The Dateline episode ‘The Last Day’ investigates the murder of 19-year-old Erin Corwin. After graduating from high school, her boyfriend Jon Corwin joined the Marines and proposed. She was 18. They moved in California but as Dateline correspondent (and Marine Corps wife) Andrea Canning attests, being a Marine Corps wife “can be a very lonely life.” Erin, who announced that she was pregnant, was having an affair with her married neighbor, 24-year-old former Marine Christopher Brandon Lee. In June 2014, Erin said she was going to Joshua Tree National Park in the California desert to look for hiking trails, but was never seen again. Lee was charged with her murder. During his trial, after two years of denying the affair and murder, Lee admitted that he killed Corwin.
In court, Lee claims he killed Corwin (by strangulation) because she allegedly admitted to molesting his 6-year-old daughter. Prosecutors call Lee’s confession a “ruse.” Lee could have faced two murder charges (due to Corwin’s pregnancy) but when her body was found in the desert two months later it was so decomposed that medical examiners couldn’t confirm the pregnancy. Dateline NBC airs Fridays at 9pm on NBC.