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Pregnant Marine missing from North Carolina base

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  • Lance corporal due to give birth at any time, sheriff says
  • Marine's car found Monday at bus station
  • Mother reported Marine missing on December 19
  • Sheriff: Marine was to testify about incident at base, according to mother
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(CNN) -- A search is under way for a pregnant 20-year-old Marine who has been missing from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, since December 14.

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Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was eight months pregnant when she went missing on December 14.

Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach could give birth at any time, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown told the Jacksonville, North Carolina, Daily News on Monday.

The sheriff's department said Lauterbach's mother said that her daughter, of Montgomery, Ohio, had witnessed an incident at Camp Lejeune and was to testify about it.

Sheriff's department officials said evidence causes them to be concerned about Lauterbach's disappearance, WITN reported.

The Marine's car was found Monday at Jacksonville's bus station, Brown told the Daily News, and her cell phone had been found at Camp Lejeune's front gate on December 20.

Her mother reported her missing on December 19, and told the sheriff's department "that she was very suspicious that something bad may have happened to her daughter," the department said in a news release. Video Watch Lauterbach's mom say what raised her concerns »

Investigators told the Marine Corps Times that a withdrawal from Lauterbach's bank account was made on December 14 and said there was "suspicious activity" on the account 10 days later. December 14 was also the last time Lauterbach's cell phone was used, authorities told the Marine Corps Times.

The Raleigh News and Observer, citing Brown, reported that the woman's mother said her daughter phoned home or her relatives up to 12 times a week and the mother became concerned when she did not hear from her daughter for five days.

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A Facebook page established to help find Lauterbach says she was last seen December 14 in Jacksonville. "Call mom!!! You know the number," the page says. "All of us love you and we miss you. Please come home!"

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The page contains pleas for contacts from fellow Marines and friends of Lauterbach in Ohio.

Lauterbach is a personnel clerk assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, the Marine Corps said. She joined the service on June 6, 2006. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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