3 Marines Found Dead in Car at Gas Station

Carbon monoxide to blame in North Carolina tragedy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 26, 2023 2:45 PM CDT
Updated Jul 27, 2023 12:55 AM CDT
3 Marines Found Dead in Car at Gas Station
The main gate to Camp Lejeune Marine Base outside Jacksonville, NC.   (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)
UPDATE Jul 27, 2023 12:55 AM CDT

The three Marines found dead in a car at a North Carolina gas station died of carbon monoxide poisoning, the medical examiner's office has determined. The statement does not provide further details, but a sheriff's sergeant tells the AP the deaths appear to be accidental and that investigators "have found nothing else that shows that it's something else," such as suicide. Authorities were first alerted that one of the men was missing when his mother called to report that he had failed to make it on a flight home to Oklahoma for his grandfather's funeral the night prior. He and his fellow lance corporals were found dead shortly thereafter.

Jul 26, 2023 2:45 PM CDT

Three men who were found dead over the weekend at a North Carolina gas station have been identified as Marine lance corporals stationed at nearby Camp Lejeune, says the US Marine Corps. Deputies from the Pender County Sheriff's Office found the three men unresponsive Sunday morning in a privately owned car at a Speedway gas station in Hampstead, 29 miles southwest of the base, the department said in a statement. Medical authorities pronounced all three dead the same day, and their cause of death has not been released, the AP reports.

Sgt. Chester Ward of the Pender County Sheriff's Office said the department had received a missing person report for one of the three Marines, but he declined to share details. No drugs were found in the vehicle, he said. "We do not suspect anything as far as foul play in that matter," Ward told the AP, noting that the sheriff's office is waiting on autopsy results because the cause of death "might be something that we don't see."

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The US Marine Corps identified the men as Tanner J. Kaltenberg, 19, of Madison, Wisconsin; Merax C. Dockery, 23, of Pottawatomie, Oklahoma; and Ivan R. Garcia, 23, of Naples, Florida. The men were motor vehicle operators with the Combat Logistics Battalion 2, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, and 2nd Marine Logistics Group at Camp Lejeune, said First Lt. Raymond Fullbright, of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group. "Our focus is providing the necessary resources and support to those impacted by their tragic loss as they navigate this extremely difficult time," said Brig. Gen. Michael McWilliams, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group. (Read more Camp Lejeune stories.)

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