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Erin Corwin still missing: Was Marine's pregnant wife having an affair?

With the Erin Corwin missing persons case nearly one month old, investigators still search for clues in Joshua Tree National Park near Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County, California.
With the Erin Corwin missing persons case nearly one month old, investigators still search for clues in Joshua Tree National Park near Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County, California. Jarek Tuszynski, Creative Commons

The California missing persons case of 20-year-old Erin Corwin has developed a twist: It would appear that the pregnant wife of Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jonathan Corwin might have been having an affair with one of her husband's fellow corpsman, their next door neighbor. To add to the twist, a search warrant issued against honorably discharged former Marine Christopher Lee contends that the missing Corwin may have also been pregnant with the man's baby.

ABC News reported July 23 that a warrant was issued against Christopher Lee by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department this week after authorities discovered a number of things about a possible relationship between Lee and Erin Corwin, who has been missing since June 28.

The Desert Sun reported that search warrant documents called for a search of the 24-year-old Lee's home, Jeep, and a second home where he had resided temporarily. Among items seized by investigators was a .45 calibre machine pistol, some .223 rounds of ammunition, a blue latex glove, some clothing and boots, a U-Haul truck, a white Ford truck, and a green Honda.

According to the warrant, Lee initially told investigators that he barely knew the missing woman, but a friend of Erin Corwin's in Tennessee informed them that Corwin, who was known to be pregnant at the time she disappeared, may have been pregnant with Lee's child. The friend also told authorities that Lee had been afraid his wife would divorce him if he found out about Corwin and the pregnancy.

Besides the warrant, investigators and search teams are also scouring Joshua Tree National Park, hoping to find clues as to the young woman's disappearance. Thus far, law enforcement involved in the case has been reluctant to disclose very many details. But what is known is: Erin Corwin left her home in Twentynine Palms at 7 a.m. on June 28 and her husband reported her missing a little over 24 hours later. Her car was found the next day, June 30, just outside the Marine Coprs base where her husband is stationed -- and where Christopher Lee was also once stationed.

“We’re looking for a crime scene,” San Bernardino County Sheriff Randy Naquin said. “We're looking for something that is going to give us an indication that something has or has not happened to her.”

Another disturbing detail has arisen with the knowledge of the relationship with Lee: He admitted to authorities that he went hunting in Joshua Tree National Park the day that Erin Corwin was headed there. It is also believed that Corwin planned to meet Lee that day. He told authorities that he did not encounter Corwin that day. But given Lee's earlier minimization of his relationship with Corwin, suspicions undoubtedly led to the search warrant, which notes: "It is highly likely that Erin could have been harmed by an unknown firearm.”

The case, although a working missing persons case, has been led by homicide detectives since early on, because the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department openly stated that they believed Jonathan Corwin's wife had gone missing under "suspicious circumstances.

Still, Christopher Lee has not been named a suspect or a person of interest. Neither has the missing woman's husband. Still, Jonathan Corwin has had his wife's family's support throughout.

The Corwins dated in high school and were originally from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Erin Corwin nor her remains have been located and investigators have yet to rule out that she is missing of her own accord, that she has gone "voluntarily missing," according to USA Today. Foul play, however, has been and is still suspected.