The nightmare for the family of Erin Corwin began on June 28 of this year when then 19-year-old Erin Corwin told her husband and family she was going for a hike in Joshua Tree National Park, and had not been seen since. Sadly, the mystery of her whereabouts has been solved with a tragic ending, due to the diligence and steadfastness of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office and FBI, who did not stop working to find answers for a family that has been in a living horror ever since her disappearance. CBS News reported Aug. 18 that the body of missing horse whisperer Erin Corwin was found this weekend, and one arrest has been made.
Erin Corwin was a sweet 19-year-old girl on the day of her disappearance. She told her husband Marine Jonathan Corwin she ws going for a hike, and that was the last time anyone in her immediate circle would hear from her again, with a few exceptions. Today CBS is reporting that the last person that allegedly saw her alive, Christopher Lee, has been arrested and charged with her death on suspicion of homicide.
Sheila Braden, mother of Erin's husband told People Magazine about the night her husband Jonathan Corwin began to get worried about his lovely wife.
"Jon kept trying to call her, and figured there was no cell service at the park. By the evening, he started to get worried and started calling around."
Later, officials would find Erin's blue Toyota Corolla approximately two miles from Twenty-Nine Palms, the military base in San Bernardino, California, where the couple lived. Also living on this base, and next door to the Corwins, was a couple with the last name Lee. A relationship between Erin and Christopher allegedly began at some point during their residency on base, and this relationship would end in a tragedy.
Some rumors have alleged that Erin was pregnant with Christopher's child at the time of her death, though this has not yet been confirmed by officials. Even if this was the case, death is not the way to resolve such situations in one's life. Erin Corwin deserved to live as full a life as possible, with the children that she so dreamed about, as much as any other American.
Instead, at least one person and possibly more, made a choice for how her future would play out, with a tragic ending that has torn a family to shreds.
Erin's future ended in a 140-foot mine shaft just outside the borders of Joshua Tree National Park according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office. The manner in which she passed has not yet been disclosed pending autopsy results, but authorities have stated that dental records were required to identify her remains.
Captain Dale Mondary of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office stated that the number one goal in this investigation was to find answers for a family that has been living a horrific summer.
"We were determined to find Erin Corwin and return her remains to her family."
It was Saturday night, Aug. 16 when officals came upon a grisly discovery just outside Joshua Tree National Park. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office, with help from the FBI, located her approximately 140 feet down a mine shaft. The quality of air and the depth of the shaft made recovery of Erin difficult, but by 6:30 P.M. on Aug. 17 her body was retrieved.
CBS News reports that neighbor Christopher Lee was arrested on Sunday Aug. 17 at approximately 9 or 10 P.M.
The Toronto Relationships Examiner has previously reported on this story, shining a light on some suspicious activity from the neighbors in question, and the mysterious behavior of a woman at a ranch that Erin and all other parties in these relationships frequented. It was reported that both Christopher Lee, and his wife Nicole had made peculiar statements to the ranch owner of the White Rock Horse Rescue Ranch that both Erin and Jonathan Corwin and their neighbors Christopher and Nicole had frequently attended.
Erin was known to be an animal lover, and was said to have a special affinity for horses in particular. After her disappearance, the owner of a ranch that Erin visited weekly told the media that she had a special knack for bringing animals to life. One horse in particular came to the ranch near death, and ranch owner Isabel Megli said that by the time Erin was through caring for her, the horse had gained almost 300 pounds.
It was not just this horse, but many other animals, that Erin breathed life into with love alone, through her short time on this Earth. After her disappearance, a friend told ABC News,
"She loved her horses and loved her family. She just always was laughing and having fun and trying to cheer people up."
The ranch in question has been under scrutiny since the disappearance of Erin Corwin, due to some peculiar statements made by the couple in question, and even also by the ranch owner Isabel Megli.
According to one of the first probable cause warrants in this case, Nicole Lee allegedly told Isabel that the police would "never find the body." One section of the first search warrants executed on Christopher Lee and his wife Nicole Lee, obtained by the Toronto Relationships Examiner reads,
"Isabel made comments that Nicole made statements to Isabel about the detectives having missed something at the residence during the search because the detectives did not search the garage. Nicole also told Isabella that without a body, the detectives did not have a case against them and the detectives would never find the body.
