A tragic incident unfolded at a gas station in Hampstead, North Carolina when authorities discovered three deceased individuals inside a parked Lexus sedan. According to the police, the deceased were identified as U.S. Marines stationed at the nearby Camp Lejeune military base.
The grim discovery came to light on Sunday morning around 9 a.m. when the police received a missing persons report. Responding promptly, officers headed to the Speedway convenience store, where they made the heartbreaking revelation.
After a meticulous investigation, law enforcement officials confirmed on Tuesday that the three deceased individuals were Lance Corporals serving at the Marine Combat Logistics Battalion 2 at the base. The Marines were identified as 19-year-old Tanner Kaltenberg from Wisconsin, 23-year-old Merax Dockery from Oklahoma, and 23-year-old Ivan Garcia from Florida.
Three Marines were found dead on Sunday inside a car parked at a gas station in North Carolina, the authorities said. The causes of death were still under investigation, and autopsy results were expected to be released by Wednesday evening. https://t.co/cW8cxeCmxE
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 26, 2023
The Pender County Sheriff’s Office asserted that there was no indication of foul play or the involvement of illegal drugs or weapons at the scene. “It seemed like it was more like an accidental death,” stated Pender County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Chester Ward, ruling out suspicions of suicides.
In response to the incident, Brigadier Gen. Michael E. McWilliams, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Logistics Group, conveyed his deepest condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of Lance Cpl. Kaltenberg, Lance Cpl. Dockery, and Lance Cpl. Garcia.
The tragic loss of Lance Cpl. Dockery deeply affected his mother, Heather Dockery, who described her son as a “great kid” and expressed immense pride in him, according to her interview with The New York Times. The authorities are still investigating the cause of death but it is believed they died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Autopsy reports are expected to be finalized by Wednesday evening. Despite the shocking incident, the sheriff’s office assured the public that there was no perceived threat to the community. The focus remains on understanding the circumstances that led to the tragic outcome and providing support to the grieving families.
As this story unfolds, it reminds us of the sacrifices and risks that members of the military willingly undertake to serve their country. The loss of these three young Marines is a somber reminder of the dangers they face even during their time away from active duty.