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Woman found dead on Panama vacation likely strangled

by Ellen Killoran

Investigators have conducted raids near where her body was found

The FBI has reportedly joined the investigation into the death of a young Columbia grad who was found dead this weekend in Panama.

Catherine Johannet, 23, was reported missing after she did not return to her hostel in Colon after a planned day trip to Bastimentos Island on Thursday. Her body was found on Sunday in a wooded area on the island.

READ also: Criminal investigation for Columbia grad found dead in Panama

According to a preliminary report from the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Sciences of the Public Ministery, obtained by the Panamanian newspaper La Prensa, there are indications that Johannet was strangled.

The La Prensa report notes that the agency has not confirmed this finding and said further analysis would be needed.

Investigators have reportedly conducted raids on the island seeking evidence connected to Johannet’s death, but no one has been charged or identified as a person of interest.

Johannet was an experienced international traveler, and spent a year living in Vietnam before her Panama trip. She graduated from Columbia University in 2015.

Ellen is a seasoned journalist and former media & entertainment reporter with a taste for true crime. Formerly a senior editor at IBTimes, her work has appeared in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Maxim, NYMag, Indiewire, and more. She co-produced the HBO documentary "Youth Knows No Pain" and appeared in a documentary series that aired alongside the Lifetime movie "Manson's Lost Girls."