BRAD HUNTER, Postmedia Network
, Last Updated: 8:45 PM ET
Scotty’s Crocodile Cove is a popular hangout for ex-pat North Americans living the good life in Belize.
It serves a good burger, good booze and good company.
And on Tuesday, it was where missing Toronto woman Francesca Matus, 52, and her 36-year-old American beau, Drew DeVoursney were last seen.
Matus the mother of twin boys and an investor who spends half her time in Belize was supposed to fly back to Canada Wednesday.
Local cops said they found Matus white 1998 Isuzu Rodeo abandoned in a thick sugar cane field about 15 kilometres from the watering hole. There was no sign of the couple.
Matus had been dating DeVoursney a Marine veteran of the Iraq War for several months.
His brother David told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the family is sick with worry. And there have few answers about the couples fate.
Its been a big mystery, he told the newspaper. Nobody down there has any clue what could have happened.
Its been a complete nightmare.
On Monday, friends gathered again at Scottys to continue searching for the pair.
Matus Facebook page was filled with prayers for the woman, who Belize pal Joe Milholen called, a great, great person.
Matus enthused about her love of Belize, its people and culture frequently on her Facebook page.
But over the last few years, the country has become increasingly dangerous.
The government even warns Canadian tourists to exercise a high degree of caution when traveling to the Central American nation due to a high rate of violent crime throughout the country.
Matus home is in Corozal, a town of 9,000 on the Caribbean Sea, popular with retired baby boomers and other free spirits.
But the small beach community is just 13 kilometres from the Mexican border where the streets have run red with blood as drug gangs fight for turf.
According to the Washington Post, because of Belizes porous borders, narco bloodshed has spilled into the small country. It is also an ideal jumping off point for drug trafficking.
The country the only English-speaking nation in Central America also faces the ticking time bomb of youth unemployment, pegged at 50%.
None of that appeared to matter to Francesca Matus who loved the good life under the tropical sun.
Most of her Facebook postings related to her time in Belize and her group of free-wheeling friends.
She wrote last May 16: To all my Belizean friends… Thanks for creating a whole new world for me… One Love.