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In a post on his Cruiser-Network-Online Yahoo Group, Moderator Glenn Tuttle (M/V Tothill) reports that Javier Martin, the top suspect in two recent murders of cruisers in Panama, was arrested in a small town named Santa Fe which is along the Inter-American highway in the Darien section of Panama.  He was most likely headed to Colombia.  Reports state that Martin had been staying in a hostel there, registered under the alias of “A. North”, assuming the identity of Don North, whose middle name is Arthur.  When arrested, he was in possession of a shotgun and two handguns, a large sum of cash (over $13,000), and Don’s credit card.

 

donnorth_panama-guide

Missing Cruiser Don North

According to recent posts by Don Winner on his Panama-Guide.com site, the first known victim of this supposed mass murdered, Jean-Pierre Bouahard’s body has now been found.

 

“Jean-Pierre’s Body Floats To The Surface: The first word I received of this situation came on Saturday, 5 February 2011, when I was in Playa Blanca to cover a meeting between property owners in the area and the Minister of Tourism Salomon Shamah. During the meeting I received a phone call and email from a friend in the area of Portobelo who told me the body of a Frenchman named Jean Pierre Bouahard had been discovered in the ocean by a group of scuba divers. I mentioned the discovery of Bouahard’s body in my interview with Minister Shamah, precisely because he was a tour operator and he used his sailboat to take backpackers from Panama to Colombia, and I thought the Minister might be aware because of the tourism connection. It turns out that he had no clue about the discovery, and he called this people in Portobelo and chewed them out on the phone in front of me. Then we moved on to other things in the interview.”

The search of the Bouahard’s catamaran, Levante revealed traces of blood inside the boat along with documents including Don North’s passport. The authorities now plan to conduct a crime scene search of Don’s sailing vessel, Windancer.  Says Tuttle, “As of now, Don’s body has yet to be located, and it’s undoubtedly in the San Blas, the island paradise he loved.  And what about his little Schipperke dog, Kuna?  Did the low life scumbag Javier kill the poor dog as well?  Maybe he gave the dog to one of the Kuna Indians, so all cruisers need to ask about the dog.  She is all black and about 20 pounds.  Also, Don had a turtle as a pet which lived aboard his boat.  Perhaps the turtle is still on board, so please somebody ask about the turtle.

don-norths-windancer_panama-guide

S/V Windancer has been located, but North is still missing

All those who helped in this investigation should be commended.  Those who didn’t help, or worse yet, put out false rumors and misinformation, shame on them.  I can only hope the Panamanian authorities get to the bottom of this horrible matter, and all those harboring knowledge of the crimes get prosecuted.  And if anyone out in the San Blas receives any type of threat, or hint of reprisal for their cooperation in this investigation, please contact me or the Panamanian authorities immediately.  The San Blas needs to be rid of any scoundrel who would interfere with the investigation or intimidate other cruisers.”

 

Read my previous post for more info.
All facts and photos here are courtesy of Don Winner and the Panama Guide.

 

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The Cruisers-Network-Online, a Yahoo Group, have been buzzing with posts this month about the mysterious disappearance of an American cruiser Don North of the sailing vessel Windancer. Don and his dog were thought to be enroute to Ustupu from Chichime in the Kuna Yala of Panama’s San Blas Islands.

In his February 9th post, Eddie Tuttle, M/V Tohill, the moderator of the Cruisers-Network wrote;

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Photo: San Blas Island. By N.Birnbaum

“Don and his boat, a 38 foot Morgan aft cockpit with a white hull, blue canvas covers, solar panels, and a wind generator. Don had several dinghies on deck and a female Schipperke dog named “Kuna”. Don is single-handed and had recently suffered a back injury. He also is taking medication for diabetes.”

Clues have been scarce and the Cruisers-Network has implored people cruising the area of the San Blas, Portobello, Panama to Cartagena, Columbia to be on the look-out for Don, his boat and for a man named Javier Martin. Javier Martin is wanted as a person of interest in a homicide investigation ongoing in Panama involving missing cruiser Don North, and the homicide of a French cruiser named Jean Pierre.

According to recent reports, Javier Martin is from Valencia, Spain, and described at a Latin male, approximately 5′ 7″-8″, thin build, with dark hair and eyes.  His age is unknown at this time, but he appears to be in his 30s or 40s and very fit.  For years he owned a charter sailboat named “Twlya” in which he used to take backpackers between Panama and Cartagena, Colombia, and spent a lot of time in the San Blas Islands.

