Friday, January 11, 2008

Maria Lauterbach Dead - Cpl. Cesar Laurean is Prime Suspect

A nine-month pregnant Marine missing for nearly a month is dead, and investigators were seeking another Marine whom she had accused of sexually assaulting her, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown said Friday midday.
[To make sure everyone gets the story straight, Lauterbach originally stated that a senior officer has raped her. Later, it was determined that a fellow enlisted Marine was the perpetrator.]

Authorities had not recovered the body of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Frances Lauterbach, but believe she was buried in a shallow grave off Gum Branch Road (near North Bryan and Meadow Trail in Jacksonville, NC), Sheriff Brown said. Police are also likely checking a nearby creek.

Brown and an NCIS officer both stated that a witness (identified only as a female) came forward early this morning with tangible evidence that led them to believe Lance Cpl. Lauterbach and her unborn child are dead. Law enforcement spokesmen said the mother & child were killed on or shortly after December 20, 2007.

Maria Lauterbach had originally claimed a superior officer sexually assaulted her, and she was worried that the investigation was going nowhere, according to court documents. She vanished last month before she was to testify during an Article 32 proceeding. Brown said the Marine, now identified as Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean had declined to meet with investigators, who no longer knew his whereabouts. "They don't know where he is," Brown said of the suspect. "He's gone." According to Brown, Cesar Laurean left Jacksonville this morning in a black Dodge pickup truck (NC tag has 1522 in it).

Brown said Lauterbach may have been due to give birth January 8. The police reports, however, said she was due on February 14 and did not show up for a prenatal medical appointment December 28.

Lauterbach's cell phone was found on a roadside near Camp Lejeune on December 20. Her car (a 2006 Hyundai Sonata) was found Monday in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant (near the bus station), Brown said, and apparently had been there since December 15.

The court papers said the anticipated birth of the baby "might provide evidentiary credence to charges she lodged with military authorities that she was sexually assaulted by a military person."