On the day we left Sint Maarten (February 25th) I happened to pick up a copy of "Today," the local newspaper, and was surprised to read that another female American tourist had disappeared from a Caribbean island – January 12th! I hadn't previously heard anything about it, perhaps because Leta Cordes was 49, not a teenager, like Natalee Holloway, but it seems that other aspects of the case might have generated more media attention in the U.S..
The article I read seemed to cast suspicion on the husband, Frank Cordes, who had reported her missing the day after, he said, she had left their vacation home on foot at 11PM to go the nearby Westin Casino, about a ten-minute walk. He said that she had been drinking and had asked him for gambling money and keys to the car. He told her she was too drunk to drive (it's treated very seriously here) and also refused to give her money, but she later left without his immediately realizing it.
His lawyer had sent a series of questions to her friends asking them to verify various past behaviors she had exhibited, including that they had known her to make that walk at night before, and that if she consumed alcohol and planned to gamble, would not be easily stopped by friends or family. It sounded like he was trying to build a case against her rather than trying to find out what had happened.
However, earlier reports do not paint so clear a picture. He realized, he said, that when a wife disappears, the husband is always the first to be suspected. And a friend of twenty years had reported that she was not surprised that Leta Cordes ignored her husband's request to stay home after a night of drinking. "If she makes up her mind to do something, she's going to do it," she said.
Also, he said, the security system of the Westin is still in its infant stage and employees might have been pressured by management to change previous statements that they had seen her enter the casino, but stated otherwise twelve days later.
The most intriguing fact to come out yet is a domestic disturbance call he made a year earlier when she had attacked him with a knife during an argument – about travel insurance!