Maria is a beautiful young woman who seems to have been a bit insecure and made a decision to venture out into the world by joining the Marine Corp back in June 2006.
Although her step-mother has stated that Maria's character was that of a pathological liar, bi-polar, etc., etc., Maria may just have decided to prove people wrong when she went to boot camp and made it into the Marines. An accomplishment that is very difficult to achieve even for a man.
Maria's beauty may just have been her downfall on the Camp Lejune Marine base. There is no doubt in my mind she may have been hit on by a majority of the Marines, and possibly even more so from Marines returning back to base from Iraq or Afghanistan. Who could resist Maria's beauty which seems to shine from in-wards out!
No one knows what happened on the April day in 2007 when Maria was sexually attacked by Cesar Armando Laurens. Cesar is married and has a daughter, of which, not sure of the child's age. What possessed him to rape Maria?
In any event, Cesar did and Maria pressed charges against Cesar, which in itself is difficult to do to accuse another Marine of such a heinous attack. In all rape cases whether within the confines of a military base or outside in the normal world, rape is hard to prove, as it is the woman that has to prove it.
Perhaps Maria showered and all evidence was removed, this is unknown. In the case of Cesar, a quick shower will remove any evidence on his body with or without a condom.
So what is left for Maria to prove to her superior and to the Marine Corp that this rape occurred? Maria became pregnant from this rape, and all the evidence of this rape is beginning to grown within her. Maria now has no choice but to wait 9 months until the child is born and DNA is taken from an infant to prove paternity.
Back in the day when doctor's couldn't tell parents the sex of their child, the anxiety of wondering if it is a boy or girl would at times be overwhelming. We seemed to want to know if we should paint the room blue or pink, or what color the baby clothes should be. Instead we settled for yellow or green until the child was born.
These thoughts are so minor compared to what Maria lived through for nearly nine months. The DNA of her child to prove the rape.
Brining a child into the world is God's most precious gift to a woman. She carries the child for 9 months feeling every movement, every urgency to pee, every pound she gains all for this child. With Maria, she felt these same feelings along with, my child will prove my case.
Although Maria filed her charges against Cesar, she still was not safe on base. I can almost hear the harassment from Cesar and Cesar's Marine buddies over these rape charges. I can almost feel how hard it was for her daily walking to her position on base, eating in the commissary and daily life within the base. Maria was a large "flashing" red light of danger and threat and abuse from fellow Marines.
Maria had no choice to seek refuge to living off the base and managed to find a fellow Marine who was concerned over her well-being and he offered to share an apartment with Maria. I am sure Maria didn't foresee this stage of her military career in this fashion.
Although Maria felt she was protected from Cesar as an order of protection was granted based on the charges, but it is very clear that even an order of protection didn't protect Maria and her unborn child.
What happened to Maria on December 14th is still yet to be solved. Maria did meet with her "caseworker" on or about December 14th. Around 1:30 PM or later, Maria spoke with her step-mother and they had a argument/disagreement about something which has yet to come forward. Perhaps Maria wanted to get away from the area for a short time to breath.
Maria wasn't scheduled to report back to base until December 17th, by media reports and newspaper articles. Did Cesar know Maria's schedule or was he stalking her after she met with her caseworker, fully knowing he had to act now or never.
Somehow Maria ended up at Cesar's home alive, or perhaps knocked out enough to transport her to his home. For some reason, I feel someone else was involved with Cesar to help grab Maria, get her out of Cesar car, help kill her, clean up the mess, carry her a way back into the backyard, prepare the shallow grave and set it ablaze.
I have a feeling, that Maria was abducted while she was either getting in or out of her car. Either Cesar or another accomplice may have driven Maria's car to Cesar's house and once their plot to kill and bury Maria was accomplished, then one of them drove Maria's car back to the bus depot and the other followed in either Cesar's truck or another vehicle.
There is a Christmas tree sitting outside of the Lauren's home at the curb-side waiting to be picked up by the trash collector. You can see how neatly it is placed, and also how manicured the outside of the Lauren's home is as a child's slide sits on the front lawn.
