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Suspect in Marine killing spotted, manhunt under way

JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) — A man suspected of killing a pregnant Marine in North Carolina may be heading to Texas, according to police.

Authorities on Sunday said they were zeroing in on Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean, charged with first-degree murder in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. Witnesses said a man fitting his description was seen either on a bus or getting off a bus that was heading to Texas.

But Onslow County, North Carolina, Sheriff Ed Brown cautioned, That doesn’t mean he has to be tied to going that same direction.

We don’t know if he is still in the area. We believe it may have just been a pass-through. We received information he may be headed into Texas, Shreveport police Chief Henry Whitehorn Sr., told The Associated Press.

Despite all this, Brown said he was confident that Laurean will be located, and, I think it will be sooner than maybe we had expected.

He added, I think it will be a short vacation for Mr. Laurean. Watch Brown say he is confident Laurean will be found

When asked why Laurean wasn’t arrested when he was seen on Saturday night, Brown said it was because he wasn’t sighted by law enforcement. We told the folks in the general public, don’t try to detain him.

Brown said police believe Laurean could be a dangerous and violent person if he was put in a corner. Watch Brown’s update on the case

The remains of an adult and a fetus were found Saturday in a shallow grave in Laurean’s backyard in North Carolina, Brown announced Saturday.

Laurean has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, although authorities have not positively identified the body as hers.

This is consistent with what we were looking for: A pregnant lady who is the victim Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child, Brown said.

The body was charred, and the fetus was in the victim’s abdomen, Brown said, describing the scene.

The fetus was developed enough that the little hand was about the size of my thumb. The little fingers were rolled up, he said.

One of the things that will probably stick with me for a long time, and forever, is that little hand, the way those fingers were turned, that had been burned off the arm. That is bizarre. That is tragic. And it’s disgusting. Watch Brown describe the scene

The remains were taken to the Onslow County medical examiner’s office. They will next be sent to the chief medical examiner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for DNA testing and comparison with dental records.

Lauterbach, 20, was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in mid-December, not long before she was to testify at a military hearing about her rape accusation against Laurean.

Lauterbach’s relatives believe her pregnancy was the result of the alleged rape, said Lauterbach’s uncle, Peter Steiner, a Kentucky psychiatrist.

Laurean, 21, of Nevada, is believed to have left the base at 4 a.m. Friday, and a nationwide manhunt is under way.

He is believed to be driving a black Dodge pickup with North Carolina license plate TRR1522.

Investigators said that Laurean vanished four hours before his wife, Christina, approached Brown with a note from her husband claiming that Lauterbach had committed suicide, and he buried the body.

Brown said Friday that blood spatter evidence was found inside Laurean’s home, even on a ceiling. There was evidence of an attempted cleanup, including an attempt to paint over the blood spatter, he said.

Evidence now is saying what he’s claiming happened did not happen like he said it happened, Brown said of Laurean.

Lauterbach’s mother, Mary Lauterbach, reported the young woman as missing from Camp Lejeune on December 19. Mary Lauterbach said she had not talked with her daughter for five days.

Military officials said Laurean was not taken into custody after Lauterbach reported the alleged rape because there was information the two carried on some sort of friendly relationship after she filed the complaint against him.

The information … leads us to believe that she still had some kind of contact with him, said Paul Ciccarelli, agent in charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service at Camp Lejeune, this week.

Because of that, Laurean wasn’t considered a flight risk, he said.

Steiner disputed that and said his niece had no relationship with Laurean.

Ciccarelli also said the rape investigation is still active. See a timeline of the case

On Friday, authorities questioned Lauterbach’s roommate, Sgt. Daniel Durham, but said he had no apparent ties to her disappearance or death. Authorities have not released any details from that interview.
Suspect in Marine killing spotted, manhunt under way – found here.

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January 14, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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