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Case of missing Marine wife Erin Corwin on cover of People Magazine

Jul. 30, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
(People Magazine)
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The story of missing Marine wife Erin Corwin made the cover of this week’s People Magazine, set to hit newsstands Friday.

A preview of the article was posted online Wednesday.

The online version of the story is accompanied by a video about Erin Corwin’s disappearance, which credits The Desert Sun for releasing affidavit details about the case.

Corwin, wife of Twentynine Palms Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, was last seen by her husband June 28. He told police she left their home on the base at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms at 7 a.m. that day for a planned to visit Joshua Tree National Park.

She never returned.

The cover of People Magazine features a familiar photo of the couple, he in Marine dress blues, she in a midnight blue gown.

It also includes an inset photo of Christopher Lee, a Marine now in the reserves. According to court documents, police suspect Lee and Erin Corwin were having an affair and Corwin was carrying his child.

Above the photos, the headline reads: “Mystery of the Marine’s Wife, Pregnant & Missing: Did a military love triangle lead to tragedy?”

People Magazine gave The Desert Sun an advance copy of the story, a six-page spread featuring numerous photos, including shots of the Corwins, Lee, the Twentynine Palms area and White Rock Horse Rescue in Yucca Valley, where Erin volunteered and cared for her horse, Cassy.

The story, written by Elaine Aradillas, provides additional details surrounding the disappearance of Corwin.

When the Corwins moved to base last fall, they became “chummy” with Christopher Lee and his wife Nichole, who lived next door with their daughter Liberty, 7.

The couple shared a loved of dogs and horses and often spent time together at the horse rescue ranch.

“Erin and Nichole had dogs, and they went to the dog park together,” horse rescue owner Isabel Megli told People Magazine. “Jon and Christopher were friends, too. They came out here and took the dune buggy out.”

But by February, Megli says she’d noticed the couples’ friendship had cooled. “I would say to Nichole, ‘Where’s Erin?’ and Nichole would say, ‘I don’t know,’” she says. “She never said a word.”

Megli said the Lees typically visited the ranch on weekends, but not the Saturday when Erin went missing. Still, “Sunday they came and had fun,” she said. “They seemed fine.”

On July 1 search warrants were issued authorizing police to search the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base apartments of the Lees and Corwins, Erin’s 2013 blue Toyota Corolla and Christopher Lee’s dark colored Jeep with Alaska license plates. Ten, .40-caliber fired cartridge casings were found in the Jeep.

Christopher Lee, who was set to be honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after serving six years, was in the process of moving his family into a bunkhouse at Megli’s ranch when San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials executed a search warrant at Megli’s property.

Megli describes the scene that took place the day of the search to People Magazine:

“All of a sudden four cars pull up on the street. SWAT guys came out of everywhere,” Megli recalls. “They wanted to search the property. As they searched, the Lees pulled up in a U-Haul. It must have been devastating for Nichole. All the police were there waiting,” says Megli. “It was awful.”

Police found a potato gun belonging to Lee — a pipe-based cannon that launches potatoes — and booked him on suspicion of possessing a “destructive device.”

Lee posted a $25,000 bond and was released — free to move with his family to Alaska. He’s expected to appear in San Bernardino County court in the fall.

People Magazine reports that Erin and Jon Corwin, who grew up in Oak Ridge, Tenn., met at a barn where both of their families had horses.

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