Still No Sign of Cpl. Hassoun

Still No Sign of Cpl. Hassoun

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John Daley ReportingA Utah Marine accused of deserting for the second time could potentially face double the penalty if he's caught. Wassef Ali Hassoun didn't show up for his military duties today and the search is on.

Corporal Hassoun's whereabouts are a mystery. Both NBC News and CNN report Pentagon sources tell them they've tracked Hassoun using ATM receipts, and believe he traveled to Canada and then his native Lebanon. But that could not be confirmed today by the Marines, a spokesman for the Hassoun family, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, or members of the family who answered the phone at the home of relatives in Lebanon.

Meantime, a military expert we spoke with says it was not unusual that Hassoun was not in custody because he hadn't yet been formally charged and wasn't considered a flight risk after originally turning himself in.

Michael Wims, Former AF Chief of Military Justice: “Because he'd terminated his stay in Lebanon apparently and he did so voluntarily. So when one turns oneself in voluntarily, usually one would not be put in pre-trial confinement."

Wims says the latest desertion episode will complicate Hassoun's legal troubles.

Michael Wims: "There would be presumably an additional charge of desertion, which is an absence with intent to remain away permanently this time. So that would be two charges instead of one."

Another possible clue to where Hassoun is comes from court documents filed in January, which show Hassoun's brother Sami had been charged with using a false social security number. Sami Hassoun never showed up to court on those charges. The documents show he returned to Lebanon where the US has no extradition treaty to get him back.

We tried, but could not reach Sami Hassoun's attorney today.

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