Family to Panama in hunt for missing women

The families of Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers may go back to Panama soon to re-join the hunt for their missing girls, who disappeared in the Central American country several months ago. 

Spokesperson for the families, Nikki van Passel, told this to Dagblad De Limburger newspaper after items belonging to the girls were discovered on Saturday.

"We are still talking about what we are going to do, but I am certainly keeping it in mind", Van Passel said of the possible move.

On Saturday, Panama authorities announced that a backpack was discovered in a river on Wednesday, around eight hours walk from Boquete, the town where the girls were staying before they disappeared.

Authorities confirmed that the contents of the backpack include the passport of Lisanne Froon, two mobile phones, ¢83 in cash, and clothing, as well as a digital camera and insurance card.

The backpack was found by an indigenous Indian farmer, who was working close to the river. The woman walked the eight hours back to an acquaintance in Boquete, who subsequently informed the police.

Jeroen Van Passel, a spokesperson for the families, says that this means new hope. "It is the first time in two months that we find something that comes straight from the source, because we get a lot of information, in The Netherlands as well as in Panama and from everywhere in the world, but this is really the first time that we have a lead with which we can continue. So we are hopeful, yes hopeful."

Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers went missing in April after leaving for a walk through the forest near Boquete. They never came back. They were in Panama to learn Spanish and to teach English to primary school children. Since their disappearance authorities in Panama, with Dutch assistance, have not been able to find any clues as to what happened to the girls. A special task force combed the forest several weeks after the disappearance, to no avail. Two Dutch men were also questioned, but this did not help the investigation.

Police in Panama launched searches based on tips that, in the end, proved false, and the search once again proved ineffectual, as did the efforts of Dutch tracker dogs in May. At the beginning of June, a benefit was held to raise money to continue the search action for the missing girls.