Nicole stated Lee was worried because he [Christopher] did not have an alibi for that timeframe. Nicole also berated Lee in front of Isabel about not being able to keep his lies straight when he was interviewed by detectives because he was dumb. She stated she was able to keep her story straight and the detectives did not get any information from her."
It is clear that Nicole thought she was smarter than her husband. Did she also think she was smarter than the police, and the FBI?
As it has sadly turned out, Nicole was wrong. Officials are also saying that the arrest of Christopher Lee may not be the only one, and have stated a "potential for more arrests" exists. Additional evidence found in the shaft that the police have not disclosed to the public yet, suggests that others may be implicated in this crime, and connected to the death of Erin Corwin.
Due to instruction from the military and the Marine Corps where both Christopher Lee and Jonathan Corwin worked, Jonathan Corwin had been ordered not to comment publicly on this case. A "Locate Erin" Facebook page had been put up since her disappearance, and a statement from that page today reads,
"Thank you all for your prayers and support over the last 7 weeks. We appreciate all of the words of encouragement and compassion we have been shown during the search for Erin. We are also forever grateful for the volunteers and branches of law enforcement who made it possible to finally bring Erin home.
Though we were praying for a different outcome, we are relieved to have this part of the investigation behind us and to be able to begin mourning the loss of our sweet girl. Please continue to pray for our family and that justice will be found for Erin. We now ask that our privacy be respected as we enter into this new stage of grief and healing. Thank you all!"
Christopher Lee and his wife Nichole booked it out of town as soon as suspicion began to mount against them. An arrest warrant for Christopher Lee had been issued shortly after the disappearance, but authorities could only hold him temporarily on charges of improper weapon possession charges, and he was ultimately released on bail on that charge.
Following his release, he was dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps, and he and his wife Nichole moved as far away from the scene of the crime as quickly as possible. At 9 P.M. Sunday Aug. 17, Christopher Lee was arrested on the suspicion of murder.
Jennifer Castro, a spokesperson for the Anchorage Police Department has stated that an extradition warrant has been put out for Christopher Lee to return him to San Bernardino County.
Whether or not Isabel Megli owner of the White Rock Horse Rescue Ranch in the Yucca Valley has been implicated in this case remains to be seen. When the case first broke, she appeared to be as helpful as possible, and was even the one that told police the damaging statements by Nicole about "never finding the body", among many others.
Since then, Isabel has changed her tune, suggesting she may have been trying to cover something up. She stated the statements she made in those regards were innocuous and benign, and that she was simply discussing cases with Nicole that were compared to Scott Peterson and his missing wife, as well as generic comparisons to crime shows on TV. She even claimed that her words were "twisted" by police.
"I can see how they could pick pieces of what I said, but I'm totally amazed at how they twisted it. Unfortunately, they twisted it a little much. When you find out people are missing, it brings up conversation and it was just conversation about no body, no case. Nicole did not refer to her husband or to this case. It was a generalization of a conversation of CSI, or Law and Order, and (Scott) Peterson."
In a case where a young woman is missing, and a family is frantic over her whereabouts and terrified that they will never see their loved one again, accusing the police of twisting your words can be seen as suspicious behavior. How much does really Isabel Megli know? After the disappearance, the Lee's allegedly stayed with her while the first set of warrants were being executed on their home, and shortly before they moved to Alaska.
Why would Isabel Megli change her story after the fact, if she did not know anything in connection to the disappearance of Erin Corwin? Will more information about Isabella's connection to this case come to light as this investigation presses forward?
What do you think about the ranch owner's two different version of events?
The police have stated that there are possible more arrests pending.
Will that be Nicole? Will Isabel Megli be arrested for obstruction?
The Toronto Relationships Examiner will be following this story to report those answers as they come to light as the investigation presses forward. In the meantime, the public sends prayers and condolences to a family that has been gripped with fear all summer, a family that can now use these answers obtained to fight for and seek justice for their beloved horse whisperer, Erin Corwin.