these missing girls.

 

Speaker 1 28:55

So that side was not totally ignored. Like it was searched. April 6th, which is three days later, I don’t know if you’re about to go here, but I was just going to mention her family back in the Netherlands, obviously are incredibly concerned.

 

Speaker 1 29:08

They’re freaking out. Freaking out and have very quickly assessed that the Panamanian authorities are just, they just don’t have the resources to do the kind of search that they would want done. How were they alerted?

 

Speaker 1 29:17

How were they alerted? I actually don’t know.

 

Speaker 2 29:19

That’s a good question. I don’t know either. I suspect that they maybe they called Miriam Right, or they were checking in. I’m sure that they were alarmed that they hadn’t heard any there

 

Speaker 1 29:30

Well, we know they were alarmed, but I wonder if they checked they would have had Miriam the host Number so maybe they called Miriam However, they found out April 6th. They descend on the area right they show up they show up Yeah, but not just them they show up with detectives They show up with you have a price they hire a private police.

 

Speaker 1 29:49

They have dogs. Yep. Oh, wow. Yeah They show up to conduct a full -scale search Okay, which begins on April 6th. Okay, and then that continues for I think 10 days, right? Right. Okay

 

Speaker 2 30:03

I’m trying to figure when did they start beginning this search in the jungle.

 

Speaker 1 30:08

I believe they started as part of that. I think it says in my notes that they started searching the forests and an area all around. So I don’t know. Specifically and apparently it was.

 

Speaker 2 30:18

pretty thorough, and they covered the grounds once, twice, several times. It felt like if they were going to find something during this period, they would find it.

 

Speaker 3 30:32

They didn’t find anything. Nothing, nothing. No, it was pretty crazy. What prints, anything? Nothing.

 

Speaker 1 30:36

They even offered a $30 ,000 reward for anyone with information, which is a huge, I mean, it’s like offering like hundreds of thousands of dollars here in the U .S.

 

Speaker 2 30:46

Right. And Feliciano was very involved in.

 

Speaker 3 30:49

Okay, I hope he stays the good guy. I don’t want to… I mean… It wasn’t Jose Feliciano, because then he wouldn’t see anything.

 

Speaker 6 30:59

What happened?

 

Speaker 1 31:04

So the family goes home with all the Netherlands police people and all that. Right. They have to then they they search for 10 days. Right. Holy fruitless. Now it’s rainy.

 

Speaker 3 31:15

season. Right. And I guess everybody says it’s too dangerous to do anything.

 

Speaker 1 31:19

Well, so the conclusion after they traipsed around, looked at everything, looked for them, looked for stuff, the one thing that they noted was the trail has some steep drop -offs onto the jungle side, especially during the descent where it could be a little slippery.

 

Speaker 1 31:37

It’s not considered a dangerous trail, but you could fall off the side very far below, at which point you would land in the Culebra River? Yes.

 

Speaker 3 31:51

What are you saying? The culebra.

 

Speaker 1 31:55

the Kulebra River, and you would not be seen. I mean, you would be, actually, you’d be in a river. The river would take you downstream. So that is what the… Panamanian story you said.

 

Speaker 2 32:09

had thought they thought maybe there was some kind of accident where they

 

Speaker 3 32:14

landslide type thing or right

 

Speaker 2 32:16

I mean it cuz also bear in mind too that this was a day hike So at this point too, you have to consider that they’re not prepared to camp out for the night and

 

Speaker 1 32:32

They had, it’s believed they had one bottle of water, like a little pack of nuts or something like that, and that was it, because they were, you know, young, healthy girls are just going up. This is, by the way, I will stop for a quick piece of takeaway.

 

Speaker 1 32:46

If you’re going for a hike anywhere, other than like a wooden boardwalk that loops around to the parking lot, like take a little extra water, take a couple approaches, like you don’t like, that is how people get in trouble, is you get overconfident and you don’t go prepared, and, you know, just have some stuff with you.

