JACKSONVILLE (AP) -- Detectives in North Carolina are investigating whether a Marine charged with the brutal slaying of a pregnant colleague might have e-mailed authorities, asking a question about turning himself in.
Onslow County sheriff's officials caution they are not sure whether the e-mail that claimed to be from Cpl. Cesar Laurean is genuine.
It was sent in late March, and asked if Sheriff Ed Brown could promise that Laurean would not face a military court martial if he surrendered.
Detectives say the e-mail appeared to be from Mexico, where Laurean was in hiding. And they say the message was consistent with others authorities know he had sent while on the run.
Laurean was arrested in a small Mexican town on Thursday. He is charged in a civilian court with the December murder of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who had accused him of rape.
Fugitive Marine captured
Mexican authorities and FBI special agents have fugitive US Marine Corps Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean in custody in Mexico exactly three months after he disappeared. Agents are awaiting extradition to bring Laurean back to Onslow County to face murder charges.
The FBI has worked with the Onslow County Sheriff's Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the US Marshals Service, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Interpol and the Mexican government to find and arrest Laurean.
FBI special agent in charge Nathan Gray stated, "The FBI and its law enforcement partners brought to bear all of our domestic and international resources to find a man wanted for murder. Laurean's swift arrest in Mexico was due to the diligence and dedication of the Mexican government and our law enforcement partners. I want to express my gratitude and thank them for their assistance. This was truly an international effort, and we will do all we can to ensure Laurean is brought back to Onslow county as quickly as possible to answer the charges against him."
Onslow County Sheriff's Office investigators suspect Laurean in the homicide of 20-year-old USMC Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared on or about December 14, 2007. On January 11, 2008, investigators discovered her charred remains and her unborn baby in a shallow grave in Laurean's backyard in Jacksonville, NC.
The Onslow County Sheriff's Office filed charges against Laurean for the murder of Lauterbach, and a state arrest warrant was issued on January 12, 2008. That same day Laurean was charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (UFAP) in the eastern district of North Carolina, and a federal warrant was issued for his arrest.