Ep. 12 Peril in the Panama Jungle (Part Two)

Get ready for the shocking conclusion of the story about two Dutch students who went missing (on April 1st, 2014), while hiking the El Pianista trail in the jungles of Panama. We continue our deep dive into the mystery, confusion and conflicting reports surrounding this tragic disappearance and subsequent investigation. DO NOT LISTEN UNTIL YOU’VE HEARD PART ONE!


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our transcript


Speaker 1 00:00

So then what happens?


Speaker 2 00:02

So much more happen that we’re gonna have to


Speaker 1 00:09

Another two – partner another two – partner okay wow pack your body bags we’re back another Slaycation part two of an episode that takes us to the Panamanian jungle I’m your host Adam Tex Davis I’m joined by my wife Kim


Speaker 2 00:38



Speaker 1 00:39

And my partner here, Jerry. Hi, Jerry. Yeah, I’m just like chomping at the bit to get to the end of this episode, find out what happened to our young girls in the jungle. Kim or Jerry, give me a quick, want to do a quick, right?


Speaker 1 00:52

Give me right of time.


Speaker 2 00:52

Do what you want me to do it. You go ahead, Jerry. You do the honors. All right, so first, just.


Speaker 3 00:56

Listen to part one, that’ll actually give you the holo down. But the quick recap is that’s the key. Chris and Lizanne, two young, very excited, optimistic, ambitious young woman from the Netherlands, have saved up for a six week vacation in Panama.


Speaker 3 01:10

They’ve toured around for a couple of weeks and then they’re spending their last month in Bocchete where they’re going to work with local children, learn Spanish and just relax and have a good time. What could go wrong?


Speaker 2 01:23

just live their best vacation lives.


Speaker 3 01:27

they went to start work at the children’s school. They were told they couldn’t start for another week. They decided to do a little touring around. They’ve gone on a local trail that should be a couple of hours out and back.


Speaker 3 01:39

And a day later, the local guide Feliciano, who’s supposed to take them on another tour, notices they don’t show up.


Speaker 2 01:45

They don’t show up.


Speaker 3 01:46

and the authorities have been alerted. There’s been searches, and all we know is 10 weeks later, a backpack was found by a river containing their phones, a camera, a bottle of water, two bras, and something else.


Speaker 2 02:00

It was a pair of shorts, neatly folded.


Speaker 1 02:01

Yeah, that’s right. Okay, so that’s the recap They found this backpack got phones kept camera. They tried to they tried to reach out to emergency services They tried to make calls. They there’s pictures Yeah


Speaker 3 02:16

Then what happened? A search happens because now they found something. Right. They invest the authorities now.


Speaker 2 02:22

It starts at another search. And they go, okay.


Speaker 3 02:24

Okay, well, the backpack was found by the river.


Speaker 2 02:30

Shorts folded also and


Speaker 1 02:34

Okay, so they’re searching by the river now, I assume.


Speaker 2 02:38

In that vicinity, they happen upon a pelvis. Pelvis. A pelvis. Holy shit. Yes. And a foot still intact in a boot. And DNA would confirm this as the remains of Chris and Lisanne.


Speaker 1 03:00

Mm hmm. The body parts were one from each or? Yeah, there’s a little bit.


Speaker 3 03:05

Like there’s some.


Speaker 2 03:07

They found the pelvis belonged to Chris and the foot, the severed foot was Lesanne. And it was confirmed by using DNA from their parents. Gotcha. So on August 2nd, searchers also found a rib belonging to Chris.


Speaker 2 03:24

And on August 28th, a leg, I think the left femur and left tibia was found.


Speaker 1 03:34

Yikes. And this doesn’t, does it look like it’s like severed or animals or? It’s weird. Yeah. It looks weird.


Speaker 3 03:42

The Panamanian authorities, of course, are saying… Right.


Speaker 2 03:44

They ruled that the deaths was a tragic accident.


Speaker 3 03:48

What happened? They went in the river, the river, tore up the bodies.