Did Maria smell the pine fragrance from the Lauren's Christmas tree as she pleaded for her life in the Lauren's garage? Did Maria hear the Lauren's young child in the house playing as she is fighting for her life?
Maria, did all she could to protect her unborn child from the moment she found out she was pregnant to her last breath at Cesar's hands.
I watched the news coverage and the aerial coverage as the police swarmed in on Lauren's house and uncovered what was to believed to be a fire pit in the farthest point from the Lauren household. As the police put up two white tents to protect the area from the weather, the scene and the helicopter above, I watched a tarp being undone and laid toward the back of the fire pit.
It was very evident that they found the shallow grave and the remains of Maria and her unborn child. For an instant, I was so thankful to hear that the child was still in the womb, but in a second I was so upset to hear that Maria and her unborn child were set on fire as if their lives we nothing but trash to burn.
The crime scene investigators, and perhaps forensic personnel worked with dignity and respect to Maria as they carefully removed inch by inch of soil surrounding Maria and her child.
I know I watched longer than I should as they prepared to bring Maria and her child up from the foot deep grave, carefully lifting her body draped with a white cloth or plastic sheet to ensure her privacy. Sadly the helicopter above did catch a portion of Maria's uncovered head for a mil-la second and what was once a beautiful young woman with long, reddish blond hair was now blackened sight.
This is a vision I wish I had never seen in my life, and put myself in the hands of the many people that worked so hard and carefully and respectfully to bring Maria out of the depth of hell by the Satan with in Cesar.
I will always remember what Sheriff Brown described when he viewed Maria's charred body and the unborn child's hand that was clenched in a fist and was a small as Sheriff's Brown's thumb. Sheriff Brown's words were felt with such pain and sorrow for such a beautiful woman and her child.
Maria never knew what her step-mother was saying about her to the media about being a pathological liar and was bi-polar. I am so thankful that Maria never got to hear her step-mother's words splashed across the world on TV, in the newspaper and online. Within an instant, the world gasped at Maria's step-mother's words over her missing pregnant daughter. We all said "how could she say this to the public?" I was personally annoyed at this step-mother.
I am still unsure if this woman is Maria's step-mother, biological mother or adopted mother. Regardless of this woman's title she was wrong to say what she said about Maria.
Even though Maria may have been insecure in her growing up years, she was strong, very, very strong and Maria was willing to prove to her step-mother and to the Marines that she was really raped and who the father of the child is, Cesar.
Maria was protecting her honor as a woman, and as a Marine. Maria needs to be honored, respected and given the acknowledgment for who she is and her commitment to her unborn child and that of a Marine.
Maria doesn't know it, but she just may have changed the Marine protocol when it comes to women being raped on a military base. It is very clear that the Marines failed to protect Maria, even with orders of protection. An order of protection is just a piece of paper. It doesn't place a bullet proof vest around the body of the victim. It doesn't allow the victim to wear a gun attached to the waist to protect from harm. It's only an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of thin paper, useless to that of a 200 pound, highly trained male Marine or two!
There are and were a lot of missing young women and pregnant women over the years, many of them were killed by the hands of their own husband, boyfriend or of a stranger. This is very heartbreaking as these woman had no protection from harm, but with Maria, she had the entire Marine Corps to protect her, an elite military branch of service that is the first to go and fight for the United States of America. The Marines represent honor to the highest level and they failed on of their own, right here in the USA, a Marine by the name of Maria Lauderbach and her precious unborn child. A child regardless of gender could have wanted to be a Marine one day like his/her mother!
I personally honor Maria for the woman she was and for the mother she would have been.
January 14, 2008 at 7:54 PM
P.S. After writing my thoughts about Maria, I came across and article online regarding the search for Cesar. At the very end of the article it reads:
Some in the community recalled her drive to follow in her father's footsteps and join the Marines. Her father, Victor Lauterbach, is an Air Force Reserve master sergeant in the 87th Aerial Port Squadron, which is part of the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Little did I know, when I wrote: "A child regardless of gender could have wanted to be a Marine one day like his/her mother!"; that Maria wanted to follow in her father's foot-steps as a Marine.