The missing 19-year-old pregnant wife of a Marine may have been having an affair with a married neighbor who was also a Marine, newly published court documents show, as detectives said Tuesday they are "looking for a crime scene" in the search.
Erin Corwin had a possible secret relationship with 24-year-old then-Marine Cpl. Christopher Lee, both Lee's neighbor and Corwin's friend told investigators, according to a court documents obtained by The Desert Sun.
Detectives investigating her disappearance said in a statement Tuesday they have received information of possible places to search for evidence of foul play, but emphasized there is still "not enough evidence to rule out that Erin Corwin could be voluntarily missing."
"We are looking for a crime scene," San Bernardino County Sheriff's Capt. Leland Boldt said in the statement.
Deputies on Tuesday would not address the information in the affidavit for a search warrant, which state that officials believed the Corwins' neighbors, Lee and his wife Nicole, had evidence about the disappearance.
Corwin was three months pregnant when she was last seen leaving her Twentynine Palms home on June 28. She told her husband she was headed to Joshua Tree National Park to look for hiking trails, authorities said.
Her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, reported her missing the next day. Erin Corwin’s car was found in Twentynine Palms two days after she disappeared.
Erin Corwin’s friend in Tennessee told deputies the woman was having an affair with Lee, who might be the father of her unborn child, according to the documents, and Lee was afraid his wife would find out.
The friend also provided text messages showing that Lee was planning to take Erin Corwin hunting on the day she disappeared. They were going to spend a "special day" together to celebrate her pregnancy at an undisclosed location, the documents said.
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Lee initially denied an affair with Erin Corwin but later admitted the two were "close" and had kissed, according to the documents. He denied having a sexual relationship with Erin Corwin and told deputies the day she disappeared that he went hunting in Joshua Tree National Park alone.
Deputies believed Erin Corwin "could have been harmed by an unknown firearm," the documents stated. Her cellphone was turned off after she allegedly left with Lee so officials were unable to track her using GPS, but a witness saw them leaving together in his car, deputies said.
The document also describes information about the behavior of Christopher and Nicole Lee that led detectives to believe "they were concealing evidence."
The tire tracks on Christopher Lee’s Jeep were similar to tire tracks found near Erin Corwin’s car, the documents said.
When questioned by detectives, the owner of a Yucca Valley home where the Lees were storing belongings before moving said Nicole Lee told her that Christopher Lee was worried that he did not have an alibi for the day of Erin Corwin’s disappearance.
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The owner told deputies that Nicole Lee said detectives did not have a case against them without a body, and that she berated her husband for "not being able to keep his lies straight," the documents stated.
Detectives "believed they were concealing evidence and discussing further plans of action to likely conceal or destroy evidence," according to the documents.
Deputies served the search warrant at the Yucca Valley home and arrested Christopher Lee on July 4 for possessing a destructive device, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
The felony arrest was not related to the search for Erin Corwin, officials said. Lee was released two days later after posting bail.
Lee was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on July 7 and has moved back to his home state of Alaska, NBC affiliate KMIR reported.
Erin Corwin is described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 120 pounds, officials said. She has light brown hair and blue eyes.
Any information regarding the whereabouts of Erin Corwin can be shared through the Specialized Investigation Division 909-387-3589 or dispatch at 909-387-8313. Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or go to www.wetip.com.