Speaker 2 03:52

They suspect that they went off the path, got lost, and got swept up in the current of the river.


Speaker 3 03:59

And so then they say the pictures that we’ve seen were must have been something was stalking them at night like a jaguar or something So they were trying to scare it and the pin Stuff is explained that they’re trying to get in the phone with the wrong pin.


Speaker 3 04:11

They say oh, well Chris probably died first So it all you know, there’s clear explanations of all this the only weird thing that’s noted from the bone the findings of the bones Is that the bleach? Yeah, so Chris’s bones appear to have been bleached, right?


Speaker 3 04:29

Oh, thank you


Speaker 2 04:30

They’re brighter for some reason than the rest of them.


Speaker 3 04:33

They just look like bleached bones. And then Lisanne’s, there’s like a foot in her boot and there’s skin on the leg. The authorities note that, but they don’t really make anything of it.


Speaker 1 04:43

Right, but Kim you’re off the hook cuz you don’t use bleach for Thank you, I will say that nothing has set off like alarm bells like murder II, you know, it does feel like Lost in the woods something bad happened and that’s that’s


Speaker 2 05:01

That’s what investigative journalist Jeremy Crite had pretty much indicated in his exposé with A Daily Beast is findings determined that it was a tragic accident of camping gone wrong or hiking gone amok.


Speaker 2 05:22

But then, this journalist actually discovered that some of the key sources that contributed to his article had actually lied to him and told him it was an accident but was telling others that it was murder.


Speaker 1 05:42

Yeah, who are these key sources are these the same people that said they saw them in the village for the same people just it’s locals uh -huh, you know all right, so he goes down there to this area where that woman found the stuff and


Speaker 2 05:55

Mm -hmm, right


Speaker 3 05:57

And the other thing is you start, when you start hearing, oh, it wasn’t an accident, you start looking back and going, well, why are the bones of one of them bleached? Why is there a missing photo, you know?


Speaker 3 06:07

What’s this missing photo about? Was someone trying to use their phone? And all these things now take on the meaning. If their bodies were ripped apart by a river, so violent that it ripped them from limb to limb, how come their phones were A, intact, and be still able to have stuff, you know, checked on them.


Speaker 3 06:27

So these are the things you start to look back when you start hearing, maybe it wasn’t an accident, things start to look a little different.


Speaker 1 06:34

They both had backpacks or just they only found that one


Speaker 3 06:39

Which is, incidentally, not a backpack that appears on either of them in any photo of them. Oh. So, either they borrowed a backpack, or this backpack has absolutely nothing to do with them.


Speaker 2 06:53

OK, I mean, and the other thing, too, is that murder of women and young girls in this in these parts are not all that uncommon.


Speaker 1 07:03

They don’t put that on the brochure. No, no.


Speaker 3 07:06

just in this little 40 mile area where this happened.


Speaker 2 07:10

more than 50 women and girls have gone missing between Bocas and Boquete since 2009.


Speaker 1 07:17

a lot. This is if you take that wrong trail off that mountain.


Speaker 2 07:22

I don’t know if it’s if you take that wrong trail. It’s just the vicinity. It’s not an unusual occurrence for a young woman or girl to be found dead or be missing. In fact, in February of 2017, a graduate of Columbia University, Catherine Johannes went missing and was found murdered along a trail in Panama.


Speaker 1 07:50

Could have been another episode, but whatever. Bonus. Okay, so this sucks.


Speaker 3 07:58

Where are we? There’s definitely been some conversation that maybe this wasn’t an accident. Right. Okay. So now we have three possibilities, right? So either these girls went up the mountain, came back down, were seen in Bocchete, and then somehow were abducted or something happened, right?


Speaker 3 08:15

That’s one option. Another option is it’s an accident, you know? They either fell off the cliff or maybe they, oh, well, here’s the other interesting thing to mention, is the bones are found as far as 12 kilometers or something, like it was 12 or 14 kilometers from where they were from the trail.


