State News

FBI Releases Altered Photo of Fugitive Marine

Posted April 5, 2008 7:41 a.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2008 12:47 p.m. EDT

— The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday released an altered photograph of a Camp Lejeune Marine wanted for the slaying of a pregnant comrade who had accused him of rape.

The photo shows what agents believe Cpl. Cesar Laurean would look like with a beard and darker skin.

FBI agents said they do not know if Laurean has changed his appearance, but thought the picture could help identify him.

Investigators believe that Laurean has fled to Mexico. He was born in Guadalajara before moving to the U.S. and becoming an American citizen.

"America's Most Wanted" also planned to feature the killing of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach in its Saturday episode. The show added Laurean to its "Dirty Dozen" list, which features fugitives the show considers most dangerous.

A jury indicted Laurean on first-degree murder charges in Lauterbach's death on Dec. 14, 2007. The indictments allege that Laurean threatened her with a blunt object to steal money and her ATM card.

Authorities found the charred remains of Lauterbach and her unborn baby buried in Laurean's back yard near Camp Lejeune. An autopsy determined Lauterbach died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Laurean fled Onslow County on Jan. 11 – the day before her remains were uncovered.

Mexican officials issued a warrant for Laurean's arrest after receiving assurances that U.S. prosecutors would not pursue the death penalty. Family members said Laurean visited them for a few days mid January, but he has not been seen since.

Interpol – an international crime-fighting agency based in Lyon, France – issued a Red Notice for Laurean that has been circulated in 186 countries in Arabic, English, French and Spanish.

Laurean left behind a note for his wife saying that Lauterbach cut her own throat and that he had buried her body.

Military authorities had been investigating rape charges that Lauterbach filed against Laurean in April 2007, although she later backed off some of those claims.

Anyone with information about Laurean's whereabouts should contact the FBI at 704-377-9200.