The main gate to the Camp Lejeune Marine Base outside Jacksonville, N.C., is shown on Friday, April 29, 2022. Former Marine Willy Cancel, who was killed Monday in Ukraine, was once stationed here. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Investigation Begins After Three U.S. Marines Found Dead in Vehicle

Three men found dead in a stationary vehicle parked at a North Carolina gas station were identified Tuesday as U.S. Marines stationed at nearby Camp Lejeune.

The sheriff’s office for Pender County said in a release on Facebook officers responding to a report of a missing person Sunday night found the three men deceased inside the vehicle at a Speedway convenience store in Hampstead, N.C., an unincorporated community located just north of Wilmington, UPI reports.

Cause of death has not been made public but the Pender County Sheriff’s Office said there does not appear to be any threat to the larger community.

 “This is an ongoing investigation,” the sheriff’s office said, according to the UPI report.

The deceased were identified as Marines from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group at Camp Lejeune in a press release.

The three men were named by the Marine Corps as Lance Cpl. Tanner J. Kaltenberg, 19, from Madison, Wis.; Lance Cpl. Merax C. Dockery, 23, from Pottawatomie, Okla.; and Lance Cp. Ivan R. Garcia, 23, from Naples, Fla.

All three U.S. Marines were motor vehicle operators, the sheriff’s office said.

“My deepest sympathy and condolences are extended to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lance Cpl. Kaltenberg, Lance Cpl. Dockery and Lance Cpl. Garcia,” said Brig. Gen. Michael McWilliams, commanding general 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.”

Their cause of death could be determined as soon as Wednesday, police said.

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