State News

Key dates in the Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach case

Posted January 12, 2008
Updated August 8, 2010

Some key dates in the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach:

Sept. 13, 2004 - Cesar A. Laurean, of the Las Vegas area, enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps.

April 6, 2005 - Laurean joins his current unit, a combat logistics regiment based at Camp Lejeune.

June 6, 2006 - Maria F. Lauterbach, of Dayton, Ohio, enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Nov. 23 - Lauterbach joins Laurean's unit.

May 11, 2007 - Lauterbach tells military officials she was raped by Laurean on March 26 and while on duty about two weeks later. She later tells investigators that the March incident was consensual and the second encounter didn't involve force or coercion.

May 12 - Marine commanders order Laurean to stay away from Lauterbach. Lauterbach is reassigned to a new position so she and Laurean would work in separate buildings.

May 24 - A military protective order is issued against Laurean.

June 25 - The protective order is automatically renewed for the first time.

June 27 - Lauterbach's pregnancy is confirmed. Officials estimate a May 14 conception.

Sept.  20 - The protection order is automatically renewed for the second time.

Oct. 18 - Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents recommend no disciplinary action against Laurean until DNA evidence can be obtained from Lauterbach's child to verify her allegations.

Oct. 22 - Marine commanders submit a request to send the rape case to the military's version of a grand jury.

Nov. 5 - Lauterbach moves to off-base housing to prepare for the birth of her child. She also changes her official statement that her pregnancy resulted from an alleged rape.

Dec. - Lauterbach meets with military prosecutors to discuss her rape allegation against Laurean.

Dec. 14 - Lauterbach's stepmother last speaks with her. Lauterbach leaves a note for a roommate saying she's leaving, takes some clothes and other items and withdraws $700 from an ATM.

Dec. 15 - Lauterbach purchases a one-way bus ticket to El Paso, Texas. The ticket is never used. Authorities believe Lauterbach was killed on this date.

Dec. 17 - Lauterbach doesn't report to work. Camp Lejeune officials begin to investigate her unauthorized absence.

Dec. 19 - Lauterbach's mother reports her missing to police in Ohio. A missing person investigation begins in Onslow County, North Carolina

Dec. 20 - Lauterbach's cell phone is found along a highway near the main gate at Camp Lejeune.

Dec. 24 - An unidentified white male attempts to use Lauterbach's ATM card. Military protection order against Laurean expires.

Dec. 26 - Lauterbach misses a prenatal care appointment.

Dec. 27 - Camp Lejeune officials are notified of the missing person report filed with Ohio and Onslow County authorities.

Jan. 7, 2008 - A new protection order is issued against Laurean. Lauterbach's car is found at a bus station in Jacksonville, N.C. Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown is informed about the case, and detectives execute their first search warrant.

Jan. 8 - Laurean is brought in for questioning as a witness, but he declines to answer and asks for an attorney. Police search the laptop computer of Marine Sgt. Daniel Durham, Lauterbach's roommate. Authorities later conclude he is not involved.

Jan. 9 - The Onslow County Sheriff's Office notifies Camp Lejeune officials that Lauterbach's disappearance might involve foul play. Marine Corps officials say they will cooperate with the investigation.

Jan. 10 - Civilian authorities request Durham be returned from a training mission in California for questioning. According to search warrants, Laurean tells his wife, Christina, he buried Lauterbach's body near their house, out of fear, after she killed herself at their home.

Jan. 11 - Authorities believe Laurean flees Jacksonville at 4 a.m. His wife, Christina, delivers a note from him to investigators, and they announce they believe Lauterbach is dead. Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson says that evening that burnt human remains had been found in Laurean's back yard, and Brown says blood spatters were found inside the house.

Jan. 12 - Authorities complete an excavation of a fire pit in Laurean's back yard and issue a warrant for his arrest. A jogger finds Lauterbach's ATM card outside a Greyhound bus station in downtown Durham. Witnesses report seeing someone matching Laurean's description at a bus station in Shreveport, La.

Jan. 13 - Laurean is placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

Jan. 14 - A $25,000 reward is posted for Laurean's capture, and a manhunt for him expands across the country. A memorial service is held in Ohio for Lauterbach.

Jan. 15 - An autopsy confirms burned remains found in Laurean's back yard belong to Lauterbach and her unborn child. Laurean's truck is located at the Microtel Inn in Morrisville.

Jan 16 - FBI authorities say Laurean has been tracked to Texas, and agents are dispatched to Mexico to expand the search.

Jan. 22 - Authorities release photos of the suspected crime scene and photos showing Laurean's tattoos, in hopes they will help in his capture.

Jan 24 - An Onslow County grand jury indicts Laurean on five charges: first-degree murder, financial card theft, attempted financial card fraud, fraud and robbery with a dangerous weapon. District Attorney Dewey Hudson said he has agreed not to pursue the death penalty against Laurean if he is captured in Mexico, which traditionally resists extraditing suspects that could face a death sentence.

Feb. 2 - Lauterbach is laid to rest after a funeral Mass St. Christopher Catholic Church in Dayton, Ohio.

April 10 - Mexican law enforcement looking for a kidnapping suspect spot Laurean in Tacambaro, Michoacan, a small town between Mexico City and Guadalajara. He is arrested. He had apparently been living in a three-room cabin in the mountains above the village for weeks and living off avocados in an orchard. He had 10 pesos, less than a dollar, in his pocket when he was caught.

Aug. 15 - A former intern in the Onslow County District Attorney's Office is charged with stealing records from the Laurean case file and trying to sell them to the media.

Nov. 3 - Laurean's wife is granted a two-week leave from the Marine Corps to visit her husband in a Mexican prison.

April 14, 2009 - Mexican courts denied Laurean's appeal of an extradition order from the U.S.

April 17 - Laurean returns to Onslow County and is placed in the county jail.

April 20 - Laurean makes his first court appearance and is denied bond. He is appointed a public defender.

May 7 - In a report completed by the Department of Defense Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, DNA analysts conclude that Laurean wasn't the father of Lauterbach's child.

May 13 - Laurean separates from the Marine Corps.

June 8 - Laurean pleads not guilty to all charges in the case.

Sept. 30 - Defense attorneys ask that the trial be moved from Onslow County because of extensive pre-trial publicity.

Jan. 25, 2010 - Laurean's trial is moved to Wayne County, and a trial date is set for June 28.

Aug. 9 - Pre-trial motions are heard, and jury selection begins.

Source: Court documents, AP interviews, news conferences and WRAL reports.


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  • Mugu Aug 9, 2010

    I guess that since Laurean was not the father, that put her rape story in the fiction section. She should be more careful who she sleeps with and who she tries to take advantage of. Hell hath no fury like a man scorned.

  • ridgerunner Jan 13, 2008

    If the Marine Corp had taken her compliant a little more seriously perhaps she would still be alive but this is very typical they do to little or go overboard at the slightest compliant of sexual harrassment.

  • linh40 Jan 12, 2008

    Seems to me this "Barney Fife" sheriff did his job and it was the military that was lacking.