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18-Year-Old Sentenced For Killing Westchester Woman, 23, In Panama

Friends of Catherine Johannet of Scarsdale hung this poster in hopes of finding the 23-year-old who was missing in Panama.
Friends of Catherine Johannet of Scarsdale hung this poster in hopes of finding the 23-year-old who was missing in Panama. Photo Credit: Contributed

An appeal is already in the works after a teenager tried as a juvenile received a 12-year prison sentence for strangling a 23-year-old Westchester woman to death in Panama last year.

Catherine Johannet, a 2011 graduate of Edgemont High School, was found dead on Feb. 5, 2017 beside a trail on Isla Colon in Bastimentos after she had been reported as missing.

Her convicted 18-year-old murderer - whose name was not released because he was 17 at the time and considered a minor in Panama - was subsequently convicted of charges that include rape, robbery and murder.

Prosecutors in Panama filed an immediate appeal in an effort to get a longer sentence for the murder, stating that the teenage murderer committed numerous crimes, according to multiple media reports.

According to reports, Johannet arrived in Isla Colon on Jan. 31 last year and stayed in a local hostel. She was last seen alive on Feb. 2 before her body was found.

Johannet’s mother called the sentence, “a message that women can be raped and killed without suffering an appropriate penalty,” according to a report in Panama. She went on to say “it is an insult to women, families and all good people with the message that such a horrendous crime has such minimal consequences.”

"The Edgemont school community continues to be saddened by such an untimely, tragic loss of life," Edgemont Schools Superintendent Victoria Kniewel said in a statement. "Catherine's zest for life and her promising future were taken away from her, her family and her friends all too soon. We have all of them in our thoughts and prayers."

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