Three U.S. Marines were found deceased in a parked car at a gas station in Hampstead, North Carolina, according to local law enforcement. The discovery was made on Sunday morning following a missing persons report that led officers to a Speedway convenience store. The deceased individuals were found in a parked Lexus sedan.
The identities of the deceased were confirmed on Tuesday as Marines stationed at the nearby Camp Lejeune military base. The victims were identified as Lance Corporals Tanner Kaltenberg, 19, from Wisconsin; Merax Dockery, 23, from Oklahoma; and Ivan Garcia, 23, from Florida. All three were assigned to the Marine Combat Logistics Battalion 2 at the base.
The Pender County Sheriff’s Office stated that there was no indication of a threat to the community at any point. The nature of the deaths did not suggest suicide, and there were no signs of foul play. No weapons, illegal substances, or evidence of an attack were found at the scene.
Sgt. Chester Ward of the Pender County Sheriff’s Office suggested that the deaths might have been accidental. Authorities are investigating the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning as a contributing factor. Autopsy reports are expected to be finalized by Wednesday evening.
Brig. Gen. Michael E. McWilliams, the commanding general of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, expressed his condolences in a statement. He extended his deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and colleagues of the deceased Marines.