Fugative Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean Caught in Mexico … Awaiting Extradition for Murder of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach


U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean has been a fugitive for three months and is wanted in the rape and murder of 20-year-old USMC Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach. The man hunt for Laurean began after the remains of missing Maria Lauterbach were found in a fire it where Laurean had burned her body and that of Lauterbach’s unborn baby.

Cesar Armando Laurean_FBI

Cesar Armando Laurean

This just in … breaking news … Cesar Armando Laurean has been captured in Mexico and is in custody. Laurean has been arrested and has already been indicted in the US on charges of murder, ATM card theft, attempted card theft, fraud and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The FBI says it has taken a North Carolina-based Marine wanted in the brutal murder of a pregnant colleague into custody in Mexico.

The FBI office in Charlotte said Thursday night that special agents and Mexican authorities have arrested Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean. Laurean is charged with murder in the slaying of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach (LOW-ter-bahk).

The FBI says Laurean is awaiting extradition back to the U.S.


 Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach/US Marine Corps Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean

UPDATE I: FBI arrests suspect in slaying of Marine

The FBI did not say when or where in Mexico Laurean was arrested, but said he is awaiting extradition to the U.S.

“Laurean’s swift arrest in Mexico was due to the diligence and dedication of the Mexican government and our law enforcement partners,” Nathan Gray, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Charlotte office, said in a statement.

Cesar Laurean3

Cesar Laurean

UPDATE II: Capture of Cabin Dweller Cesar Laurean Shocks Mexican Villagers Who Knew Him

UPDATE : Why Isn’t Wife of Fugitive Marine not being arrested for Obstruction of Justice?

The wife of Cesar Laurean, Christina, knew where the marine fugitive was and refused to help the authorities find him. Why is she not being arrested on charges of obstruction of justice?

Onslow County Sheriff’s Capt. Rick Sutherland said Cpl. Cesar Laurean repeatedly asked his family and his wife, Christina, for resources after he fled in January to Mexico.

“She specifically denied to provide those resources when she was asked,” Sutherland said. “She knew that was against the law.”

He added: “We received cooperation from family members. … That got us to the place we are today.”


Posted April 10, 2008 by
Crime, Mexico, Murder | 13 comments

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  • Comments

    13 Responses to “Fugative Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean Caught in Mexico … Awaiting Extradition for Murder of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach”

    1. misskatie on April 10th, 2008 9:27 pm

      awesome finalyyyyyyyyyyy thank you lord…
      justice for the maria and her baby. r.i.p

    2. misskatie on April 10th, 2008 9:34 pm





    3. misskatie on April 10th, 2008 10:01 pm

      RALEIGH, N.C. – A Marine wanted in the brutal slaying of a pregnant colleague who had accused him of rape was arrested Thursday night in Mexico after a three-month international manhunt, authorities said.


      FBI agents and Mexican authorities arrested Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean around 7 p.m. EDT. He is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, whose burned remains were found in January in the back yard of his home near Camp Lejeune.

      “You know my name. You know who I am,” Laurean told The Associated Press while being held at the Michoacan state Attorney General’s Office in Morelia, the state capital.

      Asked if he wanted to say anything, Laurean simply said “Proof,” but wouldn’t explain.

      Laurean appeared slightly disoriented. Asked what he would do next, he replied, “do I have a choice?…I don’t know.”

      Magdalena Guzman, a spokeswoman for Michoacan, Mexico, state prosecutors office, said police carrying out an anti-kidnapping operation stopped Laurean as he wandered on a street in the rural township of Tacambaro, Michoacan, because they thought he looked suspicious.

      When they realized he didn’t speak Spanish well, they became even more suspicious. After running his name through a computer, they realized Laurean was wanted in the U.S. to face charges in the Lauterbach’s death.

      Guzman said Laurean told the arresting officers he had only 10 pesos (about US$1) in his pocket when arrested, and that he had been surviving by eating avocados and other fruit he found in the fields of the farming community where he was found.

      The FBI said Laurean, 21, is awaiting extradition to the U.S.

      “Laurean’s swift arrest in Mexico was due to the diligence and dedication of the Mexican government and our law enforcement partners,” Nathan Gray, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Charlotte office, said in a statement.

      “This was truly an international effort, and we will do all we can to ensure Laurean is brought back to Onslow County (N.C.) as quickly as possible to answer the charges against him.”

      Authorities believe Laurean killed the 20-year-old Lauterbach, an Ohio native who was eight months pregnant when she died, in mid-December. Detectives have said he left behind a note for his wife in which he denied killing Lauterbach but admitted to burying her remains.

      In the note, Laurean said Lauterbach committed suicide by cutting her own throat.

      Authorities rejected the assertion, saying evidence indicates Lauterbach died of blunt force trauma to the head.

      Tipped by the note, and not long after authorities went public in their search for the Lauterbach, detectives discovered the charred remains of the missing Marine and her fetus in a shallow grave in Laurean’s backyard. Under North Carolina law, Laurean could not be charged in the death of the fetus.

      Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson told The Associated Press that investigators recently seized a computer belonging to Christina Laurean’s sister, which Christina Laurean was using to communicate with her husband. He said he didn’t know if evidence from the computer led directly to Laurean’s arrest. He declined to discuss the contents of the communications, but authorities previously said Christina Laurean was cooperating with detectives.

      “Just communicating with her husband is not against the law,” Hudson said. “To be an accessory after the fact you have to show someone provided assistance like information or money, and we don’t have any evidence of that.”

      Lauterbach and Laurean were both personnel clerks in the same logistics unit at Camp Lejeune, an expansive coastal base that is home to roughly 50,000 Marines. Detectives believe Laurean killed Lauterbach on Dec. 14, after forcing her to remove money from her bank account.

      Lauterbach accused Laurean of rape last spring, a charge he denied and one that Naval investigators were unable to corroborate. Even though Lauterbach later told investigators she did not feel Laurean posed a danger or threat to her, the pair was separated on base. The Marines have said their regimental commander was intent on taking the case to a hearing that could have led to a trial.

      Laurean, of Las Vegas, had told members of his unit he would flee to Mexico if it appeared he would be found guilty. Authorities believe he entered Mexico on a bus on Jan. 14, two days after fleeing from Jacksonville. He was born in Guadalajara, but family members there have said he moved to the U.S. more than 10 years ago.

      Lauterbach’s family has criticized the Marine Corps for what they feel was a lack of urgency in investigating the rape allegations. In a letter sent this week to Ohio GOP Rep. Michael Turner, who has rallied to the family’s cause, the Marines said no effort was made to question Laurean about Lauterbach’s disappearance because the two were no longer working together.

      The Corps added the pair were no longer associated as far as their commanders knew and there was no evidence to indicate Laurean had anything to do with her unauthorized absence.

      Phone messages seeking comment left at Lauterbach’s parents’ home in Vandalia, Ohio, at her uncle Pete Steiner’s home, and with family attorney Chris Conard were not immediately returned late Thursday. A woman who answered the phone at the home of Laurean’s father-in-law, Bruce Shifflet, near Prospect, Ohio, hung up without commenting when told of the arrest.

      Mexico hesitated to extradite foreigners for much of the 1980s and 1990s, but U.S. officials have praised the county’s increased cooperation in recent years. State Department officials said Mexico extradited 73 suspects to the U.S. in 2007, most to face drug or murder charges.

      Sometimes Mexico will forego the traditional extradition and deport a suspected criminal for entering the country illegally — a much quicker process. More than 150 U.S. citizens were deported from Mexico last year.

      Hudson said “it could be a year or two” before authorities are able to bring Laurean back to North Carolina if he decides to fight the extradition process.

      “The extradition process is one where you have a right to appeal,” Hudson said. “I have no idea whether he would waive extradition.”

      Should Laurean be returned to North Carolina to stand trial, it would be unlikely he would face the death penalty. Hudson agreed not to seek an execution in order to win the cooperation of Mexico authorities, who refuse to send anyone back to the U.S. unless provided assurance they won’t face a death sentence.

      “We had intel that he had gone back to America to visit his family in Las Vegas and I was hoping they would arrest him in America,” Hudson said. “But they didn’t. This is a case that certainly is deserving to be tried as a capital case.”



    4. Bearlyhere on April 11th, 2008 8:18 am

      What a relief they finally caught this guy. Let’s hope it doesn’t take one-two years to get him here.

      Justice for Maria and the baby.

    5. brenda on April 11th, 2008 9:41 am

      Oh Bearlyhere,

      Be glad he is spending some time in a Mexican prison! No nice little perks such as clean cells, TV or Internet, going to college from inside the prison (should not be allowed in USA), getting regular phone calls weekly. NOPE! This criminal is in what prison SHOULD be. When he gets back to the USA, he gets a bunch of amenities he really has no right to have while incarcerated.

      Don’t worry, he ain’t going anywhere…and I do not believe time spent in prison in another county is going to be allowed to be “applied” to time served in USA. Hope not anyway…although he will certainly get life (let’s pray so).

    6. Susan on April 11th, 2008 10:49 am

      Yep, thank goodness the authorities finally caught up with the crosseyed SOB :-) Too bad Mexico made the US Government agree not to give the azzhole the electric chair, lethal injection or any of form of capital punishment :-( Burning Laurean at the stake alive would suit him very nicely and is the only way to see that Maria and her unborn child get the JUSTICE they deserve!!

    7. misskatie on April 11th, 2008 11:52 am

      and to think he was in contact with his wife through the internet.. she assisted him in painting the house.. knowing it was someones blood she was painting over…shes pathetic..
      I am glad to hear he got him.. maria’s family will have their day in court…

    8. brenda on April 11th, 2008 1:02 pm

      Wow…I had no clue the wife helped paint. Horrible. My hope is she was HELPING law enforcement in communicating with him. Like Scott Peterson’s mistress did without his knowledge.

