Sheriff: Missing Marine Was To Testify As A Crime Victim


    (CNN) -- A pregnant Marine missing from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was the victim of a crime and was to testify about it, the Onslow County sheriff told CNN affiliates.
    [​IMG] Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was eight months pregnant when she went missing on December 14.


    A search is under way for 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who has been missing from Camp Lejeune since December 14.
    Sheriff Ed Brown told CNN affiliate WECT that other people in the military could be involved with the Marine's disappearance and that they may have tampered with her car and cell phone.

    Brown told WRAL that investigators want to talk to a male roommate of Lauterbach's who may be on deployment and could be considered a person of interest in the case.
    "Until you can interview him and eliminate, you still consider them as key people of concern," the sheriff said.
    Lauterbach's phone was found at a Camp Lejeune gate on December 20. Her car was found at a Jacksonville bus station on Monday, the sheriff told WECT. But the car was not there during the weekend, he said.
    "The more that we have suspicious things come up, the more concern we have that something is not right in this lady's disappearance," Brown said.
    Lauterbach, of Montgomery, Ohio, was eight months pregnant when she went missing and may have recently given birth or be about to, Brown told CNN affiliate WITN.

    Mary Lauterbach, the Marine's mother, reported her missing on December 19, and told the sheriff's department "that she was very suspicious that something bad may have happened to her daughter," the department said in a news release.

    Mary Lauterbach told the Dayton Daily News on Wednesday that she last spoke to her daughter on December 14 in what she called "a very normal conversation."
    The mother told CNN affiliate WDTN that later that day she got a phone call from her daughter's roommate saying Maria had left their house. Calls she made to her daughter's cell phone after that went unanswered, Mary Lauterbach told the Dayton newspaper.
    Investigators told the Marine Corps Times that a withdrawal from Lauterbach's bank account was made on December 14 and said there was "suspicious activity" on the account 10 days later.

    The Raleigh News and Observer, citing Brown, reported that Mary Lauterbach said her daughter phoned home or her relatives up to 12 times a week and the mother became concerned when she did not hear from her daughter for five days.
    A Facebook page established to help find Lauterbach says she was last seen December 14 in Jacksonville. "Call mom!!! You know the number," the page says. "All of us love you and we miss you. Please come home!"

    The page contains pleas for contacts from fellow Marines and friends of Lauterbach in Ohio.
    Lauterbach is a personnel clerk assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, the Marine Corps said. She joined the service on June 6, 2006.

    What I find appalling is that the Marine Corp didn't list her as missing, and they wait for 30 days before listing them as AWOL. (Absent Without Leave. Something aint right about this case at all.
  2. The 30 days of leniency was mainly established for people that just straight up run away from the service, not ones that go gives them a chance to wake up and realize they are in serious sh**, and hopefully come back and face more minor consequences...once you are listed as AWOL or a deserter, you are screwed!

    It's unfortunate that there aren't better measures in place for those who have something more sinister happen to them.

    Would she have a reason for running away?
  3. this breaks my heart when i hear pregnant women that go missing.
  4. Her mother said she suffered from bi-polar problems and was also a compulsive liar. However, this reallyyyyy sounds like sour grapes to me, because there is no medical backup for it. Surely as a Marine, they'd have known if she displayed any mental problems long before now.

    And another thing that bothers me about the family is that although she fits the perfect profile of a MWWS (Missing White Woman Syndrome), being blonde, pregnant as well as about to testify in a rape trial against a "superior officer" in the military... this is tabloid fodder at the very least, and it's just NOW coming out?

    The mother also said that "If she comes home now, we'll accept her back unconditionally." Makes me wonder if there were conditions before. It's also been said they wanted her to give the child she was carrying up for adoption. All and all, it sounds rather strange. Especially for the mother of the missing woman.

    Candice, I knew about the AWOL thing, I looked further into it. I know I didn't explain it very well the first time. I really forgot the rules of AWOL and asked DH about it, and literally translated what he said. But I'm still having problems with the fact this Lance Corporal had been missing a month, and we are just now hearing about it.
  5. You'd be surprised at how much slips through the cracks with health stuff. I mean, just look at how they had kept misdiagnosing soldiers returning from combat! LOOOOOOTS of stuff goes on that nobody knows about. And I'm not about to make any assumptions about any of this quite yet. I just hope that nothing bad happened to her, and if she ran away or did something drastic on her own accord, she should be ashamed of herself.

    I agree the mom thing sounds kind of weird...I want to know more about that.
  6. Oh no, they just found her and she's dead!

    By MIKE BAKER, Associated Press Writer 13 minutes ago

    JACKSONVILLE, N.C. - A pregnant Marine missing for nearly a month is dead, and investigators were seeking a fellow Marine she had accused of sexually assaulting her, authorities said Friday.

    Authorities had not recovered the body of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Frances Lauterbach, but they believed she was buried in a shallow grave in a residential area of coastal Onslow County, Sheriff Ed Brown said.

