FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Death certificates for a Special Forces soldier and an Army veteran found dead together in a training area of Fort Bragg more than a month ago show both died of multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said.
A medical examiner found that both Army Master Sgt. William J. Lavigne II, 37, and Army veteran Timothy Dumas, 44, of Pinehurst, N.C., were “shot by (an) unknown person,” according to the Fayetteville Observer. Their deaths have been ruled as homicides, but as of Friday, no arrests had been made in the case.
The men were found dead around 3:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in a wooded training area of Fort Bragg, near Manchester Road, the newspaper reported. The death certificates indicated that Lavigne died of multiple gunshot wounds; Dumas died of bullets to the chest and head.
The documents did not say how long the men had been dead in the woods.
The Army Criminal Investigation Command, or CID, has released little about the deaths of the men or who its agents believe might be responsible.
The case has brought renewed attention to the unsolved summer killing of Fort Bragg-based Army Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez, 21, who vanished May 22 during a Memorial Day camping trip with fellow soldiers at Cape Lookout National Seashore.
The partial remains of the 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper washed up May 29 on Shackleford Banks Island, according to officials with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, or Army CID.
An autopsy report obtained by the News & Observer in Raleigh shows that only Roman-Martinez’s head was found. His jaw was broken in two places and there was “evidence of multiple chop injuries of the head,” the report says.
Since the Army officials have focused on Lavigne’s achievements during his time in the service, which began in 2001. He graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group, Airborne, according to Army officials.
Lavigne was later assigned to the Special Operations Command, through which he was deployed overseas several times.
A defense official told The Washington Post, however, that the preliminary evidence in the homicide case indicates the men may have been involved in criminal activity before they died.
Court records obtained by the Observer show that both Lavigne and Dumas, a former chief warrant officer who worked as a property accounting technician at Fort Bragg from November 1996 to March 2016, had pending court dates in unrelated cases at the time of their slayings.
Lavigne was due in Cumberland County District Court next week in connection with a hit-and-run charge from last February, the newspaper reported.
In Dumas’ case, he had a Dec. 17 court date in Forsyth County on charges of breaking and entering, communicating threats and impersonating a law enforcement officer. Further details of his and Lavigne’s cases were not made public.
Lavigne, who was praised last month for his dedication to military service, has an even more troubled past. He was investigated in the spring of 2018 after he shot and killed a Green Beret during a fight at Lavigne’s home.
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Daniel Leshikar, 33, of Pocatello, Idaho, was killed March 21, 2018, in Fayetteville, according to Army Times. Leshikar, who was also stationed at Fort Bragg, was a weapons sergeant with the 19th Special Forces Group, Airborne.
Leshikar’s sister, Nicole Rick, told the newspaper that her brother and Lavigne had been close friends since about 2012. They had daughters who were best friends.
The two families had just returned from a trip to Florida to celebrate Leshikar’s daughter’s birthday when the two men got into a fight.
“William shot and killed my brother in front of my niece,” Rick said. “William had called me a month after my brother died to tell me his story, and he said my brother came at him with a screwdriver but there was not one found near my brother’s body or in the house.”
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office officials ultimately ruled Leshikar’s death a result of justifiable homicide. His family disputes that ruling.
Later that same year, in September 2018, Lavigne was indicted on felony charges for harboring an escapee and for maintaining a vehicle or dwelling to manufacture a controlled substance, the Observer reported. According to prosecutors, authorities found a property crime suspect hiding at Lavigne’s home.
Drugs were also found in the home.
The suspect and a woman who was at Lavigne’s home at the time of the arrests later took responsibility for the drugs, the newspaper reported. Charges against Lavigne were dropped.
Lavigne’s obituary stated that he “proudly served his country with no questions asked.”
“He loved his men he served with, and proudly called them his brothers,” the obituary read. “He was, and is, an American hero.
“Billy opened his heart and home to all who knew him. He made every minute count, living life to the fullest, and never feared the mountains in the distance.”
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