Speaker 3 08:33

So it’s extremely unlikely that they were able to hike that far through this area without food, without water, you know, all this stuff, right? Sure, it’s a possibility that they went the wrong way down, wandered for seven or eight days and died and ended up in the river.


Speaker 3 08:50

Possibility three is they went down the wrong side of the mountain, ran into the wrong person, and someone took advantage of vulnerability. And then the fourth option is that they were on this trail and someone had a specific plan to do something with them, right, to abduct them or whatever.


Speaker 3 09:14

The guy with the bones.


Speaker 1 09:16

Not the guy with the boat. No. That was just a red herring.


Speaker 4 09:22

so you have all these. The Hargan women seem 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 09:34

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


Speaker 4 09:40

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


Speaker 2 09:47

Patrol when they arrived assumed or thought that there might have been a


Speaker 3 09:51

and murder suicide.


Speaker 4 09:52

But for the detectives on the scene… There were things about…


Speaker 3 09:56

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


Speaker 4 09:59

day one. 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 10:14

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


Speaker 6 10:23

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


Speaker 6 10:36

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 10:51

Options of what happened.


Speaker 3 10:52

So one thing I want to go back and say now that we know that there’s possibility that this was foul play on April 4th which is Couple days a couple days after they’ve gone missing before the parents are there, right?


Speaker 3 11:04

The search has begun. Uh -huh a few days after the girls go missing, right? There’s a search going on Yeah, a local in his 20s named Osman. Okay young athletic guy is helping with the search There was his family helping they all went back to the car.


Speaker 3 11:18

He said I have to go pee down by the river He doesn’t come back for a while. They go down there. They find him drowned by the river. Oh Yeah There’s been another episode But the position you see him in they because apparently in Panama by the way They don’t have any issues with putting pictures of dead bodies in the newspaper.


Speaker 3 11:39

Yeah, it’s


Speaker 2 11:40

Pretty graphic. It’s like crime scene photos, like the whole thing. So. They don’t even use the black bar.


Speaker 3 11:49

Oh, no, just people that people right so he the position he’s in by the river struck both Kim and I is very strange because it looked like he was doing something right didn’t look like someone it looked very Unnatural and so they they actually noted that he’s in the water or is it on the land?


Speaker 3 12:05

Well, he’d been pulled on to the land. Oh, but but the position he’s in they notice More typical of someone who’s been killed on land and then thrown in the water to make it look like a drowning, right?


Speaker 1 12:17

Right. So something else Panama is famous for.


Speaker 3 12:21

So they decide, we’ll just call this a drowning, but then on his phone is a photo of the girls. Yeah. It’s a very blurry, crappy flip phone photo, but you clearly see two white girls, one with dark hair and one with sort of blondish red hair, Osmond and some other kid, in the water swimming.


Speaker 3 12:46

Oh. On some other spot. What’s the date on that? They’re inconclusive. Okay. But people have theories that it was the same afternoon as their hike up the mountain.


Speaker 1 13:03

Oh, but maybe they did come back to town. Right.


Speaker 3 13:09

And the kid in the photo, this kid who drowned is in the photo. He’s part of what’s locally known as like the Padilla. Yeah.


Speaker 2 13:20

Yeah. Is that a gang, or is that a… Well, it’s kind of like a group, although my understanding was that he was acquainted with them, not that necessarily he was a part of them, that he wanted to be, but…


Speaker 1 13:36

like a gang initiation thing or?


Speaker 2 13:38

I mean, what ended up happening, they saw him who’s very the group of friends, which actually included Feliciano’s son. And a couple of his friends, they were part of that group. And they had seen him with the girls.


Speaker 2 14:03

And the day of the hike. I think it was the day of the hike. And because they had seen him or he had seen them, it’s theorized that they had to get rid of him so that he wouldn’t be available to talk about anybody seeing them with Miss Chan.


