JOSHUA TREE – The man suspected of luring a pregnant woman to her death appeared in a San Bernardino Superior Court on Tuesday.
Christopher Brandon Lee pleaded not guilty to murdering Erin Corwin, a 20-year-old who was reported missing on June 28. The wife of a marine, Jonathan Corwin, investigators believe that Erin was pregnant with Lee’s child.
Lee, whose attorney was David Kaloyanides, will be held without bail due to the special circumstances charges that accompany his accusations. The special circumstances relate to charges that he lied in wait in connection to Corwin’s death, whose body was discovered at the bottom of a deserted mine shaft. Evidence in the case will be evaluated on Sept. 16. Lee did not make a statement in court.
Corwin’s June 28 disappearance set in motion a massive manhunt that took place over 300 square miles of the Mojave Desert, a search that took place over a seven-week span. Authorities determined that Lee had researched methods to get rid of a human body, information that might have led to the discovery of her body. She was found 140-feet beneath the entry of the mine, concluding a search that included volunteers from search and rescue teams.
During that time, investigators discovered that Corwin and Lee were having an extra-marital affair, in which a pregnancy likely resulted. Several warrants were served and investigators searched Lee’s home, automobiles and other locations. Investigators discovered fired cartridge casings recovered from Lee’s Jeep and also at his former residence in Twentynine Palms.
Investigators also located pieces of rebar near where Corwin’s body was discovered which were consistent with pieces found from Lee’s vehicle. There has been no information yet released on Corwin’s cause of death. Lee, who was living in Alaska at the time of his arrest, was extradited to California to face charges.