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Photos Show Fugitive's Tattoos, Suspected Crime Scene in Marine's Slaying

Posted January 22, 2008

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— The FBI on Tuesday released photos of a Camp Lejeune Marine wanted in the slaying of a comrade to aid in his capture.

Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean, 21, is charged with murder in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20, whose burned remains were found in a shallow grave in Laurean's back yard in Onslow County.

Laurean has been the subject of a global manhunt for 11 days. The FBI said last week that he might have fled to Mexico, where he was born before moving to the U.S. and where he still has relatives.

The new photos show Laurean's tattoos, which authorities said might help people identify him. He has a tattoo of a phoenix rising from the ashes on his left upper arm and a large tattoo, possibly of a human skull layered over another image, on his right upper arm, authorities said.

Meanwhile, Onslow County Sheriff's Office investigators released photographs Monday from the crime scene where they believe Lauterbach was killed. Detectives took the five photos earlier this month at Laurean's home.

One of the photos is of a backyard fire pit where investigators found Lauterbach's charred remains, Capt. Rick Sutherland with the Onslow County Sheriff's Office said. The photo was taken when investigators arrived at the scene Jan. 11.

Among the other photos released were three of Laurean's garage, where investigators believe Lauterbach was killed, and one of his living room.

One of the garage photos shows a brown patch where fresh paint was applied in an attempt to cover up evidence from the alleged crime, investigators said. That piece of wall has since been removed and seized as evidence.

According to an autopsy, Lauterbach died of blunt force trauma to the head. Sutherland said investigators might have recovered the weapon used to kill Lauterbach, but they have not said what that weapon is. They also haven't disclosed a motive for her death.

Lauterbach had accused Laurean of rape in May, a charge he denied to military investigators. She was about  eight months pregnant when she was killed in mid-December.

Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown also said he found a shoe Monday in Laurean's back yard that he sent to be tested for the presence of blood.

Laurean's case was featured on the nationally televised crime show "America's Most Wanted" over the weekend, and Sutherland said the FBI was on the ground in a number of cities Tuesday following up on leads generated from the show. He wouldn't say where or in what country.

Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson has said he will not seek the death penalty againt Laurean if he is found in Mexico.

Under a 30-year-old policy, Mexico won't send anyone back to the United States unless the U.S. gives assurances it won't seek the death penalty.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Sandollar Jan 22, 2008

    I agree with book comment. I also think about the stepmother/mother what ever that women is will profit from Maria's death (insurance and book deal.) When the book comes out I do hope the woman that has spoken ill of Maria is more complimentary. Her comments helped delay the investigation and that should be an important part of the book too.

  • ladyblue Jan 22, 2008

    It has been so interesting listening to all the what ifs and the why hows and who done it. I too will be glad when they fit the pieces of this puzzle together. I also think the wife was involved either with the incident or after the fact. I'll bet this one will be a book one day

  • Adelinthe Jan 22, 2008

    "Under a 30-year-old policy, Mexico won't send anyone back to the United States unless the U.S. gives assurances it won't seek the death penalty."


    Praying for the Lauderbachs, and for his family here whom he just up and left holding the bag like a yellow-bellied coward. Marine? NOT!!!

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Sandollar Jan 22, 2008

    If there were no pics, stories and gruesome remarks, people would not stand up and catch this coward. Stories like this have to be kept in the public's eye so that someone will come forward with evidence. This is the only way many people get stirred up.
    I don't know Sheriff Brown. He has told us more than the Marines though. I don't blame him for electing someone else in his department to speak. News reports seems to take up a lot of time. The Sheriff is working now. Nancy Grace did him a great injustice. As she is trained she attacked him. She wouldn't let him finish a sentence. They kept having music over his comments. He stood up for his department and tried to tell her to let him answer her questions. In the early days of finding the bodies he was chosing his words because of a trail in the future. Many, many people couldn't do anywhere near as good as he did. Nancy Grace has training in this type of attack. She was a lawyer. You know how they question people.

  • JAT Jan 22, 2008

    Yeah, he said she went to his house in the note, but I had figured that was a likelihood from the start. She had the argument with her mom; left her house; then came back to her house where she left the note and took her things with her. She didn't appear coerced at the ATM machine. My thoughts are that she went over there to either hit him up for money or just to say goodbye and had an encounter with either the wife. If she was leaving, she'd likely want to see him 1 more time. Both people lied about their relationship, it sounds like. Both had reason to. Maybe he got mad because she was leaving & taking the baby; maybe the wife got mad; maybe the 2 women fought. It would be interesting to find the clothes and stuff, but it probably wasn't much so it was probaby just thrown away. It's also odd that the neighbors didn't come forward with info sooner. If I see my neighbor digging a fire pit, and I hear on the news he was involved with a missing woman, I'd call the cops.

  • JAT Jan 22, 2008

    lynnway, don't know who Elcid is so I didn't take any offense to it. :)

    nisa - again, get over it. You are not the first to lose a friend, you will not be the last. I was not the first to lose a cousin to rape and murder, and I will not be the last. You still don't see that you are agreeing with what I wrote. So be it.

    I now see that they are posting photos of his tattoos. But if he's getting help, it won't really matter.

  • illegals--GO HOME Jan 22, 2008

    Hey JAT, we only have Laurean's note saying Maria came by his house. Now, he has lied about her committing suicide.....can you tell me why we should believe he is being truthful about HER COMING TO HIS HOUSE??????? I, for one, don't believe anything in the note......a liar is a liar is a liar!!!

    For those who say she must have been on friendly terms for him to have her ATM pin number......having investigated many monetary crimes, people write their stupid pin numbers down on the backs of the cards....in their purses and wallets....on the covers you get to put the cards in, etc.....her purse contents are not known, so there is no telling how he got the pin number.

    I think, only a supposition, that when more facts become known, she was possibly tricked, coerced, or forced to go to his house.

    Remember also, he lied about ever having sex with her...says he was never at all intimate with her and there was no way the baby was his........what did he have to fear then????

  • nisa-pizza Jan 22, 2008


    Correcting you on your incorrect statements doesn't warrant you lashing out. (especially the last one.) Mentioning the other murders was in reference to JPD & OCSD experience in handling cases. I had no intention of going any further with details until you mentioned it. (Incorrectly stating things I might add.)

    I see that sensitivity is far from your strong suit which is a very sad thing. Hopefully you'll not have to go thru something like that. Losing a close friend isn't the easiest thing.

    Maybe you'll understand one day, but I just hope you don't have to experience it. Callous remarks when it comes to someone's death is pretty sad and childish. Your maturity or lack there of is showing.

  • kcfoxie Jan 22, 2008

    11 day world wide man hunt. This is really insane. This kid will be put under the jail just for the headache he's caused. I hope they find him soon.

  • doodad Jan 22, 2008

    Also previously mentioned, if the pit had been there prior to the murder, where is the evidence of black soot or charred wood. Surely it takes more material than charcoal to BBQ a whole animal?