Fortunately, Reporter Don Winner, editor of the Panama Guide.com is now on the case. You may recall from previous posts here, that Mr. Winner was a key investigator, (though unofficial) in solving the mysterious disappearance of resident ex-pats in the Bocas del Toro area of Panama last year. True to his name, Mr. Winner managed to put all the pieces of the puzzle together before the authorities and helped to solve the case which led to the arrests of William “Wild Bill” Holbert and his wife for the murders of an American couple among others living in this idyllic cruiser’s haven.

Yesterday, February 11, 2011, The Cruisers-Network-Online had this broadcast:

“IF ANYONE HAS ANY INFORMATION RELATIVE TO THE WHEREABOUTS OF JAVIER MARTIN, CONTACT THE FBI IN PANAMA CITY AT TELEPHONE NUMBER 507-207-7000. DO NOT TAKE ANY ACTION YOURSELF AS THIS PERSON OF INTEREST COULD BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.”

javiermartin

Be on the lookout for suspect Javier Martin

After numerous calls for help from cruisers, sailors and boaters in the San Blas Islands area, information is finally beginning to flow and Don Winner is starting to put those puzzle pieces together again.

Winner wrote on his Panama-Guide.com, “OK, this story is evolving pretty quickly. Apparently, the Frenchman who was found murdered last weekend, Janpiere Bouahard, and the Spaniard Javier Martin, were involved in some kind of a feud or dispute. Apparently the Panamanian law enforcement authorities arrested Javier Martin and interrogated him as a possible suspect in the murder of Bouahard, but then released him for lack of evidence. Now apparently Bouahard’s 50′ aluminum hulled catamaran called the “Levante” is missing – it’s not anchored near Portobelo or near the Green Turtle. What’s more, Javier Martin reportedly also crashed his boat the “Twyla” near Chichime, effectively putting an end to this business of taking backpackers between Panama and Colombia. So, we have a guy named Javier Martin who was in some kind of a fight or feud with the Frenchman Janpiere Bouahard, who has been murdered. We have a guy named “Martin” who was reportedly taken on as crew by the American Don North – and now both Don North and his sailboat the “Windancer” are missing. Javier Martin is questioned by the authorities and release, and immediately thereafter Janpiere Bouahard’s big boat the “Levante” is missing. This catamaran is a relatively large boat and Javier Martin is an experienced and capable sailor – so he could be anywhere. Literally. My gut tells me if you find Javier Martin and the “Levante” – that he will be able to tell you what happened to Don North and the “Windancer.” Supposedly the “Twyla” is still crashed on a reef near Chichime, and another boat called the “Green Twilight” – supposedly owned by Javier Martin – was towed into port by the Panamanian authorities. So – be on the lookout for Javier Martin and the “Levante” – photos follow below… (more)

Hacerse a la Mar, S.A. Javier Bermejo Martin is the owner of a Panamanian company called “Hacerse A La Mar, S.A., which was registered in the Public Registry on 17 March 2010. The name of this company appears on his Hacerse A La Mar website. The President is listed as “Javier Bermejo Martin” with the Treasurer as “Salvador Frasquet Mascarell” and Secretary as “Javier Bermejo Martin.” Also listed on the company as Directors are Javier Bermejo Martin, Gabriela Ailin Anderson Aguilar, and Salvador Frasquet Mascarell. For what it’s worth…”

Anyone who has any information regarding Javier Martin should contact the FBI in Panama City, Panama at telephone number 507-207-5000.  Also you may contact Investigative Reporter Don Winner, editor of The Panama Guide.Com online newspaper at telephone number 507-6614-0451 or US number 845-514-9893.

Tuttle implores cruisers to please “spread this information to ALL YOUR CRUISER FRIENDS via SSB radio and VHF radio nets throughout the world.  Javier Martin could be anywhere now. Do not approach Javier Martin yourself, but contact any police authority and let them know of the above information.  Javier Martin should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.”

Special Thanks to Glenn & Eddie Tuttle, M/V Tothill and to Don Winner, Editor of The Panama Guide.com.

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starflyer-sailing

Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

If you dream of adventure sailing on a tall ship through the wilds of Central America, anchoring in pristine coves filled with dolphins, whales and birds not other boats or cruise ships, then you need to book a cruise with Star Clipper Cruises.

“Star Clippers operates three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels. Visiting ports often untouched by larger cruise ships and offering passengers the activities, amenities and atmosphere of a private yacht, Star Clippers is recognized as one of the premier specialty cruise lines.”

