The Columbia University graduate found dead on a remote hiking trail in Panama was likely strangled, according to reports.
As FBI agents teamed with Panamanian investigators Tuesday for a series of raids as they probed the mysterious death, authorities were finalizing autopsy results.
Catherine Johannet, 23, a globetrotting Scarsdale woman was found dead Sunday afternoon in a wooded stretch on Bastimentos Island.
Initial autopsy reports by Panama’s Institute of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Sciences of the Public Ministry indicate that she died of strangulation, according to La Prensa on Tuesday.
Johannet’s last Instagram post shows her smiling on Isla Ina, one of the small islands off the northern coast of Panama.
“I found paradise and it’s called Isla Ina,” she wrote, using the handle catastrophe93.
Panamanian officials 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.
Her older sister, Laura Johannet, offered warm remembrances of the young traveler, 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 area on Bastimentos Island from nearby Colon Island, relatives said.
A police officer discovered her 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.