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Mexico issues warrant for Laurean a week after sighting

  • Story Highlights
  • Six days after alleged killer tracked to Mexican town, Mexico issues arrest warrant
  • U.S. asks Interpol to post formal wanted notice for fugitive Cpl. Cesar Laurean
  • Police say Laurean killed Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was pregnant
  • Mexico traditionally refuses to extradite U.S. suspects facing death penalty
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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- Six days after Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean was tracked to a town in Mexico, a Mexican court issued an arrest warrant Monday for the alleged killer, the U.S. Embassy said.


The FBI has released this picture of fugitive Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean with a tattoo on his left arm.

The provisional warrant authorizes Mexican police to follow leads and to arrest the 21-year-old Laurean -- who's accused of killing pregnant Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and burying her in the back yard of his North Carolina home.

Authorities believe Laurean fled to his native Mexico to avoid prosecution in the case and on Monday the United States asked for help in finding him from Interpol, the international police organization.

CNN correspondent Harris Whitbeck tracked Laurean last Tuesday to the Mexican town of Zapopan, where liquor store owner Juan Antonio Ramos Ramirez identified himself as Laurean's cousin.

Ramos said he had seen Laurean a week earlier and the Marine told him he was traveling "with some buddies for a few days." Video Watch more from Zapopan »

The Interpol-United States National Central Bureau, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, said Monday it had requested that Interpol publish a "Red Notice" -- Interpol's formal wanted notice -- on Laurean.

Once published, data on Laurean will be accessible by Interpol's 186 member countries, and published in four official languages -- English, Spanish, Arabic and French. Interpol had not published the Red Notice on Laurean by Monday night.

Onslow County, North Carolina, District Attorney Dewey Hudson confirmed information from a law enforcement source that Laurean had traveled by bus to Mexico. The source said he boarded a bus for Houston, Texas, on January 11, arriving the following afternoon. See timeline of the case »

In Houston, the source said, the Marine bought a bus ticket to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, probably arriving January 13 in Guadalajara -- not far from Zapopan.

Hudson started the process on Friday that led to Monday's provisional arrest warrant in Mexico.

Laurean was indicted in North Carolina last week on charges of murder, ATM card theft, attempted card theft, fraud and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The indictments allege that Laurean forcibly stole money from Lauterbach's bank account, killed her on December 14 and then used her card on December 24 in Onslow County.

Lauterbach was reported missing on December 19, and the charred remains of her body were found in Laurean's back yard on January 11. Police found the remains after Laurean's wife produced a note her husband had written. In the note, Laurean said Lauterbach slit her own throat during an argument.Video Watch CNN's Nancy Grace explore whether wife was involved »

An autopsy, however, indicated she died from a blow to the head.


Mexico does not allow capital punishment and has a long-standing record of refusing to extradite to the United States suspected murderers who face possible death penalties after conviction.

Hudson has said he has "no other option" but to take the death penalty off the table if Laurean is found in Mexico. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Harris Whitbeck and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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