Nacional 20/10/2014 - 10:08 a.m. lunes 20 de octubre de 2014
Medical examiner studies a piece of skin from missing Dutch girl
A soft, elongated tissue which barely shows signs of descomposition was found by the end of August. It belonged to Lisanne Froon.
During the first week of September, the laboratory of Biomolecular Analysis received a new set of evidences related to the case of Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers, the two missing Dutch girls.
The medical examiner in charge of the laboratory, located in the City of Knowledge (Ciudad del Saber), prepared to analyze the content of the package, taking precautions to not contaminate the evidence. He used surgical equipment: gloves, robe, mask, glasses and cap, shoecovers.
The curiosity of the researcher increased when he opened the envelope which contained the evidence of the case, that has raised many versions so far.
The girls were seen for the last time when they visited the Pianista trail, located in the Boquete district, on 1 April. They were declared death in August by the Public Ministry.
On the one hand, the Prosecutor of the City of David, Betzaida Pittí, who is in charge of this case, has stated that she doesn't consider it was a crime. She presents the hypothesis that both girls died in an accident.
On the other hand, Enrique Arrocha, lawyer of the Kremers family, and Octavio Calderón, one of the criminologists consulted by this journal, sustain that the girls were murdered.
Previously, the medical examiners analyzed other evidence that included bones found by locals in Alto Romero, on the banks of the Culubre River, located in Bocas del Toro province, 12 hours on foot from the Pianista trail.
The scientist took out an earthy mass from the envelope. Then, he pulled out a large bone -which he later identified as a femur- and another shorter bone, a tibia.
The package was sent by the Prosecution of Chiriquí Province and came with brief instructions: "These remains were found on the banks of the Culubre river. We sent them for analysis". The note carried the signature of Betzaida Pittí.
The document lacked a detailed description of the custody chain, necessary information in this type of cases. The information must include the place of the finding, the exact location, the picking of the remains, the packing and transfer from the scene. This wasn't the case.
ANALYZING THE SKIN
The laboratory where the evidence is being analyzed belongs to the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Panama (IMELCF), the only place in the country that carries out this type of analysis.
The researcher took many samples before he started the procedure. There was a water bucket where he submerged the material. He extended the evidence on his work table and realized that the tissue was not even. Some parts were wider and measured 8 to 15 centimeters. Other parts in turn, measured only 3 centimeters. Later on, he would identify which part of the body this tissue covered and to whom it belonged.
The tests confirmed that the sample belonged to Lisanne Froon and used to cover her femur. The evidence showed the first signs of descomposition and was covered in dust. The remains were found on 29 August.
This information is important for the research, because it will allow to establish the moment of death and the conditions where the body was placed afterwards. If we suppose that the girls died during the first week of April, right now, after 5 months of death, larvae shouldn't be seen.
This points out that the body is or was kept in a humid place, under shadow and in low temperatures, according to the reports.
He observed black dots on one end of the tissue; these dots occupy approximately one fifth of the surface. A histophatological analysis will define what these dots are for. The same study will conclude if there were any injuries to the tissue. He checked red stains, which correspond to the hemoglobin of the muscle. Some parts of the skin had holes, 8 to 10 of them, probably made by insects.
During an examination to the tibia, the medical examiner stated that it didn't have any alterations. When he cut the bone to the bone marrow, he detected a dry, well-kept bone without any signs of putrefaction. The same happens with the femur, where the bone marrow is almost intact. How could the persons who picked the bones conclude that the mass covered with earth was part of the evidence?
IGNORANCE OR PLAN?
The evidence must be analyzed carefully, stated the criminologist Calderón, who criticizes that the prosecutor requested on many occasions that other individuals manipulate the samples.
This has been Pitti's way to handle the case. She hasn't even called Criminalistic nor followed the basic principles of the custody chain, according to Calderón.
"This is enough reason to disqualify her from the investigation", he affirmed.
Calderón wonders how Pitti is in charge of the Prosecution. All the samples that could give information about the cause of death were ignored. "We don't know if it was plain ignorance or a plan, but all the information that could have helped us find out the truth behind this case was destroyed", so Calderón."If it was ignorance, the question is the same: How can a person with absolute no knowledge in this type of research be the authority responsible for this case?", he added.
"If it was a plan, what are the reasons behind it?"
Recently, the prosecutor pointed out that the forensic reports haven't determined the cause of death and the remains didn't show any signs of use of cold weapons nor mutilation. She also stated that wild animals and snakes are found in the trail where the girls got lost.
The girls' cellphones were used until 6 April. Their camera was used for the last time on 8 April, when 90 pictures were taken within three hours.