Sheriff Discounts Suspect's Suicide Claim

Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown says physical evidence found inside Cpl. Cesar Laurean's home is inconsistent with a note left by the suspect.

Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach disappeared three weeks ago, days after she talked to military prosecutors about a rape case against Laurean. Friday Brown said information from another woman, a former Marine, left them certain she is dead.

Before fleeing Jacksonville Friday, Laurean left a note that said Lauterbach had "come to his residence and cut her (own) throat," Brown said.

The sheriff says the note claims Lauterbach came to Laurean's home, the two had an argument, and she killed herself.

But Brown says blood found in the house is inconsistent with Laurean's claim. "Evidence now is showing that what he claimed happened didn't happen," he said.

Authorities learned about the note from Laurean's wife, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. In the note, the person said, Laurean wrote that he had nothing to do with Lauterbach's suicide, but that he had buried her body.

Laurean's wife, Christina, is "heartbroken," said her mother, Debbie Sue Shifflet.

"I feel sorry for the other family," Shifflet said. "It's horrible what they're going through. My heart goes out to them."


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  • by Just passing it on... Location: Jacksonville on Jan 13, 2008 at 03:16 PM
    Saw this on myspace... just passing it on. There will be a Candle Light Ceremony for Maria and her baby at North East Creek Park.. If you can go PLEASE do. We can go in groups so no one feels alone that night. If this community bands together something CAN be done. We will all feel safe if only for that short period of time. 1-18-08 candle ceremony for maria january 18th 2008. At 7pm North East Creek park
  • by Tim Location: Newport on Jan 12, 2008 at 08:17 PM
    Kris Location: New Bern :In Reply of (I agree!! Pure Evil!!!!! is what he has done. No sin will go unpunished.)Here or there
  • by Sandra Location: Jacksonville, NC on Jan 12, 2008 at 08:17 PM
    If he wasn't guilty of anything, he shouldn't have ran. Running makes him look guilty, so it makes it so you can't believe she killed herself. If she did kill herself he should have called 911 and told them what she done. But seeing he didn't do that either it makes him look more guilty. And then burning/burying her body, GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY! Even if all he did was improperly bury a body. But at the moment we only know what the police want us to know and until everything, if ever, comes out we can only speculate.
  • by Kris Location: New Bern on Jan 12, 2008 at 03:23 PM
    It is bad enough that Cpl Laurean killed another person. It is even worse when he murdered a fellow Marine and her unborn child. It is an extremely sad day in the Marine Corps when a Marine commits a crime against another Marine, as in this case. A Marine Corporal, a non-commissioned officer, trains junior Marines, leads them in battle, ensures they have a place to sleep, food to eat, a roof over their head, and clothes on their back. They DO NOT hurt the Marines in their charge. In my mind, Cpl Laurean ceased to be a Marine when he committed this heinous offense. This person, I don't consider him a man, deserves to be hunted down and taken care of like a rabid dog. He is showing his true colors by running from his mistake instead of standing up to it like a man.
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