Contributed by: Don WinnerBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - He almost managed to get away. Last night officers of the National Police of Panama captured the Spaniard Javier Martin in a small town along the Inter American highway - Santa Fe in the province of the Darien. According to reports from police officials in the area, Javier Martin was walking in the town when local residents recognized him from his photo that was displayed on the TVN Channel 2 evening news and notified the authorities. When police officers stopped him to verify his identity they recognized that this was the same Javier Martin who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt. He was arrested late last night and I received telephone calls from police commissioner Jorge Miranda, who is the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Direction of Judicial Investigation (DIJ), as well as from the representative of the office of the Legal Attaché of the US Embassy in Panama, to let me know that Javier Martin had been arrested, information I relayed to Don North's nephew Ezra North. So once again the process has produced quick results. Javier Martin will be taken from the small police jail cell in Santa Fe to Panama City, probably this afternoon, where he will be questioned by detectives from the Homicide Division of the DIJ as well as the prosecutors of the Public Ministry who are investigating the murder of the Frenchman Jean Pierre Bouhard and the disappearance of American Don North. More information became available today - all of it exceptionally incriminating for Javier Martin - who is about to be charged with two murders and a host of other crimes. (more)
Caught Red Handed: Javier Martin had a credit card belonging to Don North in his possession when he was arrested. He also had a large sum of cash in his possession. The early reports indicate he had about $13,000 dollars but the prosecutors said "we're still counting" the money, so it might be more. Javier Martin had three weapons in his possession, one shotgun and two handguns. He had recently purchased one of the handguns from a person who had the weapon legally registered, and this purchase occurred on 4 February 2011. From a legal point of view all three weapons were in his possession illegally, and he is facing prison terms of four to eight years on each count with regards to the weapons along. Javier Martin also had other items in his possession linking him to the crimes, such as a laptop computer which will be diagnosed by computer forensics experts in the DIJ. Javier Martin was staying at a hostel called the "Guayacanes" - he had registered under the name of "A. North" apparently trying to assume the identity of Don North whose middle name is Arthur. In short, the authorities now have a ton of evidence against this guy, and most importantly they got the guy.
Documents On The "Levante" - Prosecutors in Portobelo conducted their inspection of Jean Pierre Bouhard's sailboat the "Levante" which is currently tied up in the Green Turtle Cay Marina located to the North of Nombre de Dios. Most importantly the Luminol tests were positive for human blood on the boat. Now investigators will try to obtain a sample large enough to allow for DNA testing to confirm their suspicions that this human blood belongs to Jean Pierre Bouhard. In addition there was also a large bag containing a pile of documents. Apparently Javier Martin had given this bag to someone at the marina with instructions to "burn it." The person did not burn the bag but rather turned it over to the authorities. Inside they found documents linking Javier Martin to the deaths of Jean Pierre Bouhard and Don North. Importantly, there was a copy of Don North's passport for example.
Next - The "Windancer" - Tomorrow Don North's nephew Ezra North and I will accompany a task force comprised of DIJ detectives, Public Ministry prosecutors, and technical forensics investigators from the DIJ to inspect Don North's sailboat the "Windancer" (Green Twilight). The "Windancer" is currently under the control of the Maritime Authority of Panama in El Porvenir. Javier Martin apparently tried to hastily change the name of the boat, calling it the "Green Twilight" - but visual inspections by several of Don North's friends who are intimately familiar with his sailboat have confirmed that the boat in El Porvenir is Don's boat, 100% and no room for doubt. Until Javier Martin was arrested last night I wasn't going to talk about this trip to the San Blas because it was thought that he might be hiding in that area. Now that Javier Martin has been arrested, the focus of the investigation changes to a search for Don North, who is still missing. The investigators hope their inspection of the "Windancer" tomorrow will shed further light on what might have happened to Don North. And of course the DIJ homicide detectives in Panama City can't wait to get their hands on Javier Martin to initiate their process of interrogation - because it's now obvious to everyone that Javier Martin knows exactly what happened to Don North.
"Windancer" Registered on 8 October 2010: Don North last registered his sailboat the "Windancer" with Panama's Maritime Authority on 8 October 2010. This was confirmed by the Port Captain in El Porvenir who has the original documents in his hands. He sent a copy of that information to the headquarters of the Maritime Authority in Panama City, and we went there this afternoon to coordinate the contact information for the prosecutors with the person who actually holds the data. Now, the prosecutors will formally and officially request the information, and the AMP will formally and officially respond to that request. The investigation is already switching over to a process of simply obtaining any and all information related to the multiple murder investigation, and getting those documents into the case file where they will eventually become important in a murder trial. The information on both the "Windancer" and the "Levante" has to be formally and officially confirmed and verified.
Photographers Swarming Santa Fe: Reportedly there's a pack of news reporters, photographers, and cameramen swarming in the area of the little police jail cell in Santa Fe in the Darien where Javier Martin is being held. Thankfully the Panamanian media picked up on this story and ran it quickly between last night and this morning when most of the major newspapers carried the story. Ezra and I appeared on the channel 2 TVN morning news broadcast today to break the news that Javier Martin had been arrested. More importantly, Ezra also wanted to emphasize that his uncle Don North has not been found. We'll keep looking.
Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.