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Police: Missing Marine bought, never used bus ticket

JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) — A pregnant Marine purchased a bus ticket the day she went missing from Camp Lejeune but never used it, the Onslow County sheriff said Friday.

Sheriff Ed Brown said the ticket was from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to El Paso, Texas.

Roshaun Hames told CNN affiliate WNCT-TV on Friday that he sold the ticket to Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach around 5 p.m. on December 14.

Hames said he thought Lauterbach was alone when she bought the ticket and that she drove off after asking if she could leave her car at the station, WNCT reported.

The ticket was good for six months, but Lauterbach was scheduled to use it December 15, Hames told WNCT, the day Lauterbach’s car was left near the station. Bus records show the ticket was never used, Hames said.

The sheriff also said Lauterbach’s ATM card was used at the Jacksonville Wal-Mart on December 24, according to CNN affiliate WITN-TV.

Brown is expected to talk to the roommate of Lauterbach on Friday morning and has scheduled a noon press conference with a major update in the case.

Lauterbach, 20, last contacted her family in Ohio on December 14 and was reported missing by her mother on December 19.

Documents released by Onslow County authorities on Thursday indicated Lauterbach may have left willingly, perhaps after being upset by a phone call.

The woman’s mother, Mary Lauterbach, told authorities that her daughter has a history of being a compulsive liar, a police report states.

Mary Lauterbach described having a firm conversation with Maria Lauterbach about her unborn child, telling her she should give the baby up for adoption because she is unable to care for it. Watch police face unanswered questions

Ms. Maria Lauterbach was telling Mary Lauterbach everything was fine, but Mary Lauterbach had a sense that the statements were not accurate, the report said.

Documents attached to a search warrant in the case cite the Marine’s mother as saying Lauterbach had been the victim of a sexual assault by a superior officer.

Brown said Thursday his office had not talked to the person accused in that case and referred any other comment to the Marine Corps. Officials at Camp Lejeune, where Lauterbach is based, have not commented on the assault allegations.

Earlier Thursday, Brown pleaded with Lauterbach to come forward and get help.

Regardless of the circumstances, this has got to stop, Brown said. You can’t run from those things in life.

Brown said he is leaning toward a positive outcome in the case. You pray that she’s alive, he said.

Mary Lauterbach said her daughter claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a senior officer, but the military investigation had gone sour, according to the Onslow County reports.

When police consulted with the military on the allegations, the military reported that the case was open, but it was difficult, due to inconsistencies provided by Maria Lauterbach, the reported victim.

Military investigators also confirmed the history of compulsive lying, the report said, adding Lauterbach was facing a possible discharge from the Marine Corps and was under personal and professional stress.

A Marine Corps Times story Thursday, citing unnamed sources, said Lauterbach may have fled her post after withdrawing the sexual assault allegations because she feared being charged with making a false statement. The newspaper said the allegations were lodged with Marine Corps officials last year and later withdrawn.

The Marine Corps has brought Lauterbach’s roommate, Sgt. Daniel Robert Durham, back to North Carolina from a training deployment in California to answer questions. Watch the sheriff say why he’ll talk with the roommate

The Onslow County report said Durham told police that he had made his home available to Lauterbach out of sympathy for her situation and that the two had shared the home for a short period of time.

Durham said he noticed nothing unusual in Lauterbach’s behavior before she disappeared, but he said, She had been upset by a phone call from her stepmother.

A few items of Lauterbach’s were missing, he said — her car, some cosmetics and clothing — that led him to believe she may have left willingly. However, Durham told police that Lauterbach was confined to bed most of the time because of her pregnancy and that she was in no shape for extended outings, according to the reports.

Brown called Durham a close friend who may be the last person known to have talked with Lauterbach before her disappearance.

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 was found Monday in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant, Brown said, and apparently had been there since December 15. The car was processed, he said, but nothing of value was found.

Investigators have said a withdrawal from Lauterbach’s bank account was made on December 14 and there was suspicious activity on the account 10 days later. Police reports said Lauterbach’s ATM card was used at a Marine Federal Credit Union by a man who attempted to cover the surveillance camera with a rag while he withdrew money from her account.

A search warrant released with the other documents Thursday seeks Western Union records, saying authorities have reason to believe Lauterbach may be receiving financial support through money transfers.

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.
found here.

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January 11, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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