Note: This story was last updated at 9:30 p.m.
Information from WYSH Radio
The man arrested for killing a woman originally from Oak Ridge and dumping her body in a southern California mine shaft has been charged in her murder.
Christopher Brandon Lee, 24, was arrested Sunday night in Alaska in the death of 19-year-old Erin Corwin. The charges were announced Tuesday by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office in California, which also filed what is called a special circumstance allegation of “lying in wait,” increasing the potential penalty to life without parole or death.
The decision on which penalty to seek will be made after prosecutors review all the evidence in the case.
Authorities also said Tuesday that Lee had been looking into how to dispose of a human body. Investigators also say .22-caliber fired casings and rebar were recovered with the body of Corwin and that the head stamp from the casings matched those on casings found in Lee’s vehicle and residence.
Lee was arrested on Sunday by officers in Alaska on suspicion of murder and is currently awaiting extradition to California. (Update: The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department reported Thursday afternoon that Lee waived extradition. Homicide investigators are in Alaska, the department said, and plan to return Lee to southern California in the next few days.)
Corwin’s body was recovered Saturday and identified on Sunday. She had been missing since June 28.
Court papers say Lee and Corwin were lovers, and she had planned to meet Lee for a hunting trip. She and her husband, Marine Corporal Jonathan Corwin, are from Oak Ridge and lived at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms in southern California, east of Los Angeles.
Corwin was reported to be three months pregnant when she vanished in late June. Her friend told investigators that Corwin and Lee were having an affair and that the unborn child might be Lee’s, the Associated Press reported.
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See the most recent press release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department here.