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Husband arrested in OC missing wife case

October 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
New information leads authorities to arrest the husband of an Orange County woman in her disappearance on a popular Caribbean island.Leta Lynn Cordes's body has never been found, but authorities on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten say they have new information in the case. Frank Cordes, Leta's husband, was taken into custody at his home on the island on Tuesday. Frank Cordes is behind bars, but he has not been charged.

Nearly 10 months after 49-year-old Leta Cordes disappeared during an island getaway, authorities in St. Maarten are calling her husband, Frank Cordes, a suspect.

"We have done extensive investigations into the disappearance of Leta Cordes. And also done all sorts of technical investigations too. And that led us to the situation when we said, 'Now we're ready and able to pose some probing questions to Mr. Cordes to see what he has to say.' And what we can learn from confronting him about what he knows," said an investigator.

Leta and Frank Cordes are from Mission Veijo, but own a vacation home in the Dutch territory of St. Maarten.

Leta went missing on the night of Jan. 11.

Leta's husband of 20 years claimed she walked to nearby hotel casino to gamble after a night of drinking. However, the hotel checked surveillance video and claimed Leta never arrived that night.

Search dogs canvassed the island for days but found no evidence of Leta.

Cari Honstein of Norco is Leta's best friend. Honstein has been working with authorities in the U.S. and the Caribbean to help find Leta.

On Tuesday Honstein got a call from the St. Maarten Police Department with news that Frank Cordes had been arrested in the case.

"I am literally sick to my stomach about the whole thing. There's no words ... I don't want it to be Frank, I pray it's not Frank, and I can't say that he did or didn't do it," said Honstein.

Honstein describes the whole situation as sad. She says there isn't a day that goes by when she doesn't think about Leta and wonder whether she'll ever see her friend again.

"She's on my screen-saver ... she's in my heart, she's in my heart every single day," said Honstein.

St. Maarten officials can't say what type of charges Frank Cordes may face. They say he will go before an investigative magistrate on Friday to determine whether authorities acted accordingly to the law.

Authorities say it is unlikely that Frank Cordes will be released on bail.

 

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