FBI: Marine Slaying Suspect Likely in Mexico

CNN, January 16, 2008

The FBI suspects Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean, sought in the slaying of a pregnant fellow Marine, has fled to his native Mexico, an FBI spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“At this point in time we strongly suspect but have not confirmed that Laurean fled to Mexico,” said Newsom Summerlin, FBI media representative in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Laurean, 21, is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, and a naturalized citizen who lived in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area before joining the Marines.

The FBI said it is working with Mexican authorities to find and arrest Laurean if he is in Mexico.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said a Spanish-language version of the FBI’s wanted poster on Laurean was being developed Wednesday and would be posted on the embassy Web site.VideoWatch friend talk about suspect, Lauterbach »

The officials are hoping local media outlets will pick up the poster and publish it. Anyone in Mexico with information is asked to contact the legal attache at the embassy, officials said.

On Tuesday, officials confirmed Laurean’s Dodge pickup was at a motel near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Laurean had not checked into that motel, officials said. VideoWatch motel employee talk about suspect’s truck

Laurean faces murder charges in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20, who had accused Laurean of rape and who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared in December. Her charred body and a fetus were found buried Friday behind Laurean’s house near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

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The Marine’s wife gave authorities a letter Friday in which her husband allegedly wrote that Lauterbach had committed suicide in their home, and he buried the body in their backyard.

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Lauterbach last summer took out a protective order requiring Laurean to stay away from her, but Marine officials said Tuesday she told victims’ advocates at Camp Lejeune that she didn’t feel unsafe being around Laurean.

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Laurean continued to report for work on time in the weeks after Lauterbach’s disappearance and denied having any kind of sexual contact with her, Sokoloski said.

Months earlier, Lauterbach had told superiors at Camp Lejeune, that Laurean had raped her.

However, “At no time did she indicate that she was threatened by Cpl. Laurean,” Sokoloski said. “When she was asked if she felt threatened by Cpl. Laurean, she said she did not feel threatened.”

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When Lauterbach failed to show up for work December 17, the military was concerned, mainly because of the advanced state of her pregnancy, Hill said.

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Military officials did not have contact with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office until December 27, after learning Lauterbach’s mother had filed a missing persons report with them six days earlier, Hill said.

As part of the missing persons investigation, Laurean was interviewed on base by Onslow County authorities and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. But he was interviewed as a possible witness, not a suspect, and was not detained, Hill said.

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