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SBI Agent: Sheriff used divining rod in Laurean's backyard

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By EMERY P. DALESIO
Associated Press Writer

GOLDSBORO, NC (AP) -- A North Carolina investigator says a sheriff used a wire hanger as a divining rod to search for the buried corpse of a pregnant Marine, making it pointless to collect shoeprints near the grave. State Bureau of Investigation Agent Matthew Clifton's testimony came Monday in the first-degree murder trial of 23-year-old Cesar Laurean. He's accused of killing 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, of Vandalia, Ohio. Her body was discovered buried in Laurean's backyard.

Clifton testified Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown walked around with a bent coat hanger, expecting the device would find the body. Clifton said detectives were unable to take samples of shoe prints. Brown declined comment Monday.

Laurean has pleaded not guilty. He faces life in prison if convicted.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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