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Family of U.S. Marine's missing wife prayed for 'different outcome'

Family of U.S. Marine's missing wife prayed for 'different outcome;' relieved investigation is over
Family asks for privacy after body of Marine's missing wife is found in mine shaft; alleged lover is arrested
Body of U.S. Marine's missing wife is found 140 feet down a mine shaft; her alleged lover is arrested

Family members of a Marine's missing wife, whose body was found in a mine shaft near Joshua Tree National Park, say they prayed for a different outcome but were relieved the investigation was over.

In a message posted on the family's Facebook page, Locate Erin, they asked for privacy after the body of 19-year-old Twentynine Palms resident Erin Corwin was found Saturday hidden 140 feet down a mine shaft.

"Though we were praying for a different outcome, we are relieved to have this part of the investigation behind us and to be able to begin mourning the loss of our sweet girl," they wrote. "Please continue to pray for our family and that justice will be found for Erin."

The message was posted hours after San Bernardino County sheriff's officials announced they had found Corwin's body after an eight-week investigation and arrested her alleged lover, Christopher Brandon Lee, in connection with her death.

Lee, 24, was arrested Sunday in Anchorage, where he remains in custody until he can be extradited to California, officials said. 

Corwin's family thanked law enforcement officials and volunteers who helped "bring Erin home."

An autopsy performed on Corwin, who was believed to have been three-months pregnant, determined she was the victim of a homicide. Investigators were unable to determine whether she was pregnant.

Corwin was reported missing by her husband June 28 when she did not return home from a trip to Joshua Tree. According to a search warrant, Lee had planned a hunting trip with Corwin that day.

Investigators said technology and forensics led them Saturday to an area with three mining districts, where they discovered a woman's body deep in a shaft but were unable to recover it.

They returned Sunday with a San Bernardino County Urban Search and Rescue Team and removed the body about 6:30 p.m.

That same night, a forensic odontologist used dental records to positively identify the body as Corwin's.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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