Surveillance Videos Show Fugitive Marine

December 22, 2008 2:04:27 PM PST
Police have released new surveillance videos they believe show the Marine corporal suspected of killing a pregnant fellow Marine who had once accused him of rape.

The video, which will be aired on "America's Most Wanted" today, shows Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean shopping with another man in a Lowe's home improvement store two days after it is believed that he killed Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, police said.

Police also believe that Laurean, 21, is the man seen in a surveillance video taken at an ATM in Jacksonville, N.C., on Dec. 24. Laurean withdrew money from the ATM using Lauterbach's account, according to the Onslow County Sheriff's Department, which released the videos.

"We have released to all media outlets the images that we have that we believe will assist the public in spotting Laurean," Onslow County Sheriff's Department spokesman Capt. Rick Sutherland said in an e-mail.

The charred remains of Lauterbach, 21, and her unborn child were found a week ago buried in a fire pit in Laurean's backyard. Both Lauterbach and Laurean were stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Police believe Laurean fled Jacksonville on Jan. 11, around 4 a.m., as their search forthe missing woman was zeroing in on his property. Four hours later, his wife Christina Laurean gave investigator several notes that her husband had left behind. The police immediately changed the Lauterbach case from a missing person's case to a murder investigation, and named Laurean the prime suspect in her death.

The FBI has since displayed a Laurean wanted poster on digital billboards across the country and are working with Mexican police on the belief that he has slipped into Mexico. Laurean was born in Mexico and still has family there.

A warrant for Laurean's arrest issued last weekend charges Laurean with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for murder -- a move that set off a nationwide manhunt.

Laurean was born in Mexico, but became a naturalized U.S. citizen. It's not known whether he retained his Mexican citizenship, although investigators said that he has family in Mexico.

Since Cesar Laurean's disappearance, letters arrived for Christina Laurean with Houston postmarks. The woman, who has been described by authorities as a cooperative witness, handed them over to authorities.

Authorities will not rule out that Laurean is hiding in the United States and say that possible leads continue to pour in from inside the country.

Onslow County authorities announced Thursday that a witness had also turned in the weapon that may have been used in Lauterbach's death, which the autopsy determined was caused by a blow to her head.

"We do have an item that we believe is consistent with the findings of the medical examiner and we believe it could be the murder weapon," Sutherland said.

Authorities would not confirm a report that the suspected murder weapon was a crowbar.


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