Saturday, October 25, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Body of Marine’s missing wife found in mine shaft

By
August 20, 2014 |

SAN BERNARDINO — For nearly two months, Southern California sheriff’s deputies and a legion of volunteers scoured the vast, rough terrain peppered with abandoned mine pits and deep bodies of water where the 19-year-old pregnant wife of a U.S. Marine disappeared.

The search finally ended Saturday when a body was spotted with a video camera 140 feet down a mine shaft on federal land near Twentynine Palms, where she had been living.

In a little more than 24 hours, authorities had recovered and identified the remains of Erin Corwin and arrested her former neighbor and alleged lover, 24-year-old former Marine Christopher Brandon Lee, in Anchorage, Alaska, on suspicion of homicide.

“The manner of death has been determined to be homicide,” San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said Monday, adding that deputies searched many of the 100 mine shafts in a 300 square mile area before zeroing in on the one that contained Corwin.

Corwin, whose husband was stationed in Southern California, was in the early stages of pregnancy when she disappeared on June 28, according to court papers. Her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, reported her missing the next day.

The investigation grew to focus on Lee, who was the Corwins’ neighbor, according to court papers.

Erin Corwin’s friend told investigators that Corwin and Lee were having an affair and that the unborn child might be Lee’s, the papers show. Corwin told the friend, who lives in Tennessee, that Lee was worried his wife might divorce him and prevent him from spending time with his child if she knew Corwin was pregnant, the affidavit says.

Corwin told her husband when she left that day that she was going to scout out hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park that she and her mother could explore when her mother visited a few days later. But the friend showed authorities text messages that said Corwin was planning to go on a special hunting trip with Lee the day she disappeared.

“It is highly likely that Erin could have been harmed by an unknown firearm,” investigators wrote in the documents. “Sometime after Erin left with Lee, her phone was deactivated (turned off). Detectives believe if Erin was injured and left at an undisclosed location, she would not (be) able to call for help.”

Two days after Corwin disappeared, investigators found her car abandoned off a road near her home. A single set of footprints led from the driver’s side door and disappeared next to a set of vehicle tracks that matched the tires on Lee’s Jeep. They found 10 spent casings from a .40-caliber gun in the Jeep, the court papers say.

Other evidence was found in the shaft — one of more than 100 in the area — but sheriff’s officials declined to give details.

Authorities also declined to release the exact manner of death and said they could not confirm Corwin’s pregnancy until an autopsy was completed.

Corwin would have been 20 if alive, but authorities say she likely died before her birthday.

Lee told investigators he was not with Corwin that day and had been hunting in Joshua National Park. He told police that although the two had kissed, they had never had intercourse.

The investigation found that Lee and Corwin did have an “intimate relationship” dating back to at least February, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Trevis Newport said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Lee, who has yet to make a court appearance or arrive in California, had retained an attorney.

“Let’s just wait until the facts come out before jumping to conclusions,” Bob Lee, Christopher’s father, told an Associated Press reporter during a brief interview outside the family’s home in a working class neighborhood in Anchorage. He said the arrest came as his son and daughter-in-law, Nichole Lee, were returning home.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos said he expected to charge Lee with murder, but charges have not yet been filed.

Lee was arrested in July on suspicion of possessing a destructive device after a search warrant on a Yucca Valley home where he was temporarily living. He was taken into custody after the July 4 search and released on bail two days later.

He was honorably discharged after seven years in the Marine Corps and subsequently moved his family to Alaska.

Corwin and her husband are from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Law enforcement agencies including the FBI helped search for Corwin, whose body wasn’t recovered until Sunday due to poor air quality conditions in the shaft. One firefighter was injured in the recovery effort, San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said.

Corwin was found in a remote area some 130 miles east of Los Angeles, Newport said.

“It is very rough terrain out there. One would have a difficult time, even in a four-wheel drive vehicle,” he said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
 
Optimist Club brings youth together for Halloween golf

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Cut-a-thon to help fight cancer, abuse

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fall Harvest Festival brings children back to school

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

School board candidates forum set next week

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
 
Staying active may prolong your life

By Scott Anderson | From Page: B8

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

.

US / World

Suspect arrested in death of 2 California deputies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
KC-10 from Travis lands in Houston, smoke in cockpit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Reagan astrologer, Joan Quigley, dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Jury says castrated sex offender should be freed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Remains belong to missing Virginia student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Dallas nurse receives thanks, hug from Obama

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 13 Comments

School gunman was Homecoming prince, students say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Lava creeps toward road on Hawaii’s Big Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

NY, NJ order Ebola quarantine for doctors, others

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Gunman in Canada attack complained about mosque

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Egypt declares emergency in northern Sinai

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Militant group said to be using chlorine bombs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Putin accuses US of undermining global stability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

Return Garamendi to Congress

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 13 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 25, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

SEIU shouldn’t own Board of Supervisors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 6 Comments

 
Vote, and make a difference

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Yes on Measure A

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Spering best choice for county supervisor

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My mother-in-law wants me to convert to Catholicism, but I don’t want to

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Hello Kitty turning 40, and the birthday bash will be ‘supercute’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

TLC cancels its ‘Honey Boo Boo’ series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
P.D. James’ riff on Jane Austen comes to TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

Vintage rolls past Armijo, 55-8

By Mike Corpos | From Page: B1

 
Mustangs fall flat in rout by Wildcats

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 3 Comments

Royals beat Giants 3-2 for 2-1 World Series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vargas to take on Vogelsong in Game 4 of Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Falcons hang with Wolves in 34-8 setback

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Hamilton helps Vanden sink Vallejo, 35-0

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

Unfazed, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh doing it his way

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lloyd leads US women past Mexico 3-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders’ Woodley, Young expected to be placed on IR

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Henley’s putting gets him lead at Sea Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge halts New Jersey’s sports betting plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Joe Maddon exercises opt-out, won’t return to Rays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jamie McMurray bests Chase drivers to win pole

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Attorney: NFL, Ravens not helping union in Rice probe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

SCC women’s soccer team falls to Mendocino 3-1

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

US official: Auto safety agency under review

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Ford profit falls in third quarter on truck costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Procter & Gamble taking out its batteries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
UPS expects double-digit surge in Dec shipments

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

US new-home sales close to flat in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Melvin Tate

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Dr. Robert M. Takamoto

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 10/25/14

Real estate transactions for Oct. 25, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2