FindCarrie - AGH - Missing & Murdered Person Blog

Information on missing and murdered people and the issues surrounding their cases. ***No material on this site is to be redistributed or rewritten - Copyright Find Carrie Culberson***

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Murdered Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach

In the last week, the media has splashed the horrific seen of Lance Cpl Maria Lauterbach's body been removed from a shallow grave in what would later be identified as her accused rapist and now accused killer's backyard.
Although, Cpl. Cesar Laurean left behind a note stating that Maria Lauterbach somehow slit her own throat before he burned her body on or about Christmas Eve (December 24, 2007), and then buried it in his backyard along with her unborn fetus. Maria case has two troubling factors and while we are discussing this case on every news network, I will add my two cents worth here on this victim's blog.
The first problem with Maria's case was that when she was first discovered missing, her case was not taken that seriously due to the fact of some ATM withdrawls and other activity that led the North Carolina PD to believe that she possibly left on her own accord. Secondly, Maria's prior rape allegations against Cesar Laurean - who is now a fugitive (I belive I forgot to mention that above) was not known to the NCPD due to the fact this situation was handled by the military police which would also cause another delay. Where did we go wrong? Whose fault is this and could this crime have been prevented? Truthfully, I don't think so, and here's why.
Maria Lauterbach continued to work alongside Cesar Laurean after the rape occurred and probably because she had to. She probably had NO idea what he had in store for her. What I'm saying is that I don't think this situation was taken as serious as it probably was. I'm making this assumption from reports from her family and friends.
The next problem we have is that Cesar Laurean planned to murder Maria from the reports and camera shots of him buying these materials that would be used in disposing of a body. He is now on the run and authorities fear he is already in Mexico. Does this mean once he is captured, he will not be extradicted back to the United States if North Carolina decides to pursue the death penalty - as they should.

His capture could take forever if someone is helping him hide out. I don't think he is in the United States any longer. I believe he planned out Maria's murder and from there, he planned where he'd go after he carried out his crime. This is a pre-meditated murder of a mother-to-be and an unborn fetus. There should be two murder charges filed against Cesar Laurean and once he's captured, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Why is our statistics showing that women who are pregnant at more risk of being victims of a violent crime than any other time? What does this say about our community? When did it get to be acceptable to hit a woman and furthermore, when did it get to be acceptable to murder a woman and an unborn fetus?

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Disappearance and Murder of Meredith Emerson

It has been a few months since I've posted anything on this blog and I apologize to those who actually take the time to read this. Our group has been active with the missing and murdered person community, but often times it's difficult to find time to get online and post the days events.
This last week has been very emotional for many of us here in the State of Georgia, especially those who are involved in the missing person and search and recovery field. As many of you will recall, on New Years Day, Meredith Emerson went for a hike in the North Georgia mountains and vanished without a trace. Meredith's disappearance was on a day when many of us are relaxing and unwinding from the previous night of celebration. Often law enforcement and most places of business are closed. This was a day that tradegy stuck but kicked into action what I call some old fashion top notch police work, although Meredith Emerson would in the end, not make it home alive and well.

Upon the discovery that Meredith Emerson was missing from a routine hike on Blood Mountain in Blairsville, Georgia, shortly thereafter, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist in the massive search that had begun. Within hours, a suspect, Gary Michael Hilton was on the news as well as his tag number and the vehicle he was possibly driving was on the local and national news. To my astonishment, witnesses had clear information that had already been given to the police that gave an account of Meredith Emerson being seen with Gary Hilton around the time she was last seen.
Shortly after Hilton's name and tag number was released to the public, news came that Meredith's dog "Ella" was found wandering around a Forsyth County parking lot some 50 miles from where she vanished. Within hours, authorities in Forsyth County were scouring a dumpster at a quick mart where they found items that would later be identified at Meredith Emerson's blood stained clothing. However, at the time of this discovery, Meredith Emerson was still missing without a trace.

By night fall, Gary Michael Hilton had been arrested and brought in for questioning, but still no trace of Meredith, until Monday night, two days later.
Our local news reports were saying that Hilton was NOT cooperating with GBI officials, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that the lead investigator, John Cagle would not let the community down. I came to know John Cagle and his hard core work with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation when our Sueann Ray vanished in August of 2005. John Cagle and his co-workers spent many hours on the case and never backed down one second until Sueann was uncovered that fateful morning and her husband was subsequently arrested. You will not see John Cagle doing many interviews with the media because he is what I call a man of few words. He's just not someone I would want on my case because if there's something to be found, he'll find it and he did.
Monday night Gary Hilton led GBI officials to a location in the Dawson Forest area in Dawson County Georgia where he disposed of Meredith Emerson's body. We'd learn the horrific details the next day of how she died, but for now, Meredith was finally home and not missing any more.
Gary Hilton would tell authorities that he walked alongside Meredith Emerson to gain her confidence and then he made the move to kidnap her. He said that he took her because he wanted her credit cards and ATM card. He told authorities the part that has haunted me, those who searched for Meredith, her family and law enforcement who were just hours aways from rescueing her that he held her three days before he bludgened her to death, then decapitating her head.
Meredith Emerson's body was located just one mile in the Dawson Forest from where a little boy by the name of Levi Frady was found 10 (ten) years ago. His murder has never been solved. Levi Frady's disappearance and murder prompted Georgia to name it's Amber Alert System "Levi's Call". There have been reports that Gary Hilton may be a possible suspect in the Levi Frady murder due to similarity of his appearance and the composite sketch that has been available with GBI now for 10 years.
What's more disturbing is that Gary Hilton is now a prime suspect in an unsolved murder in Florida, North Carolina and possibly this other disappearance of Caycle Bywater that happened here in Athens, Georgia on Dec. 29, 2007. The North Carolina case and Florida are almost a 100% certaintly that Hilton is involved and authorities from both police jurisdictions are here in Georgia to question Hilton in regards to these cases.

While many can agree that GBI moved very quickly on this case and were so very close to even bringing Meredith Emerson home alive, some still believe they failed. The thing for us to remember is that there are hundreds more of these Gary Hiltons walking around in our community. These people are ticking time bombs that can explode at any time. Our law enforcement can be very prepared and very trained, but there is no fool proof way to get all of these sicko's off the street. We as the community have to keep working and paying attention to our surroundings for danger and don't misjudge situations. Nothing is safe like it was back in the old days. Predators lurk among the communities and are everywhere. We can never ever let our guard down no matter where we are.

Tomorrow Meredith Emerson will be remembered at a church in Athens Georgia. Her life will be celebrated for the wonderful perosn she was. Back here in reality, we will begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together of this monster Gary Hilton and all of the possible vicitms he's targeted. There are probably many other families who are still waiting for answers as painful as they may be. We will have to work to bring him to justice for what he's done.

While law enforcement did the very best they could for Meredith Emerson and worked better than most agencies could with 10 times more training, there are still things that go wrong. If we are looking for someone to blame for this tradegy, we cannot blame law enforcement. Let's all ban together to learn the signs of danger and help educate our loved ones on how stay away from danger that lurks in our world today.

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