Monday, December 4, 2023

3 found deceased in Hampstead identified as Camp Lejeune Marines

HAMPSTEAD — Three deceased people found inside a vehicle in Hampstead have been identified as Marines from Camp Lejeune.

READ MORE: 3 found dead inside car at Hampstead gas station

The U.S. Marine Corps announced Tuesday the names of those found non-responsive at the Speedway on U.S. Highway 17 around 9:05 a.m. Sunday. The men were all identified as motor vehicle operators with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, and 2nd Marine Logistics Group:

  • Marine Corps Lance Corporal Tanner J. Kaltenberg, 19, from Madison, Wisconsin entered active-duty service in May 2021
  • Marine Corps Lance Corporal Merax C. Dockery, 23, from Pottawatomie, Oklahoma entered active-duty service in June 2020
  • Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ivan R. Garcia, 23, from Naples, Florida entered active-duty service July 2019

“My deepest sympathy and condolences are extended to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lance Cpl. Kaltenberg, Lance Cpl. Dockery and Lance Cpl. Garcia,” Brig. Gen. Michael E. McWilliams, commanding general of 2nd Marine Logistics Group, said in a press release. “Our focus is providing the necessary resources and support to those impacted by their tragic loss as they navigate this extremely difficult time.”

The circumstances surrounding their deaths are currently under investigation by the Pender County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Chester Ward told Port City Daily Monday that drugs were not found in the vehicle but did not answer whether any weapons were located.

Ward confirmed there was no sign of injuries or self-inflicted wounds on any of the victims.

“There’s nothing to believe it to be foul play or anything,” Ward said Monday. “We’re waiting for an autopsy report, but we have an idea of probably what happened.”

The 2nd Marine Logistics Group said it will continue to support NCIS and local authorities during the investigation.

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