Police: Soldier Led Searchers to Teen's Body

Mentally disabled teen was assaulted, killed after meeting soldier on MySpace.

ByABC News
October 13, 2008, 12:59 PM

Oct. 14, 2008 — -- A veteran of the Iraq War who brags on his Web site that he can "kill without mercy or reason" has been arrested and charged with the murder of a mentally disabled 19-year-old Colorado girl he befriended on MySpace.

Spc. Robert Hull Marko was arrested Monday, on his 21st birthday, and charged with first-degree murder and sexual assault in the death of Judilianna "Judi" Lawrence. He's being held without bond at the El Paso Sheriff's Office Criminal Justice Center.

El Paso Sheriff's Office Sgt. Robert Jaworski said Marko, who returned from Iraq in February, led police Monday to what authorities are nearly certain was Lawrence's body. The body was found in a wooded area nearly three miles off the paved portion of Old Stage Road, which later turns into a dirt road.

The sergeant was one of more than two dozen members of a search and rescue team that tacked rough terrain Monday in a rural area of the front range of the Rocky Mountains on horseback and ATVs.

Jaworski declined to comment on the condition or exact location of the body, but said an autopsy scheduled for later today would formally confirm its identity and a cause of death. Jaworski said the victim apparently died Friday, the day Lawrence disappeared from her Colorado Springs home.

A Secret Friendship

Lawrence's family could not be immediately reached for comment today. On Monday, her mother and sister described her as a "sweetheart" who loved cartoons and hoped to be a veterinarian.

Her older sister, Evia Lawrence, said she had warned Lawrence, the middle of three sisters, not to meet people over the Internet, but said Monday that her sister could be "hot-headed."

The missing teen, who was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in grade school, was supposed to board a bus for school where she attends special education classes. She and her classmates were heading on a bowling trip, but Lawrence didn't show up.

Instead, her family and police said, she met up with Marko whom she had struck up a friendship with over MySpace, unbeknownst to her mother or sisters.