Speaker 1 14:26

People were with the girls and this guy saw that and thought he would speak up Right, but I thought he was part of the search wouldn’t he have spoken up then no I don’t know and the people that saw them in the village


Speaker 2 14:40

Right he may not have he may not have said anything because Right, but they saw him and he saw them when you say they and then the group Have yeah, okay the group the Pavilla the gang right Feliciano’s son


Speaker 1 14:56

Luciana’s son, the tour guide’s son, is part of the gang. Interesting. But it’s like…


Speaker 3 15:00

Take everyone. What is it? A gang? Is it a bunch of kids hanging out? We don’t know.


Speaker 1 15:05

so mad he’s like you were so bad for my tour business right in your gang


Speaker 2 15:10

Well, incidentally, he was also suspected in Feliciano. Yeah, the girl’s disappearance. In fact, the journalist in that article that I was just talking about, Feliciano had actually threatened him. And Feliciano incidentally had even threatened a local there and said, don’t speak to anybody about those girls.


Speaker 1 15:36

Okay, the journalist you said that he at one point was like, it’s an accident It was an act then he started to get more information, right? So he went back I guess to yes. Okay. Yeah Yeah, and now people are threatening him in lying and whatever.


Speaker 1 15:49



Speaker 3 15:51

So, there’s a theory that these guys in their 20s, the least incredibly dark version of it is that they took the girls to this swimming area and then sexually assaulted them, murdered them, drove their bodies far away, bleached bones of one of them, why not the other?


Speaker 3 16:08

We don’t know. Put them in the river, you know. The more extreme version is that this area is also known for organ harvesting, and at least one of these guys is associated with this guy, Edwin, who’s a local organ trafficking spotter and harvester.


Speaker 3 16:31

They actually have a witness who gave testimony around this and then fled, this one immediately fled to Costa Rica, and there’s a couple of people who said that they definitely saw the girls at the drug store in Boquete after the trip up the mountain.


Speaker 3 16:46

One of the guys in this little gang of five is the pharmacist’s son, George Rivera, who says he doesn’t know anything, and the footage from that day, even though it’s a 30 -day rolling deletion camera from the pharmacy, the footage from that day is deleted.


Speaker 3 17:02

So, not only does the kid Osman, who has photos of the girls on his phone, end up drowned, George, the pharmacist’s son… He ends up drowned. …ends up drowned. Yeah, nobody knows how to swim all of a sudden.


Speaker 3 17:14

The George Murgis, another kid in the group, ends up drowned. Three kids. Three kids. The taxi driver, Leonardo, who dropped the girls off at the trail, ends up getting hit in a very strange traffic accident and dying.


Speaker 3 17:31

So of the five in this group, the only one still alive is the kid Osman, who, locally,


Speaker 1 17:42

We should play the piano part of Layla during this section. It’s like fucking Goodfellas. A lot of people show up.


Speaker 3 17:50

going up dead? Yeah, no, it’s crazy. And locals describe him as somewhere between hot and psychopath. And we know that there is connections to this organ harvesting group. We know that women go missing in this area all the time.


Speaker 3 18:04

Femicide is a real problem there.


Speaker 2 18:06

I mean, the girls, too, incidentally had been acquainted with these guys and hung out with them. And in fact… I mean, while they were there. Yeah. Right. And in fact, bought weed from one of them. Mm -hmm.


Speaker 2 18:18

And it was suggested, too, by another journalist of South American descent. She’d actually did a podcast, her and…


Speaker 3 18:30

Her name is Mariana Atencio, it’s a podcast.


Speaker 2 18:34

Mariana attention Mariana attention Mariana attention. Yes, you did it in a really


Speaker 3 18:41

fantastic. She did. Yeah, she did.


Speaker 2 18:43

A deep dive into this case.


Speaker 3 18:46

Like a whole season called Lost in Panama. Right. I’ve heard of that. With Jeremy.


Speaker 2 18:51

We cry, who was the? Billy Biscoe. Right. Yeah.


