FBI agents teamed Tuesday with Panamanian investigators for a series of raids as they probed the mysterious death of a Columbia University graduate on a remote hiking trial.
There were still no autopsy results or an official cause of death for Catherine Johannet, 23, a globetrotting Scarsdale woman who was found dead Sunday afternoon in a wooded stretch of Bastimentos Island.
Johannet’s last Instagram post shows her smiling in Isla Ina, of the small islands off the eastern coast of Panama.
“I found paradise and it’s called Isla Ina,” she wrote, using the handle catastrophe93.
Missing Columbia graduate found dead on hiking trail in Panama
Panamanian officials have yet to indicate if foul play was involved, and provided no information about the raids or their targets. There was no word about any possible suspects or arrests.
At the Johannet house in Scarsdale, there was no answer at the door and no sign of anyone home. The dead woman’s brother said via Facebook that the family headed for Panama after Catherine disappeared last week. Relatives identified her body on Monday, according to the website Ensegundos.com.
“These people are in pain,” the Johannets’ next-door neighbor told the Daily News. “We don’t want to discuss it.”
Relatives scheduled a memorial service for Saturday at 11 a.m. It will be held at the Scarsdale Congregational Church on Heathcote Road.
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Her old sister, Laura Johannet, offered warm remembrances of the young tourist, a Westchester County native.
“My family is thinking of all our beautiful memories with our laughing, adventurous, warm little girl,” the sister posted on Facebook. “She was always there to listen to you and just enjoy life with her loved ones.
Catherine Johannet was reported missing on Thursday after failing to appear at the hostel where she was staying. She was set to travel to a mountainous region on Bastimentos Island from nearby Colon Island, relatives said.
A police officer discovered the body at 2:11 p.m. Sunday in the woods near the beach on Bastimentos.
The U.S. Embassy confirmed Johannet’s death, but said little else about the tragedy.
“Out of respect for the family’s privacy at this difficult time, we have no further public comment,” said a statement. “We will continue to work closely with Panamanian government officials and provide all possible assistance to the grieving family.”
Johannet was planning a day trip to the tourist-friendly island renowned for its Caribbean beaches, hiking trails and wildlife.
Her brother Paul said Catherine, a 2011 graduate of Edgemont High School, had visited six continents and spent 16 months teaching English literature to students in Vietnam.
Johannet finished that teaching stint in October. She graduated from Columbia in 2015.
“She was cheerful, adventurous, thoughtful and warm — all qualities I strive towards,” Paul Johannet wrote on Facebook.
President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama ordered a heavier police presence in the area where the young woman’s body was recovered.Send a Letter to the Editor