JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – The key suspect in the brutal slaying of a 20-year-old pregnant marine was spotted in Louisiana and could be headed into Texas, authorities said Sunday.
Marine Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean was seen at a Greyhound bus station in Shreveport, La., Saturday night by several fellow passengers, said Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown. The bus Laurean was riding was headed to Texas, he said, but authorities didn’t know yet if he continued on that route.
“We’re working with the U.S. Marshal’s Service and other law enforcement agencies trying to locate him,” Shreveport police Chief Henry Whitehorn Sr. told The Associated Press.
Federal officials said Sunday they had issued a fugitive warrant for his arrest.
Brown said earlier that evidence in the case “leads us to believe that he would be a dangerous and violent person if put in a corner.”
Authorities said Saturday they found what they believe to be the remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child from a fire pit in Laurean’s backyard, where they suspect he burned and buried her body. The remains were sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Chapel Hill for a formal identification.
That same day, authorities issued a murder warrant for Laurean, 21, of the Las Vegas area. They believe he fled Jacksonville before dawn Friday after leaving behind a note in which he admitted burying her body but claimed Lauterbach cut her own throat in a suicide.
The federal warrant announced Sunday charges Laurean with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, said FBI officials in Charlotte. Bureau spokesman Newsom Summerlin said that while investigators don’t have any reason to believe he’s fled the country, that remains a possibility.
Lauterbach had disappeared sometime after Dec. 14, not long after she met with military prosecutors to talk about her April allegation that Laurean raped her. Naval investigators said Saturday the rape case was progressing and Laurean was under a protective order to stay away from Lauterbach.
Brown said the FBI, federal Marshals, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation were hunting for Laurean. Sheriff’s investigators were at the scene developing evidence, he said.
Authorities received Laurean’s note about the purported suicide from Laurean’s wife, whom Brown has said is co-operating with authorities. Her family has described her as “heartbroken.”