Submitted by WWAY on Fri, 01/11/2008 - 12:38pm.

JACKSONVILLE (AP) -- Authorities on foot and all-terrain vehicles searched a residential neighborhood near Camp Lejeune today for a shallow grave holding the body of a pregnant Marine. They say the main suspect in her death is a comrade she had accused of rape. The Onslow County sheriff says information from another woman, a former Marine, left investigators certain that 20-year-old Lance Corporal Maria Frances Lauterbach is dead. But they haven't found her remains. Military and civilian investigators are seeking the key suspect in the death, Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean of Clark County, Nevada. Sheriff Ed Brown says the 21-year-old had declined to meet with investigators and apparently left the area without telling his lawyers where he was going. The search was focused on a wooded area not far Laurean's home. Laurean has not been charged with a crime. Authorities say Lauterbach reported the rape in April. Brown says he doesn't know if Laurean might be the father. The sheriff hinted Friday morning that a positive outcome was still possible. But he said that was before detectives received news of Lauterbach's death from an unidentified female witness who is a former Marine. Naval investigators say there's no indication Lauterbach sought witness protection services available from the Marines. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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