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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Ann Location: Pennsylvania on Feb 15, 2008 at 08:26 AM
    I like to know if he fathered the unborn child
  • by L Location: Edenton on Feb 4, 2008 at 06:34 PM
    Kevin/Raleigh: My deepest condolences to you & your family. Though I am so very sorry about the circumstances that brought it forth, I thank you, for taking the initiative to push this House Bill & letting myself, and others, know what we can do, to support it. You have my families support & we have joined your efforts, by submitting our comments & sending them to our state leaders. Thank you & again...I am so sorry, for your loss.
  • by patsy Location: kinston on Feb 1, 2008 at 03:30 PM
    To Kevin/Raleigh: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your daughter and your grandchild. It is a terrible tragedy and although we did not hear of this as we did with this case, I will keep you in my prayers. I will also send an email to the State leaders.
  • by K Location: Ohio on Feb 1, 2008 at 02:59 PM
    I agree , the Lord will use this in a POWERFULL way, and protect HIS unborn. Concerning the mother, she tried very hard to be honest in spite of public opinion, not wanting to candy coat , she knew MARIA as a human being and LOVED HER with all of Maria's humanity, and if MARIA would have ran away, (as the Police were telling her) think about your child hearing you say she is dead, I believe she was holding on to HOPE! Has for the mother of the other murdered child and unborn grandchild, you are in my prayers and your pain should also be heard
  • by Kim Location: Colerain on Feb 1, 2008 at 09:07 AM
    To Melissa: The Bible says that our Lord God knew us before we were ever in our mother's womb. He knows the number of hairs on our head. I believe that life begins the moment you are conceived.
  • by kristina cagle Location: emerald isle north carolina on Jan 31, 2008 at 06:15 PM
    this is terrible.... i dont understand how someone could do something like that.
  • by Kevin Location: Raleigh on Jan 31, 2008 at 04:38 PM
    To everyone that believes we must do something about this. My daughter was murdered last June in Raleigh, she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. When they catch the person who did this they will not be charged with two murders. THIS IS WRONG. You can help us change this. Please go to our website, and fill in your comments on the House Bill 263 page and hit submit, it will then send an email to our state leaders. They need to know that this Bill has to be passed. There is no family that should have to deal with this pain, knowing that their child or grandchild was not considered a baby, a viable human being.
  • by Pattie Location: New Mexico on Jan 31, 2008 at 04:03 PM
    It breaks my heart to hear everyone, including Nancy Grace, obsess over the mother's comments, and how they slowed the investigation. The mother was a distraught parent, and she gave information she thought might be important, and I'm sure she now regrets it. Give her a break, and look instead, at how that information was used to incriminate Maria, by agencies that had a duty to act in a professional manner. A fearful mother's comments, should be forgiven. Direct your anger at the Sheriff and the Military, who know better than to let those comments affect their investigation. Let's hope none of us will be judged and condemned, the way the mother has been. I hope the family sues the s**t out of the agencies that allowed the suspect to escape suspicion, and escape the country! Think of how much money is now being spent, which a thorough investigation could have prevented.
  • by Carol on Jan 31, 2008 at 03:58 PM
    Melissa, then you must not have children. A baby has a beating heart at 6 weeks gestation. At 23 weeks gestation, the baby has a very good chance of survival if it were to be born. And definitely 2 weeks away from the due date, the baby would survive. And with everything being normal, that rate is much higher. How would you feel if you were 8 1/2 months pregnant and you were beat or shot and you lived but lost your baby just weeks away from delivery? How would your husband or family feel if you were that far along and were shot and killed and both you and the baby died? I don't think you would feel so great!
  • by Melissa Location: Greenville on Jan 31, 2008 at 02:24 PM
    "LIFE" begins the moment the first breath is taken,NOT AT CONCEPTION!All a fetus is,is a possibility of life.There is no guaranty the Embroy-Fetus will survive thought the whole pregnancy!
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