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DOD halts inquiry into rape claim amid murder case

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JACKSONVILLE -- Military officials have delayed an investigation into how rape allegations were handled against a North Carolina Marine now charged in the accuser's death. The Office of the Inspector General said Thursday that Onslow County authorities were concerned the probe could interfere in their murder case against Cpl. Cesar Laurean. Laurean fled to Mexico shortly before he was charged with first-degree murder in the December 2007 death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia, Ohio. The 20-year-old was eight-months pregnant when her burned remains were found buried in Laurean's backyard. Both were stationed at nearby Camp Lejeune. Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said Thursday his office feared the military's inquest could hinder Laurean's extradition and trial. (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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