Hundreds Pay Respects To Maria Lauterbach

By: Heather King / Bill Wilson
By: Heather King / Bill Wilson

Hundreds of people have paid their respects to a pregnant Marine from Ohio who was killed in North Carolina

The American flag-draped casket of a Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach was accompanied by a smaller one holding her unborn child during a visitation in Vandalia, Ohio, yesterday.

Lauterbach was reported missing in mid-December. Her burned remains and those of her unborn child were found in the back yard of Corporal Cesar Laurean in Jacksonville, North Carolina, last month.

Investigators think Laurean fled to his native Mexico.

Lauterbach last year had accused Laurean of rape. They served together at Camp Lejeune.

Mexican authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Laurean.

North Carolina prosecutors have agreed not to seek a death sentence if he's arrested in Mexico.

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Funeral plans are now in place for Maria Lauterbach and her unborn baby. The 20-year-old Marine's body was found burned and buried in Onslow County on January 12. Lawmen say she was murdered in December.

An online obituary says Maria and her unborn baby son named Gabriel Joseph will be buried this Saturday at St. Christopher Catholic Church in Vandalia, Ohio. The 10 a.m. funeral mass will be followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery. The obituary says friends can call the church Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Lauterbach Family has set up a fund in Maria's memory. Donations can be made to:

Vandalia Butler Foundation, Maria Lauterbach Athletic Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 722, Vandalia, OH 45377.

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