Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Murdered Marine: You call this an investigation?

Randi Kaye
360 Correspondent

Today, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown announced he won't be talking to the media anymore, until Corporal Cesar Laurean is caught.

Laurean is the U.S. Marine charged in the brutal murder of fellow Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child.

He's been on the run since last Friday. Police believe they recovered Lauterbach's charred remains in a fire pit behind Laurean's home over the weekend along with those of her baby.

Sheriff Brown has been holding press conferences daily and doing one-on-one interviews with local and national media.

Now he says it's time to get back to work and we shouldn't expect a word from him until Laurean is behind bars.

I've never heard of holding a press conference to announce you're NOT going to hold press conferences anymore. But nothing in this case has been business as usual.

The Marines knew Maria Lauterbach had accused Cesar Laurean of rape and didn't give the Sheriff his name until January 7th, TWENTY days after she disappeared.

The Marines knew Laurean was forbidden to go near Lauterbach. A military protective order was issued in June 2007. It had expired in September 2007, but the Marines never even told Sheriff Brown about it. He told me he wasn't aware of it until last weekend when his deputies found the paperwork in Lauterbach's car.

Can you imagine?

Turns out there is no protocol in place for the Marines when it comes to sharing information with civil law enforcement.

The Onslow County Sheriff's Department was the lead investigating agency on this case. The Marines didn't have to tell them everything. But they certainly could have.

Would it have saved Lauterbach's life? Tough to say. But it certainly may have prevented this massive manhunt for the key suspect living just a few miles away from the Sheriff's Department this whole time.

Sheriff Brown, no doubt, is frustrated. Last night he said he hadn't realized how many times his investigators had been rebuffed when they tried to talk to the Marines about the Lauterbach case, until he read the full report. So if I were him, I'd probably keep quiet for a while, too...
Posted By CNN: 11:23 AM ET
Yep...seems as though this case was botched from the beginning. I don't think that anything that the Onslow Sheriff's department didn't know until recently would have saved Lauterbach's life but it would have given them evidence to question or hold Laurean with. Then maybe all of this searching wouldn't have to be done.

I can't see why the military withheld the restraining order or Laurean's name from the police. That to me is stupid. I think there needs to be something done about all of the police, military and FBI and any other agency sharing information. It needs to be made a law that they have to.

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 11:47 AM ET
Are we surprised by this? Its already a known fact most of our law enforcement does not communicate or share information the way it should. So it is really not a surprise that the military withheld this information. Its not right and they should be legally obligated to tell law enfocement anything that may help. The marines are a very well trained unit. So now there is this man fleeing from police who is trained to survive without any help. And sorry to say probably has alot more knowledge than our basic police officer
Posted By Anonymous Nikki : 12:00 PM ET
The US Marine Corps is responsible for the death of Maria Lauterbach. I imagine they thought they could take care of their own. Obviously, they were dead wrong.

Sheriff Brown is only another victim in this scenario. He could not do his job because of the military's protcol in working with civilian law enforcement.
Posted By Blogger Sharon from Indy : 1:55 PM ET
The thing that bothers my wife and I, is that nothing is EVER mentioned about this guy's wife!! Where was she when this "crime" took place, where was she when he buried her, where was she when the house was "cleaned" and "painted", did she live in the house with him? Did she put pressure on him to "END" these charges he was facing? Why is she like a "nobody" in this whole thing? It doesn't make any sense!!! It is hard to believe she knew NOTHING until she got this note, Where did she even get the "note", when she woke up that morning? Please, if you can, explain all this, and, open up OUR eyes!! Thank You, Art, Sisters, OR.
Posted By Anonymous Art, Sisters, Or. : 2:18 PM ET
There should definitely be some kind of protocol in place to co-ordinate the actions of the military and civilian law enforcement in cases such as the Lauterbach case and any other cases which might arise in the future.

Because in the future, I'm sure, there are going to be many cases of mentally disturbed soldiers committing crimes as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. A person can't go through the horrors of war without becoming effected himself, and we are not providing enough resources for our returning soldiers who need this kind of help.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 3:03 PM ET
I've been waiting patiently for Ed Brown to zip his mouth. Maybe someone reminded him that its not his campaigning days anymore.

