The DAILY BEAST in it’s much-hyped third installment of “The Lost Dutch Girls” added nothing new to the story but just milked what was already known about the disappearance believed to be accidental but ripe with opportunity to continue to pound the “mystery.” The DAILY BEAST hyped the best-selling author … “whose next novel, The Bone Collection, will be out November 1, 2016” … Dr. Kathy Reichs—world-famous forensic anthropologist, best-selling author and creator of the popular TV show “Bones”—also agreed to weigh-in on the case.
Like the other forensics experts consulted, Reichs also considers foul play unlikely:
“In my opinion accidental death is the most probable considering all the factors and findings,” says Reichs, in an email to The Daily Beast. She goes on to clear up several other formerly puzzling questions related to the case.
For example, critics of the official “accident scenario” have pointed to inconsistencies in the rate of decay reported for the found remains, such as a fragment of Kris’s rib showing signs of “bleaching”—while a flap of Lisanne’s skin survived intact.
Reichs does not find this extraordinary.
“A rainforest habitat means many micro-environments,” she explains. “Decomposition can occur quite rapidly in some [micro-environments],” but due to factors like variance in river current, flora growing on the banks, and transport by scavengers, “preservation or decomposition of various body parts can occur at a different rates.”
Exposed regions on sandbars or along the banks also receive more sunlight, which could account for the observed bone bleaching after the soft tissue is sloughed off.”
The extreme fragmentation of the remains doesn’t surprise Reichs either.
“With bodies decomposing in water, dismemberment follows typical patterns with the head and limbs detaching first,” says Reichs. “Further damage from animal scavenging can be very diverse due to multiple transport modes: avian, fish, turtle, crab, small and large carnivores, etcetera,” she says.
Despite confidence in her conclusions, Dr. Reichs says some forensic mysteries surrounding the case do still warrant further investigation—such as the fact that Panama’s national coroner reported that he failed to detect any abrasions or trauma during a microscopic examination of the remains.
“I would expect to see damage due to animal scavenging,” says Reichs, but she also raises a powerful point that might trump such minor anomalies:
“Why would any criminal or criminals “leave cash, a passport, and electronics in the back pack?”
The biggest contribution of THE DAILY BEAST to the “mystery” seems to be their astute observation, with which they lead the article, that “Posted high in the cloud forests that surround the still-active Baru volcano, the [warning] marker is hard to miss. But the sign also lists sharply to one side—as if this remote warning had been slapped together in a rush.”
Can we please let these poor kids rest in peace?