New developments in Marine murder case

May 28, 2008 5:36:01 PM PDT
More than 200 court documents are were released Wednesday in the case against a Camp Lejeune Marine accused of killing a pregnant colleague and burying her in his backyard.

Search warrants, affidavits and other documents reveal Cesar Laurean's elusive run from the law, and that the internet and a phone card lead to his capture.

One of the most recent search warrants shows how investigators tricked Laurean in his final days on the lamb.

The US Marine and Mexican National had apparently been hiding in his native country since driving to the Triangle and hopping a bus in early January; right after he apparently realized he was a suspect in fellow Marine 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach's disappearance.

The burned remains of Lauterbach and her fetus were found in a shallow grave in Laurean's backyard Jan. 11, a day after authorities believe Laurean fled his home in Jacksonville.

Laurean is charged with Lauterbach's murder. Lauterbach had accused Laurean of rape prior to her death.

Authorities have said Lauterbach was about eight-months pregnant when her burned body was found in a shallow grave in Laurean's back yard in Jacksonville. Investigators believe she was killed in mid-December.

According to one warrant he switched buses, possibly using an alias. The Federal Bureau of Investigation determined that a man using the name Armando Ramirez departed on a bus from Houston, Texas to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Throughout the documents its obvious Laurean stayed in touch with family members through the internet.

According to a search warrant one of those contacts happened just days before his capture.

On April 3, a confidential witness (CW) spoke to Laurean via computer.

Laurean requested a calling card from CW so that Laurean could call the CW. Law enforcement provided an AT&T calling card to the CW to deliver to Laurean.

The warrant ordered AT&T to provide call tracking to investigators.He was arrested April 10 in San Juan de la Vina in the Mexican municipality of Tacambaro, where he remains jailed.

Laurean is awaiting extradition, a process that could take a year or more.

Though he fled to Mexico, his online activities indicate that he wasn't necessarily in hiding.

A motion from prosecutors says FBI agents analyzed Laurean's home computer a few days after he fled in January. Besides his research on Mexico, prosecutors said Laurean was following online news coverage of the search for Lauterbach before her burned remains were found buried in his backyard.

Laurean had told friends that he would flee to Mexico if it appeared he would be convicted of rape. But Onslow County Sheriff's Capt. Rick Sutherland said evidence suggests he didn't start planning to flee until after Lauterbach's disappearance.

It appears Laurean's constant contact with his wife and family eventually led to his capture. He frequently logged into an e-mail account belonging to his wife, Christina, and left her messages.

Laurean and Lauterbach were assigned to the same logistics unit at Camp Lejeune, a sprawling base on the North Carolina coast that is home to about 50,000 Marines.

The two were separated on base, even though Lauterbach told investigators she did not feel Laurean posed a danger or threat to her. The Marines have said their regimental commander was intent on taking the case to a hearing that could have led to a trial.


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