      If not, she should go to prison with him.

    9. da_wench on April 11th, 2008 4:57 pm

      It’s too bad that POS won’t be charged for the murder of the unborn child.

    10. misskatie on April 12th, 2008 4:36 pm


      yeah the wife helped paint the house.. and prior to maria’s death. the wife went to the military base where maria was …stationed… and !yelled !and !cussed! her.out. geezzzzzzzzz like it wasnt her husbands fault.!!. after all he did rape maria..Although his wife was cooperative with the police when he fled to mexico… after he fled she kinda stood back … they were emailing eachother ..what peaks . my curiosity what he told the F.B.I
      when they aprehended him that he was sleeping in some avocado …groves…he told that he was eating avocados and fruit…what I dont get is…. since when could you plug a computer to an avocado tree? if you know the answer let me know because I have a big tree in front .of my place and …. I would love to use my lap top outside… anyways back to the wife.. she was communicating with him..via the internet…. how could she have slept in that house ..knowing of course marias blood was splattered on her walls the blood of a woman that her husband raped and got pregnant…how could she sleep I would be so freaked out …..not to mention they had people over and they actualy barbequed right on top over the bodies… come on now the wife is as big a jerk…trying to play innocent.. she should have been arrested for aiding and abading him.. she didnt contact the police until he was long gone … on his way to mexico….

    11. Brenda on April 13th, 2008 8:49 am

      Unsure how this guy was communicating. Do they have public Internet in Mexico near where he was found?

      Anyway, my thoughts on the wife are that she is in DEEP denial. I mean, I know my husband. If he had an affair and I found out, I can see him doing so as he is sorta doing the “mid-life crisis thing” and worrying about getting old, which is bull as he’s only 43. Still, if I learned he had an affair and supposedly killed the women, I would find it unbelievable…just isn’t his way of thinking as I’ve known him for 26+ years! He’d want to split everything and get it over with that way.

      Now, if some other man threatened him on our property as it is remote, I can see him playing Clint Eastwood…oh yeah! If the police told me that was true, I’d want to see all evidence, but a shocker??? NO!

      I bet the husband told his wife the woman “came onto him” and “he fell for the bait”…or that “she was totally making up the story.” In that case, I can see her being in denial. Also shows she doesn’t know her hubby very, well.

    12. Jen on June 29th, 2008 1:54 pm

      No disrespect to the dead, but there are some FACTS that few seem to be aware of or recognize.

      1. She claimed he raped her in March. However, her doctors put her pregnancy date in May.

      2. She told the Military investigators that the pregnancy was not due to the sexual encounter with Cesar.

      3. They were ordered to keep separate from one another and they did. The military states Cesar never violated the order given.

      4. She moved in with another soldier before her death and left a note saying she was leaving the military. The letter is in her hand writing. There is also a video of her withdrawing $700 from her bank’s atm. Her clothing and vehicle were gone also. A bus ticket to Texas was purchased by her.

      5. The autopsy showed she died of blunt force to the head. However, she did have a 4 inch slit in her neck but that was not the cause of her death.

      6. Cesar reported for duty every day for the 2 weeks following her disappearance.

      7. When finally questioned about her missing, Cesar requested to speak with his attorneys. According to his wife and fellow soldiers he was afraid he would be blamed for her disappearance considering the never-proved allegations of rape against him by her.

      8. Cesar disappeared to Mexico and left behind a note to his wife. The letter explains how he fears being blamed for something he didn’t do and that the last time he saw the girl she was holding a knife threatening to kill herself if he did not leave his wife for her.

      9. Her own parents have been on 4 different news programs saying they never believed he raped her and that she suffered from being bipolar and often would create lies for attention. Until her body was officially discovered they didn’t even believe she was dead because too many times before she disappeared for attention.

      10. Her body was found charred in an outdoor fire pit.

      I am not casting blame. I don’t know any of the parties involved. But instead of swallowing everything the news feeds me I take the time to investigate a story I am interested in. The facts uncovered are the truth and anyone can find them by simply using Google and searching. In the end I believe Cesar isn’t guilty of murder, but guilty of the cover-up of a suicide. I believe the distraught woman pleaded for him to leave his wife for her and when he refused she slit her neck, fell to the ground and died. He probably panicked and attempted to cover up the suicide.

      Should he be jailed? I don’t know. What would you do if faced with a confused woman who killed herself in your home and you knew you would be accused of murder? I think you’d go buy some charcoal and a gallon of paint too. Some of you would say, no the truth would set you free. But the sad truth is it doesn’t always work out that way.

    13. Heath on February 8th, 2009 8:36 am


      Get your facts straight. She died from head trauma from a blunt object.

      The cut on the neck was superficial as it occured after her death. I wonder how that happened … hmm. Deet-dee-deeeeee.

      Anyway I’m just trying to find out if this bastard is still held up in a Mexican jail a year later, or if they finally extradited him back to the US to face the death penalty.

      Man I hope he gets a slow painful death.

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