Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Erin Corwin's Body Discovered, Alleged Lover Arrested In Her Death

Christopher Lee mug shot
San Bernardino Sheriff's Dept.
Christopher Lee mug shot

Searchers discovered the body of missing pregnant Marine wife Erin Corwin on Aug. 16 in a 140-foot mine shaft on Bureau of Land Management land in the Mojave Desert, law enforcement officials announced Monday.

Dental records were needed to confirm Corwin's identity. An autopsy conducted Monday morning concluded the manner of death to be homicide, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon.

Christopher Lee, the Marine veteran who police believe was romantically involved with Corwin, was arrested in Alaska on Sunday evening for her murder.

The Desert Sun reports Christopher Lee is being detained in Anchorage on a federal hold awaiting extradition back to California.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos told reporters:

"If Lee does not waive extradition he should be back in our county in four to five weeks.."

For those of you just learning about the case, here's some background:

On the morning of June 28, Corwin told her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Wayne Corwin, she was heading to Joshua Tree National Park to scout photography locations. Cpl. Corwin reported his wife missing the next day.

The couple lived in an apartment at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms. Family members of Corwin say she was three months pregnant when she disappeared.

A probable-cause affidavit filed by Detective Cory Emon of the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department indicated Corwin was involved in a romantic relationship with Lee, whom she met at White Rock Horse Rescue.

Emon wrote in the affidavit that a friend of Corwin's in Tennessee told detectives that she may have been pregnant with Lee's baby, and not her husband's:

"[The friend] knew Erin and Lee were going on a day trip together on 06-28-14, for a celebration of Erin’s pregnancy."

Yet despite this "celebration," Corwin had confided in her Tennessee friend that Lee was worried his wife would divorce him if she knew of the affair — and would take away their child.

Detective Emon's concluded in the affidavit:

“It is highly likely Erin could have been harmed by an unknown firearm. Sometime after Erin left with Lee, her phone was de-activated (turned off).”
Cpl. Jonathan Wayne Corwin and Erin Corwin
Cpl. Jonathan Wayne Corwin and Erin Corwin

Also in the affidavit, White Rock Horse Rescue Ranch owner Isabel Megli shared with detectives a conversation she had with Christopher Lee's wife Nichole following Corwin's disappearance:

"Nichole made statements to Isabel about the detectives having missed something at their residence when it was searched because detectives did not search the garage.

"Nichole told Isabel that without a body the detectives did not have a case against them and the detectives would never find the body."
There is also forensic evidence that ties Christopher Lee's vehicle to Corwin:
(P)olice found a single set of shoe tracks at Corwin's abandoned vehicle. The tracks led from the driver side door of her Toyota and then disappeared next to a set of tire tracks.

According to The Desert Sun, the court document states that tracks found at the scene are "consistent" with the tire tracks left by Lee's Jeep.