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Marine Who Knew Missing California Woman Arrested

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TWENTYNINE PALMS (CBS/AP) — A recently discharged Marine who volunteered at a horse ranch with the missing pregnant wife of another California-based Marine has been arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device, authorities said Monday.

But they wouldn’t say whether the cases of Christopher Brandon Lee, 24, and Erin Corwin, 20, are connected.

Lee, then a Marine corporal, was arrested July 4 after a search warrant was served at a home in Yucca Valley and then released on bail two days later, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

A day after that, he was honorably discharged after six years in the Marine Corps, the Desert Sun reported.

The arrest came about a week after the last time Erin Corwin was seen leaving her home apparently bound for Joshua Tree National Park while three months pregnant. Corwin disappeared under suspicious circumstances, authorities said. Two days later, her car was found outside the gate of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, where her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, is stationed. Both are from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Corwin and Lee both volunteered at the White Rock Horse Rescue Ranch in Yucca Valley, the Desert Sun reported.

The owner of the ranch, Isabel Megli, spoke with KCAL9′s Crystal Cruz on Monday. Megli said she knew both Lee and Corwin, who kept a horse on the property.

“She seemed like she was very responsible on her horse,” Megli said.

According to the ranch owner, Corwin didn’t seem like the kind of person to just disappear. Cruz reports court documents obtained by the Desert Sun show Corwin may have been having an affair with her married neighbor, Lee, who also kept horses at the ranch. Megli said she had “no knowledge” of those claims.

“He was always here with his wife and his daughter and they played with their horses,” she said.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said Lee was arrested as a result of a search warrant in an ongoing investigation but would not give more details nor say any more about the destructive device Lee is suspected of possessing.

It was not immediately clear whether Lee had hired an attorney, and current contact information in his name could not be found.

He was in the Marines for seven years, last serving as a rifleman in the Individual Ready Reserve.

A number of people have been interviewed in Corwin’s missing-persons case, Miller said, but no specific person of interest or suspect has been named.

Several law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers searched a broad swath of desert for Corwin, but there have been no reported sightings. The search was significantly scaled back last week, but it continues, officials said.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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