Witness says missing Marine wife had rendezvous with man in red - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Witness says missing Marine wife had rendezvous with man in red car

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TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.  (CBS 8) -- An eyewitness has come forward in the case of a pregnant Marine wife, missing for more than two weeks in Twentynine Palms.

Tuesday is Erin Corwin’s 20th birthday.  Search teams continue to look for her in remote areas of Joshua Tree National Park and surrounding areas.

She has been missing from her home on the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms since June 28.

Her husband, Corporal Jonathan Corwin, told investigators she failed to return from a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park.

Investigators say Erin Corwin is three months pregnant.

Michael Beasley lives on Bagdad Highway, near the location where a Twentynine Palms Water District employee spotted Corwin’s abandoned, blue Toyota Corolla on Monday, June 30.

Beasley said he saw the young wife rendezvous with a man at the location, near the intersection of Valle Vista and Ranch Roads, around 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 28.

Corwin exited her blue Toyota, locked her vehicle and got inside the man’s red, compact sedan, according the Beasley. The two then drove away in the red car, he said.

Beasley said Corwin appeared to be entering the red vehicle voluntarily.

“They were just sitting and chatting. If she wanted to get out of the car and say, ‘I don't want to be in this car,' she could have,” said Beasley.

“When I came back a half hour later, just the (blue) car was sitting there. Next thing, I hear the weekend goes by and Monday morning the sheriffs are there looking for this girl because she ain't home yet,” Beasley recalled.

Corwin's disappearance has been labeled suspicious by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department but deputies have not said it was the result of foul play.

Jessica Beasley, Michael’s sister, also remembers seeing the blue car before authorities found it. However, she remembers the vehicle being closer to the road than the location it was ultimately found by investigators.

As a result, both Jessica and Michael Beasley believe Corwin’s car may have been moved farther from the road at some time following the rendezvous.

“Somebody had to have moved that car further in (away from the road) maybe about a 100 feet or so further in,” said Michael Beasley.

He said the man in the red car had short hair and appeared to be short, perhaps less than 5’ 9”, although the man never exited the vehicle.

The siblings gave their statements to sheriff investigators at the scene when the Toyota was found June 30.

The Beasleys said deputies spent hours searching the area where Corwin’s Toyota was found. Search teams walked in straight lines over a grid pattern and a helicopter flew overhead, they said.

Detectives later obtained a search warrant to seize and examine Corwin’s abandoned vehicle, according to records obtained by CBS News 8.

CBS News 8 has learned a total of four search warrants were drawn up June 30 and signed by Joshua Tree court Judge Jon Ferguson just after midnight July 1.

The judge agreed to seal all four probable cause affidavits associated with the warrants.

In requesting the sealing order, Sheriff’s Detective Bryan Zierdt wrote, “The warrants sought pursuant to this affidavit relate to an ongoing investigation of felony offenses, and it is expected that additional search warrants will be sought relating to this matter.”

“If information contained in this affidavit were made available to any alleged co-conspirators, and/or media outlets, the destruction of potential evidence would occur,” Zierdt wrote.

The attachments to the search warrants were not sealed, however. They list the following locations and vehicles to be searched:

- Blue 2013 Toyota Sedan bearing California license # 7CJX519
- Dark colored Jeep Cherokee bearing Alaska license # GHP564
- The premises at 6650 Jasmine St, apartment #F, Twenty Nine Palms
- The premises at 6650 Jasmine St, apartment #D, Twenty Nine Palms

The street addresses in the warrants appear to refer to Jasmine Drive apartments on the Marine base.  There was no mention of a red, compact sedan in any of the four search warrants obtained by CBS News 8.

The four search warrants all contained identical, boilerplate language that allowed investigators to search for the following:

-Latent prints
-Hair and fibers
-Skin, muscle and fat tissues
-Item soiled with bodily fluids
-Weapons and firearms
-Electronic storage devices, hardware, software and computers

UPDATE July 16:  Search warrants have been posted in PDF format on this page, as well as extended interview clips with witness.

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