Speaker 3 18:54

It’s an incredible podcast, but she also Her experience making the show making the podcast while she was in Panama was harrowing You know this woman’s been in crazy war torn places and stuff She said she’s never had people threaten her or feel as threatened as she did while making this right


Speaker 1 19:13

And this is all the town where they were going for their little. Yeah.


Speaker 3 19:20

Is there more? Well, they sent an investigator, a team of forensics investigators from the Netherlands in January 2015, so about eight months after, you know, there’s new information, seems to have come about.


Speaker 3 19:31

So there’s a question of like, can we just go investigate further? This point, we don’t know what exactly would happen. Right. And everybody’s turning up dead. Yeah. Okay. So they actually go, and a guy named Frank Vandergoot, who’s the team leader, a very experienced forensics investigator from the Netherlands, literally walks the pianista trail, you know, where their phones show they were.


Speaker 3 19:52

And he says, you cannot get lost on this trail. He actually says, this simply is not an area we could get lost. Anyone who is suggesting the girls lost their way and claiming this to be a possibility has simply never physically been on the trail.


Speaker 3 20:03

He says they must have fallen off the trail and landed below with the remains and belonging ending up in the river. So his answer is technically correct, but it leaves out a whole bunch of weird things like why were the phones in the backpack working?


Speaker 3 20:17

Why were their bones found so far away? What’s with the night photos? They don’t really look like they’re taken by a riverbank. They look more like they’re in the jungle. So you know.


Speaker 1 20:29

do organs have to be a lot like do you have to be alive


Speaker 3 20:33

Um, you, I think you can be, you can be recently deceased and they actually, they, they bring this up. They said it’s a very complicated thing, but they believe that there’s a capability to do this around that area because it’s an Oregon harvesting area.


Speaker 1 20:47

They actually fell off the thing and then they found the bodies and then ripped them open and did something.


Speaker 3 20:52

You’d be you would have had to have them. No, they would be too damaged. And yeah, yeah It’s it’s a crazy case because we don’t know what happened. Does anybody get accounted?


Speaker 1 21:02

Is it countable?


Speaker 3 21:03

Well, not really. I mean, like there’s that missing photo that they’re trying to figure out what that is. They say maybe, maybe that photo that’s missing from her phone maybe was taken at the same spot where the kid who was drowned’s photo is of them swimming.


Speaker 3 21:17

So caught these people on it or what? Yeah, and maybe they deleted it so there wouldn’t be evidence, you know.


Speaker 1 21:21

Why would the backpack, if it was like, potentially evidence with all these things, why would it be just a left spot?


Speaker 2 21:28

thing I mean


Speaker 1 21:29

again, Kim, because this is how you hide, this is how you hide cookies.


Speaker 3 21:33

They think maybe it’s because they were trying to show, look, their bodies ended up down here, here’s their backpack. And they believe that most people who were investigating this initially, outsiders were like, this was an accident.


Speaker 3 21:47

Or maybe at worst, someone took advantage of girls who got lost. Most everyone at this point has swung pretty hard to, this seems like some kind of organized shit that there’s a major coverup going on.


Speaker 3 21:59

So the things like the backpack, scattering the bones around, like all these things.


Speaker 2 22:04

that those were planted there. Planted, yeah. That was, mm -hmm. Yeah.


Speaker 1 22:09

Like they hacked them up took the organs and then put the pieces


Speaker 3 22:13

And that the local authorities and police have a very vested interest in not making this seem like a bad place to go, right? Because tourism is a huge part of the community, so.


Speaker 1 22:26

Hmm. Wow. All right. So this is, this is where it ends or no.


Speaker 5 22:32

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 5 22:54

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 5 23:07

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 1 23:16

pretty much. Okay. Okay. Wow. Super sad. There’s no


Speaker 2 23:20

Concrete, there’s all these different theories swirling around.


