Local News

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

Posted January 22, 2008 12:02 p.m. EST
Updated January 22, 2008 3:45 p.m. EST

— 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.