published Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Family of missing Oak Ridge native leans on faith; pregnant 19-year-old last seen in California

  • photo
    This undated photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department shows 19-year-old Erin Corwin. Authorities on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, were searching for the missing pregnant woman who disappeared after leaving her home on the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base. Corwin left her home at about 7 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 2014.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE — The family of an Oak Ridge native missing since late June in California is leaning on their faith as the days and weeks pass since she disappeared.

Erin Corwin, 19, who is three months pregnant, was last seen at about 7 a.m. on June 28 when she left home near Twentynine Palms, Calif., en route to Joshua Tree National Park.

Her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Wayne Corwin, reported her missing the next day and authorities located her blue Toyota Corolla on June 30 near the national park, officials said.

East Tennessee native and Oak Ridge High School graduate Kristy Heavilin, 36, is Erin Corwin's sister. She said Tuesday in a phone interview that the family is holding up during what has been an emotionally tense time.

"I know God loves her more than I do, more than my parents do, and He knows where she is. We just have to trust Him. He is giving me a peace that only comes from Him, otherwise I would be going out of my mind," she said. "I feel like I'm talking to Him continuously whereas before it wasn't as often."

Heavilin said authorities haven't updated the family on the search since July 3.

"We're doing as best as we can be. The search is ongoing but unfortunately we haven't gotten any updates," she said.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office said that while the disappearance appears suspicious, there is no evidence to indicate a crime was committed.

According to the Sheriff's Office Twitter feed on Wednesday afternoon, the search for Corwin continues. Anyone with information is asked to call 909-387-3589.

A Facebook social media page "LocateErin" has been started and has attracted 16,000 "likes." An unidentified person responded to a message sent to Jon Corwin through the website and said Jon Corwin was not allowed speak with media, per orders from his commanding officer.

Heavilin said their mom, Lore Heavilin, was due in for a two-week visit last week and Erin Corwin was looking for spots within Joshua Tree National Park to take their mom for pictures.

Heavilin said her sister loves photography.

"I was trying to talk her into taking a certificate course for photography at Roane State or Pellissippi State but before I could nail her down to sign up, she decided to get married and move," Heavilin said.

Corwin met her future husband through friends in Oak Ridge, married in November 2012, and in October they moved to California where he serves at the U.S. Marine Corps base in Twentynine Palms, Heavilin said.

The closest large city is Palm Springs, about an hour and a half away, she said.

Heavilin said she misses her "kid" sister's laugh and smile.

"She's just so sweet and kindhearted and she would do anything for anybody," Heavilin said.

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