 

Speaker 1 33:04

Anyways, that would not have probably been helpful in this case, regardless, but this is not a protein bar, an extra bottle of water. This is not one protein bar. So the Panamanian authorities conclude, yeah, they conclude that this was an accident, the girls must have slipped, there’s no trace of them, so they decide that the locals in Bocchete, who said they saw them in the afternoon after the trail must have been confused, and maybe they saw them the day before, or whatever, who knows, people, you know, sometimes they get their memories mixed up.

 

Speaker 1 33:33

So that’s what happened. That’s sadly what they think happened.

 

Speaker 2 33:38

No, no, but that that’s true.

 

Speaker 3 33:43

that that happened up until then. Right. Okay. Right. Right. Which by the

 

Speaker 1 33:48

way I just want to say the thought that like two people fall off a trail that no one really falls off of I know seems a little well I was thinking like yes

 

Speaker 3 33:58

Could one fall and then the other go, hey, let me help you, and then they fall too. That does happen. Right. Well, it was speculated.

 

Speaker 2 34:06

that that could have been right how that went down you know that one of them may have gotten injured right and you know because one thing that they had mentioned was the possibility that if one of them had gotten hurt why wouldn’t the other one run down right and maybe get help but then

 

Speaker 3 34:25

maybe something happened to them yeah okay so obviously some some kind of game -breaking mm -hmm thing happens what is it well what is it the next

 

Speaker 2 34:37

One day. I think it was June 14th 10 weeks after Chris and Lisanne went missing a local woman turned in a backpack Turned out it was one of the girls backpack

 

Speaker 1 34:51

Okay, she found it by the water right here village, right?

 

Speaker 2 34:59

near a rice patty, which is an irrigated or flooded field where rice is grown, fun fact. And the backpack held two phones, an iPhone and a Galaxy, a water bottle, two bras, Lisanne’s passport, sunglasses, and about $87 in cash.

 

Speaker 2 35:23

And Lisanne’s camera, which was a Canon PowerShot SX270.

 

Speaker 1 35:30

That’s all in the bag that was found by the river.

 

Speaker 3 35:32

Okay. So Kim, did you do this? Because, you know, a horribly hidden piece of evidence.

 

Speaker 2 35:40

So now she gave them to the authorities.

 

Speaker 3 35:44

And how far away is this from we’re fair way I think it’s about.

 

Speaker 2 35:47

five miles from the summit. Okay.

 

Speaker 1 35:50

had jumped down into the water, the river could carry you five miles. Okay.

 

Speaker 3 35:55

It seemed like the backpack was in the river at some point.

 

Speaker 1 35:58

Well, it seems like it was found near the river right near the right. Yeah, it was found near the was like it had

 

Speaker 2 36:07

that in the fall has worked or the phone like it was put there. OK, that’s a good question.

 

Speaker 1 36:13

the phones were.

 

Speaker 2 36:14

That’s an excellent question.

 

Speaker 1 36:16

And what if the phones worked, what would that tell you?

 

Speaker 3 36:20

in the water, A, probably, and also, it doesn’t matter, they plug them in or something.

 

Speaker 2 36:27

They took the phones and they took the camera.

 

Speaker 3 36:32

We could see who they called or who called them. Right.

 

Speaker 2 36:36

They went through the camera and noted that the photos on the camera were taken in the span of April 1st to the 8th and numbered from 476 to 600.

 

Speaker 3 36:54

pictures yeah

 

Speaker 1 36:55

Yep, in fact the picture I showed you earlier was one of those photos. Oh from the hike. Oh, yeah did not look distressed

 

Speaker 3 37:03

No, the photos. I was on the way up.

 

Speaker 2 37:05

They have photos of them with views of the summit and selfies there. They’re happy they look carefree

 

Speaker 3 37:13

And this is what, how many weeks? You said 10 weeks, 10 weeks, 10 weeks, like did the families have like funerals and stuff for them back home or they kept the opening.

