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Slain Marine killed by blow on head

  |   Jan. 15, 2008 at 9:52 PM
JACKSONVILLE, N.C., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was killed by a blow to the head, a North Carolina prosecutor said Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, police at the Raleigh-Durham Airport found a pickup truck believed to belong to Marine Cpl. Cesar Orlando Laurean, the prime suspect in the case, parked in a lot at a hotel near the airport. A hotel employee said she thought the truck had been in the lot for three weeks, NBC17 in Raleigh said.

Onslow County, N.C., District Attorney Dewey Hudson said that the remains found in Laurean's backyard have been identified as those of Lauterbach and her child, CNN reported. Lauterbach was probably killed before she was reported missing in mid-December, officials said.

"I thank God and I am perfectly comfortable with the knowledge that there was nothing my office could have done that would have prevented the death of Maria Lauterbach," Sheriff Ed Brown said.

Lauterbach was eight months pregnant and had charged Laurean with rape. The autopsy didn't determine whether the baby was born or died in Lauterbach's uterus, Hudson said.

Laurean disappeared last week, leaving a note with his wife that claimed Lauterbach killed herself.

Lauterbach had obtained a restraining order dated June 26, which expired Sept. 24. It mandated Laurean avoid all contact with Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach in light of her complaint against him.

Laurean is the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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