Authorities revealed graphic details in the case of a former Marine arrested on suspicion of killing the wife of a fellow Marine and throwing her body down an abandoned mine shaft.
The former Marine, Christopher Lee, 24, was arrested Sunday in Anchorage in the disappearance and death of Erin Corwin, 19, the wife of a fellow Marine at the base at Twentynine Palms.
Lee and Corwin were having an affair and Lee may have been worried that Corwin was pregnant and would tell his wife, according to investigators.
Corwin’s body was found Saturday in an abandoned mine shaft in a rugged, desolate part of the desert southeast of the Marine base. It is unclear what led investigators to the mine shaft.
In a July search warrant, investigators alleged that Lee’s wife, Nicole, told a friend that her husband told her that Corwin’s body would not be found and that without a body, no criminal case could be made.
According to the arrest warrant, Lee had searched the Internet and had asked an unidentified friend “the best way to dispose of a human body.”
Lee remains in jail in Anchorage awaiting extradition proceedings.
San Bernardino County prosecutors filed charges against Lee of murder and murder by lying in wait. The latter could carry the death penalty if Lee is convicted.
According to the arrest warrant, posted on the district attorney’s website, .22-caliber cartridge casings found near Corwin’s body match cartridge casings found in Lee’s Jeep and his apartment on base.
Also, pieces of rebar recovered near the body match rebar found in Lee’s Jeep, according to the arrest warrant.
Corwin disappeared June 28. During the seven-week search for her, Lee received a discharge from the Marine Corps and moved with his wife and daughter to his home state of Alaska.
He quickly came under suspicion. After investigators had searched his home, he was charged with possession of an explosive device but posted bail and left for Alaska.
Christopher and Nicole Lee lived in the same on-base family housing complex for enlisted personnel as Erin Corwin and her husband, Cpl. Jonathan Corwin.
Christopher Lee and Erin Corwin loved horses and volunteered at the White Rock Horse Rescue ranch in nearby Yucca Valley.
According to the search warrant, tire tracks matching Lee’s Jeep were found near where Corwin’s car was discovered two days after her disappearance.
Also, Lee promised Corwin that the two would be taking a “special” trip together after meeting June 28, the arrest warrant said.
“It is believed Lee picked Corwin up from the location where her vehicle was located,” according to the arrest warrant. “Such evidence tends to lead detectives to believe Lee was the last person to have contact with Corwin, at the time of her disappearance.”