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Submitted by WWAY on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 5:47pm.

JACKSONVILLE -- Two Jacksonville women, a former marine and a former National Guard member, have organized a vigil for tonight in memory of Maria Lauderbach. The two women have very close ties to the Marine Corps. One is a former member, the other has been around marines most of her life, and they're both married to Marines. Kathleen Foley says she had a wonderful experience when she was a marine in 2002 and 2003. She says she was treated fairly, and pregnant marines weren't judged. She's expecting her third child and says this situation has hit especially close to home. Foley and Cristal Romeo say it's difficult to form an opinion about how the Marines handled Lauderbach's case. Foley said, "This really does shock me, because it's not typical of the marine corps and it's not indicative of other marines." Romeo said, "The Marines are like my family, so when I found out this happened to one of our marines and a pregnant woman at that, being a mother myself, it was devastating." Romeo says she feels the marines and law enforcement have done the best they can to handle this situation. At Friday night's vigil the women will also be asking people to sign a petition to pass a fetal homicide law in North Carolina, meaning someone who kills a pregnant woman would also be charged in the baby's death. The vigil is from seven to nine at Northeast Creek Park in Jacksonville.

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