Speaker 1 23:24

this isn’t the first time it’s happened you said young women are constantly yeah and then but here’s the thing like these two girls right it leads to four local people being probably killed mm -hmm like something went horribly wrong even in their little conspiracy or mm -hmm whatever something got fucked up yes something something oh


Speaker 3 23:47

I mean that’s the least of the things that went wrong, but yes something, whatever was supposed to happen didn’t happen


Speaker 1 23:53

What I’m saying is like that tells me like, Oh, there’s definitely more to it when locals are showing up. Well, you could tell if somebody drowned or was killed before they were in the water. Did they ever do any kind of autopsy on those bodies?


Speaker 2 24:09

Again, a lot of these, you know. They don’t care.


Speaker 3 24:11

by the way the drownings are ridiculous like when you look at the photos because they put all their dead people’s in the newspaper there like one drowning is like the guy’s body is on shore and it’s just his head is in the water like it’s not a drowning like in the toilet right yeah


Speaker 2 24:28

In the Lost in Panama podcast, they had even taken the remains of Lisanne and Chris and had it evaluated by a medical examiner in Costa Rica. It was inconclusive because you can’t, when you don’t have the whole body, you really can’t make a determination of cause of death.


Speaker 2 24:53

And the thing that kind of stayed with me about her determination and what she had offered in terms of her opinion, was that there can be different stages of decomposition.


Speaker 1 25:12

Right. You mean like the bleaching is right or something? Right. Right. Well, OK, that’s the end or whatever. And I guess we’ll do takeaway. Here’s my takeaway. You live in the Netherlands. It’s a beautiful place.


Speaker 1 25:28

Amsterdam is an awesome place. Stay there. So nice. I would love to go there. I don’t want to go into the jungles of Panama. Yeah, I mean, you think you’re trying to help. Yeah, no good deed. No, but well, Costa Rica seemed nice.


Speaker 3 25:49

I’ve been to Costa Rica, had a great time. It’s a beautiful place. I’ve never been to Panama, but I had a wonderful time in Costa Rica. Everybody we met was,


Speaker 1 25:57

But also that that shit like, you know, like you said like oh it turns out this this area is known for Women disappearing or being killed and Oh organ harvesting also


Speaker 3 26:08

Which aren’t things you really necessarily think to look for before you go somewhere. No, it’s not on trip.


Speaker 1 26:12

advisor? No. And what do you think?


Speaker 2 26:15

Look, I’m no fun. So I am like, don’t go to the jungle, just no. But you know, that’s what it is to be young though, to have these adventures and to just be hypervigilant. And it was a time when cell phones aren’t as pervasive then as it is now.


Speaker 2 26:41

But I imagine that there’s probably still not great cell service. You just have to be super, super careful.


Speaker 1 26:50

Yeah, but you can be super careful and still bad things happen. Anyway, Jerry, you got any takeaway?


Speaker 3 26:58

I don’t know, this just sucks. I don’t think there’s any clear takeaway for me from this one. I hate the story. They’re really bad for the girls and their families. It just seems like an avoidably bad situation.


Speaker 3 27:10

I don’t have any tips from this one. Gotta have a happier ending. I will say, if you wanna learn more about this one, there are some deep, deeply researched rabbit holes, if you Google this case. There are people who have done incredible investigative work trying to figure this out, really thoughtful work, latitude, longitude, photos, cross -referencing.


Speaker 3 27:31

People, there’s bordering on scholarly. So this is a case, if you wanna know more, definitely check out Mariana Atencio’s podcast series, Lost in Panama. It’s a really personal and great dive into it.


Speaker 3 27:46

And then online, there’s just tons of information.


Speaker 1 27:51

Well, I’m also going to give a hats off to you two, Sam, Jerry, you guys did a really nice job. Like, there’s a lot to this and you guys did really great job bringing this one to bum me out. All right.


Speaker 1 28:04

Well, thank you for listening to Slaycation and we’ll catch you on the next one.


Speaker 2 28:08

We’ll see you next time.


Speaker 1 28:10

All right.


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