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Mother Remembers Slain Marine as Spunky Athlete

The mother of a murdered pregnant Marine remembered her daughter as winning athlete who wanted to defend her country when she grew up. She called for the Marines to better protect the women in their ranks.

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Lance Cpl. Maria Frances Lauterbach
DAYTON, OHIO — Fourth-graders remembered a slain marine by running a victory lap during an annual fitness day event she participated in 10 years ago.

About 1,000 Miami Valley fourth-graders ran the lap Saturday in honor of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach at the Spring for Elementary School Day Fitness Challenge.

On Saturday, Mary Lauterbach remembered her daughter as an athletic and spunky fourth-grader who surged ahead from last place during the homestretch to win the 400-meter race in 1998.

The mother released home video to CNN showing Lauterbach at high school soccer games, dribbling the ball and scoring goals. She tells the camera:

"For after high school, I am going to go into the Marines. So I'll probably be doing that for 20 or 25 years, and then hopefully after that becoming a cop."

Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean is suspected in the Dec. 14, 2007, slaying of Maria and her unborn son, whose charred remains were found buried in his back yard in Jacksonville Jan. 11. Laurean was captured Thursday in Mexico after a 3-month manhunt.

In a CNN interview, Mary Lauterbach said her daughter's murder should prompt the Marines to do more to protect women in the ranks who bring forward allegations of abuse.

Lauterbach accused Laurean of rape last April, a charge he denied and one that naval investigators were unable to corroborate. The Marines have said their regimental commander was intent on taking the case to a hearing that could have led to a trial.

Lauterbach said that after she filed charges, an unidentified man assaulted her in a parking lot on base one night and that she suffered other harassment, including her car being keyed.

Even though Lauterbach later told investigators she did not feel Laurean posed a danger or threat to her, the pair was separated on base. Lauterbach and Laurean were personnel clerks in the same logistics unit at Camp Lejeune.


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