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Slain Marine's ATM card found in Carolina bus station

  • Story Highlights
  • Slain Marine's ATM card found in North Carolina bus station
  • Sheriff: Maria Lauterbach was killed four days before she was reported missing
  • Nationwide manhunt on for Cpl. Cesar Laurean
  • Lauterbach had accused Laurean of raping her
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JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) -- The ATM card of slain Marine Maria Lauterbach was found in a Durham, North Carolina, bus station over the weekend and the truck of the Marine suspected of killing her was reported in the area, police said Monday.


Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20, last spoke to relatives in the Dayton, Ohio, area on December 14.

The search for that suspect, Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean, was "Earthwide," Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown said at a news conference Monday. He said the FBI is offering a $25,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to Laurean's capture.

Brown also said Monday that police were unaware Lauterbach had taken out a military protection order against Laurean in May.

Laurean has evaded authorities since Friday, when his wife gave authorities a note the Marine had written saying Lauterbach, 20, had killed herself and that he had buried her in the backyard of their home near Camp Lejeune, police said.

Brown said he expected Laurean was getting help in hiding and asked friends or family to turn in the Marine corporal if he makes contact.

"I would imagine he's getting help ... even though he's committed this horrible crime, he's still got friends," Brown said.

Laurean, 21, of Nevada, is believed to have been driving a black Dodge pickup with North Carolina license plate TRR1522.

The sheriff described the 5-foot, 9-inch tall, 160-pound Laurean as "dangerous," especially if cornered. Video Watch announcement of $25,000 reward »

A warrant for Laurean's arrest on murder charges was issued over the weekend. The FBI said Monday it has also obtained a federal warrant for Laurean's arrest on charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Electronic billboards with the wanted poster for Laurean will soon be appearing across the country, the FBI said.

Brown said evidence shows Lauterbach, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her disappearance, was killed on or about December 15, four days before she was reported missing to local law enforcement authorities.

Her burned body and a fetus were believed to have been found Saturday in a pit in the backyard of Laurean's home. An autopsy was pending.

Lauterbach, a lance corporal who worked with Laurean, had accused Laurean of raping her last spring.

Brown described the scene authorities found in Laurean's back yard over the weekend -- a charred body with a fetus.

The fetus was developed enough that the "little hand was about the size of my thumb. The little fingers were rolled up," he said.

"One of the things that will probably stick with me for a long time, and forever, is that little hand, the way those fingers were turned, that had been burned off the arm. That is bizarre. That is tragic. And it's disgusting."

Lauterbach disappeared from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, shortly before she was to testify at a military hearing about her rape accusation against Laurean. See timeline of events in the case »

Lauterbach's relatives believe her pregnancy was the result of the alleged rape, said Lauterbach's uncle, Peter Steiner, a Kentucky psychiatrist.

Lauterbach's mother, Mary Lauterbach, reported her as missing from Camp Lejeune on December 19. Mary Lauterbach said she had not talked with her daughter for five days.

Brown reacted strongly Monday to accusations police did not actively pursue Laurean as a suspect in Lauterbach's disappearance despite the rape allegation and a military protection order she took out against him in May.

A military report on the alleged rape, which Lauterbach said happened in April, did not include Laurean's name, Brown said. On Saturday, Brown said the military protection order, which expired in September, was not shared with civilian law enforcement.

"We had no reason to be on his trail," Brown said of Laurean. "This has nothing to do with the civilian world. Nothing about this had anything to do with the civilian world."

Brown said police learned Laurean's name January 7.

The Marines are investigating what information Lauterbach's superiors had and what steps were taken regarding the case, the Marine Corps said in a statement released Sunday evening.

Military officials have said Laurean was not taken into custody after Lauterbach reported the alleged rape because there was information the two carried on "some sort of friendly relationship" after she filed the complaint.


"The information ... leads us to believe that she still had some kind of contact" with him, said Paul Ciccarelli, agent in charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service field office at Camp Lejeune.

Steiner disputed that, and said the two had no relationship at the time. Steiner also said his niece "was consistently harassed by other Marines. Her car was keyed. In the last couple of months of her pregnancy she was slugged in the face by an anonymous person." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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