The Sistema Nacional de Protección Civil disaster relief organization has announced that its intensive search for missing Dutch tourists Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers has ended, but that it will continue to monitor the situation. Men and women from the agency, along with search dogs, scoured all possible mountain trails that the two women may have taken since their April 2 disappearance from Boquete in western Panamá.
The women were first reported missing by a guide who was supposed to meet them on one of those trails for an excursion on Volcan Barú. Had the women died from a fall off of a cliff or from thirst or some other cloud forest mishap, vultures would probably have led searchers to the bodies and dogs probably would have picked up the scent.
The case thus becomes a police matter with a somewhat cold trail. National Police Subcommissioner José Flores said that the police are not ruling anything out but have not opened a kidnapping investigation for lack of evidence to indicate that this is what they are confronting. The police are still investigating various leads and asking for those who might have any information about the women’s movements or whereabouts to contact them.
The Netherlands is very concerned about the fate of their two citizens, and if the Panamanian government’s treatment is low-key, figure how damaging it could be to the national tourism industry, and the possible impact on an upcoming election, if this turns out to be a crime story.