This post was written by a talented young writer and good friend of mine named Fay Staring from the Netherlands. Check out her Instagram account at @faystaring and follow her to keep up with her future exploits.
I love mysteries. They’re exciting. They make me want to go full Sherlock-mode. I’m not a detective and definitely not England’s most high-functioning sociopath, but I can pretend I am and take you on a creepy journey through one of the most mysterious disappearances of the place I was born: The Netherlands.
I’m talking about the disappearance of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon.
Kris, a smart, creative and social girl aged 21. Lisanne, a sporty and intelligent girl, aged 22.
Two friends who met each other through school. They got their diplomas and decided to go on a ”gap year”, which is often used to learn new languages by traveling. The two wanted to learn Spanish, and chose the town of Boquete in Panama as their destination. The girls planned to do some charity work at a kindergarten. However, this plan was canceled at the last moment, which left the girls with an unexpected week of free time.
So, on the 1st of April the two girls decided to go for a hike in the Jungle of Boquete. They got offered a fully guided tour, but declined; they wanted to go off on their own, and take the fully guided tour the next day. They took the dog of the host family, named ‘Blue’, with them and wandered off into the millions of trees with just a backpack and each other. This would be their last hike ever.
Blue returned to the home of the host family. The girls did not. The family tried contacting Lisanne’s mother, who then tried to contact her daughter. Lisanne never answered the phone, nor did she return the call.
I can’t even imagine how panicked her mother must have been, knowing her daughter might be in danger in a place so far away. The police was contacted, but the official search for the two girls started on April 4th. This means they started the search 4 days after the girls went missing, while the first 72 hours after an accident or disaster are critical. Were they lazy? Did they not start because the girls weren’t minors?
Whatever the case, the search parties were finally trying to locate Lisanne and Kris, but they found nothing. This was partly due to heavy rainfall. They ceased the search on April 14th with no clues as to where the girls went, and the chance of finding them alive becoming smaller and smaller.
Then suddenly, on June 14th a woman came to the police station holding a backpack which contained their cell phones, identity cards, and a camera. The woman had found the backpack near a river called ”Serpent” in Spanish. Now, with new info on the possible location of the two girls, new search parties were dispatched.
(A picture taken right before their first 112 emergency call)
In the meantime, the camera and cellphones were being investigated. The phone contained about 90 photos taken while the girls were lost in the woods. A few of the photos were taken on the night of April 8th, which means they were still alive when the search parties started looking for them. The photos were taken once every second, which means one of them was frantically trying to either capture something on camera, or they were trying to see their surroundings by flashing the light around. Kris’ phone apparently called 112, the Dutch emergency line, 8 times. Due to having no service, none of the calls actually came through.
On one of the pictures they took you can see toilet paper laying on the ground in the shape of the word ‘SOS’. You can also see a mirror, which they might have placed there so search helicopters would see a reflection of light if they were passing over. A smart move, I’d say. Experts say the girls probably drank from the river. Drinking dirty water causes exhaustion, dehydration and diarrhea. This might have caused the girls to get lost even more.
They were alone, ill and scared.
By the end of August, 33 pieces of bone were found near the river Serpent. 28 of these were from Lisanne’s left foot (which was still in her shoe). The other pieces, which were examined later, were from Kris. The person who saw the girls last, the tour guide, also found their bones. Suspicious? Maybe. The case is still treated as an accident. According to the leader of the Dutch search group, Frank de Groot, getting lost in the jungle is pretty easy:
”When you’re in the jungle you can scream as loud and as many times as you want to, but nobody will hear you. The dogs can’t smell you, and there’s no cell service”
The search parties went out looking for the girls, or their bones, a few more times. The last search for the two girls took place on January 15th, 2015.
The bones that they did find were flown to the girls’ families, who buried them. The taxi driver, who was also one of the last people to see the girls, later fell into a lake and drowned. Also suspicious? Maybe.
And that’s as close as we will probably ever get to understanding what happened to Froon and Kremers that day.
We’re left with so many questions. If Lisanne and Kris knew that they were going to die, why didn’t they leave a note for their family? Were they trying to save battery power? What actually happened to the girls? Why was the dog able to return to the home, but the girls weren’t? Why did the battery of the phone last for 8 days? Would they have been saved if the search parties went looking for them sooner?
I don’t know. You don’t know either.
Only those 2 girls do.
But I know one thing for sure; I’m never going hiking without a tour guide.