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Erin Corwin: Friend talks safe return, says warrant put 'spin' on her words

Missing: On June 28, 2014, then 19-year-old Erin Corwin left her home in Twentynine Palms. She has not been heard from or seen since.
Missing: On June 28, 2014, then 19-year-old Erin Corwin left her home in Twentynine Palms. She has not been heard from or seen since.
Bernard Gagnon, Creative Commons

Isabel Megli runs the White Rock Horse Rescue ranch in Yucca Valley, the place where Erin Corwin volunteered some of her time, and she finds it difficult to believe that the 20-year-old now has been missing for a month. She has also been outspoken in qualifying the probable cause affidavit of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department that was used to get a search warrant for various properties of Christopher Lee, an honorably discharged Marine who not only was Erin Corwin's neighbor and an acquaintance at Megli's ranch, but also somewhat romantically involved with the missing woman.

"Time unfortunately keeps going," Megli told KESQ-TV in an interview posted July 28. "And a month -- it's somewhat of a shock."

Erin Corwin, who was reportedly pregnant, was last seen leaving her house in Twentynine Palms on June 28 by her husband, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jonathan Corwin. He reported her missing a little over 24 hours later. Although the County Sheriff's Department found the young woman missing under "suspicious circumstances" and authorities were treating the case as if it were a potential homicide, they had few leads.

That is, until a close friend of Corwin's in Tennessee told law enforcement that her girlfriend was having an affair with Christopher Lee and had planned on meeting the married man and spend time hunting the day she went missing. She also told officials that Corwin was excited because they -- she and Lee -- were to celebrate the pregnancy.

But Lee says he never saw her. He says he went hunting in Joshua Tree National Park, one of the areas investigators have searched extensively in attempts to find Corwin. Coincidentally, that is where Jonathan Corwin claims his wife said she was going when she left early in the morning.

Erin Corwin's car was found abandoned not far from the national park the day after her husband filed a missing persons report.

A search warrant was issued against Lee and two properties. Various items were confiscated, including vehicles.

But Isabel Megli says that police distorted her words when writing up the "probable cause" portion of the search warrant. She said that some things were taken out of context as well.

"They put a spin on it," Megli told The Desert Sun. "I'm am not going to say I didn't say it, but it definitely wasn't the whole of what I said."

Megli's words were used to indicate the potentiality of possible involvement of Christopher Lee in the Corwin disappearance. In the affidavit, police say that Megli recalled Nichole Lee, wife of Christopher, railing at her huband about not being able to keep his lies straight and that she had allegedly said detectectives would never find the body. She also said that, according to the document, that police had missed something while searching Lee's place because they had not searched his garage.

Megli said she and Nichole Lee had discussed the case and had compared it to mysteries like those seen on television. She had told police that Lee had worried police could incriminate her husband simply from the answers he provided. And she said that she never said anything about investigators missing something.

"I never said that," Megli said Friday. "If I would have heard that there was 'something' in the garage, don't you think I would have called the police?"

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has not responded to inquiries into the warrant's contents.

Isobel Megli said that Corwin would carpool with other people from around the Twentynine Palms area to her rescue. These people included Christopher and Nichole Lee. She said they had been coming out to the ranch for about a year and a half.

She told KESQ that she hoped the disappearance remained a top story.

"They're doing everything they can," she said, noting the many searches investigators had made in the Twentynine Palms area as well as in Joshua Tree National Park. Despite the young woman being missing for a month, Megli remains hopeful she will be found.

"We'll be here... waiting for her," she said.

The Erin Corwin missing persons case is featured on the cover of this week's edition of People magazine.

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