Latin America & Caribbean

Panama hunts for missing Dutchwomen Kremers and Froon

A woman stands next to a missing person flyer showing pictures of two missing Dutch women on a wall in the town of Boquete on 12 April, 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A resident of Boquete next to a poster for Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers - missing since 2 April

A Dutch search team has arrived in Panama to help find two young Dutchwomen who went missing in April.

Lisanne Froon, 22, and Kris Kremers, 21, disappeared from the town of Boquete in Panama's western highlands.

The had travelled to Boquete to do social work with children after completing a two-week Spanish course.

They were last seen on 2 April as they went walking along a mountain path in the densely wooded area along the border with Costa Rica.

A Dutch team of 18 people and 12 dogs arrived on Sunday to join the search.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The two women disappeared in the forest surrounding Boquete
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Twelve specially trained dogs are being flown in from the Netherlands to join the search

"The dogs, of different breeds, are specially trained to find people whether alive or dead," team co-ordinator Louise Smits-Jansen explained.

Ms Kremers' father thanked the Panamanian authorities for their help in launching renewed efforts on Monday to find the two women.

Shock and concern

Residents of Boquete say they are shocked by the disappearances.

The parents of the women at first thought they had got lost on a trek, but say that as time passes, they "are increasingly under the assumption there's a possibility of criminal intent" behind their daughters' disappearance.

They have offered a $30,000 (£18,000) reward for anyone providing "concrete information" about their whereabouts.

Boquete is a popular destination for hikers exploring the nearby cloud forest, waterfalls and coffee plantations.

In 2009, a 29-year-old British man disappeared from the town. He left all his belongings and only had with him his passport, credit card and a few dollars.

While visitors are warned against travelling to Panama's eastern border with Colombia because of the presence of Colombian rebels in the area, its western border region is generally considered to be safe.

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