Christopher Lee, the suspected lover of missing Marine wife Erin Corwin, has been arrested in Alaska on suspicion of killing Corwin. Corwin's body was found Saturday afternoon in a 140-deep mineshaft near Joshua Tree National Park in California.
Lee, 24, is being held on a federal hold, said Cynthia Kott, a booking clerk at the Anchorage Correctional Complex. Corwin, 20, was a pregnant Marine wife who lived on the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. She vanished on June 28, after telling her husband, Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, that she was headed to Joshua Tree National Park. Since Corwin's disappearance, hundreds of volunteers have combed the park for clues.
Lee, 24, a former Marine originally from Anchorage, lived next to the Corwins at the desert base. Lee left the base in early July, only a few days after Corwin vanished, then moved back to Alaska with his wife and daughter.
Lee's arrest comes about a month after he was first identified as a focal point in the Corwin investigation.
On July 21, The Desert Sun obtained court documents revealing that detectives believed Lee and Corwin were having an affair, and that Lee may have been the father of her unborn child.
According to these court documents, Corwin was scheduled to join Lee on a hunting trip on the day she disappeared.
Corwin had told a friend that the trip was a "special day together," planned to celebrate her pregnancy. However, detectives believed that Lee was afraid his wife would discover the affair.
"It is highly likely that Erin could have been harmed by an unknown firearm," the court documents state. "Sometime after Erin left with Lee, her phone was deactivated (turned off). Detectives believe if Erin was injured and left at an undisclosed location, she would not (be) able to call for help."
In the weeks following Corwin's disappearance, investigators served search warrants for Lee's home and his Jeep. Authorities also searched a Yucca Valley horse farm, White Rock Horse Rescue Ranch, where the Lee couple stayed briefly in early July. Both the Lees and the Corwins volunteered at the ranch.
When questioned by detectives, Lee said he had kissed Corwin but that they never had sex. Lee also said he had gone hunting on the day Corwin disappeared.
Other statements threw suspicion back on the Lees, however.
According to the court documents, Isabel Megli, owner of the horse ranch, told authorities that Nichole Lee had said detectives did not have a case "without a body," and that they would "never find the body."
While staying at the horse ranch in early July, Nichole Lee, supposedly told Megli that authorities "missed something" while searching Lee's apartment, and that she was worried her husband did not have an alibi and would "not be able to keep his lies straight."
Megli later told The Desert Sun that police had twisted her words in the court documents, taking her statements out of context in order to shift suspicion onto the Lee couple.
"They put a spin on it," Megli told The Desert Sun. "I'm not going to say I didn't say it, but it definitely wasn't the whole of what I said."
Erin Corwin went missing three weeks ago from her Twentynine Palms, Calif., home. The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun