Camp Lejeune: Identities of 3 dead marines revealed as mysterious gas station deaths prompt investigation

Three young marines mysteriously died near Camp Lejeune. (Image via Allen G. Breed)
Three young marines mysteriously died near Camp Lejeune. (Image via Allen G. Breed)

Three young marines had been found dead under mysterious circumstances inside a car near North Carolina’s Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Sunday morning, July 23. Authorities have launched an investigation to figure out what had caused their deaths.

The Pender County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook that the bodies of the marines were found at about 9 a.m. On Tuesday, July 25, the Marine Corps revealed the identities of the victims in a media release.

Three young marines were found dead near Camp Lejeune. (Image via Twitter/@HelenKennedy)
Three young marines were found dead near Camp Lejeune. (Image via Twitter/@HelenKennedy)

They were identified as 23-year-old Ivan R. Garcia from Naples, Florida, 23-year-old Merax C. Dockery of Pottawatomie, Oklahoma, and 19-year-old Tanner J. Kaltenberg of Madison, Wisconsin. All three held the rank of lance corporal at the military base.

Sergeant Chester Ward at the Pender County Sheriff’s Department said that nothing from the scene hinted at foul play or anything of that sort. He added that the police were waiting for the autopsy reports and otherwise had no idea about what could have happened to the soldiers.

Authorities at the military mourn the Camp Lejeune marines' deaths

The commanding officer of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Brigadier General Michael McWilliams sent words of condolences to the families of the deceased marines. He said in a statement:

“My deepest sympathy and condolecnes are extended to the family, friends and colleagues. Our focus is providing the necessary resources and support to those impacted by their tragic loss as they navigate this extremely difficult time.”

The marines were unresponsive after they were found by the deputies in a private car. All three were pronounced dead by the medical authorities on the same day. The deputies were searching the area as they received a missing person’s report for one of the three marines.

Sergeant Chester Ward from the Pender County Sheriff's Office said that there were no drugs in the vehicle. The tragic discovery took place when deputies who were tending to a missing person’s report found these three marines inside a four-door sedan.

The car was parked outside a Speedway fuel station in Hampstead, which takes about an hour's drive to reach from Camp Lejeune. He added:

“There does not appear to have ever been any threat to members of the community.”

The three men served as motor vehicle operators in the Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, and Combat Logistics Regiment 2 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, located on the North Carolinian coast. The camp serves as the home base for the II Marine Expeditionary Force, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, 2nd Marine Division, and other units.

Death of Marine Corps recruit in Parris Island boot camp

Back in April, the United States Marine Corps announced the death of a recruit at South Carolina’s Parris Island boot camp during a physical fitness examination. The victim was identified as 21-year-old Noah Evans from Georgia. It has remained unclear as to what caused his death.

Noah was assigned to the Recruit Training Regiment and 3rd Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island’s Mike Company.

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