 

Speaker 2 37:21

that they was just waiting for word. Like, just- Yeah, they didn’t know they would- Right.

 

Speaker 1 37:26

We still at this point. We still don’t know

 

Speaker 3 37:28

Yeah, so they’re just missing people that are like they’re praying that they okay, so they find all this stuff They go through the stuff right okay. They find the pictures any weird pictures well

 

Speaker 2 37:41

Yeah, this, yeah, some pictures that raise questions. Is that what you have? I would say so.

 

Speaker 1 37:48

So yeah.

 

Speaker 3 37:49

I mean. It’s raising questions in me. There’s. Tell me what they are.

 

Speaker 1 37:52

Well, so first of all, there’s photos of them at the top, but then there’s also There’s one photo that’s taken on the other side. Okay, right It looks like the wrong way on the path. That’s the impressions It looks like they went they kept going okay on the wrong side after that photo.

 

Speaker 1 38:10

There is a deleted photo Mm -hmm. Okay photo 509 509 is missing. Yes

 

Speaker 2 38:16

And it had been apparently deleted permanently. They were not able to retrieve that photo.

 

Speaker 1 38:24

It was like someone deleted it and then went in and did some extra just an extra deletion step This is on the phone or the power of the phone. Okay. Yeah, and then after that they get really weird It’s there’s like a series of a bunch of photos at night Flash photos one shows like some twigs with like a little bit of plastic attached one has This mirror with some paper around it But most of them are just random photos taken in the dark in the dark in the middle They’re all like in the middle of the night and you see like, you know Like when you take a photo at night outside you get like dust you can see it looks like snow There’s a photo of the back of someone’s head Looks like there’s not one of them.

 

Speaker 1 39:02

It looks like the back of one of them But it doesn’t look intentional. These photos all just look like someone’s got

 

Speaker 2 39:10

and there was a photo taken that shows a tree canopy and what appears to be heavy rain. And this photo’s in line with what the weather was at that time.

 

Speaker 1 39:25

Mm -hmm. Was there anything else found near the backpack?

 

Speaker 2 39:29

that was folded. It’s not clear if it was like in the water or on a ledge somewhere because there was conflicting reports but there was a… was it shorts? I think so. Yeah that was folded and folded.

 

Speaker 2 39:45

Not in the backpack. Neatly, no. Just sitting next to it.

 

Speaker 1 39:48

Right. Okay. And then the other interesting thing about the phones is there are a couple of times you can see they’ve tried to communicate with someone they’ve tried, but there’s no cell signal. You see at one point they change.

 

Speaker 1 39:59

Let me just

 

Speaker 2 39:59

mentioned, too, there was a series of photos of what appears to be at the edge of a cliff. One shows an object created using sticks and red plastic. Don’t know what that is, but… A letter of which?

 

Speaker 2 40:15

Exactly, exactly. Authorities suspect it may have been as a directional marker of some sort. There was a photo of a torn paper that was laid out on a rock with what looked to be a strap of a bag.

 

Speaker 3 40:33

All these photos are online, like you can see these are now. Yeah. Yeah. OK. Yeah. We have we’ve seen them all. Yeah. Gotcha. OK. Because you’re describing them pretty vividly. Yeah.

 

Speaker 2 40:41

And a part of a map that Lee San was seen looking at in another photo, so there’s that. And the photo that Jerry was talking about was nothing but a mass of red hair. And one of the girls, Chris, was a redhead.

 

Speaker 3 40:59

the photos were on the phone or were on the camera?

 

Speaker 1 41:01

Though these photos are on the camera, the Canon power shot.

 

Speaker 3 41:05

Gotcha, okay, but you don’t need obviously to a code or anything to get into you can just mm -hmm okay

 

Speaker 2 41:13

A lot of the theories about some of the pictures of the darkness was that they were using the flash to scare off predators or were maybe trying to attract attention to any potential search teams.