Join in a rare adventure of nature unbounded – cruising both Nicaragua and Costa Rica or Panama and Costa Rica itineraries.

heron-CR

Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

“From the stunning volcanic peaks of Nicaragua down to the rustic scenery of Panama, Central America’s breathtaking beauty allows you to just sit, stand, lie or look in any direction and watch nature perform around you. Howler monkeys roam freely through the jungle canopy above while manta rays weightlessly glide through the waters below.”

Clearly this is not a cruise ship in the ordinary sense. Star Flyer, like it’s sister ship, the Star Clipper, is a true clipper ship reflecting her proud heritage in every inch of her polished brass and gleaming brightwork. Once onboard you’ll discover a new age of sail, where the traditions of the past are happily married to the comforts and amenities of the present day. Star Clipper and Star Flyer are modern cruise ships in every way, created for luxury-loving passengers who also love the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships. Star Clipper and Star Flyer are both 360 feet long and each carries just 170 guests in pampered comfort.

Don’t miss out on this new cruising ground. Check out their new Panama Itinerary today!

howler-monkey

Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

Costa Rica and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua Cruises run 7-nights.

Next sailing dates: February 13 or February 27, 2011.

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica –
At Sea –
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua –
Playa del Coco, Costa Rica –
Cuanjiniquil (Nat. Park Santa Rosa), Costa Rica –
Puerto Carrillo, Costa Rica –
Islas Tortugas / Curu / Quesera, Costa Rica –
Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica –

crocodile_CR

Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

 

or the newest 14-night Panama Canal Adventure:

Balboa to St. Maarten – March 19, 2011: 8 Ports of Call:
Panama Canal Transit – San Blas Islands, Panama –
Cartagena, Columbia – Oranjestad, Aruba –
Willemstad, Curacao – Jost Van Dyke, B.V.I. –
Sopers Hole, B.V.I – Virgin Gorda, B.V.I. –
Gustavia, St. Barts.

Rates start at $1,943 ppdo.

More Info: http://www.starclippers.com/us/plan-your-sailing/destinations/costa-rica-a-panama-canal/panama-canal-sailings.html

 

mastclimbing
Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

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Your Cruising Editor offers up this special list of the “Top 10 Islands to Sail To” so that you can bring in the New Year dreaming about your next cruise! Is your favorite island on the list? If not, please share it with us.

Fairwinds & Happy Holidays!

1. Vanuatu

vanuatu_anchorage

Vanuatu Anchorage

vanuatu_mapVanuatu is a volcanic island chain in the south west Pacific Ocean, between Fiji and New Caledonia. There are about 80 islands with a total land area of 12,189 square kilometers reaching 900 km in a north-south direction. UNESCO World Heritage sites honor Chief Roi Mata on Éfaté, Lelepa and Artok islands.  Check out www.noonsite.com for info.


saga and ulu -san blas islands

S/V Saga with Kuna ulu

2. San Blas Islands, Panama

Only 36 of these 365 San Blas islands are inhabited, and here travelers can witness life as it has been since the 16th century. Since tourism doesn’t fit into this simple way of life, cruisers will find a perfect paradise: friendly Kuna Indians who still rule themselves, an abundance of ocean life, coconuts and sparkling clear calm water! What more could you ask for. Don’t miss the Monday night “trash night” bonfire and potluck at the Swimming Pool! Helpful hints for cruising the San Blas, courtesy of Blow Me Away Sailing.

3. Tierra del Fuego

tierra del Fuego with sailboat

Tierra del Fuego Sailboat

Tierra del Fuego or Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, is the largest island in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. Half of the island belongs to the Magallanes Region of Chile while the eastern part belongs to the Tierra del Fuego Province of Argentina. Great info by S/Y Nine Of Cups available at http://www.nineofcups.com/south_america_intro.html.

4. Dominica

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Coast of Dominica

Dominica is home to the Carib Territory and was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean. Dominica is located in Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. CruisingWiki Guide.

5. Tasmania, Australia

tasmania

Sailboats off Tasmania

The Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area covers 3.46 million acres (20 percent of the island) and is home to myriad threatened species, including the eponymous Tasmanian devil. Check out Marinas Guide – Australia for a good guide to anchorages by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. www.marinasguide.com.au/planner/guidetasanchorageryct.htm.

6. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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Locals sunbathe in the Galapagos

The UNESCO World Heritage List calls this mostly uninhabited chain of 19 islands a “living museum and a showcase of evolution,” citing land iguanas, giant tortoises and assorted finches among the countless varieties. Though there have been some changes to the fees the park is charging cruisers, most yachts that call at the Galapagos under the Transit Rules and with less than 10 crew on board, will still find there is no change to the Transit Regulations which allow a stay of up to 20 days in one of the Ports of Entry. For up-to-date info, check Noonsite.com.

7. The Seychelles

seychelles_schooner

A schooner at anchor in the Seychelles

Located off the east coast of Africa, these islands are pure paradise. Totaling 115 in all, the Seychelles have no indigenous population and the largest ethnic groups are those of French, African, Indian, and Chinese descent. Also, it’s a matriarchal society. CruisingWiki Guide.

8. The MaldivesMaldives
Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this chain of 1,000 islands (200 are inhabited, and only 5 have any substantial population) is just a series of coral atolls that are barely above sea level. Natural erosion due to tsunamis and storms are slowly washing away these pearls. Get there while you still can. The Maldives have been a crossroads for sea traders for many centuries and the origin of the people of this country is mixed. It is an independent republic, which has been inhabited for over 3,500 years. CruisingWiki Guide.

9. Ko Lipe, Thailand

Ko Lipe, Thailand

Ko Lipe, Thailand

Located in southern Thailand, Ko Lipe is one of the Butang Group of Islands in The Tarutao National Park. Thailand’s first Marine National Park, established in 1972, consists of 51 islands close to the Malaysian border. Of the 51 islands all but Koh Lipe are uninhabited. Its one of the very best sailing areas in Thailand with many nearby islands to explore. CruisingWiki Guide.

10. Channel Islands, Californiachannelislands_map
Here the biggest star is a Pacific gray whale and the foxiest character is, well, an island fox. Close to the California mainland, yet worlds apart, Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was. Here’s a good cruising guide site: www.sailchannelislands.com/cicruisingguide/index.php and the official National Park site: http://www.nps.gov/chis/index.htm

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Bocas del Toro killers arrested in Nicaragua

By NICOLÁS AGUILAR R. and CARLOS ARGUEDAS – San Jose, Costa Rica – The American couple Panamanian police identify as serial killers, who the police were looking for last night in the area of Santa Cruz in Turrialba, were detained this morning in the waters of the San Juan river in Nicaragua. The couple were arrested in an area known as Tambor and at this moment they are being detained at a Nicaraguan army outpost in this zone. According to police reports, this is about William Adolfo Cortez (aka Wild Bill) and his wife, Jane Seana, whom the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) have been looking for intensively since Saturday night. In Panama they have been linked to the disappearance of one person and the deaths of two others, all US nationals.

According to police reports, the couple arrived at noon yesterday to Puerto
Viejo de Sarapiqui and rented a boat to travel to the mouth of the Sarapiqui
River, in a place known as La Trinidad. They spent the night in a cabin and
this morning they hired a boat to travel to Barra del Colorado. Apparently
when they approached a checkpoint manned by the (Costa Rican) Public Forces, where they would have had to stop and check in, the American who is strong and six feet tall, grabbed the boatman and threw him into the river. At that time, he took the helm and accelerated on the San Juan river headed toward Tambor.

However, he did not count on the fact that there was an Army patrol in the
area, equipped with machine guns and other heavy weapons, which soon
overtook them. The couple stopped the boat and offered no resistance.

According to reports held by the Judicial Investigation Organization, they
were taken to an Army post located at the mouth of the Sarapiquí river and
they are now talking to officials from Nicaragua to deal with the surrender
of the suspects. Judicial officers are currently traveling in several boats
to the site to eventually receive the pair of alleged serial killers and to transfer them to Costa Rican soil. (La Nacion – Costa Rica)

Posted by: “Glenn Tuttle” on the Cruising Network Online Yahoo Group
Date: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:58 pm

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Today I learned about the apparent mass murder case developing in the well-known cruising grounds of Bocas del Toro, Panama in a post to the Cruisers Network Online Forum on Yahoo. Forum Moderator Glenn Tuttle, issued an “alert” for the main suspect and his wife, William Adolfo Cortez Reese
aka “Wild Bill” who may be on their sailboat in the Chiriqui Gulf.

William Adolfo Cortez Reese aka "Wild Bill."

William Adolfo Cortez Reese aka "Wild Bill."

