A teenage suspect was arrested last week in the murder of a Columbia University graduate, who was found strangled near a Panama beach with her pink cover-up wrapped around her neck, the country’ public ministry announced Tuesday.
Panama’s Attorney General’s Office said more than 200 DNA tests and 89 raids in the last eight months led officials to the suspect. The unidentified alleged killer was taken into custody in Bocas del Toro in connection with Catherine Johannet’s death. No further information was released about the suspect.
The 23-year-old was attacked while hiking along a wooded trail on Bastimentos Island in February, three days after she vanished. Her hostel reported her missing after she didn’t return to check out.
Local reports said Johannet’s pink beach cover-up she was initially wearing was wrapped around her neck when she died.
Several people were detained during the eight-month investigation, but nothing led to a suspect until last week.
Johannet graduated from Columbia University in 2015 and traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam to work as a teacher at Ivy Prep Academy, The Journal News reported, citing her LinkedIn profile. A day before she was last seen by local residents, Johannet posted a photo on Instagram with the caption: “I found paradise and it’s called Isla Ina!”