Cops to Question Missing Marine Roommate

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," January 10, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, "BIG STORY" CO-HOST: It's happening right now, and she's eight-and-a-half months pregnant, she's U.S. marine and she may have been the victim of a crime on her military base. She was going to testify about it, but she hasn't been heard from in nearly a month.

JOHN GIBSON, "BIG STORY" CO-HOST: Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach may now also be a victim of crime off her base. She's missing in action and police think of fellow marine, her male roommate may have some answers fellow roommate. "Big Story" correspondent, Douglas Kennedy has a breaking new detail. He just came out on the news conference a short time ago, he also spoke to the officer's mother today.

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, THE BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John and Heather. Police don't know today whether she has gone AWOL or whether she's become a victim, but they do say they are now chasing down some important leads. Her mother, meanwhile, says, she just wants her daughter home.


KENNEDY (voice over): She's got a cute smile and she told people she was about to give birth to a baby boy, but this marine has been missing for nearly a month and her mother fears for the worst.

MARY LAUTERBACH, MISSING MARINE'S MOTHER: We're deeply concerned that it's been this long. It's completely out of Maria.

KENNEDY: Maria Lauterbach was last seen December 14 at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The 20-year-old is based with the Second Marine Logistics Group. Her mother says it is very unlike her not to call.

LAUTERBACH: She was an extremely clingy child, so, if she finally, you know, left home and went off to boot camp, she wrote us every day, multiple—page letters and then, once she could begin to call us again, when I was at work, she would call me once or twice, a day at work and very often several times in the evening.

KENNEDY: Further adding to the mystery, the sheriff found Maria's cellphone near the base gate and her car at a local bus station. And according to the sheriff, both had been tampered with. She'd also recently claimed to have been raped which her mother says, the military was investigating.

LAUTERBACH: There is a situation about which she was to testify. It happened earlier this year. And very soon they were moving into the first phase of testimony, and it is — you know, a problem is she is not there to testify.

KENNEDY: The sheriff says, he is interested in talking to a marine sergeant who he says is today being transported back to North Carolina from training in California in order to be interviewed.

ED BROWN, ONSLOW COUNTY, NC SHERIFF: It is the roommate of this missing female, may be the last person besides her mother, even maybe the last person she has talked to since her mother, communicated with her mother that we want to talk with him and get some information from him.

KENNEDY: As for Maria's mom, she says, she just wants to see her daughter again and her grandson for the first time.

LAUTERBACH: We just want to know that Maria is OK, that our grandson is OK, and, um, that we will be able to see her again.


KENNEDY: And of course it's the fact that she's pregnant that's adding so much urgency to this case. Her mother says her due date is already passed so, wherever she is, it's important to find her quick. And that's exactly what police say, they are trying to do tonight. John and Heather.

GIBSON: A very emotional interview with the mother, Douglas. Thank you very much.

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