Authorities: Marine Died Of Head Trauma, Accused Comrade Likely Hiding

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Officials in North Carolina say pregnant Marine Maria Lauterbach died of traumatic injury to the head caused by blunt force trauma.

Lauterbach’s burnt remains were found last week in the backyard of another Marine, Cesar Laurean, who’s suspected in her death. The newest finding contradicts Laurean’s claim that Lauterbach killed herself by cutting her own throat.

Authorities had already rejected the idea after searching Laurean’s home, where they found blood splatters on the ceiling and a massive amount of blood on a wall.

They believe Laurean fled after leaving a note, in which he denied killing Lauterbach but admitted burying her body.

Laurean remains at large. Authorities say he’s probably no longer on the move but likely hiding somewhere.

Officials are posting billboards with Laurean’s picture nationwide and offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his capture.