SAN BERNARDINO – After Erin Corwin, the wife of a marine went missing in 2014, no one knew where the excited expecting mother could have vanished to.
Her husband, U.S. Marine Corporal Jonathan Corwin made the missing person report on the morning of Sunday, June 29, 2014, the day after she did not return home. During his conversations with deputies, he told them that she had left home, which was on base on the morning of Saturday, June 28, 2014, and was due to be home by approximately 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. Corporal Jonathan Corwin said she told him that she was going to look for locations that they could visit when her mother arrived for an upcoming visit. He also indicated that his wife was approximately two months pregnant.
Various people were questioned throughout the investigation, including Erin’s husband. Evidence, including witness statements, indicated that Erin was having an affair with the then neighbor, Christopher Brandon Lee. Lee, who is now 27-years-old was a marine like Erin’s husband at the time of the murder. When Erin found out that she was pregnant, she shared the news with family and had planned to meet Lee to celebrate her pregnancy at Joshua Tree National Park. Prosecutors believed, according to court testimony, that Lee’s had a much different plan in hopes that he could continue to keep his extramarital affair from his wife.
Erin’s vehicle, a 2013 Toyota Corolla was located on Monday, June 30,2014, near the military base miles from her Joshua Tree destination. Soon after Erin went missing, according to court testimony, Lee moved his wife and children to Anchorage, Alaska. A cave rescue team searched relentlessly hoping to find Corwin, and on Saturday, August 16, 2016, seven weeks after she went missing, they located the remains of the young pregnant woman in an approximately 125-foot vertical mine shaft in a desert area near Palm Springs. Along with her body, rebar and gun casings were also located.
The Coroner was unable to determine if Erin was in fact pregnant due to the decomposition of her remains. With the finding of Erin’s body, as well as other evidence, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department issued an extraditable warrant for the arrest of Lee. On Sunday, August 17, 2016, Anchorage Police took Lee into custody and booked him into the Anchorage jail until he could be extradited back to San Bernardino County.
On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, Lee admitted to strangulating Erin for at least five minutes with a garrote made with rebar and cord. Lee was convicted of first-degree murder on Thursday, November 3, 2016, and is expected to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole during sentencing, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 29th. “This was a terrible crime that showed absolutely no regard for the value of human life,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “Erin Corwin was just a young girl with her entire life ahead of her. And now, all that’s left is her memory. While justice was served today, it can only be a small consolation to her family and friends who will have to suffer a lifetime of pain knowing she died such a senseless death.”
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