Murder sentence DOUBLED for man who killed US woman near Red Frog Beach in Bocas del Toro.

Bocas del Toro

The Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) announced on Friday September 7 that the sentence handed down to an 18-year-old boy was changed for the crime of the American Catherine Medalia Johannet, whose body was found on February 5, 2017 in Isla Colón, province of Bocas del Toro.

Sentenced to 12 years in prison to be implicated in the crime of young American in Bocas del Toro
Initially, the 18-year-old man was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but – after the prosecution’s appeal – he will now spend 24 years in prison.

The MP had announced last July that it would appeal the decision before the Superior Court for Children and Adolescents, taking into account the seriousness of the crimes charged: homicide, robbery and rape.


Hi JB been following your articles and website for some time now. Wanted to say hello and that I appreciate reading the articles and commentary of you and other readers. I noticed that La Prensa in the link and the article said this young girl was murderer on Isla Colon. I rent a place on Isla Colon and wanted to point out to travelers that is NOT correct. She was murdered on Red Frog Beach which is Bastimentos Island. There is little to know police presence there and it can be a very darangerous place for tourist and swimmers. Seems every year swimmers drown at Red Frog too! Isla Colon is much safer and much more secure. Looking forward to more articles I prefer the positive ones!!

Hello Judy-
This is “J.B” from Thank you for your comment back on an earlier article post regarding safety in the Isla Colon and Bocas del Toro area. You are correct in that the murder in question was not Isla Colon and directly on the RED FROG property.
I am re-visiting this, as I have a US reader that has contacted me with some pretty outrageous information relating to the exact un-policed area you spoke of. And in particular the way RED FROG handles the locals and what occurs on their properties.
I am certainly trying to produce some positive articles, with the Pope visit and election on the horizon I hope to do so.

But as it relates to Bocas, nothing I hear from an ex-pat standpoint is particularly good. Outside of actually being in Isla Colon, it sounds very risky and like the wild wild west.
Any opinions or observations you may have as a person that rents a home there would be greatly appreciated and kept in confidence.


Hi, long time red frog visitor and have been traveling/ living panama my whole life. Red Frog is beautiful but not the place to walk around alone by yourself, but for those saying colon is inherently safer, it is not. Anywhere that lacks people and therefor witnesses and police is extremely dangerous to walk alone and at night. I would even argue Red Frog is safer than Colon. Really sad to hear about this tragedy years layer, I was at Drago Beach today and say a memorial for her with several safety tips included.

Hey, we just spent 1,5 weeks on bastimentos and we felt super safe. Police ist directly on the main plaza as well as along the way to wizard beach. If one murder would turn a whole island / area into an “unsafe space”, you could litterally not go anywhere ✌️

Why mention “Wizard” if your just commenting on safety. Red Frog plant.
The “People” or Isla Colon, Soalrte, Bastimentos,Bocas, etc are overwhelmingly nice and pleasant. That is abundantly true.
But don’t for a second try to tell people it is SAFE.
We spend much more than 1.5 weeks there.
The “Police” on the “Main Plaza”,,,,,,c’mon. Say the delapidated old building around the corner from the fire station that has 2 old SUV’s to patrol all of Bocas over rocky roads, dimly lit streets, and taxis flying around the corners with zero speed limit to abide by.
And that is just on land.
Once you go off in a barca to one of the out islands, your at the mercy of God.
Don’t imply it has the infrastructure of other island destinations, cause it does not.
Part of the reason why our money has been put to sleep.
If you felt safe it was because you were around safe people.
It’s a violent person’s paradise if they so choose.

I spent 2 and a half weeks on bastimentos at a place called the firefly. My friends ran the business and told me not to wear a backpack when hiking to wizard. F that, I needed to bring my shit I said, so I packed up and headed out.

I will admit it was a bit of a social experiment. I’m not trying to sound egotistical, but I’m not exactly one to be fucked with. I’m a larger male, and I take my physicality seriously.

I definitely got hassled. The younger black male pop tried to gang up on me and sell me weed and tours and all other sorts of bullshit. I ended up buying some weed from a guy and it was a big mistake. We got into a confrontation one night when I was passing by the center of town, and I was outnumbered. Luckily they decided it wasn’t worth it, but I was ready to fight if they wanted to bring it. After that they didn’t really pursue me.

This murder occurred shortly after I left, and it’s no surprise. The island is full of young desperate men that are virtually unpoliced. When a white person shows up it’s fresh meat, let alone a single white woman. After my experience there I would NEVER EVER, let a girl walk around alone. Absolutely tragic.


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