Local News

Indictment Sought in Case of Slain Pregnant Marine

Posted January 23, 2008 5:32 p.m. EST
Updated January 24, 2008 10:39 a.m. EST

— Onslow County authorities on Thursday plan to present evidence in the slaying of a pregnant Camp Lejeune Marine to a grand jury for a possible indictment.

Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean, 21, has been charged with murder in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20. Her charred remains were found two weeks ago in a shallow grave behind Laurean's Onslow County house.

Laurean has been the subject of a global manhunt since Jan. 11, when he disappeared after leaving a note for authorities claiming that Lauterbach had committed suicide and that he buried her in a panic.

Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said Wednesday that FBI evidence he has reviewed indicates that Laurean crossed the border into Mexico by bus within two days of fleeing.

Laurean was born in Mexico – he became a U.S. citizen and was living in the Las Vegas area before joining the Marines – and has relatives there.

Hudson said he wants to obtain an indictment against Laurean to bolster his extradition case with the Mexican authorities if Laurean is captured in that country. An indictment would allow him to lay out the entire case against Laurean, including physical evidence and witnesses, he said.

He already has agreed not to seek the death penalty against Laurean. Mexico has for decades resisted extraditing people to the U.S. who could face a capital case.

Lauterbach, who accused Laurean of rape last spring, was reported missing Dec. 19. She was about eight months pregnant at the time.

According to an autopsy, she died of blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators said they believe they have recovered the weapon used in the slaying, but they haven't disclosed what it is.