A U.S. Marine Corps officer and his girlfriend were each being held Thursday in lieu of $1 million bail on suspicion of killing a Murrieta man and attempting to hide his remains at Joshua Tree National Park.
First Lt. Curtis Lee Krueger of Twentynine Palms, 30, and Nicole Ashlie Stapp, 27, of Joshua Tree were arrested Wednesday and booked on suspicion of murder and conspiracy.
Krueger is being held at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, while Stapp is housed at the Indio Jail.
According to Murrieta police Lt. Mark Reid, the pair are suspected of killing 54-year-old Henry Stange earlier this year.
Reid said detectives had been working to develop leads in the case since the victim’s remains were located June 2 in a shallow grave on the San Bernardino County side of the park.
Stange lived in the 24000 block of New Clay Street, near Kalmia Street. Investigators did not specify when he went missing, or whether he was killed at his home.
A possible motive also was not disclosed, and there was no word on how the suspects were connected to Stange.
Krueger was arrested by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies near the south entrance to the Twentynine Palms Air-Ground Combat Center. Stapp was taken into custody on the campus of Copper Mountain Community College in Joshua Tree.
Marine Lt. Adam Miller told City News Service that Krueger enlisted in April 2005, beginning his career as a private, and continued up through the non-commissioned ranks until he qualified for officer candidate school. He earned his lieutenant’s bars in 2015 and has been stationed since June 2017 at the Twentynine Palms base, where he is a communications officer assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 7, Combat Logistics Regiment 1.
Neither Krueger nor Stapp has documented prior felony convictions.