Criminal investigation for Columbia grad found dead in Panama

The family and police are searching for answers in the bright young woman’s death

Panama authorities are reportedly working with the FBI to determine if there is a criminal element in the death of Catherine Johannet, who was found dead on a hiking trail this past Sunday.

According to the New York Daily News, a cause of death has not yet been determined in the active investigation. The U.S. Embassy in Panama confirmed the death in a press release.

Joahannet, 23, was reportedly last seen at a hostel on Panama’s Colon Island on Thursday. She had planned a day trip to nearby Bastimentos Island and never returned. Her body was discovered in a wooded area on the island three days later.

Details are scarce about Johannet’s final days, possibly because she may have been traveling alone to Bastimentos Island. News reports do not mention any companions, and Johannet was an avid adventure traveler. In a Facebook post after Johannet’s body was found, her brother spoke of her extensive travels:

“We love and miss her dearly. She was a world traveler – by the age of 23, she had already visited 6 continents and innumerable countries, including a recent 18-month trip to Vietnam where she taught English Literature to local students.”

Johannet was from Scarsdale, New York, and graduated from Columbia University in 2015.



Photo: Facebook/Handout