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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