As investigators continued their search for 19-year-old Erin Corwin in the Joshua Tree National Park in California Monday, others were attempting to quell suspicions regarding the possible involvement of the missing woman's husband, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, in her disappearance.
ABC News reported July 7 that the attention being placed on Jonathan Corwin was particulatrly troubling to his mother, Sheila Braden. She was quick to assure the media outlet that her son was incapable of harming his pregnant wife.
“I know that it’s everyone’s first thought that it’s the spouse,” Erin Corwin's mother-in-law told ABC News, “but if they knew John and Erin, and the relationship they had, they would know he’s not capable of this."
DeeAnna Heavilin, Erin's sister-in-law, was also reluctant to point the finger at the young Marine. “If you knew him you’d know how much he loves her and what kind of an exemplary man he truly is,” she said in a phone interview, according to the San Bernardino Sun. “God forbid, if harm did come to her it wasn’t from his hands.”
According to family members, the Marine Corps has forbidden Corwin to talk about his wife's disappearance.
Due to there being "suspicious circumstances," according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, surrounding the young mother-to-be's disappearance after leaving her Twentynine Palms home on June 28, homicide detectives -- "Specialized Investigations Division-Homicide Detail" -- have been given the lead in the investigation.
“The specialized division was asked to assume the investigation because they felt that there were definite suspicious circumstances,” Cindy Bachman, spokeswoman for the sheriff's department, said, according to The Press Enterprise. She described the division as having advanced investigative skills, including interviewing techniques, and noted that it was well-suited “when it comes to investigations that involve the possibility of foul play.”
Jonathan Corwin reported his wife missing the day after he last saw her. She was headed to Joshua Tree National Park in search of locations to take photographs. Her mother was coming to visit and to celebrate her upcoming twentieth birthday.
Her car, a 2013 Toyota Corolla, was found June 30 in Twentynine Palms. However, the exact location was not disclosed.
But if homicide investigators have a suspect or leads in the case, they have yet to divulge the information.
Police helicopters were in the air while ground forces scoured the park the last week searching for any sign of the missing woman, who is three months pregnant. They have met no success.
This past weekend, some 50 volunteers helped search for Corwin, something the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department had been avoiding when the investigation began. “They really don’t know where she is or what happened to her, and there is the potential for foul play,” Bachman said, explaining that volunteers and amateurs could potentially contaminate a possible crime scene.