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.
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.
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.