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Saturday, May 26 2018 @ 11:35 PM EDT

Don North's Dinghy - Recovered From "Blas" (Photos)

Expat Tales By DON WINNER for - On Wednesday, 16 February 2011, detectives from the DIJ and prosecutors from the Public Ministry found an inflatable dinghy in the possession of a man named "Blas" on an island near where Don North's boat the "Windancer" was found abandoned. Apparently after Javier Martin killed Don North and threw his body into the ocean, he stripped the boat of all valuables and hid them in two tents on the island of Chichime. He hastily changed the name of the "Windancer" to the "Green Twilight" and abandoned the boat. Eventually government officials from the Panamanian Maritime Authority seized the "Windancer" (Green Twilight) because they thought it had been abandoned, and they had no record of that vessel having entered Panamanian waters legally. When "Blas" was first asked about the dinghy he said he had found it "about two months ago" along the shore down towards Colon. The investigators loaded the dinghy onto the large SENAFRONT boat that we were using to get around and hauled it back to El Porvenir to further examine it, to take samples and conduct Luminol testing that night. There was also an apparent bullet hole in the hull. Later, a witness who was a good friend of Don North who is very familiar with this particular dinghy was able to identify it as belonging to Don North, 100%, no doubt. Here are the photos that I took of that dinghy. (more)

I'm Going To Put Up Most Of The Photos I Took: Maybe someone out there will see something that will trip a memory or whatever. I know a lot of this is just boring photo documentation kind of stuff, but I have the images so I might as well put them out there. I'm going to break it down by topic, such as this one, just about the dinghy.

This is the island of "Panedo" where a guy named "Blas" had the dinghy owned by Don North.

Investigators clustering around the dinghy owned by Don North.

The dinghy is an AB Model 9VL. The small black dot on the hull is the location of the apparent bullet hole.

This is a closeup of the bullet hole in the hull from above.

Info plate on the dinghy.

Bullet hole in the hull of the dinghy from below.

The dinghy loaded on the front of the SENAFRONT boat.

This is the serial number plate on the dinghy.

Back view of the dinghy. In this view you can recognize the outline of a specially ordered custom stainless steel plate that Don North had made for this dinghy when he was in Colombia. Don North was concerned that someone would attempt to steal his outboard motor, so he had a special plate made up and the whole thing was screwed to the back of the dinghy. In other words, there was a custom modification made to this dinghy that identifies it as Don North's and there's no other dinghy exactly like it. You can see the six screw holes - and whoever removed the motor had to unscrew those six screws before they could remove both the motor and the stainless steel plate, as well as a lock bar that went across the top.

Finally, the Luminol testing conducted on this dinghy were negative. The Luminol technicians told me this was not really surprising if the boat was sitting out in the elements for a month, that even if there was blood in the dinghy it might have been washed away or otherwise destroyed by the elements.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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