The Marine Corps is too quiet and he is too loud. Maybe if they meet in the middle this guy will turn himself over to the authorities.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly : 3:21 PM ET
I agree that it is foolish for the Marines to withold information that could have helped the investigation simplely because they are not REQUIRED by law to do so. If any one else had done so, they would be charged with hindering an investigation. Maybe it is time to make it a law and hold the military just as responsible as a civilian. It is sad to think that this lady was killed and someone who should have been investigated was eliminated because the military did not want to show it made a mistake or did not handle things the way they should have.
Posted By Anonymous Vickie : 3:52 PM ET
The day LCpl Lauderbach did not report to morning formation that should have been red flag #1, so many local Authorities should have been notified to see if she was in the hospital, jail, etc.
Red flag #2 when LCpl Laudebach reported Cpl Laurean on rape charges he would of been the first person I would have been looking for to question.
Red Flag #3 If the time Lcpl Lauderbach reported a rape she should of been monitored daily for her safety, who did she work closely with (the Lance Corporal network they know everything), did any senior member step in to say "We need to help her". Someone must of seen something going on during working hours and on liberty.
Red flag #4 She was 8 of 9 months pregnant, she would of been placed on half days (all pregnant marines receive this for medical reasons)she would not have been allowed to reside in the barracks (Marine Corps order), she would of had to move out in town to begin establishing a household for her and her baby. Last note who was she living with, because on a LCpl income she would not of had enough money to rent on her own? So many questions and so many errors conducted. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a command Investigation beging conducted right now, begining with the Staff Noncommissioned Officers, Command Sergeant Major thru the Base Commanding General. It was the duty of the Enlisted Marines & Unit Sergeant Major to look out for LCpl Lauderbach. About Cpl Laurean, he will be caught and he will be punished for this unforgivable crime, whether in Levenworth or NC State Prison.

Retired Marine
Posted By Blogger C.Susan : 4:44 PM ET
Why are we not hearing more info about the wife giving the letter to the sheriff? Sheriff Brown said that he believed Lauterbach was dead before she was reported missing. So why did it take so long for Laurean's letter to make it to the sheriff's office? I would be asking just how much did the wife know and did she hold the letter back to give him the opportunity to get ahead of law enforcement?? Although she is "cooperating" how could she not know that a murder took place in her home and the effort that was made to clean it up??
Posted By Blogger Amy New Orleans : 6:15 PM ET
Alot of unanswered questions in this case. 1. Why wasn;t the restraining order put back in force once it ran out. They said there was inconsistency to her report of the rape but said that there was enough to take it to trial. 3. How could a wife not know someone had been killed in her home. On one video they interviewed the neighbor and he said the wife made the statement THEY had been painting the garage. I feel that the Sheriff's Dept has done well considering all the obsticles put in their way. Why was Laurean appointed a lawyer before being charged with the crime. Why isn;t he being Charged with the death of the baby. Had the baby been born at that time it could of lived. It is sad that a family had to lose a daughter and grandchild. I am sure his family is hurting just knowing their son is capable of such a crime.
Posted By Anonymous Peggy Schoneweis Richlands Va : 7:04 PM ET
A woman was sexually assaulted, the Corps apparently did more to protect the perpetrator than the victim, the victim and her unborn child are now dead as a result of those actions at the hand of the alleged perpetrator, the Corps and the sheriff's office didn't communicate with each other worth a flip, and the sheriff's office wants to keep the media out of the picture. How much more dysfunctional does this have to get? Watching this story unfold is almost like watching bad reality TV. A Marine and her child were murdered by a Marine she said sexually assaulted her. A woman and her child were victimized and killed. Nothing else should matter but finding the perpetrator and bringing him to justice. And if the media are the only people with the guts enough to bring the truth to light and demand unbiased justice for this woman and her child, by all means let them do their jobs and help make it happen.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Berwick, LA : 7:06 PM ET
Thank God for Art in Sisters Or. i have been thinking the same thing. What is all the hush hush about the wife. I am sure she knows way more then is being published. How long have they been married? Did he rape this girl while they were married? Did the wife want this woman dead because she didn't want a kid around that looked like her husband? This guy is the worst of the worst. And who can't see GIANT LAWSUIT
coming down the road against our US Marines? I'm sure congress is right now putting money aside for it.
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 9:23 PM ET
I find it hard to believe that it took 4 days for the mother to be the first to realize she was missing. I married a military man and my sister is a marine as well. If youre late, they call and even come to your home if necessary. If she was 8 months pregnant that should have brought more concern as well that she did not show up for duty. On top of having a restraining order against someone, she should have been checked up on more. In the military they dont just let things slide.
Posted By Anonymous Kayleen, Mesa, AZ : 10:08 AM ET
My condolences go out to her family ... the way it looks is that their saying " If you wanna commit murder and get away with it,Go to Mexico",there you'll be free ... so sad .. I hope somebody over in Mexico gets him for what he did to that poor innocent baby and mother to be.. God be with Maria Lauterbach and her sweet baby. As far as his wife...they should hold her too for knowing what happened and holding off until he escaped.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie from Tucson,Az. : 11:12 PM ET
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