 

Speaker 1 41:31

Like, there was the thought, what if a jaguar, you know? Or if you were out in the middle of the rainforest and it was totally dark and you heard something, you’d turn your flash on, right? So you’d keep flashing to see what it is.

 

Speaker 1 41:42

That’s the thought. And they also turned on the phone at one point to try, and they looked up Miriam, the host, in WhatsApp. But other than that, it was just, you know, these photos and trying to get a signal.

 

Speaker 1 41:58

Okay. And then there’s a point, I forget which day it is, but after a certain date, there’s no more of that kind of activity. There’s just a ton of incorrect pin histories. So like some, as if someone was trying to open the phone, right, which could either be someone who wasn’t them or it was, I think it was Chris’s phone.

 

Speaker 2 42:17

So we know that there was an attempted 911 call made from Chris’s phone. It was about 4 .39 p .m. I think the evening that they went missing. So at the point where 4 .39 on April 1st, it was about that time, I guess they realized like we’re really lost.

 

Speaker 2 42:37

So there is a 911 made from Chris’s phone and it didn’t connect. So there would be a lot of these- Is it 911 in the Panamanian jungle? Well, it’s different in Panama. I think it’s like 112. It’s what we would consider 911.

 

Speaker 3 42:53

We just know your locals, 9 -1 -1. Right, so the calls did not…

 

Speaker 2 42:57

connect. At about ten to five, Lee San tried again, unsuccessfully, to connect to emergency services. And then again on the morning of April 2nd, Lee San again tried to call emergency services and the call connected but the call would drop.

 

Speaker 2 43:18

The signal would be lost. And then again at 814 and then again at almost 11 and then almost five to two and the last attempt was on April 3rd and that was made at 930 in the morning and again just could not connect.

 

Speaker 3 43:39

Oh, they’re trying. Yeah.

 

Speaker 2 43:43

So, the phone powered up at 10 to 2, and 4 -20, no calls were made, but they were just powered up. This pattern continued from April 4th to April 5th, and then Lisanne’s phone battery would die completely the next day, or that day on April 5th.

 

Speaker 2 44:07

And oddly, Chris’s phone would now be used, and on April 6th, it was noted that there were many attempts to unlock her phone, yeah, but the wrong pin, but it was the wrong…

 

Speaker 3 44:20

Which is the one that had the 509 deleted. Was that Chris’s phone or was that? No, it wasn’t.

 

Speaker 2 44:24

It wasn’t her phone, it was Lisanne’s camera. It was the camera. Right, yes, it was the camera. I know we’re so used to taking pictures with our phones. I know, I know.

 

Speaker 3 44:33

And I was given the wrong information so I’m right now Jerry is a suspect. I I’m

 

Speaker 1 44:38

I was wrong.

 

Speaker 2 44:39

So, we now know that there have been all these attempts, between April 7th and April 10th, there were 77 attempts to use the phone. The last known use of the phone was on April 11th. Oddly, no PIN was entered.

 

Speaker 2 44:58

The way the phone was used? Right. Oh.

 

Speaker 3 45:00

So it wasn’t locked out.

 

Speaker 2 45:02

It was powered up, but no pin was entered. Gotcha. Oh, I see. So I didn’t even know what that means. That’s what investigators were able to garner.

 

Speaker 3 45:12

So then what happens?

 

Speaker 2 45:14

so much more happen that we’re going to have to

 

Speaker 3 45:21

Another two -parter

 

Speaker 2 45:23

Another two -parter. Oh, never did. Yeah.

 

Speaker 3 45:25

episode 10 and 11 okay Wow Wow it’s crazy when it’s so much because it seems doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be that much but you think you think you think

 

Speaker 1 45:37

We’re close to the end, but we’re not.

 

Speaker 3 45:39

All right. Well, I guess we’ll catch you on the next one. I know I’m in suspense. See you on part two. Yeah. See you on part.

 

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