According to KTVI-FOX2Now.com (St. Louis, MO), Cher Hughes body was discovered on Tuesday in a shallow grave in Panama. Authorities believe she was murdered. Don Winner, a freelance journalist for the website Panama-Guide.com has been working with law enforcement on Cher’s case. He says Cher Hughes was last seen with William Adolfo Cortez Reese aka “Wild Bill.” She was at a party at his Panama home. Winner says police found Cher’s body on Reese’s property. Law officers say Reese and his wife, Jane Cortez, are now the prime suspects in her murder. The skeletal remains of another body were found with Cher. Winner tells FOX 2 News that police are calling Reese and his wife suspects in at least three murders and possibly many more. The case is all over the headlines in Panama and Winner says police think “Wild Bill” may be a serial killer. “That is absolutely the concern. Right now the number one priority is to capture this guy, catch him, find out where he is and get him in handcuffs, him and his wife.” said journalist Don Winner. Winner tells us police suspect Reese and his wife are killing people to steal their property. Cher Hughes owned a hotel. Reese was talking to her about buying it the night she disappeared. Reese and his wife are now on the run. FOX 2 News has learned that investigators found documents at Reese’s home that make them suspect he may be involved with other murders. Cher’s husband is in Panama working with authorities.

www.tvn-2_bill_jane_cortez-reece

Suspects William Cortez Reece and Jane Cortez /www.tvn-2.com

The couple fled from Bocas del Toro and they are now fugitives from justice, as confirmed by the Assistant to the Attorney General, Neftali
Jaén. Cortez is a man who introduced himself as a businessman on the resort island, who bought property and had immigration movements from Mexico,
Belize and Costa Rica, where presumably there are also people missing. At the hostel authorities found passports and documentation from more than a
dozen people. It was learned that Cortez would start an apparent business transaction in order to supposedly buy the properties, and then later the
owners disappeared. Cortez was last seen heading towards Cerro Punta in Chiriqui, and it was also mentioned that he might have escaped on Reeces’
sailboat. Donald Winner said this could develop into a case of a “serial killer.” (La Critica)

Link to Story and Video from KTIV

Everyone should be on alert in case you come across these two and should notify the FBI in Panama City (507-207-7000) if they know their whereabouts.

WildBills_jollyrogerposter

Ad posted by Wild Bill - Truth in Advertising?

An ad published in the August 2009 Bocas Breeze presented the Jolly Roger Social Club as the only expat membership club in Bocas with the slogan:  ”Only 90% of our members survive.”  It advertises plenty of dock space, mooring balls, 24-hour security, hotel rooms, a swim platform, horseback riding and poker nights, and states the location as Cauchero at Cutthroat Cove.

Updates:

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com – On 16 May 2003, Michael Watson Brown and his wife Manchittha Nankratoke “Nan” Brown started a company called “Latitude 9.10 Inc.” At about the same time, in April 2003, the Browns purchased a parcel of land measuring more than 18 hectares – about 45 acres – located along the coast on the mainland in the area known as Cauchero in the province of Bocas del Toro from Maria Irene Lezcano de Castillo. They purchased this large parcel of coastal property using their company “Latitude 9.10 Inc.” On 18 April 2005, Panama’s Ministry of Agricultural Development issued resolution number DAL-030-ADM-2005 in favor of Michael Watson Brown and his wife Manchittha Nankratoke de Brown which certified them as agricultural producers. This documents indicates the Brown family intended to grow pineapple, papaya, mango, oranges, avocado, plantain, and passion fruit on their land. These people have been missing for about three years. Today I received the following email;

  • “Hi I am the daughter of Mike Brown. Daddy was living in Panama with my brother Watson Brown and my stepmother Nam. They too went missing with him 3 years ago. I have not been able to contact the Panama police. Do you have any more information on what happened or are you able to give me some information on how to contact the Panama police department?? Thank you in advance.”

Guess Who Took Over The Property: On 2 May 2008 documents were filed in the Panamanian Public Registry making William “Wild Bill” Adolfo Cortez the new Director, President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Panamanian corporation “Latitude 9.10 Inc.” His wife Jean Seana Cortez was named as a Director of the company. This is the property where the bodies of Cher Hughes and Bo Icelar were discovered on Tuesday, 20 July 2010. And thus far no one has been able to find the Brown family. At this point, knowing what we know now, it can only be presumed that this murderous psychopthic serial killer did away with the entire family in order to take over their property. (more)    Click Here To Read The Full Article

As of Sunday:

At this moment, Panamanian Special Operations officers are executing a search / arrest warrant in the are Bocas del Toro. Intelligence information indicates “Wild Bill” and Jane Cortez remain in the area, and hopefully they will be in custody by the end of the day. More information as it becomes available. http://panama-guide.com/

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