    The suspect, 21-year-old Cpl. Cesar Armando Lauren, has declined to meet with investigators and is not in custody, he said.
    "They don't know where he is," Brown said of the suspect. "He's gone."
    Lauterbach had claimed a superior had 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 in a military probe.
    Naval investigators said Friday the military was pursuing rape charges against Lauren, and had planned to hold a hearing in December.
    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 senior military person."
    Brown said Lauren refused to speak with detectives, on the advice of his attorneys. Authorities said they didn't consider Lauren a flight risk until Friday, because they had information the pair carried on a "friendly relationship" after she reported the assault to military authorities.
    The State Bureau of Investigation and the Marine Corps were assisting in the search for Lauren, who had not been charged with Lauterbach's death.
    Lauterbach, originally from Dayton, Ohio, was reported missing Dec. 19 by her mother, who last spoke with her daughter on Dec. 14, authorities said. Her cell phone was found Dec. 20 near the main gate at Camp Lejeune, and she missed a scheduled Dec. 26 prenatal care appointment.
    Authorities found her vehicle at a bus station near the base on the Atlantic coast, and an employee there has told investigators it has been there since about the time of her disappearance. Brown said Friday she had purchased a bus ticket to El Paso, Texas, the day after she spoke with her stepmother, but the ticket has not been used.
    (This version corrects that information came from woman's mother, not her stepmother.)
  8. You know, I would prefer it if she had gone AWOL or done something stupid...

    That is horrible. I'm so sorry to read about this update.
  9. Just to clarify, they have NOT found her body yet. I don't know why Sheriff Brown states she's dead, there is no evidence of it yet, IE, her body. Unless Cpl. Lauren admitted to killing her, (and now he's AWOL too) then they can't state this with 100% accuracy.

    I don't doubt she's dead, pregnant people just don't disapear without a trace, but until she's found, they shouldn't say for sure.

    Candice, you are right. I forgot some of the things that happened with me when I was a military wife. I helped bust a ring of soldiers back in 83 who were drinking and gambling while on duty, although I didn't know I was doing it at the time. It apparently had been going on for years, and involved some pretty high up NCO and CO's.

    Still, this case reeks. I'm not sure now who said all the sour grapes, now they say something about words attributed to the step-mother was really the mother? Geesh. WHY can't they report something correctly?
  10. It sounds like the details surrounding this story are nothing short of FUBAR!
  11. They think they found her body.

    Jacksonville — Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said Friday evening that he believes investigators have found what could be the skeletal remains of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach.

    Sheriff Ed Brown said investigators discovered a cavity in the back yard of the Marine wanted in connection with her death and that it produced a "suspicious situation" that needed to be contained and protected until daylight.
    Brown said he believes that cavity "will eliminate moving any further in looking for the body."

    Meanwhile, a nationwide search is under way for Marine Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean, who authorities believe might be involved in her death.

    Crews searched for hours Friday in a residential area off North Bryan Road in Onslow County and made the discovery sometime before 6 p.m. They had said they believed Lauterbach's body was buried in a shallow grave.

    Laurean, 21, of 103 Meadow Trail in Jacksonville, is not in custody and disappeared shortly after 4 a.m. Friday, Brown said.

    "They don't know where he is," Brown said. "He's gone."

    The State Bureau of Investigation and the Marine Corps are helping search for Laurean. He is described as a white man, standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He is believed to be driving a black 2004 Quad Cab Dodge pickup with North Carolina license plate TRR-1522, officials said.

    Lauterbach met with military prosecutors in December to discuss pursuing rape charges against Laurean, said Kevin Marks, the supervisory special agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) at Camp Lejeune.
    He said prosecutors believed they had enough evidence to argue that the case should go to a court martial, the military equivalent of a trial.

    In a search warrant filed this week, prosecutors 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 senior military person."
    Laurean, as a corporal, is one enlisted grade higher than Lauterbach, a lance corporal.

    Brown said Laurean refused to speak with detectives, on the advice of his attorneys. Authorities said they didn't consider Laurean a flight risk until Friday, because they had information the pair carried on a "friendly relationship" after she reported the assault to military authorities.

    Lauterbach, who was expected to give birth in February, was reported missing on Dec. 19, and her car was found Monday night at a bus station near Camp Lejeune, where she was based. Investigators found her cellular phone along N.C. Highway 24 on Dec. 20.

    At Friday's news conference, Brown said the investigation had taken many ups and downs.

    Earlier in the day, he had hinted that a positive outcome was still possible. Brown said Lauterbach bought a one-way bus ticket to El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 15, but she never used it. During their search, investigators and family members said they were unsure if she had run away.

    That was before detectives received news of Lauterbach's death from an unidentified female witness who is a former Marine, the sheriff said.

    Finding out that the Lauterbach was dead "knocked the air out of my sail," Brown said.

    Despite information from a search warrant affidavit that Lauterbach and her mother, Mary Lauterbach, had a heated exchange over the baby and whether to give it up for adoption, the Lauterbach family released a statement prior to Friday's news conference saying the conversation was pleasant and related mostly to a holiday visit to North Carolina.

    According to a news release issued Friday afternoon by Camp Lejeune, Laurean, originally from Clark County, Nev., joined the Marine Corps in September 2004 and was promoted to corporal in September 2006.
  12. I agree.:yes:
  13. it makes me absolutely sick to hear about rape investigations that aren't taken seriously, and it certainly seems like this one wasn't. it's stuff like this that makes crime victims not report the terrible crimes done to them, and now to find that it has resulted in revictimization and murder by her original attacker.

    between the decapitated hiker from Athens, the UGA student they just found in the lake around the corner from my apartment, and this poor woman, it makes me really question EVERYONE i encounter.
  14. This is a very disturbing situation, SO is a marine he's really not down to talk to me about it, the other day he said she heard she was crazy, so I was like well uhhmm what about her being raped? like someone else said things just slip through the cracks. Dont like this one bit! something smells uhmm not kosher!

    On a side note just think that baby was due in a few weeks!unbelivable just flippin disturbing!
  15. OH man.