FBI's Hi-Tech Manhunt for Fugitive Marine

Turn on your TV, glance at the papers or surf the Internet and you're likely to come across the face of Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean, the missing Marine who is wanted in the killing of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was eight months pregnant when she died.

While it might seem like just more media fascination with horrible crimes and tragic stories, the blitz is actually part of a thorough and critically important law enforcement system run by the FBI Center.

The charred remains of Lauterbach, 20, and her unborn child were found buried in a fire pit in Laurean's backyard on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008.

At 8 p.m. that day, a federal judge in Charlotte, N.C., issued an arrest warrant for Laurean, triggering a nationwide manhunt and causing the FBI Center's system to spring into action.

By 8:05 p.m., Laurean's photograph, name and fingerprints were sent to the FBI's information clearinghouse where all that information was put online so that it would be available to every law enforcement officer in the country.

"I don't know of any other law enforcement information sharing system that is more critical to the officer on the street," said Thomas Bush, the assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

The reason the system is so importants is that it allows local police to verify a suspect's identity within minutes of seeing him or her.

Alexandria, Va., police Off. James Bartlett said that if he saw someone he thought might be Laurean, he could "come back to my computer, type in his information ... send it off to the National Crime Information Data and I would get a photo of him and I could then compare it visually."

Once the information is in the officer's computer, both the FBI and the local police department are notified of a possible break in the case.

"The goal is to get as many people as we can, as many eyes and ears out there looking for an individual that we want to apprehend," said Ken Kaiser, the assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Division.

In addition to the media blitz, which has exposed Laurean's face to millions of people, 55,000 potential tipsters have already read the suspect's information and seen his photo on the FBI's website. Meanwhile, huge electronic billboards are being set up all across the country. Even "America's Most Wanted" is in on the manhunt.

With potentially millions of people on the lookout for Laurean, law enforcement officials are hoping he won't be in hiding much longer.

ABC's Hanna Siegel and Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.