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Body of Erin Corwin to be released to her family

Order to keep body for testing rescinded

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. - The body of Erin Corwin will now be released to her family after a judge in Joshua Tree rescinded an earlier order to keep the body for testing, according to court records.

Judge Rod Cortez made the decision at Tuesday morning's court hearing. 

Corwin's body was found on Saturday, August 16 in the Rose of Peru Mine; one of more than 100 mine shafts investigators searched in effort to find the missing woman. She disappeared on June 28.

The man accused of killing Corwin, 24-year-old Christopher Brandon Lee, made a brief appearance at Tuesday's hearing. Lee is accused of killing the pregnant Marine wife and then dumping her body 140 feet down the mineshaft near the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base. A crime report said Lee also left behind tire marks and bullet casings, which led investigators to him.

Lee and Corwin were neighbors on the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base. Police believe they were having an affair.

Judge Cortez said the ex-Marine faces charges in Erin's murder and a special circumstance allegation of "lying in wait," which means he will be held in jail without bail.

Lee was extradited back to California from his hometown in Anchorage, Alaska. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge at his arraignment on August 26. 

He's due back in court on January 6, 2015. There's still no word if the prosecution will seek the death penalty.


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