AUTOPSY: Camp Lejeune Marines died from carbon monoxide poisoning
PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Deputies in Pender County say it looks like three Marines found dead in a car this past weekend died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Lance Corporal Tanner Kaltenberg, 19, from Madison, Wisconsin, Lance Corporal Merax Dockery, 23, from Pottawatomie, Oklahoma, and Lance Corporal Ivan Garcia, 23, from Naples, Florida were found in a car parked at a Speedway convenience store on U.S. 17 in Hampstead early Sunday.
All three were motor vehicle operators with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group at Camp Lejeune.
Deputies say one of the mothers called them saying her son did not arrive on a flight home to Oklahoma the night before.
- CALLER: “I was supposed to pick him up at the airport last night and he never showed up, and they pinged his phone to a gas station in Hampstead.”
- 911: “In Hampstead?”
- CALLER: “Yeah, Hampstead I’m sorry. They found his jeep at the barracks with suitcases and he’s not there...”
She told deputies that a sergeant in her son’s unit was en route to the convenience store to see if they could locate Dockery.
About 30 minutes later, deputies said they received another call saying Dockery and the two other Marines were found dead in the parked car.
Family members say the sergeant said it looked like the three men were sleeping, one of them bleeding from the nose, which is an indication of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“All of our family is devastated and we are ready for him to come home so that we can all say goodbye one last time and let him rest in peace,” said Dockery’s sister, Marcie Colbert, in a statement. “He will be loved and missed forever by everyone that he had an impact on! We love you so much baby brother!”
The Marine was the only boy out of a family of five siblings.
“I am saddened by the timeless and tragic death of these three young men, who served our country honorably,” said Sheriff Alan Cutler. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and colleagues during this time.”
The sheriff’s office did not elaborate on how carbon monoxide got into the car.
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