The horrible tragedy of Catherine Johannet’s death in Bocas del Toro, Panamá has shocked Panamá and devastated her family and friends. On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I again express the tremendous regret we all feel at the senseless death of a talented young woman.
The cooperation and genuine compassion shown to her family by the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, the police investigators, and other government employees served to minimize the family’s pain by expediting the return of her remains to the United States where her family can grieve in privacy.
Reports by media that unspecified sources in the FBI or the Panamanian National Police have drawn an investigative link between the assailant(s) of Ms. Johannet and Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon murdered in the same region of Panama in 2014 are false and have no basis in fact.
Myself as well as the consular and law enforcement offices of the U.S. Embassy in Panama remain in constant contact and coordination with the lead Panamanian investigators in the Johannet case and we have offered all assistance to support the Panamanian investigation. That collaboration continues in the finest spirit of bilateral partnership.
We are grateful to the President of Panama, the Chief of Police, and the Attorney General for their leadership in ensuring a thorough and rapid investigation is conducted to ensure the perpetrator(s) face justice.
Specious and unfounded media reporting about this investigation is a cruel tactic that further hurts the Johannet family and misleads the Panamanian and U.S. publics.