Men Found Dead in Car Identified as Marines

( – Three men found deceased in a car on Sunday, July 23 in Hampstead, North Carolina, have now been identified as United States Marines. The Pender County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the three men had been stationed at nearby Camp Lejeune and died from inhaling carbon monoxide inside the vehicle. The victims have been named as 19-year-old Tanner Kaltenberg of Wisconsin, 23-year-old Merax Dockery from Oklahoma and Ivan Garcia of Florida.

Police say they responded to a call on Sunday morning from Dockery’s mother who was concerned about his well-being and wanted to file a missing persons report due to not having heard from her son since the previous Friday, July 21. Dockery’s mother had been expecting her son to be at the airport on a flight home to visit Oklahoma on Saturday and grew concerned when he didn’t show up and also failed to answer his phone despite repeated calls and texts from her. Noting that it was “very unusual,” and that Dockery’s suitcase was still back at barracks, she asked authorities to investigate. They found that his smartphone had last pinged at Hampstead near a gas station and later responded to a 911 call from another Marine who said he’d been out searching for the men and found them unresponsive in the vehicle.

Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler commented on the deaths saying he was “saddened” by the “tragic deaths” and that the sheriff’s department’s “prayers” were with the families of all three men. All three men had served in various areas of the US Marine Corps (USMC) but none had deployed overseas. The case is still under investigation to determine what happened and what led to the deaths of these three individuals. Commanding General of the USMC’s 2nd Marine Logistics Group Michael McWilliams said he gave his “deepest sympathy and condolences” to the family of the men and that the “necessary resources and support” were being provided to everyone affected by the “tragic loss.”

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